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Rome Reports

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American girls high school choir 'thrives' at first papal Mass of 2018

“Where Girls Thrive.” That's the motto at Oakcrest School, but its choir did so in one of the world's most sacred places.

In front of people as distinguished as the Holy Father himself, and in collaboration with groups like the Sistine Chapel Choir, these high school girls provided some of the beautiful singing that reverberated throughout St. Peter's Basilica on New Year's Day.

Choir Member, Oakcrest School
“We're all looking up at the ceiling. We're like, 'Oh my goodness, this is huge.' Then we're sitting so close to the Holy Father. You just feel how he's the father of everyone there, and we're able to give this gift. It's the most incredible experience I've had.”

As the only girls choir performing, their voices surely stood out at the Mass for the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God. However, while the celebration may have been their favorite moment, it was just one of numerous opportunities on this trip. 

The eight-day pilgrimage brought the choir to Orvieto and Assisi as well. Whatever the city or town, the girls were more than willing to spontaneously share their gift with anyone within earshot. 

Choir Director, Oakcrest School
“This pilgrimage has been really special because I just read the pope's letter to the youth. He says to go, to go out into the world. This was a way for them to do that, to bring beauty and joy. Those are the experiences that I really want the girls to have – to sing in the square and see people really light up and feel the joy and the love of God.”

Oakcrest School was founded just over 40 years ago near Washington, D.C. The all-girls institution was established in the Opus Dei tradition. 

Part of the school's mission is to “educate in mind, body and soul” – the latter of which is exuded by its choir wherever it goes.