Local choir to sing at consistory

By Joyce Duriga
Sunday, November 13, 2016

When Archbishop Cupich is made a cardinal during the consistory at St. Peter’s in Rome on Nov. 19, the choir from St. John Cantius Parish, 825 N. Carpenter St., will be leading the congregation in song along with two other choirs from the United States.

The Cantius choir was already scheduled to be in Rome that weekend to sing with choirs from around the world at the closing Mass for the Jubilee of Mercy. For that Mass, the Sistine Chapel Choir put out a call for singers to make up a 300-voices choir.

“Our choir was asked to participate in that event so we’re bringing about 25 people,” said Father Scott Haynes, associate pastor and director of liturgy and music.

When Pope Francis announced on Oct. 9 that Archbishop Cupich would be made a cardinal, Haynes contacted the archbishop’s office to see if the choir could get tickets to the consistory. A few phone calls later and they were invited to sing during the consistory. Two other U.S. choirs — from Sioux City, Iowa, and Omaha, Nebraska — will join them.

“They were hoping that a choir could be put together which would have some connection to those cardinals who were going to be elevated,” Haynes said.

This isn’t the first time St. John Cantius’ choir has sung at the Vatican. In 2013 they sang for the 500th anniversary of the St. Peter Basilica choir.

There are some local connections between the parish choir and the Vatican choirs. The sister of St. Peter’s choir director, Father Paul Pierre, lives in Arlington Heights and he has celebrated Mass at St. John Cantius in the past. Also Cantius’ organist Corrado Cavalli is from Italy and is friends with the director of the Sistine Chapel Choir.

Cantius’ choir will only practice together once before heading to Italy. While in Rome they will have several days of rehearsal with the other two choirs for the consistory.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime kind of event that we’d never expect to attend,” said Haynes of the consistory. “To not only attend it but to be able to sing for it … we feel very, very happy — even more so because our own archbishop is there to receive the honor.”

Choir member Bridget de la Peña is looking forward to the whole experience. She joined the choir two years ago after hearing about the music program when St. John Cantius dedicated its restored Casavant organ in 2013. Both she and her husband sing in the choir.

De la Peña, who works for the archdiocese’s Office of Catholic Schools, said she is “super excited” to be part of the consistory liturgy.

“When we signed up we had no idea that Archbishop Cupich would be elevated to cardinal. It’s a nice added bonus,” she said. “The Jubilee of Mercy speaks to a lot of people. Singing with the Sistine choir in Rome will be incredible.”


  • cardinal cupich
  • catholic schools
  • pope francis
  • vatican
  • st. john cantius
  • father scott haynes

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