Northern Ireland

County Armagh school children's singing has papal approval

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Media captionCounty Armagh school children's singing has papal approval

Children from a County Armagh school have been given the opportunity to sing in one of the world's most historic venues.

Pupils from St Paul's High School in Bessbrook are currently visiting Rome, to mark the school's 50th anniversary.

On Thursday, they sang at a Mass in St Peter's Basilica, Rome, which Catholics believe is the burial place of Saint Peter.

Headmaster Jarlath Burns said it was an "amazing opportunity" for the children.

The children range from school years 9-14.

The school's director of music, Colm Murphy, is passionate about choral music and it was through his connections as organist at St Patrick's Cathedral, Armagh that the school was able to get such an opportunity.

It is a kind of pilgrimage for the school - in its 50th year the children will also be singing at its namesakes church - St Paul's Basilica.

Image caption Catholics believe St Peter's Basilica is the burial place of Saint Peter

'Broaden minds'

Mr Burns says both travel and music take a high priority at the school.

"As a school we love to give the children opportunity to travel, get them on planes and broaden their minds with new experiences.

"The children realise how lucky they are. Before the Mass started today, I said: 'Do you realise you have reached the pinnacle of your careers?'

"Many dedicated singers never get a chance like this".

The choir will also be singing at the Basilica of St Paul, at the Pontifical Irish College and the Archbasilica of St John Lateran.

You can see longer clips of the children singing on Jarlath Burns' Twitter page.