The Deacon's Bench

The Year for Priests may be over, but the melody lingers on:

The Priests, a trio of clerics from Northern Ireland, are to headline a key event during Pope Benedict XVI’s state visit to the UK, performing in front of 80,000 people in Hyde Park, London.

The platinum-selling trio – brothers Eugene and Martin O’Hagan and their friend, David Delargy – have previously sung at the Vatican and gone head-to-head with Pope Benedict, a Classical Brit award nominee, in the album charts twice before.

The pope will be in the UK from 16 September, spending two days in London. Other artists lined up for his visit include Susan Boyle, who will perform in the mass at Bellahouston Park, Glasgow, and screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce, who will compere the London event. The venues are together expected to attract up to 300,000 people.

There are six million Catholics in England, Scotland and Wales and about 1.2 million attend mass every week. Papal appearances often have an element of showbusiness to them. In 2008 the US Conference of Catholic Bishops arranged performances by American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson and jazz singer Harry Connick Jr, while the weekly Vatican audiences can resemble a variety show with their brass bands, pianists, jugglers and choristers.

There’s more at the link.

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