Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Street People's Choir

"I am a member of the Street People's Choir" is the title of an article in the Catholic Digest. Pope Francis on his visit to the Flower Village while in Korea, in August of last year, arrived by helicopter. There to meet him were about 30,000 people. He transferred to an open car, during this time the Street People's Choir was singing, because of the noise, no one was conscious of their presence. 

The pope got out of the car and entered the vestibule of the building and took off his shoes. He was the only one who did, every body else walked in wearing  their shoes. The writer thought the pope's feet were hurting. The Street People's Choir was waiting for him and started singing again, but the noise from those in the building was so loud, the singing was buried in the noise.  

Behind the stage on which the Street People's Choir was singing was a placard written in Italian introducing them.  The pope saw the placard and looking towards the choir raised his two hands over his head and gave them a thumbs up sign telling them to sing louder. They were gratified by the sign of recognition.

The choir was from the Seoul railroad station where the writer of the article says she attended one of their recitals. She was surprised to see women in the group and was impressed with the director and accompanist. She wanted to join the choir to help them as an alto member, and asked one of the religious sisters who helped form the choir, and was accepted as a member. 

Because of the visit of the pope and the way the mass media carried the story, the difficulty of finding a place to practice was solved. This had been a problem in the past. After each practice there was a meal served which was appreciated by all. The writer mentions how she began a sponsoring group to help pay for the meals. She had some success, and hopes it will continue to grow.

She concludes her article with the words of Pope Francis:  "Important in helping the poor is not just  give a one time  monetary gift, but to join them to  become a member of the cultural life of society."  She would like these words to ring loud and clear throughout society.