ROMAN MISSION TO HONOUR THE GREAT ‘SONNY’
Reception at the Italian embassy and Drogheda Male Voice choir to perform at St Peter’s
DROGHEDA’S man in Rome, Christian Brother, Christopher ‘Sonny’ Kierans, is to retire early next year after 46 years service, many of those in the Vatican City.
Sonny, however, won’t be allowed to leave without a couple of big occasions and one of those is earmarked for next May, it has just been revealed.
Tom O’Reilly, chairman of the Drogheda Male Voice Choir explains; “We had several invitations to sing at important overseas events on our return from the Royal Albert Hall but, when someone mentioned we should mark Brother Kierans retirement with a performance in Rome, it was unanimously agreed that we would undertake to organise this very special occasion.
‘Our committee have been working diligently on this task and have put together a great programme for our stay in Rome. We are overwhelmed with the response we have received from the likes of the Mayor of Drogheda, Pio Smith, who will travel with us, also from the Irish Embassy in Rome who will entertain us and our guests at a special reception to honour Brother Christopher Kierans”.
Mr Joe Heeney, a committee member of DMVC, who is organising the choir’s travel arrangements says; “There has been a wonderful response from the choir members to travel and within a short space of time our group had reached its quota of 80 people who are making the trip. We have a standby list and expect many more friends and interested people to come forward and hopefully arrangements can be made to facilitate everybody”.
The choir will sing at the Saturday Vigil Mass in St Peters’ Basilica in the Vatican and also at the official reception in the Irish Embassy in Rome.
Plans are at an advanced stage for the choir to sing in St Peters’ Square prior to the Papal audience for the assembled congregation.
Seamie Briscoe Liaison Officer with the DMVC states; “Whilst this is a splendid trip for the choir and our party, the main reason for undertaking this visit to Rome and the Vatican is to honour a great Drogheda person who has been so helpful to everybody from his native town and has devoted his life to his vocation.
‘Sonny has always assisted and provided help to his fellow towns folk when they visited Rome and the Vatican City. His love of his native town has never faltered and he keeps up with all the news from home on a regular basis. He retains many friendships, despite his long term absence, and of course, the regular ‘pilgrims’ from home also bring him up to date with any news he may have missed.
‘Sonny’ is responsible for all the English speaking delegations and visitors from all over the world to the Vatican, a role he has filled with distinction down through the years.
Christopher Kierans and inset, St Peter’s.