Preparations for Pope Francis’ arrival in Philadelphia have been in full swing for months now. In the midst of it all, the Beatty children — Manny, Benecio, Clara and Calliope — will be playing a special role during the papal visit.
They are among 50 kids who will greet Pope Francis on the steps of the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul on Saturday morning. They’ll sing again during Sunday’s outdoor Mass on the Parkway.
The Beattys, ranging from 8 to 14, are parishioners at St. Vincent de Paul Church in Germantown. They said they can’t wait for the chance to sing for the pontiff alongside their peers from the Archdiocesan Children’s Choir.
“I never thought I would be able to sing for Pope Francis or that I was going to sing for Pope Francis,” said Calliope, the youngest. “It will be really fun. I am sort of nervous but mostly excited. “
Her older sister, Clara, said rehearsing hasn’t always been easy.
“It’s really fun, but it’s not just regular singing, it’s more like singing for God, and so that’s like really, really important,” she said. “It’s not easy to do, so you have try really hard, and sometimes it’s really tiring … but it’s really enjoyable.”
Their mom, Maria Beatty, said it’s been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for her kids. Maria, her husband, and her parents have tickets to Sunday’s Mass but will watch the performance at the basilica on TV. She said the process of preparing her children for the visit has been surreal, right down to their regular trips to the basilica.
“This is kind of the reason I wanted to have children, you know, that they could not just worship God, but they could do it in the most excellent way, for the most excellent person,” she said. “It’s just amazing, and I’m so proud, and I’m so excited.”
The children will also travel to Rome in December with the choir to participate in the International Children’s Choir Festival.