Olympics choir to perform at special Paralympics Mass

The choir that performed at the 2012 Olympic opening ceremony will again be performing in connection with the Games, this time for a special Mass of Thanksgiving for the Paralympics.

The Dockhead Choir was the opening act of the Olympic opening ceremony.

They will be accompanied by an orchestra when they perform during the Mass of Thanksgiving at St George’s Cathedral, Southwark, on 8 September.

The choir will again sing the first verse of Jerusalem live and unaccompanied, dressed in the same attire they wore at the Olympic stadium.

“It will be a slightly different version of Jerusalem on this occasion to that sung at the opening ceremony,” explained Canon Maclean, Dockhead's parish priest, who will be directing the choir.

“However, above all the young people - and their parents - are both delighted and honoured to be taking part in this special liturgy."

He went on to say that “being a part of the Mass in thanksgiving for the Paralympic Games is equally as great an honour for us all as being the first voices to be heard at the opening of the 30th Olympiad”, adding that “singing in worship of God is what the choir does best”.

James Parker, Catholic Executive Coordinator for the 2012 Games, said the deliberate decision had been taken to make the Mass open to anyone who wishes to attend.

He said the key message of the Mass would be that everyone has a place within the Church.

'Everyone has a place' was the theme of the Catholic Church's recent international one-day conference in London on disability, theology and sport.

“We hope that Paralympians both past and present, whether Catholic, Christian, or of any faith and none, will come to hear of the Mass and choose to join the hundreds of others who will be present," Mr Parker continued.

"We want to celebrate and give thanks to God for the preciousness and potential that lies within each and every life, particularly for how these are manifest within the domain of sport.”

The Catholic Bishops’ National Advisor on disability matters, Cristina Gangemi, said of the forthcoming Paralympiad: “We need to treat the Paralympic Games with exactly the same enthusiasm as the Olympics and really get behind the athletes.

"Whilst they are separate games, Paralympians are amazing sports people who have worked hard and have faced the same ups and downs as those who participated in the Olympics.

"It's just that they engage in events in a different way and utilise apparatus that has been geared to allow them to practise the sport they are so skilled at.”

Ms Gangemi said the Paralympics provided schools with the opportunity to have disability-themed assemblies and to "recognise the potential of all human beings within our society".

She said: "This is an opportunity not to be missed. The Paralympics are a unique example of faith in action and a place where all do what they do to the very best of their ability.”

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