The St. Thomas Liturgical Choir is preparing to go to Europe for its international tour and pilgrimage. The choir will leave Monday, May 23, and will return June 1 after the 10-day trip.
According to choir director Aaron Brown, international tours have become a trait of large college ensembles. St. Thomas is continuing the tradition of pilgrimages, which have been happening since the early days of Christianity.
“A pilgrimage is when a group of pilgrims journey to a sacred place or a holy place for a spiritual renewal,” choir director Aaron Brown said. “We will be going to the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary, and will be singing in many churches and for masses and concerts on the trip.”
Freshman Emily Hoffman, who is going on the trip, said, “Personally I just think it will be a cool opportunity to grow in my own faith, because it is a pilgrimage.”
In addition to singing at cathedrals and churches, the choir also will get to do some traveling, including a trip to Auschwitz.
“Many of [the choir members] have never been to Europe before,” Brown said. “Some have never even been on a plane. So this will be a big experience for all of them.”
“I’m really excited. I’ve never been to Europe before, so I think it will be a really cool opportunity,” Hoffman said. “The places that we are going are just perfect for our group. We get to go to a lot of churches and monasteries, so I think it totally aligns with the mission of liturgical choir.”
Brown said the pilgrimage will benefit the choir.
“Traveling abroad always brings many benefits to see different cultures, meet different people, and I think it helps expand our minds,” he said.
Hoffman added, “I’m hoping that it is really going to help us bond and get to know one another. We have a huge choir, so it’s difficult to know everyone’s name and know where they come from, so I think it will benefit the choir in just helping us get to know one another and become more of a close-knit group.”
And of course, the spiritual benefit.
“It is a time of spiritual transformation and spiritual change,” Brown said.
He added, “We make a journey physically that we hope happens internally as well.”
Jacqueline Destache can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.