A choir from a Jefferson City church has been invited to sing at a mass with Pope Francis on New Year’s Day, 2015.

The music minister at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Lisa Screeton, took a choir to sing at a papal mass on the Catholic Feast of Epiphany in 2010. When a new opportunity came up for American choirs to participate in papal masses, an invitation was extended to Screeton.

She says she has some quality singers at Jefferson City.

“I knew that I could accept that invitation on their behalf because they would be a phenomenal group to take there, so we accepted the invitation to sing at the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God on January 1, 2015 at St. Peters.”

Screeton says she plans to open up the opportunity outside Immaculate Conception and even to those of other faiths, and she encourages everyone to sing.

“They can go as a non-singing pilgrim,” Screeton says, “but if they’re going to go on the trip they may as well sing with us because everyone is welcome.”

In addition to the papal mass the group will have opportunities to perform at concerts at other churches in Rome and in Florence, Italy. Screeton says those are typically well attended because they offer something locals don’t often get to hear.

“Romans particularly love an American choir who does American music,” Screeton explains, “Either spirituals or by English or American composers.”

The trip will cost about $3000 per person. Screeton says fundraiser will take place through 2014 that are aimed at offsetting part of that cost, and anyone that participates in the fundraisers will get an equal share of the proceeds toward the cost.

Screeton says the experience of visiting the Vatican was, “moving,” and says it is more impactful from the standpoint of a musician.

“To be able to stand and sing or stand and conduct a choir with a sitting Pope just a few feet away … it just doesn’t get any better than that. It’s something that you never take for granted and it’s something that you never forget.”

The group will leave for Rome on December 26, 2014 and return January 2, 2015. It will also attend Mass at the Basilica of Saint Francis in Assisi.