EUROPE / SWITZERLAND – Swiss Star Singers delegation distributes over 150 “unexpected” blessings in Rome
Friborg (Agenzia Fides) – Sevan, Bree Victoria, Salomé and Norah are the names of the four Star Singers from French-speaking Switzerland aged eleven to thirteen who visited Rome for the first time this year with the delegation from South Tyrol and from Germany (28 in total) to attend the New Year’s Mass presided over by the Holy Father.
The Star Singers are part of a tradition that dates back to the 16th century and is widespread in northern Europe. According to custom, children disguised as Three Kings, shepherds or angels, sing Christmas carols in the streets and distribute “C + M + B” blessings (Christus Mansionm Benedicat – May Christ bless this house), in the houses of the cities where they live. They start before Christmas until Epiphany. The little ones raise money for charity.
Since 2001, thanks to the organization of the Pontifical Society of German Missionary Childhood in Achen, some delegations from the groups of Star Singers have been able to go to Rome to participate in mass with the Holy Father on January 1 and enjoy of a few days in the Eternal City between cultural visits, meetings and moments shared between the different delegations meeting in Rome.
“We are grateful that we were able to come to Rome despite the difficult time we are going through due to the pandemic. Due to the pandemic, the Star Singers campaign in our countries will be extended until February 2 of this year ”, explains Nadia Brügger, coordinator of the Star Singers of French-speaking Switzerland and Sonja Lofaro, head of missionary organizations for children of Missio Switzerland.
“The ‘unexpected’ encounters of our trip gave the children the opportunity to meet ordinary people on the streets, in restaurants or bars, in front of churches,” Nadia continues.
The meeting with the homeless was particularly moving, which aroused great interest in them and raised many questions. They distributed over 150 blessings in total, ”says Nadia. From December 29 to January 2, the four Star Singers of the Canton of Neuchâtel of St-Aubin-Cortaillod, accompanied by their facilitators Rosa Piccinni and Gerda Pimentel, underlined the attention paid to ecumenism as the main theme of their activities. They also met members of the Swiss Guard and received a visit from Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, who defined them as “messengers of hope”. cordial encounter, the Star Singers performed for him and received a special blessing.
On January 1, it was the turn of mass with the Holy Father, whom everyone was enthusiastic about and whom none of them will forget. “Being star singers is a great gift – the four young people said together – It gives us the opportunity to help other children just as the missionary childhood motto reminds us” Children help children “and at the same time time offers us the possibility of living extraordinary experiences like this one in Rome ”.
Thanks to the Star Singers campaign, around 200 projects for children in Africa, Latin America, Asia and Oceania in the fields of education, health, nutrition and pastoral care can be supported each year (see Fides, 12/30/2021). The Star Singers is the largest child-for-children solidarity campaign in the world. (EG) (Agenzia Fides, 04/01/2022)