Pope Francis solemnly consecrated the statue of St. Agnes of Bohemia accompanied by University Choir of Pardubice

On Saturday, September 10, a statue of St. Agnes of Bohemia was officially delivered to the Vatican. Francis Pope consecrated it at the ceremonial audience at St. Peter's Square in the presence of Czech government delegation and accompanied by four choirs. Among them was the University Choir of Pardubice.
St Peter's Square was filled with several thousand pilgrims, of which a large part comprised of Czech citizens accompanying the journey of the statues of St. Agnes of Bohemia made in a stonemasonry school in Hořice. The University Choir of Pardubice along with the boys' choir Bonifantes accompanied the introductory part of the audience. They presented here primarily works by Czech composers, including, for example, the oldest Czech sacred song “St. Wenceslas" of the 10th century, in the adaptation by Otto Albert Tichý. At the end of the audience, which was broadcast live by TV Noe, the Pope devoted his time to each choir and after a friendly greeting he took a picture with each of them. The University Choir of Pardubice, headed by chief conductor Tomáš Židek, then handed the symbolic gift to Pope Francis. 
The University Choir of Pardubice provided musical accompaniment throughout the day
In the afternoon, the choir was invited to a gala reception which was also attended by Senator Miluše Horská, which assumed patronage of the entire event. Furthermore, it was attended by Minister of Culture Daniel Herman and a delegation of clerics headed by Cardinal Miroslav Vlk and the Hradec Králové bishop Jan Vokál.
The day culminated in the Mass held primarily for the Czech pilgrims at the St John the Baptist of the Florentines celebrated by Cardinal Vlk in cooperation with all the bishops present. Throughout the church service, musical accompaniment was provided by the University Choir of Pardubice and the Bonifantes Choir. After the initial Bruckner’s Ecce sacerdos, the church resounded with, inter alia, Ordinarium by Petr Eben, a prominent composer of sacred music from the turn of the 20th and 21st century. The Choir also performed, among other songs, the congratulatory Alleluia from the famous oratorio Messiah by G. F. Handel. At the end, the Choir earned sincere gratitude from Cardinal Vlk and appreciation from the government delegation headed by Miluše Horská and Daniel Herman.
The day was completed with a pilgrimage to St. Peter's Basilica
The unforgettable Saturday was concluded with a procession to St. Peter's Basilica.
There, the entire expedition visited the crypt of the Vatican basilica and the chapel of the European patrons where the statue of St. Agnes was placed. The pilgrimage was concluded by University Choir of Pardubice in the right transept of the Vatican Basilica it sang Benedictus from the Mass in E flat major by the composer Alois Hnilička for all those present, especially to celebrate the festive day. The rendition of Hnilička’s Benedictus was also a foreign premiere in honour of St. Agnes of Bohemia.
Jana Mimrová
Student of Conducting
HAMU Praha