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Holy Rosary kids raising money for journey to Rome

Want something fun to do this Saturday, March 17? Then why not stop by the Lincoln Education Center and do a little shopping?

That's right, shopping. From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., the center will be temporarily transformed into a mini-mall, with a variety of local home-based business operators bringing their wares to help raise funds for a good cause.

This "St. Patrick's Day Shopping Party" is being hosted by the Holy Rosary "Voice of Truth" Choir, as a fund-raiser for the group's upcoming visit to Rome, Italy.

The group of 30 high school-age singers -- along with their 10 trip chaperones -- has been hard at work since last fall, raising funds for a "once-in-a-lifetime" pilgrimage to the home of the Roman Catholic Church.

It will be the first major undertaking for the choir, which was organized in August 2006 by two high school students who were members of Holy Rosary.

Tiffany Wirtz and Sydney Henderson, along with advisor Patti Spry, started up the choir by calling up about 10 of their friends.

Since then, the choir has tripled in size.

"We started out with about 10 girls, and now we have 30 members -- about half boys, half girls," Wirtz said. All of the members are high school age, she added.

The group meets for practice every Wednesday, and some of them even come in early, to relax, study and socialize before the start of rehearsal.

One of the ways that the group was initially able to entice new members, according to Brittney Burnside, was by bringing in "lots and lots of food."

"For the first five or six meetings, they always brought a lot of food," she said. "Now, we bring in our own food and share with everyone."

In preparation for their upcoming trip, which will take place from May 28-June 4, the group has also been having theology lessons with Father Jerry Rogers, pastor of Holy Rosary, before every rehearsal.

"It started a couple of months ago, to get the youth more involved," Burnside said. "And it did, because we have a lot more members now."

During their trip, the choir members will be touring the Vatican City, Vatican Museum, Coliseum, Roman Forum, Circus Maximus and more. Two day excursions are also planned to the city of Assisi and the monastery of Monte Cassino.

"We're going to learn a lot about the history of our church," Wirtz said.

But another big part of the trip, Burnside noted, will be an opportunity for the group to perform at a variety of different churches in and around Rome.

"We've learned a lot of different music," she said, immediately professing her gratitude to the group's choir director, Mrs. Champa. "She's amazing."

"We all just love her," Burnside continued.

She also noted how much she looks forward to the group's Wednesday rehearsals, as well as the opportunity to just relax and visit with members beforehand.

"It just takes us away from everything else," she said.

"And we know we're safe here," Wirtz added.

Rob Richards, another member of the choir who was "recruited" into the group by friends, said he feels the trip to Rome is a "once in a lifetime opportunity, and I just can't pass it by."

"Not everyone gets to go to Rome at this age," he added.

"And to do it with your friends makes it that much more fun," Burnside added.

"It's a great way to end the school year ," Richards said (the group leaves two days after the school year ends for all Detroit Lakes schools).

In addition to Saturday's "shopping day," the group has been doing a series of fund-raisers, including a raffle drawing for a homemade quilt.

Tickets for the quilt raffle will be sold at Saturday's event. In addition, there will be vendors from Tastefully Simple, At Home America, Cookie Lee Jewelry, Creative Memories, Mary Kay Cosmetics, Party Lite Candles, Stanley/Fuller Home Products, Watkins/Cakes by Renee, and more.

Nail technician Char Tolbert will be giving manicures, and Grandma's Closet from First Lutheran Church will be bringing in a selection of prom dresses.

In addition, there will be a selection of food including pizza slices, shamrock shakes and "taco in a bag."

For more information, call the Holy Rosary parish office at 847-1393.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454