By Bathlomew Kawina

ROME-It was a rare occasion for Alleluya Band members on Wednesday when they met the head of the Catholic Church Pope Francis at the Vatican City in Rome, Italy.

Seven band members, including Coss Chiwalo, Madalitso Taferakaso, Gertrude Naluso and some dancers, are in Italy to interact with the youth of that country.

On Wednesday, the members were among the estimated 7 000 pilgrims and tourists that gathered in the Paul VI Hall for the Pope’s general audience that takes place every Wednesday.

During the gathering, Father Mario Pacifici, founder of Alleluya Band, handed the Pope a handmade drum.

According to the video clip The Nation has seen, the Pope welcomed Father Mario and exchanged some pleasantries. He then received the drum and blessed it before beating it for a while. Later, the other band members joined and sang a song before shaking hands with him.

Taferakaso, who plays the trumpet, said it was “a wonderful experience” to meet the Pope.

“I was extremely happy to meet and shake hands with him. I feel blessed in my heart. It is something that I never expected in my life,” he added.

Patrick Bwanali, director of Andiamo Youth Cooperative Trust (AYCT) under which Alleluya Band is a subsidiary, said the band members will live to cherish the experience.

“It will be a day they will live to remember. Imagine, Gertrude was saying she never wanted to wash her hands having greeted the Pope,” he said.

In the past, Alleluya Band members have also met Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI.
The band went to Italy on December 30 and they are expected back next month.

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