Musically-gifted Tiverton native Nicholas Fleming will be standing in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican for Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve singing with his choir to Pope Benedict XVI. It will be his second Papal Mass and third time singing in the Vatican.
“It’s a truly wonderful experience,” Fleming said in an interview Thursday with Patch over Skype. “It’s an amazing gift to be here and celebrate with the Holy Father. The coming of our Lord is mind-blowing.”
Fleming, 23, and a seminarian studying at The Pontifical North American College in Rome, sings in The People’s Choir. He graduated from the Providence Seminary of Providence College this year and was one of two Rhode Island seminarians chosen by Bishop Thomas Tobin of the Diocese of Providence to study in Rome. Since arriving in the fall, he said he’s sang at the 50th anniversary of a cardinal, which was heard by 13 cardinals at the time, as well as at an ordination of 35 deacons.
“You realize the goodness of the church,” Fleming said about singing in St. Peter’s Basilica. “It encompasses the whole body of Christ.”
Fleming graduated from in 2007 and participated in choir, jazz band, marching band, orchestra, the East Bay Wind Ensemble and also worked with the Peer Helping Network, according to his mother Elaine.
“I’m incredibly excited,” she said during an interview at with Fr. Jay Finelli. She just found out about her son’s opportunity last week.
Finelli will be traveling to Rome on Monday, Dec. 26 to meet with Fleming and perform a mass at the tomb of St. Peter.
Elaine said her son will be returning home for the summer after his second year at the seminary and should be ordained a deacon in Oct. 2014 in St. Peter’s Basilica. He’s slated to be ordained a priest on the fourth Sunday in June 2015 at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Providence.
With the time difference ahead in Rome, the Midnight Mass at the Vatican will be occuring at 4 p.m. on Christmas Eve, eastern time, according to EWTN Television and Catholic TV. Both media outlets will be providing continuous live streaming coverage of the Live Solemn Mass with the Pope.
Follow Fleming's journey on his blog "A Seminarian's Journey" and you can follow at his blog and podcasts.