16-year-old Cathal Gavin from Swinford will to sing for Pope Francis at World Youth Day in Panama, which gets underway tomorrow.

Pope Francis is to attend the South American event which is similar to the World Meeting of Families and is held in a different country every three years. In excess of two million young people are expected to attend. An added Mayo connection is that supporting Cathal in his vocals is Soprano Donna Malone, a native of Ballina.

It’s understood that the last Irish person to sing at World Youth Day was Liam Lawton in Toronto in 2002.

The World Youth Day is a week long event for young people organised by the Catholic Church. When it was last held, in 2016, over 3.5 million young people attended the event in Krakow, Poland.

Cathal is a 5th-year student in Scoil Muire agus Padraig in Swinford and he released a CD in 2015 called ‘Voice of an angel’. The CD raised over €24,000 in four months of sales and the proceeds went to the local Alzheimers charity in Foxford.

The CD was compiled by Cathal as a remembrance to his late grand uncle Fr Vincent Kelly who had had alzheimers disease.

Ballina’s Donna Malone is a noted and famed soprano and she has captivated audiences near and far. She toured the world for two years as a guest soprano with the ‘Celtic Tenors’ show. More recently, Donna has returned from a tour of Eastern Europe and parts of Asia as a solo vocalist on Michael Flatley’s ‘Lord of the Dance’ show.

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