Hundreds of Catholics are traveling to Rome to witness former Dallas Bishop Kevin Farrell become a cardinal, one of the most prestigious titles in the Catholic church.
There are several groups leaving over the next couple of days for Saturday's big ceremony. And then in January, a local high school choir will make the journey to sing at a papal mass.
Cardinal-designate Farrell may be in Rome but is getting a big showing of Texas love. While students at Bishop Lynch High School warmed their vocal cords for the special Vatican performance, another group packed their bags with tickets in hand. Some dropped everything to make the trip.
The cardinal-designate invited 200 people to the special ceremony as he cements his role as the highest serving American at the Vatican. Farrell served the Dallas diocese for nearly a decade, notably standing up for the family of Ebola patient Eric Thomas Duncan and speaking out for immigrant children.
It was no surprise that so many people would drop everything for the next flight to Rome.
“He was shocked,” said Annette Gonzalez Taylor with the Catholic Diocese of Dallas. “He said you are kidding. He was rather stunned.”
“It shows how much we respect and care about him, shows our appreciation for what he's done for Dallas,” said Elsa Espinoza.
The Bishop Lynch group of about 80 students has a few more weeks before their performance for the pope
“The invitation was really unexpected for us,” said Choir Director Kathleen Leos.
“For me personally, it's just a little piece of Dallas is going to be waiting for us in Rome,” said Choir member Alice Maguire.
Those heading to Rome for Farrell's elevation ceremony will be there for about six days.
The group says the only thing Farrell requested for from North Texas was maybe of a jar of salsa, telling former staff member how much he missed Tex-Mex food.