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January 4, 2013

Holy See sends blessings from the Holy Father

St. John choir members honored for service

PLATTSBURGH — Robert Munn and Theresa Hammett recently received individual papal blessings as longtime choir members of the Church of St. John the Baptist in Plattsburgh.

Munn has been singing with the choir 50 years, and Hammett for 70.

Prior to joining St. John’s, Munn sang with the Plattsburgh Airbase choir.

“I started as a child, as a ... soprano, in Saranac Lake at St. Bernard’s,” said Munn, who lives in Plattsburgh.

“After that, I went to college and sang in the choir and sang in the glee club at Dartmouth.”

When his voice changed, he became a tenor.

The papal blessing includes a photograph of Pope Benedict XVI.

“It was just given as recognition for the work we’ve done,” Munn said. “They’re recognizing our durability. We’ve been there all those years, and we’re still there despite our age.”

Hammett, a soprano, began singing at age 14 at St. John’s Academy.

“We had Sister Mary Theodore, whom I give a great deal of credit to,” said Hammett, who also lives in the city.

“She was the music teacher at St. John’s school. She’s the one who started me signing. She had me singing in church. From that point on, I’ve been singing in the choir ever since. I thank God for the gift he gave me. Sister Theodore was the one who got me started, got me going, and I’ve been there ever since.”

The Rev. Timothy Canaan, pastor of St. John’s, petitioned the Holy See on behalf of Munn and Hammett. 

“I did three papal blessings,” Canaan said. “The third one was for the choir, itself, St. John’s Parish Choir. I had to do that in September. We honored them close to the Feast of St. Cecilia. St. Cecilia is the patron saint of music. 

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