Friar Alessandro in town

Friar Alessandro who will be in St Columba's Church, Long Tower, today. (1903MM30)
Friar Alessandro who will be in St Columba's Church, Long Tower, today. (1903MM30)

Internationally acclaimed singing monk, Friar Alessandro, will be in the city today to launch the programme of events to celebrate the 1450th anniversary of St Columba’s departure from Derry.

Friar Alessandro, a member of the Franciscan order, shot to international fame last year with the release of his first album, ‘Voice from Assisi’.

He will visit St Columba’s Church, Long Tower, this afternoon to launch the events planned for later this year to mark the 1450th anniversary of the departure of the city’s patron saint, St Columba, to Iona.

The Franciscan singing star will launch the programme alongside Monsignor Eamon Martin, the co-adjutor Archbishop of Armagh and outgoing Diocesan Administrator of the Diocese of Derry, at Long Tower, the site of St Columb’s first monastery in the city.

Friar Alessandro was the first religious brother to secure a record deal with a major label when he signed to Universal Records.

‘Voice From Assisi’ was released in October 2012 and became popular throughout the world with its recordings of some of the most famous pieces of sacred music, including ‘Panis Angelicus,’ and ‘Ave Maria.’

The album was recorded at the famous Abbey Road studios in London, where some of the world’s most famous artists, most notably The Beatles, have recorded.

Due to his vow of poverty as a Franciscan, Friar Alessandro does not profit from sales of the album. Instead all profits go to the Order of Friars Minor to assist Franciscan charity activities worldwide. Friar Alessandro and Monsignor Martin will jointly launch the programme of Columban anniversary events at Long Tower Church today.