The Dubuque Wahlert High School choir has returned home following a once-in-a-lifetime experience, singing in front of Pope Francis at The Vatican.

The 60 choir members, along with 35 adults made the trip to Rome last Monday. The group from Wahlert--a Catholic school in Dubuque--was among 300 American singers performing at The Vatican during the closing Mass of the pope’s Jubilee Year of Mercy. They were the only American students asked to participate, Zoe Houlihan, director of communications at Wahlert, told the Des Moines Register.

“When we got word of this in the spring, that this was a possibility,” Wahlert Principal Ronald Meyers said. “It was one of those things that we couldn't turn down ... It was quite an expense that we had to put on the shoulders of the young people, but they went out and did some fundraising.”

20 members of Sioux City's Cathedral of the Epiphany Choir also performed at the ceremony.