La Madeleine church to hold monthly mass for Hallyday

The church of La Madeleine in Paris has announced that it will hold a monthly mass in honour of the late Johnny Hallyday, in response to “demand”.

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Hallyday, one of France’s most popular entertainers, died of lung cancer aged 74 on December 5.

The church of La Madeleine, in the Place of the same name, was one of the sites of the late singer’s "hommage populaire" memorial on December 9 2017.

The event - which was attended by over 800,000 fans - also included a funeral procession through the streets of Paris, a group of 700 Harley-Davidson bike riders, and a light projection onto the Eiffel Tower.

The singer was then buried on the Caribbean island of Saint-Barthelemy, surrounded by family and select friends and associates.

Now, there have been so many fans coming to pay homage to the singer - including to light candles and write in the condolences book - that the parish priest, Father Bruno Horaist, has decided to hold a regular mass service in remembrance of Hallyday.

The first mass took place this week, on January 9, and the next scheduled event will be on March 9. After this, Horaist is aiming to make the service a regular event, ideally on the 9th day of each month.

The service is expected to include several readings, including one of the prayers that was said during Hallyday’s original memorial. The singer’s name will also be mentioned during some readings, while the organist is also expected to play some of the singer's most-loved tunes.

“Apart from this, it will remain as a traditional mass,” explained Horaist, in his announcement to the religious title La Croix.

Even though Horaist admits to not being a big fan of Hallyday’s music himself, he said the idea of the service is to give fans a place to express their grief and remember the singer in their own way, and also offer an alternative for those who were upset that they were not able to attend the original service.

“We are already on the fifth golden [condolences] book in the church,” he said. “I see that people have a desire to express themselves [on Hallyday’s death], which is driving these affectionate testimonials.”

Responding to some criticism of the idea, Horaist clarified that the service would be “a decent homage”.

“I am not going to put a photo of Johnny next to a picture of Jean-Paul II or Mother Theresa,” he said.

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