HOUSTON -- A local church choir was back in Houston Wednesday night after going all the way to Rome, Italy to perform for the pope.

When the St. Anne s Church choir planned their trip, they didn't know Pope Benedict would be in retirement.

The choir had been in the middle of all of the excitement in Rome for the last few days, but they were some of the last ones to hear about the announcement of Pope Francis I because they were on a flight back to Houston.

This wasn t the first time that a planned trip to the Vatican came with unplanned circumstances for this group.

Two times in a row we booked the Sistine Chapel and two times in a row it was closed down, said Delia Cowles.

It s hard that we missed it for a day, but it s great we got the chance to go and we still got to be part of the experience -- which is still a gift in itself, said Michael Alig.

The choir found out about Pope Francis election after their plane landed at Bush International Airport in Houston. They had just been in Vatican City celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Basilica s choir.

Just before the group of 42 left Texas, they learned there was no chance that they would have a pontiff in the audience because of Pope Benedict s resignation.

It was kind of a bummer, said Anne Mccombs.

This is the second time in a decade the group s trip to Vatican City has taken an unexpected twist.

Back in 2005, the choir traveled there to sing in front of Pope John Paul II, but he died just two days before their arrival.

These dedicated Catholics hope if there is a next time, history won t repeat itself a third time.

If they don t like this pope, they can always send us, joked Cowles.

We ought to tell them we re coming so they can make sure the pope is okay, said John Clement. We seem to have the knack of arriving and the pope is changing.

Church members really do believe the third time will be a charm.

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