updated 7/31/2009 9:37:32 AM ET 2009-07-31T13:37:32

Pope Benedict XVI will release an album on which he sings and recites prayers to the Virgin Mary, his label said Friday.

The pontiff's as-yet-untitled album also includes eight original pieces of contemporary classical music, Geffen/Universal said.

The pope is accompanied by the Choir of the Philharmonic Academy of Rome, recorded in St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. The original compositions are performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, recorded at London's Abbey Road studios.

The album was not a Vatican initiative but was arranged with Multimedia San Paolo, an Italian Catholic media group. Proceeds will go to fund music education for underprivileged children around the world.

The album is due for release on Nov. 30.

Benedict is not the first pope to have his creative efforts captured on record. Last year tenor Placido Domingo recorded an album of poems by the late Pope John Paul II.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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