Why is Andrea Bocelli at the Festival of Families?

Singer Andrea Bocelli performs in Florence, Italy.

Performing for popes must be old hat for Bocelli at this point. This is the second time the Italian tenor has performed for Pope Francis. He had previously sung for both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict, among other international dignitaries.

Born in Tuscany, Bocelli has been blind since the age of 12. He got his big break in 1992 after winning a contest to sing a demo for Luciano Pavarotti. He has since sold over 45 million albums. Bocelli is a devout Catholic, telling the Telegraph that Catholicism has the “first place in my life. I do not think anyone can ever do anything without the help and will of God.” 


On Friday, Bocelli wrote an essay for Time magazine about performing for Francis:

I dearly remember when Pope Francis, at the beginning of his pontificate, greeted with disarming simplicity the devoted crowd from all over the world who was following his election in awe. The emotion we experienced then is the result of the power of kindness, simplicity, intellectual honesty and integrity. That emotion is the joy that holds the mystery of the truth.

I remember well how I was moved to tears as soon as he spoke his first words as pope. That was probably because I immediately recognized in that man a soul devoted to the Good. And the Good, we know, always moves us: There are things that can’t be explained with words, because words can’t explain love.

Bocelli will return to Philadelphia December 12 for a show at the Wells Fargo Center as part of his 2015 North American tour.

Watch: Andrea Bocelli sings "Ava Maria"