Opera superstar Andrea Bocelli released a statement about performing at the Festival of Families:
“It is a great honor for me to be in Philadelphia, and have the possibility to sing, once again, in front of the Holy Father, thus giving my humble contribution as a fervent Catholic. St. Augustine reminds us that singing can be an extraordinary form of prayer. This is my goal, my intention: to bring the joy of praying together. Pope Francis is a blessing given to the world. I have for him a sincere, profound devotion. I think this journey represents for the United States a precious opportunity to embrace this giant, a man of God, a gift from Heaven, a point of reference and a providential source of hope for our world. The presence of Pope Francis at the World Meeting of Families (WMOF) in Philadelphia emphasizes the fundamental importance of the subject and of the message that this meeting of high spiritual value embodies, and that is the role of the family, meant as the primary and irreplaceable building block of society.”
Bocelli has performed for Pope Francis previously, as well as Pope John Paul II and Pope Bendict, previously.
Bocelli will join Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin and Colombian rock star Juanes in headlining the Festival of Families on Saturday. Other performers include comedian Jim Gaffigan and Pittsburgh born and raised America's Got Talent alum Jackie Evancho.
In an interview with the Inquirer, Franklin said that she would be performing a duet with Bocelli.