World-renowned tenor Andrea Bocelli will perform for Pope Francis at the World Meeting of Families in Croke Park later this month, it was announced this evening.
the Italian superstar will join other acts including Nathan Carter, Daniel O'Donnell and the Riverdance Troupe at the much-anticipated event on August 25.
The WMOF2018 will see families from 116 countries attend a series of events that begin on August 21 and culminates with the Pope's visit to Ireland on August 25 and 26.
Bocelli (59) said that it is an "hour and privilege" to perform at the event.
He said: "Singing before Pope Francis is a privilege for our soul; it is an honour for what the Supreme Pontiff represents in the world.
"For the indescribable human fragility, typical of the average man such as myself, it brings me great pleasure and immense satisfaction to even have the privilege to be close to a person of such exceptional importance and grace.
"It is a joy to be able to offer my most modest contribution on the occasion of this grand meeting and moment of reflection about the family.
"The family remains the strongest building block of society, a cluster of affection, and a privileged space in which one can teach and learn – in every action - how to choose a life that leads toward the greater good."
Bocelli has met Pope Francis several times and has performed for him more than once, including at the 2015 WMOF2015 n Philadelphia.
He has been vocal about the importance of his Catholic faith to him.
Father Timothy Bartlett, Secretary General of WMOF2018, said in a statement this evening that he is over the moon to have Bocelli play at the event.
He said: "We are delighted to announce that Andrea Bocelli will be with us for our celebration of family life in the presence of Pope Francis.
"He will bring so much to our gathering not just because of his wonderful talent but because of his love for his faith.
"We are honoured that he has taken time out of an intensely busy schedule to come to Ireland to be part of our global celebration of family life."
GARDAI have warned of a doomsday scenario where those flocking to Knock for the pope’s visit may be forced to walk as much as 12km unless they forgo their cars and take the bus instead.
"Over the weekend I was reading an article that asked readers where they were in 1979 when Pope John Paul visited Ireland. I do remember - I was 13. I went to a Christian Brother's School. I went to Mass in Wexford every Sunday. I went to a Catholic youth group. Everything I did revolved around the church at that time.