Monday 22 January 2018

Jennifer Hudson and Aretha Franklin to sing for Pope during his star-studded US visit

Jennifer Hudson is one of the stars to appear in Empire
Jennifer Hudson is one of the stars to appear in Empire

Sasha Brady

Jennifer Hudson, Aretha Franklin, Andrea Bocelli and Mark Wahlberg are among the stars who will welcome Pope Francis during his first trip to the United States

Pope Francis is visiting New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, during his first trip to the United States from September 22 to September 27.

The Archdiocese of New York announced performers for an afternoon concert at Madison Square Garden on September 25, before Pope Francis celebrates Mass there in the evening.

Jennifer Hudson and Gloria Estefan are scheduled to appear, along with Harry Connick Jr, Norm Lewis and Martin Sheen. The programme was being called A Journey in Faith; those attending can attend Confession and there's expected to be prayers throughout the ceremony.

Read more: Pope warns refugee crisis is 'tip of the iceberg'

The Mass will cap a full day for the Pope, who will also visit the United Nations in Manhattan, the September 11 Memorial and Museum, Central Park and Our Lady Queen of Angels School in East Harlem that day.

In Philadelphia, organisers announced on Monday that singer Aretha Franklin would be among those performing for him during an outdoor festival on the second-last night of his U.S. tour.

Soul legend Franklin, is part of the lineup for the September 26 Festival of Families, the closing ceremony for the triennial World Meeting of Families conference.

Read more: Pope calls on every Catholic parish in Europe to take in one refugee family

They also announced that actor Mark Wahlberg will host and comedian Jim Gaffigan will perform. The Ted 2 actor has credited his Catholic faith and a parish priest for his success after a rough upbringing in Boston.

The Fray, Sister Sledge, Bocelli, Juanes and The Philadelphia Orchestra were also on the list. The next day Francis will celebrate Mass before an expected crowd of more than one million people.

No celebrity performances have been announced for Washington.

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