Famed Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli was on hand to sing at the World Meeting on Human Fraternity on June 10, 2023. The day brought together a wide range of performers, as well as 29 Nobel Prize recipients, who gathered before the event in order to present a Declaration on Human Fraternity, which was given to Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State.
The prelate signed the declaration on behalf of Pope Francis, who was in the hospital. The declaration will now be the focus of a campaign by the Vatican’s Fratelli Tutti Foundation to get a total of 1 billion signatures.
While Pope Francis had originally intended to be present for the World Meeting on Human Fraternity, he was unable to attend. The Pontiff remained hospitalized, recovering from a recent surgery to fix a hernia. Early this morning, June 16, the Holy Father was released from the hospital.
At the World Meeting on Human Fraternity, Cardinal Mauro Gambetti, president of the Fratelli Tutti Foundation and archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica, stood in for Pope Francis. The prelate read Pope Francis’ statement to the attendees:
“In our world torn apart by violence and war, tweaks and adjustments are not enough,” Pope Francis wrote, “only a great spiritual and social covenant born from the heart and centered on fraternity can restore the sacredness and inviolability of human dignity as the core of relationships.”
The statement went on to note that this goal will not be reached by “theories on fraternity,” but “concrete gestures and shared decisions that make a culture of peace.”
The Pope urged the faithful to “not tire of crying out ‘no to war,’ in the name of God and in the name of every man and woman who aspires for peace.” He also offered suggestions for how to practice fraternity every day:
“… reconciling with family members, friends and neighbors, praying for those who hurt us, recognizing and helping those in need, speaking words of peace at school, university or in society, ‘anointing’ with closeness those who feel alone.”
Star of the show
There were a number of musical performances in the program, but the show was stolen by Andrea Bocelli’s flawless performance of the “Canticle of the Sun,” a prayer with lyrics by St. Francis of Assisi from the 13th century. Bocelli dedicated his performance to Pope Francis and his recovery.
The entire event, which was nearly five hours long, was recorded by Vatican News. The recording can be viewed below, and while there are quite a few great performances, interested viewers can find Andre Bocelli’s performance beginning at the 1:42:40 mark.