I believe the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia represents an excellent opportunity to reaffirm a crucial concept for humanity: the role of family, which is the main and irreplaceable building block of society.
The presence of Pope Francis in the U.S. emphasizes the fundamental importance of this subject and the message that this encounter of high spiritual value embodies. For the U.S., a great country that I deeply love and consider as my second home, this is a beautiful, precious occasion—being able to welcome and embrace this giant, a man of God, and a provident source of hope for the whole world.
I am sure that the excitement will be powerful and will leave a mark on all the people who will be lucky to meet him, listen to him and share moments of reflection and prayer during his visit.
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.
Good doesn’t need words—actually Good is the enemy of words. Pope Francis is indeed a man of few, essential words; he is rather a man of facts, and he proves it once again with his pastoral visit and his attendance at the Philadelphia meeting.
I warmly embrace and totally approve this strong desire to emphasize the importance of family as an institution and the values that it represents. Family is the cradle of love, a privileged place where we find harmony, which is synonym of beauty. It’s also a place of mutual respect.
It’s a dimension where we have the opportunity to learn and teach, with each and every action, to choose the best option for the sake of the Good. And we try to do so by following the Christian values that our parents taught us and that we must pass on to our children.
The value and the sense of family is something that each of us has experienced if we are lucky enough to have one. Those who think they can do without it, destroying it willingly, have evidently put their ego before God and have lost the memory of the great gift they were given as children: a treasure of unconditional and unselfish love.
We therefore need to stand up for the value of family with the pure heart of a child. This is something that I am trying to do to the best of my abilities, both personally and through all the ongoing Andrea Bocelli Foundation projects.
Having the chance to sing again in front of the Holy Father, for whom I have deep and sincere devotion, offering my humble contribution as a fervent Catholic, is a great honor for me. St. Augustine notoriously reminds us that singing is an extraordinary form of prayer. And this is my goal, my purpose and my joy: to pray together.
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