Mark Wahlberg, Aretha Franklin, The Fray & Jim Gaffigan Turn Out for Pope Francis in Philly

Mark Wahlberg, Aretha Franklin, The Fray & Jim Gaffigan Turn Out for Pope Francis in Philly September 14, 2015

Aretha-Franklin-P

The Queen of Soul is going to sing for the Vicar of Christ.

Today (Sept. 14), ESM Productions announced that legendary singer Aretha Franklin will perform for Pope Francis at the Festival of Families on Sept. 26, one step in the pontiff’s Apostolic Visit to the United States.

Catholic actor Mark Wahlberg is host of the event, along with Catholic comic Jim Gaffigan, star of Comedy Central’s “The Jim Gaffigan Show,” and Grammy-nominated rock band The Fray, which has also released music for the Christian market.

Said Wahlberg, who’s been fairly public about his return to his faith:

As a Catholic, I credit much of my success to my faith. It is an honor to be a part of welcoming Pope Francis to Philadelphia and I am humbled to join this celebration.

Said Fray member Isaac Slade, whose parents were Christian missionaries:

Children have been a part of our band’s story from the beginning,” said Isaac Slade, The Fray. “We all have stories of our own fatherhood and family life and we’re honored to be a part of such a tremendous celebration, of six families from six continents, sharing their own stories with the world.

Also on the performance roster for the show on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway are Catholic opera singer Andrea Bocelli, Latin singing star Juanes, Christian singer-songwriter Marie Miller, Catholic singer-songwriter Matt Maher, pop/R&B singing group Sister Sledge, and The Philadelphia Orchestra, led by Yannick Nezet-Seguin.

Said Scott Mirkin, president of ESM Productions and executive producer of the Festival of Families:

Philadelphia has been given the remarkable gift of being the first American city to host the World Meeting of Families since its inception by Saint John Paul II in 1994. To celebrate the Holy Father’s historic visit to Philadelphia, we have sewn together the best the city has to offer by bringing the world-renowned Philadelphia Orchestra to the beautiful Benjamin Franklin Parkway to accompany some of the best talent from around the world. I am deeply grateful to everyone who has come together to make this extraordinary event come to life. I am certain that, between the millions of faithful who will make the pilgrimage, and the outstanding show that we have built, the city of Philadelphia is prepared to warmly receive Pope Francis.

Francis is making his first papal visit to the U.S. Along with stops in New York, where he will participate in multifaith service at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum and speak to the U.N.; and Washington, D.C., where he will meet with President Obama and address a joint session of Congress.

The World Meeting of Families, which takes places from Sept. 22 to 25 (followed by the papal visit on Sept. 26 and 27), is sponsored by the Holy See’s Pontifical Council for the Family and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. The triennial event is meant to strengthen the sacred bonds of traditional families across the world and emphasize the importance of strong families to society. The official theme is “Love Is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive.”

Image: Wikimedia Commons

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