Like a ton of other houses of worship on Wednesday, St. Patrick Catholic Church in Miami Beach held a Christmas Day service.
And like most congregations, St. Patrick’s offered those assembled in the sanctuary some special music to celebrate one of the holiest days on the church calendar.
But it’s safe to say few, if any, had Andrea Bocelli singing during communion.
And while his performance was a huge surprise, that wasn’t the half of it. Parishioners caught a glimpse of the internationally renowned Italian tenor arriving at St. Patrick at 3 p.m., and he didn’t wait “backstage” — he sat in a pew and took part in the service, which was said in Italian.
“Just seeing him sitting in the front of the church was inspiring to me,” fellow parishioner Hank Courtney told WSVN-TV in Miami. “The fact that he’s coming to church and being a part of religion, I was impressed by that first.”
“I’m Christian,” Bocelli said in regard to his presence at mass, “so for me it’s the most important day of the year.”
Then Bocelli, who is blind, was guided to the pulpit and launched into his rendition of “Adeste Fideles” (“O Come All Ye Faithful”), WSVN noted, taking the service to an uncommonly emotional level.
Bocelli also sang “Silent Night” in English.
“It’s amazing,” Margarita Courtney told WSVN. “It’s truly a gift of Christmas.”
“When he sang, I was totally touched,” Hank Courtney added.
Said Bocelli: “For Christmas, I want absolutely to have a mass, and for this occasion, if they ask me to sing, I sing, I’m happy about it.”
Bocelli made an unannounced appearance at St. Patrick last Easter as well, singing at a service.
Here’s the report from WSVN, which also includes some of the singing:
And if you noticed all the people taking videos of the performance on their mobile devices…
…so did we. And we’ve chosen to include a couple of the videos posted to YouTube: