Luciano Pavarotti, the world renowned tenor was laid to rest in Modena’s cathedral with a grand funeral which paid tribute to the opera legend and gave witness to his return to the Catholic faith.
The diocese had received criticisms that it had gone overboard in honoring a remarried divorcé. But Pavarotti's parish priest, Fr. Remo Sartori, said the twice-married singer had been reconciled with the Catholic faith, reported the Sydney Morning Herald. Pavarotti had received the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick before losing his battle against pancreatic cancer last Thursday, aged 71.
Church leaders and pastors, including Pope Benedict XVI, sent messages conveying their condolences. The Pope’s message expressed his sorrow at the loss of "a great artist who with his extraordinary interpretative talent honored the divine gift of music".
In his tribute, Archbishop Benito Cocchi of Modena recognized Pavarotti as an exceptional talent and as someone who “expressed himself in charity towards those who suffered."
One of the emotional climaxes of the funeral was a 1978 recording of Panis Angelicus (Bread Of Angels), performed by Pavarotti and his father, Fernando.
Another followed a prayer composed by Pavarotti's three eldest daughters from his first marriage, which said: "We thank God for having given Dad the gift of a great voice and we pray that he will allow him to use it in heaven to sing his praise."
Pavarotti's musical talent emerged in a church choir, where he sang with his father, Fernando Pavarotti, who was a baker. His father also had a terrific tenor voice, but stage fright prevented him from developing his talent.