Why Tom Brady and Garth Brooks will be at the Vatican this weekend

Brooks Francis Brady Singer-songwriter Garth Brooks (left), former NFL quarterback Tom Brady (right), and other celebrity guests will meet Pope Francis in an audience at Apostolic Palace on May 11, 2024, as participants in the Vatican’s World Meeting on Human Fraternity. | Credit: SUZANNE CORDEIRO/AFP via Getty Images; Daniel Ibañez/CNA; TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images

Garth Brooks may have friends in low places, but this Saturday he will perform at a high-level Vatican event with Nobel Peace Prize winners, business leaders, and professional athletes, including former NFL quarterback Tom Brady.

Brady, Brooks, and other celebrity guests will meet Pope Francis in an audience at the Apostolic Palace on the morning of May 11 as participants in the Vatican’s World Meeting on Human Fraternity.

It will be the second time that the longtime quarterback for the New England Patriots has met a pope. Brady met John Paul II in 2004 after winning the Super Bowl.

Brady will speak at a Vatican roundtable on sports titled “Competing in Mutual Esteem” on Saturday at 4 p.m. at the Italian National Olympic Committee’s Hall of Honor. 

It is one of 12 roundtables organized throughout Rome at the second annual World Meeting on Human Fraternity — called #BeHuman — on topics ranging from education to peace-building, with economist Jeffrey Sachs and New York Mayor Eric Adams among its speakers.

On Saturday night, Brooks will sing some of his country hits in St. Peter’s Square starting at 9:30 p.m. as the culminating concert of the two-day human fraternity event organized by the Fratelli Tutti Foundation.

When asked why Brooks was chosen to perform at the Vatican, Father Francesco Occhetta, the secretary general for the Fratelli Tutti Foundation organizing the event, told CNA that the foundation has built relationships in the United States, adding: “We did not have a lot of time to invite more artists.”

Last year, Grammy winner Andrea Bocelli performed at the World Meeting on Human Fraternity during which Pope Francis signed a document drafted by a dozen Nobel Peace Prize winners together with representatives of former Nobel Prize-winning organizations calling for a commitment to human fraternity.

Nobel Prize winners will return to the Vatican this year for a roundtable on peace on Friday, May 10. Cardinal Pietro Parolin will give the opening speech for the roundtable, which will include Russian journalist Dmitrji Muratov, American human rights activist Jody Williams, Yemeni activist Tawakkol Karman, Filipino journalist Maria Ressa, Liberian pacifist Leymah Gbowee, Guatemalan activist Rigoberta Menchù Tum, and Bangladeshi economist and banker Muhammad Yunus.

Other participants in the peace roundtable include the former prime minister of Niger, Ibrahim Mayaki, and Graça Machel Mandela, the widow of the late Nelson Mandela.

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