• Local blind boy with autism to sing for the pope

    Updated:

    MANCHESTER, NH (MyFoxBoston.com/AP) -- A 13-year-old blind boy with autism who sang the national anthem at Fenway Park last month is getting ready to sing for the pope.

    Christopher Duffley, of Manchester, New Hampshire, is preparing for his moment in the spotlight when he sings in the opening ceremonies this weekend for Pope Francis' address to hundreds of thousands of people in Philadelphia.

    "It's an honor to be there," he told FOX25.

    Duffley, who was born blind and autistic, was chosen as one of 13 musical acts from across the country that will perform on a stage at the World Festival of Families Saturday, just a few hours before the pope addresses the crowds. Duffley, who will be accompanied by his older sister Grace, will have his performance broadcast on 40 jumbotrons to nearly 1 million people.

    "It's a lifetime opportunity, and for him to say, I was part of history, that's a blessing," Christopher's mother, Christine, said.

    The Duffley family will leave Friday morning and Christopher has been practicing all week, in part because he will sing one of his songs in five different languages.

    "Music is a universal language, and for us it's a language of love," Christine told FOX25.

    At Fenway last month, he paused before starting the anthem when the microphone didn't appear to be working. The crowd gave him encouragement and a loud ovation - as did the players from both dugouts - as he waved before starting. When it was over, the ovation was even longer.

    Duffley began singing before he could even talk, and now travels the country singing and speaking about his disabilities. He told FOX25 he has performed at Fenway Park two other times before his August performance, so he wasn't nervous.

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