DAILY CATHOLIC     THURSDAY     August 5, 1999     vol. 10, no. 146

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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Emotional Private Meeting with Pope in Castelgandolfo

          CASTEL GANDOLFO, AUG 3 (ZENIT).- Not only has famous blind Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli conquered the international record market, he has also won John Paul II's affection and admiration. Last Friday, Bocelli performed the official Jubilee hymn for the Holy Father at his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo.

          The Jubilee hymn, composed by Jean-Paul Lécot, responsible for music at the Lourdes Shrine, will be translated and recorded in at least five languages. In addition to the CD version, there will be a video. Persons who accompanied Bocelli said the Pope was very pleased with the tenor's interpretation of the hymn, and expressed his affection by patting his head.

          "There are things one cannot get used to ... a meeting with the Pope is always intensely moving," Andrea Bocelli said after his visit with the Pontiff.

          The singer said their meeting "was in a small chapel in the Castel Gandolfo residence. It was at 7:30 a.m. We left my home at 3 a.m.; I had just returned from Tel Aviv, but I am used to this kind of exhaustion. The Pope, a few nuns, and perhaps a Cardinal were in the chapel; unfortunately, I could not see the colors. I went with Caterina Caselli and my pianist. I was immediately asked to sing during the Pope's Mass. I sang the 'Panis Angelicus' a cappella."

          Although this was a real surprise for those attending Mass, the tenor said simply: "They had something more important to attend. With the Pope celebrating, I was in the background."

          "As we left Mass, we gave him the CD, and he said a few words to me," the tenor explained. Bocelli had already met the Pope on three previous occasions. One of them was the Paris World Youth Day. "Every time, he has given me the same impression; it is as if he lives in another dimension, oriented more toward heaven than earth."

          "In his presence, I always feel a sense of abstraction, as if I was not totally present physically. I do not know how to explain it," Bocelli said, who describes himself as a "believer of conviction" although not very practicing. ZE99080303

Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and International Dossiers, Daily Dispatches and Features at ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

August 5, 1999       volume 10, no. 146


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