Religion: Mission in the Night

A spectacled little priest with a scraggly, greying beard emerged from a private audience with the Pope and his face lit with a sudden shy smile. "The Holy Father said 'Bravo!' " he recalled incredulously.

The Pope's "Bravo" was no surprise to those who knew where 46-year-old Jesuit Father Pietro Leoni had been saying his Mass for the past ten years.

Encounter in Odessa. Pietro Leoni was born in a small mountain town in "Red Emilia," hotbed of Italian Communism, and was educated for the priesthood at the Vatican's Russian College, training center for Russian priests and missionaries bound for the U.S.S.R.—if...

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