Religion: The Word & Music

In Assisi one day last June, Don Giovanni Rossi knelt in chapel before the Blessed Sacrament. Outside, a man pounded down the steep, cobbled street loudly singing a popular tune. Don Giovanni's prayer faltered, and he thought ruefully: "If only that fellow were singing of Jesus, my mind wouldn't wander so."

Promptly Don Giovanni drew up a list of popular songwriters and singers, sent them each a letter: "I enclose a copy of the Gospels for you . . . Please find in it somewhere an inspiration for a song."*

Last week 14 brand-new recordings began spinning on Italy's phonographs. Made by such...

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