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Melendez's Quest

September 25, 1987

Tony Melendez, the armless young man who plays his guitar with his feet, was told by Pope John Paul: "You are giving hope to all of us. Keep giving hope to people. Keep singing. Keep ministering."

Tony's parish priest, Father Dominic De Pasquale, told The Times: "We don't ever think of Tony as a handicapped person," and described how Tony, in a "very moving" ceremony, once blessed a worshipper by using his toe to trace the sign of the cross on the person's palms.

Tony himself says: "Once around me, people get over the fear of meeting someone with no arms."

The Catholic Church obviously does not agree. According to your story Tony had wanted to be a priest but was turned down because of his handicap. If only the Pope had been told. . . .

LESLEY SALISBURY

Tarzana

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