ROME — Pope Francis was already well-qualified as a renaissance man, having formerly worked as a bouncer at a Buenos Aires nightclub and a literature professor who was able to persuade Argentina’s most famous surrealist writer, Jorge Luis Borges, to speak to one of his classes.
Now the pontiff has added yet another improbable title to his résumé: Songwriter.
His new song, titled “So we can all be one,” is the product of a collaborative effort between Francis and Italian-Argentinian musician Odino Faccia. Its public debut came March 29, following Palm Sunday Mass in St. Peter’s Square.
Written in Spanish, “Para que todos sean uno” was scored by Faccia at the pontiff’s request, using the pope’s own words, as a hymn for peace.
According to Faccia, his “close and trusting relationship” with Francis began after the canonization ceremony for Popes John Paul II and John XXIII last year, which was the first time the artist performed in St. Peter’s Square.
Faccia told Crux in an e-mail that his bond with the pope comes from his work, since he’s always favored music that promotes peace and values. Faccia, considering how to transmit the pope’s message of peace, composed the song — with Francis’s full support.
After singing the new song on Palm Sunday, Faccia told Crux that Pope Francis reported to him that he “really liked the song.”
“This message is of light and hope,” begins the three-minute song, which describes overcoming darkness and looking ahead, rather than allowing the past to determine one’s life.
“So that all may be one,” goes the chorus, “gone are the walls, only the value of the encounter remains … that is the bridge to peace.”
It’s not the first time Faccia has written a song based on the words of a pope.
He wrote “In search of peace,” based on poems by Saint Pope John Paul II, at the request of the Vatican in 2011.
“I’m the only artist in history who shares penmanship with two popes!” said Faccia, who is also a peace ambassador for UNESCO.
“In search for peace” also turned Faccia into the only singer in the world who can claim to have sung at the same time in honor of four popes. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was present at the canonization of John Paul II and John XXIII, celebrated by Pope Francis, on April 27, 2014.
“So we can all be one,” distributed by Sony music, is currently available only in Spanish, but Faccia said versions are currently being produced in English, Italian, Polish, Arabic, and Portuguese.