Tony Melendez to Perform a Night of Extraordinary Music

Monday, March 5, 2012

PHILADELPHIA (March 5, 2012) — Musician Tony Melendez will give a free concert, sponsored by Campus Ministry, in the Chapel of St. Joseph-Michael J. Smith, S.J., Memorial, Wednesday, March 14, at 7 p.m. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. Melendez is both a singer and an accomplished guitar player — but part of his remarkable talent is that he plays with his feet.

Melendez was a child of thalidomide, a drug routinely given to mothers-to-be in the late 50s and early 60s to suppress morning sickness, but that was later found to cause birth defects. As a result of his mother being prescribed the drug, Melendez was born without arms.

Rather than grow up helpless or hopeless, Melendez embraced the unique beauty and challenges of his life with courage and conviction. After a 1987 performance, Blessed Pope John Paul II was so moved he gave Melendez a kiss and charged him with a mission: to continue spreading his message of courage and hope.

Melendez’s papal performance skyrocketed him into the public eye. Since then, he has performed in more than 40 countries worldwide, has made countless television appearances and has won numerous awards and honors, including a special commendation from former President Reagan and a commendation from the state of California. He was also the first-ever recipient of the annual Inspirational Hero Award from the NFL Alumni Association, which he was granted at Super Bowl XXIII in Miami.

“Tony Melendez is a man of great faith who has overcome all odds and has turned his greatest handicap into his greatest strength,” says Brendan Lally, S.J., a leader of SJU’s Campus Ministry. Fr. Lally encourages all members of the SJU community to attend the performance.

“Melendez’s life and message inspire all who meet him to have hope and confidence, and he does it all with great joy, humor and song. His message has relevance for each of us, regardless of what our individual challenges may be. Concertgoers will leave his performance inspired and with a new appreciation for the gifts they have been given. Blessed Pope John Paul II told Tony to go out and inspire the world with his message of hope,” he says. “He has clearly done so.”

To attend the performance, please register on the Campus Ministry webpage. For more information, contact Fr. Lally at 610-660-1038 or

Media Contact

Office of University Communications, 610-660-1222,

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