As a DJ, village priest in Portugal cues up faith and electronic dance music for global youth

by | Nov 10, 2023 | Religion

LAÚNDOS, Portugal (AP) — Guilherme Peixoto, a village priest in northern Portugal, has been busy this month celebrating Masses at his two parishes, presiding over remembrances for the dead — and preparing the electronic music set for his next international DJ gig.What started nearly two decades ago as a novel way to fundraise for the local churches has become essential to the ministry of this 49-year-old Catholic priest in a rapidly secularizing continent where religious practice is dropping fast — especially among young people.
“With electronic music I can take some message, I can be where young people are,” Peixoto said a few days after returning to Laúndos from playing at a large Halloween festival in Italy. “They can think, ‘If it’s possible for a priest to be DJ, it’s possible for me to like music, and festivals, and be Christian.’”
The priest broke onto the global stage when the organizers of World Youth Day in Lisbon asked him to “wake up the pilgrims” at 7 a.m. before Pope Francis’ open-air Mass in August.
Peixoto, who’s also a military chaplain, had been preparing for the sets he would play with the Portuguese Army’s symphony band in late October, but he put everything aside and started prepping for the huge event only a few weeks away.
On that Sunday morning, in his clerical collar and large black headphones among a crowd of white-robed bishops and before an estimated 1.5 million faithful, Peixoto swa …

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