Portuguese priest DJs his way through coronavirus crisis
Send a link to a friend
[April 07, 2020]
By Catarina Demony
LISBON (Reuters) - Parish priest by day, DJ
by night: Guilherme Peixoto is not your typical cleric.
In fact, music is so important to him that last year, during a trip to
the Vatican, he asked Pope Francis to bless his headphones.
So when the coronavirus hit his tiny northern Portuguese town, he knew
exactly how to help the faithful ward off isolation blues.
Every Friday and Sunday night, 45-year-old Peixoto swaps his vestments
for a T-shirt, turns up the volume and presses play on Facebook to
livestream some of his favourite tunes.
"Right now it's so important to use social media to bring a bit of joy
into people's lives," Peixoto told Reuters. "And people seem happy when
they see a priest playing music online."
A lot of effort goes into Peixoto's livestream events. There are strobe
and fairy lights, a turntable, mixers, a microphone and sparkling,
"Thank you priest for the great music," said a viewer last Friday.
"Thank you for lifting our spirits," another wrote online.
Peixoto also shares awareness videos to encourage people to stay indoors
and healthy, and celebrates online masses, including funerals.
"Although churches are closed, I want to let people know there are many
ways to pray."
The online events attract thousands of people, old and young, stuck at
home due to the coronavirus, which has infected more than 11,000 people
and led to over 300 deaths in Portugal so far.
[to top of second column]
Roman Catholic Priest Guilherme Peixoto conducts a Facebook Live
transmission inside a church at Laundos, a civil parish in Povoa do
Varzim, northern Portugal March 29, 2020 in this screen grab
obtained from a social media video. Guilherme Peixoto/via REUTERS
Portugal is in its third week of a nationwide state of emergency,
which has restricted people's movements and closed churches, schools
and other non-essential services. [nL8N2BQ6WQ]
Once the outbreak ends and life returns to normal, Peixoto will be
able to DJ in person for his community again, as he has done for
over a decade in the warm summer months.
"People are often the ones challenging me to continue to innovate,"
said Peixoto, explaining that he took a DJ course a few years ago to
improve his skills.
Peixoto may be the only priest using Facebook to DJ, but other
members of the clergy have turned to social media to stay connected,
celebrate mass and engage with the young.
"Priests are now starting to understand the importance of these
channels," Peixoto said. "This (pandemic) could revolutionise the
church - it absolutely could."
(Reporting by Catarina Demony, Editing by Victoria Waldersee and
[© 2020 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2020 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Thompson Reuters is solely responsible for this content.