Deejay priest gets them rocking for Jesus on Italian beach

"Jesus Is Number One!" shouts deejay priest Don Roberto Fiscer as he lines up the latest number by Lady Gaga for parishioners gathered at a beach resort in northwestern Italy.

In Fiscer's unique way of spreading the gospels, he proclaims over throbbing disco music: "I have a message for you that comes straight from heaven: without Jesus there is no future, without Jesus we have no love, no joy."

Fiscer's flock, ranging in age from seven to 77, go wild in appreciation.

On this summer evening, Fiscer, 33, sports a lemon yellow T-shirt emblazoned with an image of the Virgin Mary and child and the words: "You are my river of love."

In seventh heaven himself, the priest rewards his admirers with the latest hit by Italian singer Jovanotti, "Baciami Ancora" ("Kiss Me Again"), Dorothy Norwood's "Shake the Devil Off" or Britney Spears' "123".

"I alternate the classics that you hear in nightclubs with remixed religious music," Don Roberto told AFP.

"Music is what young people like the most. Through music, Jesus reaches their hearts," said the priest, who was a cruise ship entertainer before going to seminary at age 23.

The event, held each Wednesday at Arenzano's San Pietro resort since mid-June, has a solid following.

"Some people here in Arenzano find it bizarre, even a bit surprising, but it's really a great thing because these evenings bring together children, parents, families - and that's what's most important," said Patrizia Rossi, who turned up in a multi-coloured dress with her son Filippo in tow.

"He's great, he's a super person who's a lot of fun," said Filippo, around 10.

- 'Always on holiday with Jesus' -

------------------

"Believing in God doesn't mean you have to be sad," said Don Roberto, who says his mission is to "find young sheep who have lost their way by meeting them on their own ground."

Friends who work in area holiday camps help Don Roberto by organising line dances such as the 1995 craze "La Macarena" for the dozens of revellers, making the event seem at times more like a gym class.

Alcoholic drinks are available at a nearby bar, but the participants tend to prefer sodas and ice cream.

"If you knew how much the Virgin Mary loved you, you would weep with joy," Don Roberto shouts, readjusting his headphones.

Don Roberto got the go-ahead for the weekly shindig from Angelo Bagnasco, the influential archbishop of Genoa who also heads the Italian Catholic Church. "He trusts me," Don Roberto said.

While dancing and music dominate the unusual event, religion is never far off. "Remember, Father Jan is available for confession over there behind the sun umbrellas," Don Roberto says between two numbers.

Father Jan, a Polish priest, doles out absolution to those who approach him on the beach chairs.

Back at the dance floor, Don Roberto regales them: "With Jesus, you're always on holiday."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Guru Careers: Events Coordinator / Junior Events Planner

    £24K + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Events Coordinator ...

    Royal Yachting Association Cymru Wales: Chief Executive Officer

    Salary 42,000: Royal Yachting Association Cymru Wales: The CEO is responsible ...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

    £35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

    Ashdown Group: Technical IT Manager - North London - Growing business

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...

    Day In a Page

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
    Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

    Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

    Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
    Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

    Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

    Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
    Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

    Join the tequila gold rush

    The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
    12 best statement wallpapers

    12 best statement wallpapers

    Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
    Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

    Paul Scholes column

    Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?
    Season's finale brings the end of an era for top coaches and players across the continent

    The end of an era across the continent

    It's time to say farewell to Klopp, Clement, Casillas and Xavi this weekend as they move on to pastures new, reports Pete Jenson
    Bin Laden documents released: Papers reveal his obsession with attacking the US and how his failure to keep up with modern jihad led to Isis

    'Focus on killing American people'

    Released Bin Laden documents reveal obsession with attacking United States
    Life hacks: The innovations of volunteers and medical workers are helping Medécins Sans Frontières save people around the world

    Medécins Sans Frontières's life hacks

    The innovations of volunteers and medical workers around the world are helping the charity save people
    Ireland's same-sex marriage vote: As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?

    Same-sex marriage

    As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?
    The underworld is going freelance: Why The Godfather's Mafia model is no longer viable

    The Mafia is going freelance

    Why the underworld model depicted in The Godfather is no longer viable