Meet The Cleric Who Is A Priest By Day And A DJ By Night
In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, he is helping the faithful deal with the isolation blues in his tiny northern Portuguese town.
How does he do this? Every Friday and Sunday night, the 45-year-old swaps his vestments for a T-shirt, turns up the volume and presses play on Facebook to live stream 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, colourful decorations.
“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.
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.
Pexioto has plans to return to being a DJ for his community as he has done for over a decade as soon as things return to normal.
“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.
Music is so important to Peixoto that when he visited the Vatican last year, he asked Pope Francis to bless his headphones.
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.”