Father Guilherme Peixoto, a village priest in northern Portugal, is redefining the boundaries of traditional ministry through his unique blend of faith and electronic music. As a 49-year-old Catholic priest managing two parishes, Peixoto has found an innovative way to connect with the younger generation by moonlighting as an international DJ. His journey into the world of electronic music began nearly two decades ago as a novel fundraising method for local churches and has since become integral to his ministry in a continent experiencing a rapid decline in religious practice among youth.
Peixoto’s passion for music was ignited at a young age, but it wasn’t until college that he started learning the guitar. His involvement in music escalated in 2018 when he formed the Beatles tribute band, the Beagles, and later joined another, the Mentles. However, his current project, Jabroni, formed in late 2021, extends beyond Beatles covers to a broader range of music genres, emphasizing inclusivity and variety in their performances.
At World Youth Day 2023 in Lisbon, Peixoto gained international attention when he was invited to energize pilgrims early in the morning before Pope Francis’ Mass. His DJ set, a blend of electronic beats and papal speeches, was a hit among the 1.5 million attendees. This event showcased Peixoto’s ability to infuse spirituality into modern music, making religion more accessible to the youth.
Back in his village of Laúndos, Peixoto’s dual life as a priest and DJ is widely accepted and celebrated. His parish club, Ar de Rock, serves as a testament to this unique blend of faith and fun. Initially started as a way to alleviate the parish’s financial woes through karaoke fundraisers and rock sets, the club has evolved into a popular local venue where Peixoto showcases his DJ skills.
The success of Ar de Rock, where proceeds support the church, is driven by Peixoto’s commitment to using music as a tool for evangelization. He believes in reaching out to those who might never step inside a church and introducing them to Christian messages through his music. His approach aligns with Pope Francis’ call for clergy to seek out “the lost sheep,” prompting Peixoto to refine his DJ skills to engage with a wider audience.
Peixoto’s ability to juggle his responsibilities as a priest with his passion for music is remarkable. After performing at a Halloween festival in Italy, he immediately returned to his parish duties, emphasizing his dedication to his community. This balance between his role as a spiritual leader and an innovative DJ illustrates his belief that the world is receptive to Jesus’ message if communicated in a language they understand.
Peixoto’s story is not just about a priest who DJs; it’s about breaking barriers, connecting generations, and spreading joy and faith through music.