To remix the traditional ways of preaching in the Catholic Church, one priest decided to rap his sermons in order to reach the sanctuary’s young people. While Father Ogalo thought his divine messages would still hit home for the congregation despite rooting its statements in boom-bap, the St. Monica Catholic Church thought otherwise.
According to CNN, the establishment in Kenya temporarily prevented Father Ogalo from preaching because “the use of rap music is not allowed,” states the priest’s boss, Bishop Philip Anyolo. “We have just barred him from preaching using rap music to allow him to change his ways,” Anyolo said. In Father Ogalo’s defense, he believes the use of rap will ultimately bring in more young people who want to dedicate their lives to Jesus Christ.
Also known as Sweet Paul (“They say I rap sweet, I dance sweet”), the 45-year-old clergyman encourages the congregation to dance during the sermons. “Usually, I do this thing separately. Liturgy remains liturgy,” Ogalo said. “And then talks and entertainment remain separate, so that I attract young people to come to church. I use that as bait to bring them to church, and then we catechize them and make them productive citizens of the nation, members of the Catholic Church. That’s my mission.”
According to BBC, Father Ogalo began revamping his sermons when three people were fatally trampled at a concert in Nairobi in 2004. “If young people want entertainment, they can come to church to pray, to play and to entertain themselves,” he said. The Washington Post notes Father Ogalo’s melodies discuss topics like HIV/AIDS, drugs, climate change, and incarceration.