BY FREDDY GRAY
A FORMER East End gangster and an American “rapper priest” have put together an evangelising video for Catholic schoolchildren.
In parishes and schools, young Catholics are being shown the six-part series, entitled “Plugged in Youth caFE”.
The stars of the programme are John Pridmore, a reformed criminal, and Fr Stan Fortuna, a Franciscan friar who doubles as rap artist. The video is shot in a modern “MTV-style” to appeal to young people.
The producers, Catholic Evangelisation Services, say that the programme is designed for confirmation classes, youth groups and schools.
The series is thought to be a great success with youngsters. “Youth caFE has brought us together to discuss Jesus in an understandable way,” said 15-year-old Richie from St Joseph’s in Harrow Weald.
In one section of the show, entitled “Grill the Priest”, teenagers ask clerics testing theological questions such as “Why is Mass so boring?” Mr Pridmore used to work for organised crime rackets across London but know ded icates his time to evangelisation. “I had what I thought was everything,” he says on his website. “Money, power, girls, drugs the lot. But yet there was something missing. This struck me more than ever when I thought I had killed someone. I knew I had to change my life.
“I now work full time for God. No one pays me. I live completely off his providence, telling my story all over the earth.” Fr Stan Fortuna is a Franciscan Friar of the Atonement and lives in South Bronx, New York.
When not helping the poor, he preaches and raps to young people about God and morality.
In one song about the prevalence of sex in the media, Fr Stan rhymes: “The body is the Lord’s, the body is not your own. The media has a bad plan. To drag you down to the zipper zone.”