Priest With a Message That's Wrapped in Rap

September 23, 2014 • Written by Mark McKean for The Millenium

YOUTH 2000s Vigil on New Years Eve at the Metropolitan Cathedral attracted a special guest from America. Franciscan friar, Fr Stan Fortuna, 42, from the Bronx district of New York, arrived in Liverpool for a brief, two-day visit to the city and the Cathedral.

Fr Stan joined the community of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal in 1979 and was ordained as a priest in 1990. His involvement with the Youth 2000 organization goes back six years, when it started in America, when he was invited to join in events co-ordinated by the group.

The appeal of a celebration aimed at youth in the Metropolitan Cathedral was the attraction for Fr Stan to celebrate the Millennium in Liverpool. He said: "I would have preferred to have been home for the Millennium with my fellow brothers. But the fact that it was possible for young people to gather in the cathedral on the Millennium to do something important for the jubilee year was a great attraction to me."

"I have had plenty of experience doing national and international youth events. It is good to see a deep hunger for God in the young people wherever I go." He added: "Many people have a deep need, but they donít know what it is. These people might have a lot of money, but 
they are still miserable."

"Without Christ it is all in vain. But with Christ, it is difficult, but it is possible and itís worth it. The possibilities are endless with Christ, and the peace that comes with them makes it all worthwhile. No material goods can do that."

Music plays a large part in Fr Stanís ministry. He has been involved with music all his life, and for the past 12 years he has focused on rap. He has made two recordings of his music - all of which have Catholic themes such as abortion, sexual morality, and the family. He said: "I like to think that my music can help people. I have heard that some women have found one of my songs on abortion, called Never Been Born, helpful after going through the horror of abortion."

"All the money that is made from my music goes to work with the poor."

A group from the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal are arriving in the Kenning Town area of Londonís east-end in the late spring or early summer to found a community to meet with British vocations into the community.

Fr.  Stan added his first impressions of Liverpool and the Metropolitan Cathedral. He said: "From the outside, the Cathedral looks like a big concrete spaceship. But inside, especially the Crypt, the brickwork and the design is absolutely beautiful. It's a very nice place to pray and worship."