Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Padre Jony: Peace, Jesus and Rock 'n Roll

As I was dreaming last night about doing this blog piece, realizing that there was nothing in English about this young Spanish priest who plays rock guitar and speaks out for peace and justice, I started imagining a concert with him and Peruvian Padre Chiqui -- the little bald older Jesuit and the tall younger priest with his long flowing hair, both curas rockeros -- followed, of course, by a concelebrated Mass! Maybe it will happen some day... In the meantime, here is an introduction to someone who is known in Europe and Latin America, but not so much in the U.S. -- another priest readers of this blog should get to know.

Padre Jony was born Joan Enric Reverté on November 23, 1967 in Amposta (Tarragona, Spain). From his youth he showed a talent for music and began to play the guitar at age 8. He shared his interest in rock music with his friends and bought his first electric guitar with his savings.

Called to the priesthood, Padre Jony entered the Tortosa Seminary where he pursued his theological and philosophical studies. He also studied Gregorian chant. He founded his first band, Seminari Boys. After seminary, he did additional music studies in solfeggio, piano, singing, conducting, and electric guitar.

Padre Jony was ordained to the priesthood on October 11, 1992 in Amposta. He started his ministry as a coadjutor in the parishes of Morella, Villores, Ortells and Palanques (Castellón). In Morella, he started a guitar school where he gave classes to more than 80 students. That is where the young people baptized him "Padre Jony" which became his stage name.

In 1995, Padre Jony was named coadjutor of the parish of Roquetes (Tarragona). Later, in 1997, he was named rector of three parishes in Masroig, Molar and Lloar (Tarragona) and was also named to the Council of Priests of his diocese. In 2006, he became coadjutor of Asunción de la Virgen parish in Vinaròs (Castellón) and coordinator of youth ministry in that city. He is currently pastor of San Pedro Apóstol parish in Les Cases d’Alcanar (Tarragona).

In addition to his pastoral duties, Padre Jony has given classes in various schools and institutes. He has been a missionary for the Tortosa diocese, traveling in that capacity to Honduras and Equatorial Guinea. There he expanded his spiritual and musical experience through contact with other cultures, viewing music as a universal means of communication.

In 1999, Padre Jony founded the rock group Properly, with whom he has performed over 40 concerts. In June 2005, his first CD, "Provocando la paz” ("Inciting Peace"), came out. He went on a tour that took him through Spain as well as to other European and Central American countries.

At the same time, he created the “Provocando la Paz” Foundation which aims to promote peace and solidarity through various kinds of action: financing solidarity projects (Guatemala, Sierra Leone), raising awareness about important issues (foreign debt, environmental contamination, child slavery...), pushing social commitment to more justice for the least fortunate.

As a result of this work, Padre Jony has received several awards. In March 2006, he received the Amposta prize for both his music and his solidarity work, and in June of that same year he received the “Quin parell d’ous” award, along with Marc Coma (winner of the Rally Dakar) from the Sant Guim de Freixenet (Lleida) town council.

In December 2007, his second CD "El Buscador" ("The Seeker") came out. In 2008, Padre Jony wrote a children's book, “La maravillosa historia de la estrella de Navidad” ("The Marvellous Story of the Christmas Star" -- Verbo Divino, 2008) and in 2009 his autobiographical “Notas de un cura rockero” ("Notes of a Rock and Roll Priest" -- Espasa, 2009) was published. Proceeds from the sales of the CDs and books go to Padre Jony's foundation. The CDs can be purchased in MP3 format from the FeelNoise online store.

Padre Jony has toured in many countries including Italy, France, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Colombia, and Venezuela.


Articles and Web Sites

Video Interviews/Mass

Music Videos

Note that there are plenty of bootleg videos of varying quality on YouTube. Here are some of the better ones:

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