Thursday, April 8, 2010

Padre Jony Officiates at First Rock Mass in Tortosa Cathedral


The Mass was celebrated to commemorate the centenary of the establishment of the Court of Honor of the Virgen de la Cinta, a women's group that cares for the chapel and the figure of the Virgen de la Cinta, patroness of Tortosa.

With this Eucharistic celebration, distant from the traditional canons and unprecedented in this cathedral of the Ebro region, those responsible for the Court of Honor sought to attract younger people to the church and raise their interest in the figure of the patron saint of the city and in religion in general.

In the end, hundreds of teenagers came to the cathedral to attend the Mass along with other people who wanted to see live a Eucharistic celebration such as has not been seen before in the Tortosa church.

Padre Jony, who has released rock albums with themes related to religion and the promotion of human values, was accompanied during the Mass by a group of musicians with electric guitars, drums, keyboard and bass.

The musicians took their place around the altar, while spotlights projected colored lights on the columns of the altar and the medieval altarpiece of the Virgen de la Estrella, which dates from the middle of the 14th century.

Next to the altar, there was a screen on which images and videos were projected during the Mass to accompany the songs of the rock n roll priest.

Padre Jony began the Mass with a blues number and, later, during the liturgy came out with rock versions of popular religious songs such as, for example, "Pescador de hombres."

One could also hear an "Our Father" sung in a rock version and an offertory song with a rap rhythm.

The repertoire closed with a rock version of the "Himno a la Virgen de la Cinta", one of the pieces of music most representaive of the city of Tortosa. This version was created especially for today's Mass.
The songs, performed strictly directly, provoked applause and even some light dance moves in some of those attending the mass.

The youngest participants in the celebration, who came from all the schools in Tortosa, did several readings and brought up the offerings, among which was an electric guitar that ended up on the altar.

In his homily, Padre Jony encouraged the young people to try to learn more about the Virgin Mary and warned that current problems such as drugs, excessive alcohol consumption and lack of social commitment must be banished.

After the Mass, Padre Jony expressed his satisfaction with the response and the impression generated among the teenagers of Tortosa.

"It was a different expression of faith so that young people can see it in their own way, with a bit of rock and rap," said the priest, who was pleased because the teens "were very attentive, well-behaved and involved."

The priest, who has already expressed his wish to celebrate more rock Masses like the one today in Tortosa, had to devote quite a bit of time to signing autographs for the dozens of young people who approached him after the Eucharistic celebration.


  1. He's not attracting people to the the church or even to God, he's attracting people to a free concert.
    This has no place in the mass, a concert in a churh perhaps, but not rock and certanly not a rock-mass.
    What is next? Some rap or heavy metal for the more hard core?
    What would those priest of today not do to get people to come to church?

    Hey! Get me Clapton or Pink Floyd in the chorus and I'll be in there 4 masses a Sunday.
    He's "aborregando" with a different technique.
    Sorry this priest doesn't get my respect...for more of a Catalan that he may be.
    El de siempre.

  2. It takes a lot less energy to criticize others than to think creatively about what would attract young people back to the Church.

    But, as I've said before, I write this blog for a broad audience -- not for any person in particular. Some people will like Padre Jony; others not. Just as some may object when I provide coverage of Sr. Teresa Forcades, Leonardo Boff, Archbishop Jose Gomez, Cardinal Roger Mahony, or even Padre Hoyos. When you have something to say and say it, you can expect to get admirers and detractors.

    When I watch the video of the rock Mass (I only regret that they didn't record the rock setting of the hymn to the Virgen de la Cinta), I feel energized seeing the young people coming up to take communion in record numbers. They may have come for a concert, but they left with the grace that comes from receiving the Body of Christ. For this, we can only be thankful.

  3. I'm not criticizing, you, the Blog or anyone; I'm just saying that in my point of view rock music is not appropriate for the mass.
    I too like certain kinds of rock music, but the mass should be a place, where at least even if someone is not too spiritually inclined, when you participate you experience certain feeling of inner peace, sanctity and closeness to God.
    This kind of show performed by a priest is irreverent and if the idea or reason is to attract young people to he mass, God or the church, then many other "techniques" can also be used.
    So where is it going to stop? Should we get the Ringling Bros in, to attract more people?

    Sorry, I'm not that a good catholic myself, but I think that there are limits to things. The idea of religion should be to take us from the outer world and bring us into the inner spiritual experecience in oneself, not the other way around.

  4. I agree with the comments. Going to Mass is not about being entertained. Those people are getting a TV dinner, not a real meal. The Church is not supposed to change its values to get more people to come to Church--the people must change their values to fit to Christ. If the people do not want to come, they are rejecting Christ, not just the music. But this isn't going to make people accept the real Christ.

  5. The Mass is not a show. They're making the Mass into a show.

  6. Rock on Padre! The lyrics are in a religious context when mixed w/ music that one loves it is awesome. get away from the "old" thinking that rock & roll is evil. Lyrics have the potential to make any song evil no matter the Genres, by the same token Lyrics can make a song religious, no matter the genres.

  7. This Mr Padre John Lennon wannabe did not know the definition of Mass. Ask him to cut his hair short and get back to Sunday School.

  8. This is appalling! Completely against the Spirit of the Liturgy, the Second Vatican Council and all sense of the sacred. A Bishop who allows this nonsense in his cathedral also does not understand the sacred Liturgy.


  10. The powers that be in the Catholic Church must not be too upset with Padre Jony. They used his song "Revolucion" on the Madrid 2011 World Youth Day CD. See: