More than just the 'Rapping Priest'

Fr Joshua

This young Hip Hop fan from the USA didn't even like church as a youth. Today he's Father Joshua Johnson, the youngest priest in the Diocese of Baton Rouge. But he wants to be known as more than just "the Rapping Priest."

The Advocate

The Rev Joshua Johnson, of Christ the King Catholic Church at Louisian State University, is just 27 years old. Fr Johnson is in his first year as a priest after trying for years to run from his calling to minister in the Church.

Rapping is one of the God-given gifts he uses outside of Mass to witness for Christ, Fr Johnson says. “When kids hear me rap, it definitely gets their attention because I always rap about Jesus Christ and what he’s brought me through and to … I’ve had people come to me only after seeing my music on YouTube or Facebook and say, ‘I’m coming to you because I’ve seen this video and I want to give to my life to Christ now.’”

“I was raised Catholic, but I just never liked the Catholic Church growing up. I thought it was boring, and I didn’t understand it,” said Fr Johnson, a native of Baton Rouge who recently garnered a measure of renown on YouTube and social media for his rapping talent. He hosts the hip-hop show Tell the World on Catholic radio.

Fr Johnson’s biggest difficulty with the Church dealt with the Eucharist. “I never believed that it was the body and blood of Jesus Christ that the Catholic Church teaches,” he said.

But it was an experience in the Eucharist that changed Fr Johnson’s mind and heart about the Church, made him fall in love with Christ and started his journey to the priesthood.  It happened on a summer night before his senior year at Lee High School when he was invited to a retreat in Alexandria.

“That night in adoration, when the Bishop exposed Jesus Christ with the Eucharist, all I could say was it was God’s grace that overcame me,” he said. “And looking at the Eucharistic prayer, I knew it was God, that it was Jesus Christ. It was if I fell in love in an instant. I started crying. I was on my knees worshipping God.”

The long ache in his heart was lifted, he said. “The first thing I heard him say was ‘I love you,’ and it pierced my heart then and it continues to pierce my heart today, because I was living in pretty serious sin, but he told me he loved me.”

That wasn’t all. Fr Johnson said he was told to become a priest. But he wasn’t ready for that step.

Read full article: Meet Joshua Johnson, Baton Rouge's rapping, youngest Catholic priest who 'never liked' church as a kid (The Advocate)

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