EXCLUSIVE WITH FR ROB GALEA
Photo Credits: Arnold Noronha
He is considered an icon by youth across the world, but Australian Catholic priest, acclaimed author, singer and songwriter Fr Rob Galea insists he has never tried to impress youth through his music concerts.
What’s more, the priest who has released eight music albums describes himself as “musically illiterate”.
“I play music by ear and surround myself with professional musicians who read music. I am a singer and songwriter, but I am an evangelist and music is what I use to evangelise. So, I describe myself as an evangelist,” explained Fr Rob, while speaking exclusively to The Goan.
Fr Rob described music as a powerful instrument which has a calming effect and can soothe the soul.
“For me, music is a way of refocussing on people suffering from depression, anxiety and addiction. But music also transcends and goes beyond the mind. It is the language of the heart,” says Fr Rob.
“For example, when I go to a school with 2,000 children and they will wonder: “What is this priest going to talk to us about?” I do talk to them and engage them, but the minute I play music, all of a sudden you speak in their language, and they open up. Why? Because music transcends the mind and transcends generations, especially if I can sing in a style that they can relate with. Music is something that brings us closer to God.”
AUTHENTICITY WITH YOUTH
Fr Rob insisted that he never approaches music to impress young people.
“I enjoy the music that inspires me. I never try to impress and here is where the danger is, when the Church tries to impress to bring people to Jesus. In fact, Jesus did not do things to impress people and even his so-called impressive acts like miracles were mainly to heal and serve people,” explained Fr Rob.
“Even when the Church uses music, one would think of traditional music like Mozart. But that was pop music of the time and attracted people during the weekend and they brought that music to Church.”
“Young people want music which comes from the heart or else, they will walk away. You will entertain them for a moment, but you will not retain them.”
“Music is important, but authenticity is even more important. So, the Church needs to make sure it is not trying to impress our young people but is trying to be authentic with them.”
CONCERT IN GOA
Fr Rob said his first music concert in Goa on September 9 was a journey of his relationship with God through story, music, song, humour and a bit of dance.
“I would never have imagined visiting Goa five years ago. I would like to spend more time and energy serving the poor, the broken and in particular, the young people who are self-harming, depressed and anxious,” said Fr Rob.
Asked for his message to those could not get tickets to his concert in Pilar, Fr Rob replied: “I pray that people realise that the concert was not about me, but an opportunity for us to have come together. We will continue to be in touch with the people of Goa through our online Masses and social media.”
“I do hope to come again to Goa sometime soon and perhaps, have an even more extensive concert. I want to continue serving the Lord in music, through my priesthood, through my outreach and social media,” he added.
While he is on tour, Fr Rob said he continues to manage a charity and coordinate with 11 staff in Australia.
“During the week, we create content for schools, teachers and educating educators. We run the FRG (Fr Rob Galea) charity and as part of this charity, we visited Vijayawada during this trip to India and had a few events, including a spiritual formation to 750 nuns who look after young girls who have been taken out of sex slavery.”
“I was also given special permission to visit six homes of these young girls, who do not have men visiting them. So, it was a very humbling experience to have met young girls as young as 8 years old who are very broken and very hurt.”