The Deacon's Bench

And now, for something completely different: a priest who puts a new spin on the gospels.

Take a look:

“Jesus Is Number One!” shouts deejay priest Don Roberto Fiscer as he lines up the latest number by Lady Gaga for parishioners gathered at a beach resort in northwestern Italy.

In Fiscer’s unique way of spreading the gospels, he proclaims over throbbing disco music: “I have a message for you that comes straight from heaven: without Jesus there is no future, without Jesus we have no love, no joy.”

Fiscer’s flock, ranging in age from seven to 77, go wild in appreciation.

On this summer evening, Fiscer, 33, sports a lemon yellow T-shirt emblazoned with an image of the Virgin Mary and child and the words: “You are my river of love.”

In seventh heaven himself, the priest rewards his admirers with the latest hit by Italian singer Jovanotti, “Baciami Ancora” (“Kiss Me Again”), Dorothy Norwood’s “Shake the Devil Off” or Britney Spears’ “123.”

“I alternate the classics that you hear in nightclubs with remixed religious music,” Don Roberto told reporters.

“Music is what young people like the most. Through music, Jesus reaches their hearts,” said the priest, who was a cruise ship entertainer before going to seminary at age 23.

The event, held each Wednesday at Arenzano’s San Pietro resort since mid-June, has a solid following.

“Some people here in Arenzano find it bizarre, even a bit surprising, but it’s really a great thing because these evenings bring together children, parents, families – and that’s what’s most important,” said Patrizia Rossi, who turned up in a multi-coloured dress with her son Filippo in tow.

He’s great, he’s a super person who’s a lot of fun,” said Filippo, around 10.

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