Rapper priest energizes Luers students
FORT WAYNE — Father Norman Fischer, a black Catholic priest from the Diocese of Lexington, Ky., recently preached to the entire student body of 600 at Bishop Luers High School in Fort Wayne on Oct. 8. He returned to the diocese after his participation in the Faithfest for teens a couple years ago was so well received. Father Fischer is currently a priest chaplain for Lexington Catholic High School and pastor of the historically black parish, St. Peter Claver Catholic Church, in Lexington.
The son of an African-American father and Filipino mother, Father Fischer enjoys preaching, rapping and reaching out to youth and their families, creatively spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Though raised in a devout Catholic family, he had no experience with priests of color as a child. But by his freshman year in college when he became involved in the National Black Catholic Congress, he was able to interact with other black Catholics and black priests.
Following college graduation, he entered St. Mary of the Lake seminary in Chicago where he earned his master of divinity in 2000. He became the first black priest to serve in the Diocese of Lexington.
Father Fischer’s interest in rap music began when he was a child listening to positive hip-hop music. Today, he listens to contemporary music and converts the lyrics to Christian words. A popular Motown hit such as “My Girl” by the Temptations will become “My God.” With his high energy and penchant for fun, when he forms a new rap song to perform for his audience, teen musicians from the audience are often asked by Father Fischer to accompany him.
“Rapping is relevant to young people because they are continuously bombarded with music. It is important to know what they are listening to and to cultivate faith that is inspirational,” explains Father Fischer. “Christian rap is equal to the Word of God taken to another level with a beat. Music is the crossroads where the Church and teens can meet.”
During his talk at Bishop Luers, Father Fischer was joined by poet and fellow rapper Dewayne Smithers. The two met just three and a half years ago through a mutual friend. Smithers helps Father Fischer keep his creativity fresh and relevant to teenagers today.
The morning at Bishop Luers began with an all-school conference with group dynamics, ice breakers, and a freestyle rap to “Christ be the Light of Our Lives.” Smithers shared with groups through his poetry and rap how he fell into darkness away from Christ and how he eventually turned back to Christ.
An all-school Mass concluded the morning activities and Holy Hour was held from 5-6 p.m. at the school.
Sue Mathias, campus minister at Bishop Luers, said the day was simply “fantastic!”
Senior Logan Gillie felt that the activities really opened her eyes to her faith and said that beyond Luers, she will “always listen to God and look to Him for direction.”
Classmate Megan Lee felt inspired by the day and believes that she will pray more and “listen to God so He can help me figure out what I want to do with my life.” Lee also took away from the presentations to treat people as we want to be treated.
Additionally, junior Tiyona Griggs remembered, “No one’s perfect. Everyone’s different, and you should not treat people differently because of your own insecurities.”
Father Fischer hopes that his time spent at Bishop Luers High School graced others with renewed insights in this Year of Faith and that hearts will beat in one rhythm with the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
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