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Wednesday, 29 March, 2000, 17:18 GMT 18:18 UK
Brazilian star priest on the web
Father Rossi
Father Rossi says he wants to spread the Catholic faith
A Brazilian priest famous for his pop star style and aerobic dance masses will go online on Sunday.

Father Marcelo Rossi will broadcast his masses live over the internet and will join the faithful every day in chat-rooms.

Father Rossi, who packs stadiums around Brazil with high-energy bible reading, says he wants "to spread the Catholic Church's doctrine using new methods".

He reached an agreement with a local internet unit of Spain's Terra Networks to provide the service after months of negotiations with several eager companies interested in his masses.


Thousands attend Father Rossi's Masses
Father Rossi's masses are very popular
Terra says the website will have a combination of live broadcast and video and audio recordings on demand.

The details of the deal were not revealed, but Father Rossi says he will dedicate a "good part of my life" to the web-site.

The Lord's aerobics

The 33-year-old priest is a former physical education teacher, and has become very popular in Brazil with his dance-along masses called "The Lord's Aerobics".

His Sunday masses are big events, held in stadium or theatres, attended by thousands of people.

When televised, such masses also attract a huge audience.

Father Rossi has released a CD with his religious music which has rapidly became one of the best selling in Brazilian history.

Leader

Brazil is the country with the world's largest Roman Catholic population - an estimated 120 million.

But only a fraction of them regularly attend mass and many people have converted to the evangelical movement.

Father Rossi - a leader of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal movement aimed at winning over young worshippers - is seen by many as leading a Catholic backlash to this situation.

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16 May 99 | Americas
Brazil's 'pop star priest'
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