Tomorrow, June 8, Fr. José Fernandes de Oliveira, SCJ, turns 80. For most of those years he has been known as “Padre Zezinho,” a Christian songwriter and performer who has written over 1,800 songs and 80 books, and has recorded 120 albums. His concerts have filled stadiums and his radio show in his native Brazil continues to draw millions of listeners. Shortly before his 80th birthday, he sat down for an interview to reflect on his life as a Dehonian, musician, songwriter and performer.
“People give me titles, or descriptions, such as ‘storyteller,’ ‘performer,’ ‘composer,’ and ‘writer,’ said Padre Zezinho. “I am those things, but it was never what I intended. As a child I dreamed of becoming a Dehonian priest in a parish. That was my vocation. But I never did become a parish pastor. My superiors encouraged me to evangelize with music, writing songs and performing, especially for young people…
“My greatest joy is found in the joy of the people.”
Padre Zezinho is a familiar name to many SCJs in North America not just because of his music, but because he did his theology studies here at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology and was ordained in the US Province in 1966. “I am thankful for the all that the US Province did for me in those years, 1964-67,” he said during the interview. “Many blessings to my friends in the United States.”
Click here to read the full interview.
LIVE! In honor of his 80th birthday, there will be a livestream celebration of Padre Zezinho tomorrow, June 8 on his YouTube Channel. Click here to find information about the event, as well as access videos of concerts and albums.
Let the Priests of the Sacred Heart pray for your loved ones and intentions.