Two American priests engaged in a lively tap-dancing duel as part of a seminary fundraiser in Rome. Reporter Joan Lewis was present and filmed the performance from the back of the room. When she recently posted it on YouTube, the joyful video skyrocketed on the Internet.
Father David Rider, 29, of Hyde Park, New York, climbed up on the stage first. Rider trained as a professional tap-dancer and took a year off from college to tour in the Broadway show “42nd Street”. Father John Gibson, 28, of Milwaukee, quickly responded to Rider’s performance with a spirited Irish step dance. Watch the competition take off from there:
Not all of the reaction has been positive. Some have criticized the men for dancing beneath a crucifix and a portrait of Pope Francis, saying it was disrespectful. Father Rider had an answer to that:
We would just refer them to the Bible where the Lord tells us to live with joy.
Skeptics can also watch a video of an interview with Father Rider that includes clips of his professional stint as a dancer. The video was posted by the Catholic News Service and leaves little question that the Church is supportive of Rider’s talent.
Nor can anyone truly believe that Pope Francis would feel disrespected by the performance before his portrait. This is the man who told Catholic youth:
The Church needs you, your enthusiasm, your creativity and the joy that is so characteristic of you.
Two young seminarians unleashed their joy in dance. The world responded with appreciation.
(Feature image of Tap-dancing Priests Face-off from Atlanta local cbs46)