It’s a Rap

By Elisabeth Román

At the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress in Anaheim, California, young people were gathered listening to the rosary, meeting Christian rapper Joe Meléndrez, waiting in line to buy the Rosary Rap CD, and getting his autograph and photos. The handsome, 24-year-old man looked like a music star entertaining his excited fans. Playing in the exhibition booth was Rosary Rap, an act of love and worship that Melendrez created and recorded to, as he puts it, “start a revolution of prayer among the youth.”

Meléndrez, who comes from a devout Catholic family found his love for prayer and Mary at a teen retreat in 2001. He has also been a fan of hip-hop music since the 6th grade when he bought his first Puff Daddy album. As a child he would pray the rosary in the carpool to school and when he purchased his own car, Meléndrez continued to pray in the car with friends while driving. “My parents are very supportive; they have always told me to follow my dreams and anything is possible,” he said.

In college he created a demo of the rosary rap and decided he wanted to search for God, and get to know him better. Praying became a way to connect with God and his rap became a way to bring God’s message to young people in a manner they would find interesting and appealing. “I like to say that Rosary Rap was produced by the Holy Spirit, my manager is God, and my public relations are managed by Jesus,” adds the young singer with a smile. “Young people need a spark and I want to be that spark. My goal is to help grow the devotion to Mary.”

Meléndrez admits that he never thought prayer would be cool. But Rosary Rap was created to be just that and more. It is a vehicle for prayer that allows young people to probe deeper into the life of Christ. For Meléndrez, by capturing the joyful, sorrowful, glorious, and luminous mysteries one may recognize through the intercession of Mary that we grow closer to the heart of her son. “I want to teach young people the significance of the rosary and how we are praying with the Mother of God.”

Meléndrez, who attended a Marianist high school and university, also teaches religion at Chaminade High School and Middle School in Southern California. “I enjoy inspiring other people, and I challenge myself further every day.”

Meléndrez has released a new CD called Serenity Now with 20 new tracks that he says were inspired by God. Both CDs can be obtained at www.rosaryrap.com.
 

 

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