Meet Father Ricardo Rivera, a recently ordained priest who works as a senior theology teacher at Cardinal Gibbons Catholic High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Besides having a knack for theology, Rivera’s also got another talent: Busting moves.
(Source: Cardinal Gibbons High School FTL)
The father’s got quality moves (versus nightmarish moves)!
Recorded during a homecoming pep rally last Friday, the video above has since gone viral, attracting praise and even jealousy from across the country.
It’s not just that the #DancingPriest has moves — it’s that he made the effort to really connect with his students and “evangelize” in a way he knew they would not soon forget.
Some social media users have wondered though why their former Catholic school teachers hadn’t been as fly, cool, and relatable as Father Rivera.
Look at some of the social media commentary below:
— Jim Rigg (@RiggJim) November 1, 2019
The priests at my high school didn’t move like this.
?? padre!@Moluskein writes: Father Ricardo Rivera Ortiz of Adjuntas, Puerto Rico is dancing with students of Cardinal Gibbon Hight School, in Fort Lauderdale where he works as a priest
— David Begnaud (@DavidBegnaud) October 26, 2019
Can you imagine how much better Catholic school would have been!?
— Esperanto Delecto Lesley Grrrr (@Buncombian) October 26, 2019
I only know old priests from Catholic school. Let this man use the talents God gave him! ?
— Nobody Beats the Liz (@emaphotography) October 27, 2019
— Laurie Harris (@laurie3340) October 29, 2019
This is what you call when the spirit moves you?
— Tea’ (@TeaTeakoi) November 1, 2019
The Holy Spirit at work!! ?
— Heidi Johnston (@vtalgal) November 1, 2019
Awesome! He demonstrated relevance and empathy with his parishioners and youth students!???
— Nelida Montero (@winelly) October 27, 2019
Nor mine ?..great moves keep the kids surprised and happy..blessings father Ortiz
— Yolanda R (@yricovergara) October 27, 2019
But who is he exactly?
The Miami Herald describes him as a “Puerto Rico native” — one who “practiced the initial steps” to the dance routine seen above on Tuesday.
“But the dancers and cheerleaders didn’t know he had learned the entire routine,” the Herald added.
And so his performance Friday was a literal shocker to everybody, save reportedly for the dance coach.
The response was, of course, one of happy shock from almost everybody, including the cheerleaders, the other students and the rest of the world.
However, Rivera’s performance also attracted a little criticism, some of it from rabid secularists who clearly hate religion, and some of it from miserable cynics.
Theology teacher? Does he teach ALL religions or does he just peddle nonsense from one religion? This is S.Florida where i grew up & we never had religion peddlers in my high school. I hope tax payers aren’t paying for that nonsense.
— Pro-Choice Mom (@SecularMomNC) November 1, 2019
From dance moves to brainwashing children with his theology!
— Paul Hill (@05Phatty) November 1, 2019
Well the priesthood is a cult of irrelevance so why shouldn’t the look at me generation feature in the priesthood.
Dancing priest wows crowd during surprise routine at Florida high schoolhttps://t.co/6ACajYXdKI
— The Classroom and the Tavern (@SIMONZEE5) November 2, 2019
FYI, Gibbons is a private Roman Catholic high school that’s sponsored by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Miami, accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and has been praised by the U.S. Department of Education for its quality teaching.
“In 1987, Cardinal Gibbons was awarded the U.S. Department of Education’s Excellence in Education Award, which was only awarded to 271 of the nation’s finest private and public educational institutions,” the school web’s reads. “Cardinal Gibbons has also been recognized by Broward County and the federal government for its academic and athletic achievements.”
“Today, Cardinal Gibbons has come a long way from its humble beginnings. Our 18-acre campus currently houses 10 academic buildings, an interactive Media and Technology Center, four state-of-the-art science labs and a chapel that seats 300. Since opening in 1961, Cardinal Gibbons has grown to become one of the most well-respected Catholic, college preparatory schools in South Florida.”
Moreover, a study conducted in 2012 by the National Catholic Educational Association found that “students who attend Catholic high schools are more likely to graduate and attend college than students attending other schools,” as reported at the time by the Catholic News Service.
Two years later, the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics reported similar conclusions. It found that only 31.1 percent of public school students were likely to go on to obtain a degree from college versus a whopping 61.9 percent majority of Catholic high school students.
These are called facts.
While cynicism certainly has its place, being cynical and critical over a dedicated priest busting moves to bond with his Catholic students seems like a bit much.
One could argue that the best response to Rivera’s performance would be to just appreciate it for what it is — a great dance routine — and wish blessings on both the father and his adoring flock:
Great performance from my former students at the Dance team and my great friend and Piarist confrère, Fr. Ricardo Rivera, Sch.P.
Missing you all at Gibbons. Greetings from NY. God bless you always ??
Go Chiefs!!! Go Piarists!
— Fr. Luis Alberto, SchP ن (@FrLuisAlbertoSP) October 30, 2019
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