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France’s 2008 “Pizza Acrobatics Champion” was ordained a priest this June


Père Christophe Rébéccaï.

Valentine Leroy - published on 07/01/22

Crowned the French champion of pizza acrobatics, he surprised everyone when he felt a deeper calling.

Sometimes there’s only one step to take and in this story it was from the apron to the chasuble.

A former pizza chef, Christophe Rébéccaï left the kitchen to become a priest. This young man from the French Caribbean island of Martinique was ordained to the priesthood on June 6, 2022, at the cathedral of Fort-de-France (Martinique) by Bishop Macaire, and he testifies to “the joy of having found true wealth.”

Crowned the French champion of pizza acrobatics (the “sport” of spinning, throwing, etc, pizza dough) in 2008, he was the pride of his father who had destined him to take over the family pizza business. But Rébéccaï felt a deeper calling.

“It was at the time when I was most invested in my career, when I was beginning to get external recognition, that I was more and more drawn to God,” he tells Aleteia. “At 22, I had the need to go and pray more and more. I felt a call and I told myself that if I’m going to serve the Lord, I might as well choose him in full.”

Born into a practicing Catholic family, Fr. Rébéccaï remembers family prayer in particular:

“In the evening, we had our ritual and we prayed together no matter what. Addressing God as Father touched me a lot.” He says that this experience gave him a heart open to God’s action in his life: “This family prayer allowed me to take a step back right away and not wait 20 years to recognize it.”

Christophe also found a particularly inspiring example in his own family: that of his older brother Samuel, who became a priest before him. He remembers one day when his brother offered to pray the Rosary with him. From that moment on, he started going to Mass every day. Side by side during the ordination ceremony, the two brothers are now united by a brotherhood that goes beyond blood ties.

The Church, a treasure for finding God

Guided by the search for true happiness, a text from the Old Testament that announces the message of Christ (Wisdom 7:7-11) informed Christophe Rébéccaï’s process of discernment:

Therefore I prayed, and understanding was given me;

I called on God, and the spirit of wisdom came to me.

I preferred her to scepters and thrones,

and I accounted wealth as nothing in comparison with her.

Neither did I liken to her any priceless gem,

because all gold is but a little sand in her sight,

and silver will be accounted as clay before her.

I loved her more than health and beauty,

and I chose to have her rather than light,

because her radiance never ceases.

All good things came to me along with her,

and in her hands uncounted wealth.

“This is the summary of my life,” he says.

For the young priest who will soon begin his ministry at the parish of St. Mary of Fort-en-France, this incalculable richness of which the prophet speaks can only be given in and through the Church.

Although the face of the Church is in some ways difficult to love, he likes to recall the words of Padre Pio, which he lives by every day: “The Church does not need me, it is I who need the Church.”

“Through the Church in fact, every person becomes an incalculable wealth,” comments Fr. Rébéccaï. “It is enough to be in the Church to find Christ, to find unity and fruitfulness, because the Church is the witness of the Good News and spreads it to the world. Of course, it will have to do this in a different way than in other times because mentalities are different, but the essence remains the same.”

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