Fr. Rafael Capó

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Fr. Rafael Capó

Travels from Miami, Florida

Father Capo, 51, is a Catholic priest in the Archdiocese of Miami who sees bodybuilding as a way to bring young people into the church.

“Well, for many young people, the fitness world of sports becomes a door to many other things that they can discover in the church,” the priest told Catholic News Service. “Sometimes they are people that are not connected at all to their faith but might be interested in sports and the fitness world, and that becomes the door for conversations.”

Conversations at the gym inevitably turn into discussions on faith and religion, he told CNS, and he’s even had impromptu confessions at the gym. “I started to get so many young people to connect with that as I presented at many events around the nation and also with events around the world,” he said.

He began lifting weights in his native Puerto Rico and found that it was something that complemented his spiritual lifestyle.

“And I started to come up with a theology of fitness and spirituality; how everything is connected — body, mind, spirit, and how it becomes a way to being fit for ministry, being fit for life, being fit for God’s kingdom,” he told the Baltimore Archdiocese’s Catholic Review.

Capo preaches the theology of fitness to his 39,000 followers on Instagram, posting quotes and sermons connecting his faith and love of the gym. He recently quoted St. Pope John Paul II, who once said, “The Church cannot but encourage everything that serves in harmoniously developing the human body.”

It’s written in the Bible, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Christ has strengthened Fr. Capo to bench 315 pounds, and a whole lot more.

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