August 22, 2018

Does Fr Rob Galea have The X Factor?

Sequins and satin are no stranger to The X Factor stage but it was the Roman collar, trademark black glasses and hoodie of Fr Rob Galea that drew the most attention when he auditioned in Melbourne earlier this year.

“When you go to any X Factor audition people are dressed very extravagantly,” said Fr Rob, assistant priest at St Killian’s Church in the Sandhurst parish of Bendigo.

“For some, I’m just another guy in a costume.”

Fr Rob Galea auditions for The X-Factor.

Fr Rob Galea auditions for The X-Factor.

The 33 year-old priest was born in Malta but studied for the priesthood in Victoria, and now takes his message of evangelisation to more than 200,000 teenagers each year.

He credits his young audience with the idea for trying out for the show.

“I speak to a lot of students, and often while I’m on tour a student will raise their hand and ask, ‘Why don’t you audition for The X Factor?’”

Fr Rob said it was a “wonderful experience” of performing Don’t You Worry Child by Swedish House Mafia for judges Guy Sebastian, James Blunt, Chris Isaak, and Dannii Minogue.

In 2008 Fr Rob and Guy collaborated on the World Youth Day 2008 theme song Receive the Power.

Fr Rob said he relished chatting with Chris, a Catholic American musician and actor.

“That was just wonderful, having that conversation,” he said.

While the judges response was “very positive”, the priest was there for the audience.

“In the crowd I did see a young lady in a burka … her face lit up when she saw me. That was wonderful, because she saw a sign of faith when I walked on the stage, even though it was a different faith.

“This is why I’m in it, ultimately. I’m not interested in fame, I’m not interested in attention, but at the end of the day it’s an opportunity to give hope, if people for one second can catch a glimpse of the hope of the Church and the hope of the love of God, then it’s worth it.”

It is almost five years since the death of Fr Rob’s mentor and friend Bishop Joe Grech.

“He appointed me to a parish and just a few days after that passed away,” the priest said.

While Bishop Grech did not live to see its enormous outreach, Fr Rob has continued and built on the Stronger Youth program they founded.

“I feel very much like though his passing I have carried on a lot of what he had started, particularly youth ministry. I get to speak at a lot of conferences which he would have spoken at and used to speak at,” he said.

“I know that he is with me all the way, even on this journey to The X Factor, because he had a passion to reach young people wherever they were.

“Every time I’m on a stage I feel close to him.”

The show returns on Sunday, 13 September on the Seven Network.


Sandhurst diocesan priest and singing sensation Fr Rob Galea chats with The X-Factor host Luke Jacobz.

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