Disco fever as DJ prepares for ordination

A little kissing is allowed at fundraising dances for Sydney altar servers, says "DJ Father Dan", a Sydney seminarian who is preparing for his ordination as a deacon this weekend.

According to a Sydney Morning Herald report, Dionisio Danai Paunlagui Penollar from the Seminary of the Good Shepherd in Sydney's Homebush is the driving force behind a Sydney church disco known as "Lav."

The disco, named after its original venue at St Francis Xavier Church, Lavender Bay, attracts 400 to 500 teenagers from all denominations in years 7 to 10 from at least 20 schools.

Officially called the Combined Schools Dance Party, the event began in 1997 as a fundraiser for altar servers.

But unlike other dances, Mr Penollar preaches disco without the fever, where courtship is strictly controlled.

"As a minimum, hands have to be above the hips - hands aren't allowed to wander. If they do, chaperones will tap them on the shoulder. And if they're kissing for too long, a chaperone will tap them on the shoulder," he said.

"You have a real risk of passions rising after the dance and we don't want that to happen."

The Herald report says that Mr Penollar has relaxed since the early days.

"There was a no-kissing rule at the dance and I would tell the guards they are not doing their jobs if they allowed it to go on, but the parents persuaded me to allow a little bit," he said.

The deacon-elect trained as a computer security expert before entering the seminary and knows how to screen for trouble.

Mr Penollar will take on his ministry duties later in the year and he is training potential successors.

No booze, no groping and the youngsters love it (Sydney Morning Herald, 28/8/06)

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Seminary of the Good Shepherd

28 Aug 2006