Priest’s dance moves support local causes

Claretian Father Darrin Merlino participated in a dancing competition fundrasier for the Boys and Girls Club of Central Arizona. He was one of the local “celebrities” for the contest and is shown here holding a card of himself made for the contest. (Lisa Dahm/CATHOLIC SUN)
Dancing for the Stars

When: 7:30 p.m., Friday, April 21

Where: Elks Theatre and Performing Arts Center, 117 E. Gurley St., Ste. 115, Prescott, 86301

A fundraiser for the Boys and Girls Club of Central Arizona.

CLICK HERE to vote for Fr. Darrin Merlino, CMF


Sacred Heart School
60th Anniversary Spring Gala

When: 6 p.m., Saturday, May 6

Where: Sacred Heart School Gym, 131 N. Summit Ave., Prescott

Info: (928) 445-2621

PRESCOTT — Priests have many hidden talents you may not encounter in their everyday lives — like dancing.

Claretian Father Darrin Merlino, pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Prescott, is pairing his developed dance moves with instructor Carie Hughes’ guided new ones to help raise money for the Boys and Girls Club of Central Arizona through a “Dancing for the Stars” event on April 21 at the Elks Theatre and Performing Arts Center in Prescott.

The two will give a repeat performance at the Sacred Heart School 60th Anniversary Spring Gala fundraiser on May 6.

The inaugural dance competition features 11 local celebrities partnered with professional dance instructors.

“I have done a lot of dancing, but I didn’t have any choreographed dancing experience ever,” Fr. Merlino said. “We are incorporating the dance moves I do know with the ones she is showing me so it makes it a lot easier.”

Fr. Merlino said Steve Sischka, city councilman and Sacred Heart parishioner, recommended him for the event. Sischka will also be participating with dance instructor Dawn Ramallo-Wilson. The pastor said he and Hughes have been practicing for the competition since January.

He said learning the routine was both hard and easy.

“The hard part was learning the new moves, learning the sequences, being sharp, and learning the words to the song because it has a lot of repeat verses,” Fr. Merlino said. “I am a kinesthetic learner, but sometimes it is hard for me to visualize what it (the dance sequence) will look like.”

Though tickets are sold out to attend the event in person, supporters can still cast their ballots for Fr. Merlino by visiting his Dancing for the Stars voting webpage.

The annual Sacred Heart School gala event will be at 6 p.m. in the school gym. There are 200 seats available. All proceeds will go to the school, and tickets can be purchased at either the school or the gym. Fr. Merlino said his monetary goal for the gala is about $40,000.