Brazil’s superstar preacher: Marcelo Rossi

Mac Margolis – Newsweek, 10/02/2011

Vallejo, 23, has fought for student debt to be eased as well as for the utopian goal of “free education for all.” , Kevin Moloney / Aurora

Brazil’s star preacher is the country’s new best-selling author of fuzzy, feel-good spirituality.

Padre Marcelo Rossi emerges from the baggage claim at Rio de Janeiro’s downtown airport to a foyer of cellphone paparazzi. With a Teflon smile, he beelines through the lobby to a hired car. He’s overdue at a book launch in São Gonçalo, a working-class city where thousands of faithful have been massing since dawn.

Such is the life of the 44-year-old priest who has become Latin America’s leading evangelist. Famed for his rollicking masses where multitudes sway to pop religious songs, Rossi has been reborn as Brazil’s hottest author. His debut title, çgape, an easy-reading self-help riff on the Gospel of St. John, has flown off shelves since it launched last August. Rossi’s publisher, Editora Globo, knew it had struck gold signing him—even an autographed napkin by the star preacher would be a winner—and boldly projected sales of a million copies by mid-2011. By late September, sales had tipped the 6 million mark, shattering all national records.

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