Who Is Rocco?


Baptized Roman Catholic as an infant, God had little (if any) part in my life. If I attended Sunday Mass, it was only out of obligation. Over the years, through television, movies, & especially disordered music, my heart was attracted to the life of sin they promoted.

My rebellious youth spilled over into my young adult life & my sins increased dramatically. After years of living in mortal sin & believing I was beyond hope, I was set free by the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ in sacramental Confession, experiencing the unfathomable love & mercy of Almighty God in a very PROFOUND way!!!

(For more details on that ‘BIG CONFESSION’, listen to Rocco’s interview on Encounter Radio)
(‘Partial Testimony: The RADICAL Power of Confession’ by Catholic Speaker/Evangelist Rocco Fortunato)

By the grace of God, through Sacred Scripture, the Most Holy Rosary, daily Mass, & Eucharistic Adoration, I experienced a RADICAL CONVERSION!!! I am now extremely grateful to be Catholic & to have been granted the grace of such a powerful conversion. Since my conversion, I’ve devoted much time to prayer & the study of the Catholic Faith. I’ve been teaching, preaching, &/or writing on the fullness of the truth of the Catholic Faith since 1993.

In 1995 I founded Spread the Blaze, an apostolate which is 100% Eucharistic, Marian, & loyal to the Holy Father. In 1997, on the Solemnity of the Annunciation & the Incarnation, I made my Total Consecration to Jesus thru Mary, thus becoming a Slave of Love of Jesus and Mary; I’ve renewed that Consecration every year since.

I’ve organized, led, & been the main speaker for Confirmation programs, Youth Groups, a Young Adult Group, a Men’s Group, Conferences, Retreats, a Street Apostolate, First Saturday Rosary Rallies, & served as Director of Evangelization. I’ve also been on Catholic radio & had several television interviews in defense of Holy Mother Church’s teaching on the sanctity of all human life, God’s precious gift of human sexuality, & God’s design for marriage, & am a columnist for Amazing Catechists.

I love EVERYTHING that Holy Mother Church teaches & all of my preaching & teaching is done in radical obedience to the Holy Father & the Magisterium of the Church!!! I’ve also received 4 years of spiritual formation in the Marian Seraphic Pathway & am VIRTUS® certified.

The Holy Spirit has filled my heart with burning zeal for the greatest possible honor & glory of God, the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the exaltation of Holy Mother Church, & the salvation of souls – especially our youth & young adults!!!

I look forward to zealously sharing my love for Jesus, Mary, Joseph, & ALL things Catholic with you, your parish, &/or at an event. Ave Maria!!!

Yours in Jesus, Mary, & Joseph,
Rocco Fortunato
Founder – Spread the Blaze
Columnist – Amazing Catechists


Ave Maria!!!

“My zeal consumes me!”
(Ps 119:139)


(From parents of our youth, members of the community, & our youth)

“Let another praise you,
and not your own mouth.”
(Pr 27:2)

From Clergy & Lay Coordinators

As a priest, I needed to hear Rocco’s message as much as, if not more than, those young men. He comes like a new Elijah or John the Baptist or Louis Marie de Montfort. Very powerful, very solid and very convincing.

Reverend Edmund CastronovoPastor, Our Lady of Good Counsel, Verona, NY

…The Roman Catholic Community responded very well to their presentations. Many encouraged me to invite them to return. As the Parochial Administrator of Blessed Trinity and St. Patrick Parishes, I recommend that other Roman Catholic Parishes consider inviting “Spread the Blaze” to provide a spiritually, powerful program for their parish family.

Reverend Thomas J. ValentiParochial Administrator, Blessed Trinity and St. Patrick Parishes, Owego, NY

We were blessed to have Rocco deliver a very powerful and inspirational talk at our parish event. Rocco spoke on the topic of evangelization and his talk combined moving testimony, humor, and passionate encouragement. We look forward to inviting Rocco back to speak at another parish event soon.

The music apostolate made up of Spread the Blaze, Crusaders of Mary Immaculate, and Knights of Mary Immaculate led the praise and worship at one of our parish events and the parishioner response was so positive we invited them to return for a second event. Every aspect of the apostolate was focused on our Lord and Savior, and they provided an uplifting and Spirit-filled time of praise and meditation. The music apostolate greatly enriched our faith program.

Ken DonovanLay Coordinator for Sunday Night Joy at Blessed Trinity Parish, Apalachin, NY

From Parents of Our Youth

I have known Rocco Fortunato for the past 14 years. When my husband and I and three children moved from Texas to Binghamton, my oldest son was in need of Confirmation instruction and after the 54 Day Rosary Novena, imploring the Blessed Mother for the perfect parish for my family, we ended up at a Parish with a wonderful priest and Rocco as the Confirmation teacher.

After meeting Rocco, I knew that my prayers had been answered. I met an intense man who was undoubtedly on fire for his Faith. His desire to share truth was deeply apparent. But he was unlike most every other youth speaker that I had come in contact with, in his very serious, convicted, purpose to save souls and get kids to Heaven. And because of Rocco’s strong, dedicated, yet joyful way I knew my son would find him cool. As a mom deeply concerned for my children’s souls in the midst of a dangerous and corrupted world, all of this meant the world to me. There are very few people who I trust my children with in all that is spoken to them. Rocco is one of the few.”

God bless!
Ave Maria!

Louise SnyderHomeschool mother of threePro-life activist Foundress - First Saturday Apostolate

I have always been inspired by the Holy Spirit working through Rocco and used tell people if Jesus has a Pied Piper calling youth today, it’s Rocco; someone they listen to, someone cool, and at the same time on fire!

As a result of Rocco’s Spread the Blaze youth group, I remember several mothers surprised to see their “troubled” teen all of a sudden reading the Bible at night and talking excitedly about the Holy Spirit and God’s plan for them. It’s no surprise really; they saw a young man living his faith, on fire with love for it, and burning to share it with them. Keep Spreading the Blaze, Rocco. Praise God!

Carla CoonHomeschool mother of eight Contributing writer published in The National Catholic Register, New Oxford Review, Catholic Faith and Family, and The Catholic Sun, Former editor: NYSRTLC Lifeworks

Rocco has an amazing ability to reach and touch the hearts of youth on a deep level. He was the faith formation teacher for my three children as they prepared for the sacrament of Confirmation. On fire with the Holy Spirit himself, Rocco was able to awaken and arouse the Spirit within them through his example, teaching, and his youth praise/prayer group.

Under his outstanding leadership, my children attended many youth retreats, which profited them in many ways. I never had to worry about them under his care. Outside of class, Rocco was also available to answer their questions and meet their spiritual needs. My three children are better Catholics today because of the influence Rocco had on their lives.

Dianne Joslyn

As parents who were extremely selective with their children’s interaction with other adults regarding their values and faith formation, we can, without hesitation, recommend Rocco who was a large part of our own son’s Faith formation when he was in his teens.

Rocco has a very unique combination of personal attributes that allow him to effectively translate the truths of our Catholic faith in a very compelling, passionate, and articulate way which constantly holds the attention of, sometimes, distracted youth. His deep knowledge of the Scriptures and Mariology seem incredibly suited for the present world condition and secular dominance.

Rocco’s individual passion, love, and dedication to his own personal Faith-walk are constant, unwavering, and unmistakably noticeable in any Parish he is associated with. Rocco would bring dynamic results to any Catholic organization seeking his talents. We encourage you to prayerfully consider him and we unequivocally provide our endorsement.

Peter & Joyce CiaravinoApalachin, NY

From Members of Our Community

Ave Maria!

Dear Rocco,

Happy Easter! I just wanted to send you a little message to let you know how grateful I am for all that you have taught me this year. Mike and I have been reflecting on our Lenten journey. As I have thought back I have realized that my prayer life has strengthened and I have such a better understanding of the significance of the Sacrifice that Jesus made for us.

As we journeyed through Lent I found myself embracing suffering. Mike and I were remembering how much we disliked fasting days when we were younger. It is amazing because this year there was a certain underlying joy in our fasting knowing that our suffering (little as it may be) is united with Christ’s Suffering on the Cross. I have been celebrating Easter my entire life, but this year I am sincerely celebrating Easter within my heart.

Thank you so much for helping me to grow in my faith. I feel incredibly blessed that God guided you into my life in order to help me to better know, love, and serve God!

Chelsea BobalCrusaders of Mary ImmaculateBinghamton, NY

I started working with Rocco shortly after graduation from college. His devotion to Our Lord and Our Lady and his absolute fidelity to the teachings of Holy Mother Church was one of the greater blessings Jesus has bestowed on me through Mary. Hearing Rocco’s teachings has helped me to make better Confessions and greatly encouraged me in my Marian devotion. His encouragement of Eucharistic Adoration and the Rosary has been a great help to me. It is extremely beautiful to see someone so on fire with love for Christ and everything associated with Him.

He also helped me by providing me with an active apostolate so tied to prayer. It is a great encouragement to see his faithfulness in it. Rocco does not by any means leave prayer for religious, but is as fervent in cultivation of group prayer as in the active apostolate. All truly apostolic work is founded on prayer, and it is wonderful to be able to participate in an apostolate which recognizes this.

Rocco’s original copy of True Devotion to Mary is completely worn out due to being read so many times, and he seems to have parts of it memorized. He will occasionally make a list of quotes from the Popes, Fathers, and Doctors of the Church on a topic and explain them. More often he will base a teaching on a short passage from Scripture. His fervent love and understanding of Scripture and Tradition make his teachings trustworthy and very engaging.

Rocco is also a very humble man. He subjects everything possible to a spiritual director and trusts him in everything. He knows his limits, so it’s always safe to ask him for guidance because he tells you when he doesn’t know or doesn’t have authority. He always seeks to conform his understanding and will to the teaching of the Church.

Rocco’s filial devotion to Mary is also extremely exemplary. No matter how challenging a situation may be, he entrusts it to her care and trusts that she is guiding things. He is a model to me in that regard.

In Jesus and Mary.

Daniel EbyCrusaders of Mary ImmaculateKirkwood, NY

I’ve attended brother Rocco’s Rosary Rallies many times and I’ve learned that he had a radical conversion! I’ve seen a person who is so fervent, devoted and knowledgeable about the Catholic Faith! He inspires with his preaching at these events! We need people like him in the apostolate getting others excited about the Gospel!

Tom Chelak

Rocco coordinates First Saturday Rosary Rallies that include a procession in front of the Planned Parenthood Facility in Binghamton – he’s been the key part of this effort for many years. Caring is so much a part of him that he literally draws people to him by just being there – I witnessed several people approach him as he stood in prayer outside of Planned Parenthood and his gentle voice and loving manner keeps them listening…and actually seems to change their minds, at least for a second or two, as he talks.

Maribeth CederborgBoard Member, Broome County Right to Life Committee (BCRTLC)Co-Prayer Coordinator, 40 Days for Life - Binghamton / Lent 2011 Campaign, Volunteer, 40 Days for Life - Binghamton / Sept-November 2011 Fall Campaign, Chaperone, Syracuse Diocese Youth Group Pilgrimage to March For Life, Washington, DC - January 2010 and 2011 Parishioner and Respect Life Coordinator, Most Holy Rosary - Maine, NY

From Our Youth

I don’t know if you remember me but my name is Xxxxx and I’m a sophomore at Xxxxx. I’m the girl that took up almost all of your lunch time at the retreat with a question about Baptism. Unfortunately, I had to leave Mass early on Friday because I had to catch my bus. I never got to thank you, but Mrs. Xxxxx was kind enough to give me your email address.

You are one of most inspiring speakers I have ever heard in my life. I couldn’t even remember the last time I had been to Confession. I could feel myself moving farther and farther away from God. On Friday, however, I walked out of the Confessional and into the Chapel and cried my eyes out. I can’t even begin to thank you enough. I don’t think I could describe how deeply you have affected me.

At Xxxxx, we usually have two retreats per year and, sometimes, we’ll just randomly invite a speaker or take half a day off for a similar reason. Needless to say, I will be petitioning, re-petitioning and basically begging the powers that be for you to come back. I wish you could have spoken all day long. At Xxxxx, we (and I mean the students) are actually very weak. We lack a lot of school pride, respect for each other and, most importantly, we lack a lot of faith. I guess what I’m trying to say is that we need to be “slapped in the face”….quite frequently. Of all of the retreats that I’ve been to and all of the speakers that I’ve heard in the three years that I’ve been at Xxxxx, I thought that what you had to say was the most powerful. I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I hope you have a very merry Christmas!
Thank you so much.

Unsolicited Feedback Anonymous Sophomore

The following is anonymous, written feedback from high-school youth to three questions asked by their teachers after a 30 minute talk on God’s love. It always amazes me to see what the Holy Spirit will do on such a deep level in such a short amount of time…IF WE LET HIM!!! Praised be Jesus & Mary!!!

*My comments in blue

Question: What did you think of the speaker?

• “INTENSITY and passion at its finest for God.”

• “I thought the presentation was very powerful. I have never seen such devotion, such passion. I had chills listening to his speech.”

• “It was amazing. Rocco is a great speaker and I could have listened to him for a long time.”

• “I thought that it was great. Rocco Fortunato is the man.”

• “I thought he was very good, and inspirational…he is good for teenagers.”

• “It was very intense.”

• “I thought the speaker was very inspirational.”

• “It was interesting, very intense and not what I was expecting.”

• “AMAZING. Great speaker. I got chills.”

• “He was intensely religious. It was a good experience.”

• “I think Rocco taught our class very much about the Christian faith. He is full of religious
knowledge and he should definitely return and speak to us again.”

• “I thought he was very powerful and passionate about what he was trying to explain about how important it is to give God’s love back to Him.”

• “I thought he was a very powerful speaker and that I learned a lot about God’s love and theology.”

• “He was very enthusiastic and powerfully speaking.”

• “I thought he was very sincere about his faith and he was very radical about it.”

• “I thought the content of the presentation was very interesting. I thought it was very insightful and helped me understand what the love of God truly is.”

• “He was awesome.”

• “I thought he was a great speaker and very informative…I really liked him.”

• “I thought he really loved the Christian faith.”

• “I enjoyed Rocco Fortunato’s presentation tremendously. I realized how much God’s love means & how to live a right Catholic way. He was so inspirational & I found out myself through his presentation.”

Question: What was the best/most important part?

• “Above all else, I was fascinated by Rocco Fortunato’s reverence & devotion to Our Lord. His faith in what he said was far more believable than that of other preachers.”

• “His speaking was the best and his story.”

• “The most important part was the prayer. It was meaningful and everyone participated. Sometimes at school, during class and at Mass, people don’t participate.”

• “God is love.”

• “The gift that he gave us at the end. I wear mine.” (Referring to the Brown Scapular)

“Most important was that God’s always there to accept your love, he’ll always love you no matter what. I liked that he really stressed this issue.”

• “I liked when he talked about his experience in Confession when the priest explained Confession. Chills again.”

• “Praying with him; he was passionate.”

• “The best part was praying in the presence of the Blessed Mother. It was a calm and peaceful prayer which helped me relax.” (It was May, the month of Mary, and I found a beautiful statue of Our Lady of Grace behind a curtain in an alcove in the Chapel. After receiving permission from legitimate authority, I moved Our Lady to the side of the tabernacle and had the youth join me in kneeling down and praying to Her.)

• “The most important point was knowing that God loves each and everyone one of us so much. He outpours His love to us.”

• “Best part – talking about God’s love being so incomprehensible and how He loves us no matter what, even if we’re sinners.”

• “That he truly believed the love of God.”

• “When he talked about how God loves you no matter what you have done.”

• “Everything!”

• “The most important point was how anyone can be forgiven, no matter what.”

• “I really enjoyed his talk about love. This seemed the most important point.”

• “What I liked best was everything.”

• “Most inspirational part was when he talked about his conversion. Would’ve liked to hear more about that.”

• “God loves us.”

• “The best part/most important point was that God loves everyone equally all at the same time.”

• “Whole thing.”

• “I loved his enthusiasm about the Lord & his faith.”

• “The presentation was interesting and inspiring. I liked when he passed out the scaldions.” (Brown Scapulars)

“I liked how he was passionate and tried to convey his beliefs on us.”

• “How he talked and how he involved us in the presentation.”

• “I liked it best when he talked about how we know as Christians why we are here and what we’re supposed to do.”

• “I liked how serious and passionate.”

• “Liked everything.”

• “I liked that he was extremely enthusiastic about the Faith.”

• “He was very intense. Full of information”

• “We touched on some unique topics. I thought that some of the things he said and did were different and special.”

• “I like the intensity you had about your faith the most.”

• “That he called everyone ‘brothers’; kind of neat.”

Question: Would you recommend the speaker?

• “Absolutely” (Underlined 3 times)

• “Yes. I think a whole school assembly with him for at least 2 hours.”

• “Yes. I hope we have him again.”

• “Yes, he should come talk to the whole school in an assembly.”

• “Yes I would. He was a great speaker.”

• “Yes I would recommend this talk to everyone.”

• “Yes, if they can withstand his craziness. His craziness for Jesus.”

• “Yes.” (9 students wrote this same answer.)

“I would recommend him to anybody.”

• “I would recommend him to others.”

• “Yes because I actually paid attention.”

• “Yea Boi!”

• “Yes, if they need someone to get them going about their faith.”

• “I would recommend him!!”

• “I recommend this talk to everyone, especially those who are in question of their faith.”

• “I would recommend him to everyone.”

• “Yes. I would recommend the talk.”

• “I would certainly recommend it to other people.”

• “I would recommend this talk to someone because all points discussed could be somewhat universal.”

‘God is Love’ CD Reviews

Rocco Fortunato’s heart is ablaze with love for Jesus Christ and His Church, and the fire of that love is evident in this impassioned presentation. With a deep knowledge of the teachings of the Church, Fortunato speaks the language of faithful Catholic theology, Scripture, Mariology, and the lives of the Saints. Presented with great humility, energy, and affection for his listeners, Rocco Fortunato’s “God is Love” is sure to move both hearts and minds.

Lisa MladinichFounder of AmazingCatechists.com and the author of "Be an Amazing Catechist: Inspire the Faith of Children" and "Be an Amazing Catechist: Sacramental Preparation"

I have known Rocco for close to 20 years now, and it is wonderful to listen and reflect on his CD about God’s Love. His presentation is energetic, earnest and true. I especially like the respect, and honor that he gives towards fatherhood, both Divine and human. Rocco clearly shows how fatherhood means being an active, attentive, and humble dad.

I am proud to know that his message has a new medium to reach more and more souls, reminding them that God is listening, He is present here and now, and that He has loved each one of us before we were even physically conceived. I promise you that when you hear him speak, or listen to his CD, you will always walk away contemplating Christ’s love for you in your heart.

May God continue to Bless his ministry.

Jim Gill

Dear Rocco,
My kids love your CD! When we were first listening to your CD in the car, we had to turn it off for something. A few minutes later, my 12 year old daughter said, “Can we listen to Mr. Fortunato again? He’s a very strong preacher!”

Preach it brother!

Ad maximam Dei gloriam!!! (All for the GREATEST glory of God!)

Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!!!!!!!

Ave Maria!

Dr. Timothy G. Lock (Brother Francis de Sales Mary, TOFI)Brookefield, CT

Rocco has a vibrant, infectious enthusiasm for Holy Mother Church and passionately yet humbly presents beautiful truths of the Faith! He offers thought provoking and inspiring words for both youth and adults. Thank you for your example of bold missionary zeal! Ave Maria.

Provatia PietilaCoordinator of Youth and Young Adult Ministry Rapid City, SD

I purchased and listened to the CD. It was very powerful and informing. I wish all my brothers and sisters in Christ will order their copy now.

Fred RomeoBinghamton, NY

God is love. God is truth. God is all…

However, we do not listen. Not only have we ignored His pleas, we allowed our children to follow the same wretched path. That is simply unacceptable.

God is Love offers a fresh start toward righting that wrong, a rebirth, another chance. This time though we must listen, and act, as responsible shepherds of one of God’s most precious gifts to us – our children. Rocco is there to help. His unselfish tenacity and soul-stirring passion has our best interest at heart. He shoulders the cross we so lazily ignore. I encourage you to listen to Rocco’s message and not only embrace the words, but seek the truth within the message, and work toward adopting that truth as the cornerstone of your life.

J.R. GalatiMaine, NY

Brother Rocco on his recent CD talks about his blessed conversion from a life of sin! He invokes the prayers of the Saints which he beautifully sings. He also gives an inspiring and very spiritual talk! I’ve heard brother Rocco a number of times preach at his Holy Rosary Rallies! He speaks with a fervent and dynamic voice without the assistance of any notes which leads you to believe the Holy Spirit speaks through brother Rocco.

Tom ChelakBinghamton, NY

Rocco delivers God’s message of love enthusiastically and with passion. He uses analogies which kids and adults can relate to that reinforce the message of God’s love for us. I’ve listened to this CD several times and have shared it with my family. I would encourage you to share it with yours.


God is Love’ is a powerful message of God’s love for us. We sometimes forget that we have been created in His image and likeness, and Rocco’s personal talk reminds us of the greatness of this blessing. Rocco’s excitement for God’s love is contagious. It is a positive witness of God’s mercy and unconditional love. All youth groups can benefit from hearing this Truth. Listen and believe!

JacquelynBinghamton, NY

I have listened to this CD being presented. I can’t say enough how well done and powerful it is. It is well worth the few dollars to purchase to share with your children. There are very few people who I trust my children with in all that is spoken to them. Rocco is one of the few. I HIGHLY recommend this CD. The CD that Rocco has produced is not just for youth. It is for all of us: husbands, wives, young adults, everyone. If you know anyone who is struggling or simply meandering through their faith, this CD has a uniqueness and attraction that can change their hearts in a most profound way.

God bless!
Ave Maria!

Louise SnyderBinghamton, NY