After a childhood of singing Disney songs while dancing around my dining room, I asked for my second guitar from Santa when I was in 4th grade (see picture – yes, that is a onesie). This was a great improvement on my first guitar, which was made from a wrapping paper cardboard sleeve, two paper plates and a few pieces of string (no pictures were taken to document this, but trust that it actually did happen). As the years passed and the guitars increased in number, I spent many hours in my room learning the oldest Beatles and newest Vanessa Carlton and John Mayer tunes, while also practicing both Classical and Broadway tunes from my vocal coach.
College rolled around, and so did a serious realization of the True Presence of the Eucharist and the beauty of Mary. While spending my undergraduate years at Franciscan University of Steubenville serving in Music Ministry, I quickly learned that the most beautiful experiences of using my gift of music, as a Catholic, were in the context of the Liturgy. While serving as a music minister with both guitar and piano-driven contemporary styles of music, I also sang in the Schola Cantorum Franciscana, where I continued to develop my classical training.
These two drastically different styles of liturgical music – classical and contemporary – have helped me to bridge the gap between the traditional and charismatic approaches of prayer to bring souls into union with our Eucharistic Lord. I seek for the music I bring to the Mass not to be an interruption of prayer, but a way to bring meaning to the silence with God — a true sursum corda, a lifting up of hearts to heaven. As Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, then Cardinal Ratzinger, once wrote, “True liturgy sings with the angels, and true liturgy is silent with the expectant depths of the universe. And thus true liturgy redeems the earth.”
My goal is to continue to lead music for the Mass and in many other avenues, always seeking to help others enter deeply into prayer.
Free Music? Yup.
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