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Grapevine Videocast: Fire at John Michael Talbot's Hermitage

Presented by GrapeVine, this video tells the story in pictures and music about the tragic fire that struck the Little Portion Hermitage, home to the Brothers and Sisters of Charity, founded by monk and well-known Catholic recording artist John Michael Talbot. This simple slide show portrays the hermitage before and after the fire, and provides information where you can go and donate to their building fund. There is also an audio podcast that goes along with this video - you can find it at

Please join in prayer as the Brothers and Sisters of Charity seek God’s will in the rebuilding of the Little Portion Hermitage.

Nick Alexander's Favorite John Michael Talbot Songs

Nick Alexander here... I cannot help but be stunned by the fire that consumed much of the property on John Michael Talbot's Hermitage, in Berryville, Arkansas. I have been a fan of John Michael Talbot's music, ministry and lifestyle for many years, and have been privileged to have visited the Hermitage on more than one occassion. Of all the places I have visited, this place ranks very high in the "most peaceful places on earth". To hear that much of what I had admired... the gardens, the chapel, the very unique design that had the offices and cafeteria... all destroyed by the fire... it is quite unsettling to me. Certainly, they will build again. I pray they do. In light of this, let's support John Michael Talbot by revisiting some of his best songs. I have compiled a list of my thirty favorites--too hard to break into ten--that comprise his career from his earliest days as a guitarist for Mason Proffit, up to his fiftieth album last year. Some of these may not be entirely familiar to you. It is my hope that you come to appreciate the breadth and vastness and truly unique giftedness of John Michael Talbot's music.

Note from site admin: The old iTunes iMixes were discontinued by Apple, so Nick's list was no longer visible or functional. In lieu of Nick's iMix here is Apple's comprehensive "iTunes Preview" of John Michael Talbot albums and singles: Read Full Story >>>

George Lower's Favorite John Michael Talbot Songs

George Lower writes: By now many of you have heard of the terrible fire that burned much of the common areas of the Little Portion Hermitage in Arkansas. Personally, I felt a deep sadness as the loss the community there has suffered. As a musician and a Christian John Michael Talbot has been a real inspiration for me. His spirituality and his music have provided me with much comfort as I have faced challenges on my own journey. At times like this I ask myself, "What I can do?" First of all, I know that I can pray for the community. Prayer is certainly an important part of dealing with adversity. I know that I can also give thanks because this fire did not result in any loss of life. Buildings can be rebuilt and possessions can be replaced. God did protect his children from physical harm in this instance. However, since I do not possess large financial resources I am trying to do something small to give back to a person and a community who has given much to me. I have selected some of my favorite John Michael Talbot songs and compiled them to an iMix available through iTunes. These songs are ones that have supported and sustained my spirit over the years. I hope that many will choose to listen and download this music in an effort to support John Michael and the Brothers and Sisters of Charity.

Note from site admin: The old iTunes iMixes were discontinued by Apple, so George's list was no longer visible or functional. In lieu of George's iMix here is Apple's comprehensive "iTunes Preview" of John Michael Talbot albums and singles: Read Full Story >>>

Top Holy Spirit Songs

Nick Alexander here...
The votes have been tallied and counted, and according to the community of Top Catholic Songs, this is the list for the Top Holy Spirit Songs... just in time for Pentecost Sunday . Each of these songs express a particular devotion to the Holy Spirit, or a deeper yearning for His presence in our lives. We pray that you make these songs your own, as you realize that the Holy Spirit is our inheritance upon baptism and confirmation, and it is also the theme for this year's World Youth Day in Australia.

  1. Come Holy Spirit by Mark Mallett
    This song speaks of the intimate love and trust we should have in the Holy Spirit. Many speak of a personal relationship with Jesus... but how many of us seek to have a personal relationship with the third person of the Trinity?

  2. SpiritSong by Lynn Geyer
    You're fire in my heart center of my soul
    Light through the darkness
    Holy Spirit come, Holy Spirit come
    Guide me to your light, o Lord, Holy Spirit come

  3. The Dream by Stinging Rain
    I remember the first rehearsal of this song. I was on the phone in the room
    adjacent to the practice area when it was introduced and guys start playing it. Jon was laying out a sparse beat with his snares off and Nate was playing slide on his acoustic. I knew what kind of bass line I would play, a very simple one to complement the understated beat.
    Nate began singing dreamily, "Spirit, exalt yourself...." I knew at that moment that this song would become a favorite.

  4. Come Holy Spirit by Susan Bailey
    “Come Holy Spirit” uses the familiar prayer of the Church to invoke the fire of the Spirit for our hearts. It is based on reading #521 of To the Priests, Our Lady’s Beloved Sons, compiled by Don Stefano Gobbi.

  5. Come Holy Spirit by Celeste Zepponi
    Come Holy Spirit
    Fill the Hearts of your faithful
    And enkindle in us the fire of your love
    Send forth your spirit
    And we shall be recreated
    And You shall renew the face of the earth
    Yes You shall renew the face of the Earth

  6. Shine Out by George Lower
    I firmly believe that the Holy Spirit has worked in my own life through this particular song. It is my prayer that the Holy Spirit continues to use this song to encourage and strenghten the faithful of his church.

  7. Glory Be by ServantSong
    I sort of have songs in my head each time I say spoken prayers like the "Hail Mary" and "Our Father" but never had one for the "Glory Be" -- so I wrote one. I wrote about the Father in the first verse, Son in the second, and Holy Spirit in the bridge. The bridge a big part of the song, as it leads to the climactic vocals & drums only chorus before the final chorus. It's usually a fan favorite when we play live -- fun to sing along to.

  8. Sanctify by Annie Karto
    Sanctify, come Holy Spirit, come Sanctify... the work of Your Hands. All that I am... all I long to be...pour your Holy Spirit upon me.
    It is Your will, it is Your desire, to burn within me as a consuming fire.... Come Sanctify, the work of Your Hands.

  9. Gift of God by Nancy Krebs
    This song was inspired by the many titles given to the Holy Spirit. This has always been a song I've loved to share with others.

  10. Renew the Face of the Earth by Mel Kennedy
    This wonderful bi-lingual song is based on Psalm 104 (the Psalm for Pentecost). It's latin flavor gets you feelin the spirit!

Ave Maria Video

Nick Alexander here...
Annie Karto has a beautiful video based on her rendition of the Ave Maria. Check it out!

Top Ten Mary Songs

Nick Alexander here... The votes have been tallied and counted, and according to the community of Top Catholic Songs, this is the list for the Top Songs of Mary. Each of these songs express a particular devotion to Mary, or are songs based out of her words from Scripture. The key to Marian songs, of course, is to honor her as one would honor one's own mother, but not to the level of worship (reserved for God only). It was her "Yes," after all, that opened the door for Jesus to come into the world, that, in turn, opened the door for salvation for all humanity.

  1. Queen of Heaven by Mark Mallett

    You, you are the Queen of Heaven And we honor you ‘Cause you, you said “I will”, to the Father For all of us and you You take our prayers And you wrap them in your mantle of love Ya, you lead us to The only Son of God our Lord above O blessed are you among women O and blessed is the fruit of your womb
  2. Mary's Song by Sean Clive
    We need to imitate Mary in her acceptance of God’s love and complete surrender of herself to the Maker of all things. Do we praise God enough for the good things He has done for us? I don’t. Not nearly enough for so many gifts. (Luke 1:26-56)
  3. Hail Mary, Gentle Woman by Gretchen Harris
    This popular song by Carey Landry has such beautiful, gentle lyrics ... I love how our Blessed Mother is called "Peaceful Dove!" My ministry is Marian, with the desire to encourage Marian devotion and in turn inspire more frequent prayer of the Rosary, all in hopes of consoling our Blessed Mother.
  4. Medjugorje by Paul Harrigan
    Our Blessed Mother Mary got a hold of my sick heart and brought me to her Son Jesus, our Divine Physician. And He has healed me! Please visit my YouTube page to view my EWTN performance of "Medjugorje."
  5. Mary (Magnificat) by Fr. Kent O'Connor It is based on the words that Mary speaks to Elizabeth at the Visitation. It is a duet with myself and a good friend, Steve Courtney. I wanted a version of the Magnificat that was a bit more upbeat than the versions that I often hear. Originally written a little more "rowdy," it was re-arranged, and now it is a song that starts gently but slowly builds to a joyful end. I also wanted to stay very close lyrically to the version that I pray every evening.
  6. Do Whatever He Tells You by Nick Cardilino

    I originally wrote this song back in 2000 in celebration of the beatification of Fr. Chaminade, who founded the Marianists. "Do Whatever He Tells You" became Fr. Chaminade's motto and the way he tried to live. Mary's spirit of obedience to God's will was how he sought to live out his life. So, my hope in writing this song is to encourage all of us to turn to Mary as a model of true discipleship.
  7. Song to Our Lady of Guadalupe by Annie Karto
    From the popular melody "Lord You Have Come to the Seashore" are beautiful lyrics honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of America. Trumpets and acoustic guitar add a Mexican flair.
  8. Ode to Mary by Mark Mallett

    When I was born many years ago You were there to greet my cry Fruit of my mother’s womb You became the Mother of my life I was baptized, beneath your eyes With the Father, Spirit and your Son Full of grace... I turned my face O your work had just begun Hail Mary, Hail Mary, Mary mother to me Hail Mary, Hail Mary, you are the Queen of my life
  9. Ave Maria by Trish Foti Genco
    Classic rendition of the Bach/Gounod. A favorite of mine to sing.
  10. Queen of Apostles by Nancy Krebs
    This song won the EWTN Marian Song Contest in 2004, and went on to represent the U.S. in the XX World Festival of Marian Songs in Guatemala. I went there to sing it, and the song came in 5th among 24 nations. It was a great honor and a thrill to be there and to see how people from all over the region loved this festival in honor of the Blessed Mother.

Feel free to check out these excellent songs, and to deepen your devotion to Our Lady for this year.

Ascension Thursday Hymn

To the melody of ST DELIO ("Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise") []

New praises be given to Christ newly crowned
Who back to His heaven a new way hath found
God's blessedness sharing before us He goes
What mansions preparing, what endless repose!

His glory still praising on thrice holy ground
Th'apostles stood gazing his MOther around
With hearts that beat faster, with eyes full of love
They watched while their Master ascended above.

"No star can disclose Him," the bright angels said;
"Eternity knows Him, your conquering Head:
Those high habitations He leaves not again,
Till judging all nations, on earth He shall reign."

Thus spoke they, and straightway, where legions defend
Heav'n's glittering gateway, their Lord they attend
And cry, looking thther, "Your portals let down
For Him who rides hither in peace and renown."

They asked, who keep sentry in that blessed town
"Who thus claimeth entry, a king of renown?"
"The Lord of all valiance," that herald replied,
"Who Satan's battalions laid low in their pride."

Gran, Lord, that our longing may follow Thee there
On earth who are thronging Thy temples with prayer
And unto Thee gather, Redeemer, Thine own
Where Thou with Thy Father, dost sit on the throne.

--St. Bede the Venerable, 673-735. Translation R.A. Knox.

Grapevine News Minute covers the Papal Visit

Susan Bailey writes:
Episode #86 of the GrapeVine News Minute is up

The podcast player is located on the homepage of the GrapeVine website as well as on the podcast page. Go to to access the player for easy listening.

The GrapeVine News Minute for
April 27, 2008
Episode #86

Sponsored by Gretchen Harris Music Ministry.

We talk to 2 performers (Fr. Stan Fortuna and Dana) and 2 spectators (Matthew Baute and Annie Karto - they happen to be artists too!) on their impressions of the Pope whom they saw in person during his visit to America April 15-20.

Matthew's photo album of the Mass at Yankee Stadium


B 16 Bomber, Fr. Stan Fortuna (courtesy of Francesco Productions)
We Are One Body, Dana (courtesy of HeartBeat Records)
Perfect Sacrifice, Annie Karto
Love Wins All, Matthew Baute (courtesy of World Library Publications)

Read about the Pope's visit plus other news about Catholic music on the new Music section of Catholic Online.

Check the show notes for a special iMix of songs performed by various artists for Pope Benedict during his visit - click on the Podcast tab at the top of the website page.

We love your feedback!
Call the hot line at 206-600-6940

Grapevine Magazine and Catholic Jukebox

Nick Alexander here...

Have you discovered Grapevine Magazine? In my mind, it is the absolute best resource to discovering the latest from Catholic Contemporary musicians, liturgical and entertainment-oriented. Run by Susan Bailey, there are musician profiles, latest events, and music reviews. The resulting magazine is quite attractive in print, and the articles draw attention to this otherwise "blind-spot" in Christian music.

Not to be outdone with print, Susan Bailey has been promoting the Grapevine News Minute (actually, about fifteen minutes), a weekly podcast which allows you to dig deeper in these stories, and get to hear songs live.

Susan Bailey, along with George Leite (of Catholic Jukebox/Catholic Rockers/Catholic PraiseCast fame) presented an informative session at the Catholic Faith & Media Conference at Franciscan U of Steubenville, earlier this month. They even got a few good blurbs about Top Catholic Songs in... Thanks So Much!! (Check out their presentation on Grapevine's main page).

Discover the blessings of Catholic Music, and check out both Grapevine and Catholic Jukebox today.

Song for Karol

Nick Alexander here...
In honor of the third anniversary of Karol Wojtyla's passing (aka Pope John Paul II), Mark Mallett has created this exceptional video.

Be sure to check out Mark Mallett's website.

Easter Message from John Michael Talbot

JMTJohn Michael Talbot is one of the most important figures in Catholic music today. He has recorded fifty albums, spearheaded a religious-and-lay movement that unites the branches of contemplative, charismatic and monastic spiritualities, has been a tireless advocate for social justice causes, and even started The Catholic Association of Music, of which I am an enthusiastic member.

The following is the text of his 2008 Holy Week/Easter message:

Peace and Good in Christ!

It is time for my Holy Week and Easter message to our community. Two thoughts come to mind:

The "holy" in "Holy Week" has special significance. "Holy," means "set apart." Holy Week is time for us to set aside special times and places to do more intensely the positive things we do daily as disciples of Jesus. To be a "disciple" means to embrace the "discipline" of a teacher or master. For a Christian Jesus is our Teacher of teachers, and Master of masters. For most of us this means more intentional time and space for prayer and meditation on Jesus and the Church. In addition to personal spirituality in the privacy of our own home it might also mean going more often to church for Mass or Communion or the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and the "communion" of "community" with those of one mind and heart regarding faith and morality. We can also mention simple acts of kindness that do not have to be noticed or rewarded by anyone but God. On a personal note I was deeply touched during Lent when one of our consecrated sisters brought meals to my hermitage during a time of illness. I was also blessed by a discipline embraced by several monastics of not saying anything negative about anyone. Both of these penances touched me deeply.

I have also been struck in recent weeks by the much talked about report that 8 out of 10 Americans call themselves "Christians." That is much higher than I would have thought, and is very revealing concerning everything from interfaith issues such as meditation and mysticism to moral issues such as pro life and simple living. But the report goes on to say that most of these have not stayed with the religion of their upbringing, and now tend to "shop around" with various churches whenever one gets too familiar, or "old."

This latter point is a bit disconcerting. It is a challenge to the church, and a challenge to our culture. How is it that so many call themselves not just religious or "churched," but "Christians," yet are so unhappy with the stability offered in the institutions of traditional family and church? On one level this report gives us great hope that we will find enough common ground with those of western culture to bring the deeper messages of faith, morality, and mysticism. On another level it means that we Americans tend to only "buy" that which is easy, simple, and quickly replaceable. Is it any wonder that deeper levels of spirituality are seldom reached by those of our own culture?

This is a challenge to those of us who stay with one church or spouse for life. It challenges us to live our stability in a more life giving way. This way must authentically change us within before it can change anyone or anything without. This is called being a "witness" for Christ. But such "witnessing" can be most off putting if done only for display. It must be genuine and humble if it is to have a positive effect.

So I encourage you to set aside some extra time for prayer, church sacraments, and care for everyone we meet. Let's embrace a Christian spirituality that takes us so deep that we no longer feel the need for the easy and quickly replaceable spirituality that has become so prominent in America today. Then we can get to the root of the problems of our culture that sees everything from marriage to monasteries in an easy, and quickly replaceable mindset. Then can we find the stability of Jesus who never leaves us so easily or quickly when we fall into the various troubles of life. Then we can have a stability within that no one can take away. This stability can then bring a deep and abiding peace to our troubled and insecure world.

Of course, I cannot do any of this without God's grace, and most specifically through the dying and rising of Jesus. This is the whole point of Holy Week and Easter. When I let go of my ego centric self in the dying of Christ, then my real self finds its place gracefully in His resurrection. Without this I can do nothing.

In Jesus,
John Michael Talbot
Founder and Spiritual Father
The Brothers and Sisters of Charity at Little Portion Hermitage
Read Full Story >>>

Easter Triduum Playlist from Timothy English

Timothy English writes: "Since Holy Week and The Easter Triduum is one mystery, here are some of my favorite Easter peices."

Videos for the Triduum

Nick Alexander here...
Thought you all might enjoy some exceptional videos for Holy Week.

Eyes by Nancy Krebs

Oh My People by APOSTOLICA

We Need the Cross by Bryan Murdaugh

Sorrowful by Point 5 Covenant

Top Ten Holy Week Songs

Nick Alexander here...

Holy Week is fast approaching. Therefore, now is the time to reveal this community's Top Ten Holy Week Songs. After a lengthy process of entering song titles, listening, voting and tallying, these songs were the ones that affected us most, particularly for Holy Week, encompassing Palm Sunday (or Passion Sunday), Holy Thursday (or Maundy Thursday), Good Friday, and Holy Saturday... up to (but not including) the Easter Vigil.

  1. Calvary by Sean Clive
    Jesus calls us to embrace our own cross as He hangs upon His.
  2. And Time Stood Still by Dan Dúet
    With this Good Friday song, I wanted to tie in the killing of an innocent Man with the killing of the innocent, unborn today.
  3. Holy Thursday by Nick Alexander
    Funny--but reverent--update on The Mamas and the Papas'"Monday Monday"in homage of the Triduum.
  4. Lamb of God by Trish Foti Genco
    Beautiful cover of the classic Twila Paris song.
  5. Forsaken by John Flynn
    Haunting rendering of Psalm 22, written for Palm (Passion) Sunday
  6. Psalm 42 (As the Deer Longs) by Lynn Geyer
    A sweet and gentle reminder of all that God is to us and how we really don't need to worry.
  7. Eyes by Nancy Krebs
    This song is about the Passion and Death of Jesus as seen through the eyes of the wife of a Roman soldier. It is very dear to my heart.
  8. Father (The Passion) by Bob Metivier

    I wrote it for the Good Friday service several years ago, and got through it until just when it ended, and then it literally"took me out."
  9. Oh My People by Apostolica

    The words are based on the classical"Good Friday Reproaches." Of all my songs, this one evokes the most emotion.
  10. Via Dolorosa by Mel Kennedy
    Watching Heather Whitestone, the first and only deaf Miss America, perform a ballet to this song, gave me inspiration to record my own version.

Feel free to listen in to each of these songs, and make them your own. These iMixes are set up easily so that you can download them to your computer, and listen to them on your MP3 player... or you can burn them onto a CD and listen to them there. Or, you can purchase the albums directly from the vendors. It will bring a greater sense of devotion to this, most sacred and solemn of weeks.

Top Ten Adoration Songs

Nick Alexander here... After accepting submissions, listening to the offerings, and a week-long process of voting, this community has come up with their official Top Ten Adoration Songs list. These are songs that can be beneficial either for adoration, or encouraging to pursue Eucharistic Adoration.

  1. Broken by Christopher D'Alfonso
    Blueprints by Chris D'Alfonso
    Jesus, broken now to make me whole
    Jesus, of my heart take control
    Jesus, all I want is more of you
    More of you
  2. Spending Time Adoring You by Margo. B. Smith
    Sending Up A Prayer by Margo B Smith
    This is a song/prayer to our Lord expressing a loving desire to spend time in His presence adoring Him. As I wrote this song I was reflecting on how much I love to visit the perpetual adoration chapel and be in the Lord’s presence in the Blessed Sacrament. In His presence there is peace, healing, joy and love. In the silence, He speaks to us. 
  3. Holy God, We Praise Your Great Name by Nick Alexander
    Holy God We Praise Your Great Name by Nick Alexander
    A lively, reverent update to the classic hymn.
  4. Open Book by Teresa Smith
    Teresa Smith
    The song was inspired actually during my time of adoration - about going to adoration, his real presence, and speaks of Jesus' ability to "read" us well even though we may not be able to put into words something that may be weighing heavy on our hearts. 
  5. With You by Sean Clive
    Sean Clive
    "Come away with me for a while to a place set apart…" Sometimes all you need is quiet. If you meet Him daily, you realize that all the other parts of your day are spent walking with the Lord. (Mark 6:31a
  6. Jesus, Teacher by Michael Howard

    Teach me how to live like you
    Show me how to pray
    Humble me in all I do
    I’ll follow you, just lead the way
  7. Quiet Here With You by Lynn Geyer
    Journey to Forgiveness by Lynn Geyer
    The awesome humility we can experience as we sit quietly before the Lord. 
  8. Holy Are You, Lord by Mark Mallett

    This is my favorite song to sing before the Blessed Sacrament. I recall how my ministry team would gather before the tabernacle, and raise our voices in this song until we were drenched in God's presence.
  9. Psalm 123 by Valerie Von Fange
    Steadfast Love by Valerie Von Fange
    A beautiful praise song based on Psalm 123
  10. You Are Enough by Celeste Zepponi
    You Are Enough by Celeste Zepponi
    My producer Joe Hand and I always start our work sessions with prayer. This particular song was written as a result of one of those prayer times. I will never forget Joe sitting across from me, holding my hands and praying. I was in tears that morning, feeling out of place... Joe prayed for a long time. His voice was comforting, as if Jesus was speaking to me through him. I kept hearing the words: I am enough, I am enough, I am enough for you. Do not worry about your ministry,your age, or what it takes to produce this offering of praise. I have given you everything you need to accomplish this work. I am enough for you. The next morning I wrote this song. We never know where God is leading, especially when we feel the weakest. But, if we are in prayer, we can be sure God is listening and He has a plan. God is enough. 

Feel free to listen in to each of these songs, and make them your own. These iMixes are set up easily so that you can download them to your computer, and listen to them on your MP3 player... or you can burn them onto a CD and listen to them there. It will bring a greater sense of devotion to the practice of Eucharistic Adoration.