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Pro-Life Video

Courtesy of the uber-talented Robert Galea, from Australia.

Epiphany Lullaby

Courtesy of the friendly folks at NewCatholicMusic-dot-com. They will be selling the sheet music there too.

Top Ten Songs of the Year

The results are in! The topcatholicsongs community has voted, and these are
our Top Catholic Songs of 2007.

  1. Sean Clive's Amazed from Amazed
  2. Teresa Smith's Holy Holy Holy from Blooming
  3. Joel Stein's Satisfied from Always Forward
  4. Nick Cardilino's Discover the Way from Discover the Way
  5. News at Eleven's Alleluia (Raise Your Voice) from Here to the End
  6. Nick Alexander's Holy Thursday from I Wanna Be Debated
  7. Rise's Stand the Line from Stand the Line
  8. Gretchen HarrisBreathe from Sing to the Lord
  9. Lynn Geyer's Spiritsong from Music of the Light
  10. Dan Dúet's Traces of Jesus from Touch the Flame

Hearty congratulations to all participating musicians. Be sure to check out these incredible songs. Support Catholic Music today! Read Full Story >>>

Story Behind the Song: God Almighty, Little Child

Gerard Faucheux writes:

A few years ago, during midnight mass in Brookhaven, Mississippi, a song was played that just kind of settled in my soul. I don't really remember the melody or the words - just the feeling. Something about the dark church and the sound of the guitar and gentle singing just created something that has never left. During one of my long commutes, ideas started coming, comparing the awesomeness of God with the frailty of a little baby and other paradoxes due to Jesus, the son of God, the 2nd person of the blessed trinity, coming to live as one of us, to die as one of us, to die for all of us. Why? For love of us. I still don't understand this love. Even on my best days, I don't deserve this love. Yet while we were sinners, he died for us. (Rom 5:8) Wow! Thank you, Jesus!

I was thrilled (and extremely nervous) to be able to play and sing this song in my home church, St. Joseph's in Paulina, Louisiana a few years ago. A dark church - midnight mass - the sound of guitar and (somewhat) gentle singing - I hope that someone else was touched and changed the way that I was years before.

God Almighty, Little Child Words and music by Gerard C. Faucheux, Sr. God Almighty, little child. King of Kings so meek and mild. Creator of the universe cradled in her arms to nurse. Why did You come? Why leave Your home? Why become a creature so low? You came because You loved, now let us love You. On Your birthday, Jesus, it’s time to recall That You humbled yourself to save one and all. So we sing Glory to God in the Highest And on Earth, peace to all. We lift our voice in Alleluias For You came to save us all, For You came to save us all. Earth creator, on Earth You dwell. Omnipresent, Emmanuel. Unbound by space, unbound by time. Confined by days and trapped by night. Equal to God, but You lived as man, I try, but I cannot understand. Your ways are high above the ways of man... Glory to God in the Highest And on Earth, peace to all. We lift our voice in Alleluias For You came to save us all, For You came to save us all. Copyright © 2005 Gerard C. Faucheux, Sr.

Advent Healing and Hope Mass

On Tuesday evening, I played for a charismatic "Healing and Hope" mass for the Archdiocese of Hartford. For those unfamiliar with such liturgies, it is an opportunity to incorporate the dynamic elements in an informal prayer gathering with a formal Catholic liturgy, oftentimes with tremendous results. It's always thrilling for me to play these masses, because it gives me the freedom to do what I love to do best--lead congregations with a mixture of contemporary and traditional worship songs. I believe wholeheartedly that the elements from these types of songs complement each other--a traditional liturgy has solemnity and reverence, whereas the music from contemporary praise choruses have a personal, vibrant quality. The former emphasizes God is Holy, and the latter emphasizes God is closer than your best friend. Both are needed. Being the season of Advent, I focussed my song selection with laser-like precision to focus on Advent themes: particularly the expectancy of Jesus' imminent return. Choosing songs that stayed true to the Advent season, while being appropriate for a healing liturgy (singable, congregation-friendly, God-centered, and beautiful). Having the original "Holy Is the Lord" (Steubenville Press) and a CCLI license at my disposal, I worked hard to get a plan in order. First off, was the prelude before the liturgy. Charismatic healing liturgies sometimes allow for a few up-tempo songs to be played before the actual formal liturgy begins. My job was to find those songs that people knew, or people could easily pick up, so that they could join in singing. The songs I chose were:
  • Soon And Very Soon / Come And Go With Me to that Land medley
  • Jesus is Coming Again (Vineyard, from Winds of Worship 11-Australia)
  • Prepare the Way (Passion, from Charlie Hall and Louie Giglio)
Only "Jesus is Coming Again" did I print out on the page, the rest were simple enough that people could pick them up without using a songsheet. Then came the songs for the liturgy. The entrance hymn was:O Come O Come Emmanuel (verses 1, 5 and 6).I knew that the verses correllated with specific weeks in the Advent calendar, but for here I guessed that verses 5 and 6 were meant for week 3 of Advent. The responsorial psalm was sung, by an original melody that I tried to keep as simple as possible. Homily: Obviously, I don't play any songs during the homily--but the priest was a singing priest, and he insisted in getting the congregation to sing at certain points, particularly an original, lovely "Alleluia" setting, as well as the classic songs "Spirit of the Living God" and "There's Just Something About that Name." I wish more priests did this. Offeratory: At the Name of Jesus (Jim Cowan's rendering). Personally, I could have gone after any number of melodies for this hymn, but Jim Cowan's rendering is the most familiar for this crowd, and is the simplest to pick up for neophytes. It also sounds pretty good. Very strong Advent themes, particularly with the last verse. Communion. The antiphon text was Matthew 1:23 (His name will be called Emmanuel, which means God is with us). This was great, because there were a number of songs that used this very text, including the very popularly used Emmanuel by Bob McKee. But McKee's rendering wasn't long enough, so I searched for a complementary song that can flow together. To my surprise, the solution was already in the "Holy is the Lord" resource at my disposal, a simple song His Name Shall Be Called, which borrows a melody from classical music. The songs can be forced in the same key, and they play right off of each other. Of all the musical achievements last night, this I was most proud of. Recessional: Come Holy Ghost. At a healing mass, as the prayer teams are lined up, this sort of song is mandatory. This, to me, was the only derivation from the Advent season. After this, I was free to sing whatever song I wanted, in a muted tone, keeping a worshipful flow. I created special resources that allowed me to keep the focus specifically tailored to both Advent and the ministry of healing. The songs I chose (to the best of my memory) were the following (and not in this order):
  • Lord of All (Jim Cowan)
  • Jesus, Come to Us (David Haas)
  • Even So Come (Kevin Prosch)
  • Even So (Terry MacAlmon)
  • Lo He Comes With Clouds Descending (chanted a cappella with Tantum Ergo melody)
  • To You O Lord (Graham Kendrick)
  • Let Us Adore (Hillsong)
  • Emmanuel (Hillsong)
  • Christ Circle Round Us (chanted a cappella)
  • Wonderful Maker (Chris Tomlin/Matt Redman)
  • Help Us Our God (underused classic Vineyard)
The evening was real incredible, and I am just blessed to have been a part of it.

Personal Favorite Christmas Songs

Nick Alexander here...

When I created this list, I was unaware of the passing of Dan Fogelberg, earlier that day. While I didn't follow his secular work (not that I dislike it... I just never got around to listening to his box-set), I personally believe that his Christmas album is one for the ages. Every song is an original, and the lyrics focus strongly on the story of the birth of the Christ-child. I cannot recommend his album highly enough.

Granted, this list cannot be complete without at least one novelty song. If you haven't heard Steve Taylor's take on Winter Wonderland, you will not soon forget it. (Whether you'll like it or not, that is another question entirely).

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

The apparitions of Mary to Juan Diego at Guadalupe, Mexico, is one of the most endearing, but powerful anecdotes that demonstrate God's tangible love for us. Today is the feast day of Our Lady at Guadalupe. To celebrate, I have highlighted two noteworthy recordings:

Mark Mallett created an exceptional listening experience, a rosary album based on the events at Guadalupe. It is called Through her Eyes: A Journey to Jesus. The album is groundbreaking, refreshing, contemporary and traditional, spoken word and musical. It contains:

  • All four Mysteries, including the new Luminous Mysteries
  • Scriptural meditations with deeply moving, original music scores beneath each decade that help you to profoundly experience the life, passion and resurrection of our Lord (Hail Mary's spoken by Fr. Ray Guimond and Mark Mallett)
  • Contemporary & energizing versions of the "Apostle's Creed", "Our Father", "Glory Be's" and "Hail Holy Queen" all written & produced by Mark Mallett
  • Four original songs Mark has written to honor Mary (including the concert favourite "Family Beads")
  • Dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of all America, it has Mary's words to St. Juan Diego at the end of each Mystery (spoken by Christine Foisy-Erickson of MiCasa Ministries)
  • 154 minutes in length--more than 3 times the length of a regular album!

Also worth noting: Annie Karto, has performed "Song to Our Lady of Guadalupe", which uses the familiar melody from "Pescadore De Hombres/Lord, You Have Come to the Seashore." It is off her album, "Overshadow Me."

Song to Our Lady of Guadalupe Words Anonymous You are the fountain of my life Under your shadow, and in your protection, I fear no evil, no pain, no worry... Maria, oh most merciful Mother Gentle Virgin, with the name, Guadalupe On a mountain, we find roses in winter, All the world, has been touched by your love. Here, in the crossing of your arms Could there be anything, else that I need? Nothing discourages, nothing depress me. You, are the Star of the Ocean My boat is small, and the waves are so high But with you to guide me, I'll reach my homeland. You, are the Dawn of a New Day For you give birth to the Son of the Father All of my lifetime, I'll walk beside you... Copyright (c) 1979 OCP Publications Read Full Story >>>

Great Advent Reflections and New Christmas CDs

Susan Bailey writes: From time to time I get more new stuff than I can schedule into the GrapeVine News Minute Podcast or the magazine, so I will mention it here. Sean Ward from CatholicTV in Boston, MA sent me a note yesterday about Advent reflections that they are doing on the website. If you have not visited this site before, be sure and visit it. All their programming is online, proving once again that CatholicTV is staying ahead of the curve. You can find their Advent programs where it says "Now Playing - CATHOLICTV SERIES" - scroll down a bit to find the Advent link. Of their Advent programming, Sean writes, "Check out Fr. Bill Kelly. He has a different reflection every week (along with the other four priests). Beginning next week they are sung. CatholicTV's Advent programming is underway. Each day of the Advent calendar we have a different reflection. Think of it as your thought for the day as you wait for Jesus birthday." Artists have certainly been busy! Just within the last week I've received 3 wonderful new projects, one of which (Popple's new release, "Plaid") will be profiled in the Winter issue of GrapeVine, coming out in February. My schedule with the podcast is full for this month but I just had to mention these two new releases that I've received related to Christmas. Mike Zabrocki has put out his first Christmas project and it contains some traditional songs that I've not heard before including my favorite, "The Cherry Tree Carol" which he does with his wife, Laura. There's also a great Advent hymn on it, "Come O Lord." Listen to samples on Mike's MySpace site. Tom Franzak has put out a wonderful new project which includes members of his family (and they all sing very well!). The packaging for this CD is very unusual and really catches the eye. When it first arrived in my mailbox and I opened the package, I thought it was a Christmas card. That's because the package is designed to be just that. The inside contains the CD, lyrics to all the original songs and a picture of Tom and his family. It's beautifully done. I listened on the way into work this morning and really enjoyed hearing both spiritually-based songs ("Emmanuel," "Behold the Child," "Let It Be Done," etc.) and songs with traditional secular Christmas themes ("A Christmas Card," "On Christmas Day," "Through the Eyes of a Child," etc.). I always love anything that's new and innovative. Tom's daughter Lucy, especially, is a wonderful singer. Great job, all you Franzaks! You can find their project at www.littlewaychristmas.com. That's it for now. Stay tuned for this weekend's podcast which will feature Lynn Geyer talking about her Merry Christmas New York City show at Carnegie Hall. Peace and Happy Advent! Susan Bailey
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