The Power of Music
Music has such a power to invoke many different kinds of feelings in all of us. It has the power to bring pleasure, happiness, sadness, reflection and a wide range of other emotions and thoughts. Even those who cannot communicate or who are suffering to the point of not being able to verbally express themselves can listen with their ears and their hearts, if they are able to. With that said, it’s pretty apparent that music can also bring out the good and sometimes the not-so-good in our hearts if we are not careful about it. Not to say that listening to something down, depressing or even “bad” will totally destroy us, but it’s certainly something to consider that listening to pieces that inspire and bring out the best in our souls is most likely the right choice.
Considering casual listening music, I think Christian Contemporary music has a lot to offer for all ages, but especially for the younger crowd. Of course the term, “younger crowd” in today’s world is older than it was generations ago. So, perhaps it’s better to say this music is appropriate for all ages. I was introduced to bands and artists like The Newsboys, David Crowder, Matt Maher and many of the other artists played on radio stations such as K-LOVE or Sirius Radio’s “The Message” within the last 15 years or so. Of course, there are thousands of other Christian and Catholic Contemporary artists which I could name, and I have found this type of music to be both uplifting, positive and inspiring to my life and faith. Having two teenage daughters, it makes for good listening music when traveling in the car, and the messages in the lyrics are usually very positive and geared toward faith in God and in Christ. With a good cup of coffee and a smile on my face, I listen to this kind of music often, and it brightens my life and my attitude toward living in the Holy Spirit and believing in my heart that no matter what life brings, God will get me through!
Music and Mercy
I know of three Catholic men who take their music very seriously to bring out the “good” in others and offer a reflection of God’s mercy to all people. Those men are Father Kevin McGoldrick, Connor Flanagan and Joe Miralles. All three of these men write, sing and perform music that is both Christian, Catholic or “Universal” and also “crossover”, meaning music that could be considered secular but that remains solid in the faith, uplifting and inspirational toward God.
Father Kevin McGoldrick
Father Kevin McGoldrick was born and raised in the Philadelphia, PA area. He began singing and playing the piano at an early age and then playing the guitar and writing music in high school. After high school, he attended Temple University as a Theater major. The Holy Spirit led Father Kevin to be ordained a priest, and he was ordained in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in 2003. He is now living in Nashville, TN where he is a priest and Music Minister at Aquinas College and continues to write new music and sing to the Lord and others.
I had a very nice conversation with Father Kevin recently about “The Year of Mercy” which Pope Francis instituted at the beginning of the new Liturgical Year. I asked Father Kevin how he thinks his music and music like his may bring others especially those in need of the healing touch of God’s mercy in their lives. He mentioned the concept of “building bridges” which is a phrase that has been used to describe the Pope and his ministry by some in the media and elsewhere. He said, “Pope Francis through his open dialogue and holiness has built bridges between Catholics and all of the other different religions and denominations and even non-religions. He has built a bridge of mercy to all people, and the Year of Mercy is just the beginning of bridges of mercy for the world”. I found that analogy to be very healing and enlightening not only to myself but reflecting on how it will bring God’s love to all people and hopefully a closer union with the Lord which is the hope of Jesus, himself.
Father Kevin has a great website which gives information on his music ministry. The website is www.kevinmcgoldrickmusic.com. His latest release is “Square Peg/Round Hole”. I was fortunate enough to be able to hear his latest releases live. All are good. His music is definitely for all listeners, but those who celebrate the faith and for anyone which is a great door to the mercy of God. Father is a terrific musician and well-rounded, so I would highly recommend checking out his music. Great acoustics and vocals.
Connor Flanagan is a 20-something, up and coming Catholic singer/songwriter from the state of Ohio. He was brought up on a farm near the Cleveland area, and is the second oldest of five. He had a love of music his whole life and grew up playing the Irish tin whistle, moved on to the flute and eventually picked up guitar in middle school. Since then guitar has become his main instrument, although every now then he picks up the flute. He was captivated at an early age by musicians and their talent, hence it became a dream of his to be a part of the music world and create his own sound. He continued on his music journey and also songwriting while attending and graduating from Franciscan University in Steubenville, OH.
I had an opportunity months ago to listen to Connor perform, and I was highly impressed with his creativity, sound and most especially the wonderful lyrics reflecting the love of God and the gifts of the Church to all. Connor is currently working on his new album entitled “Mountains” due for release this summer. His last album “Close to You”, is wonderfully done and draws the listener closer to God with each song.
Connor and I had an opportunity to chat recently about “The Year of Mercy” and music. Connor made a point to tell me that he feels music has the ability to “disarm” even hardened hearts toward God through his mercy. He said, “We may never have the opportunity to sit and chat with a person who feels very far from God or from the Church, however a song has the power to disarm and give food for thought to people who need a touch of God’s love”.
In additions to his musical endeavors Connor is the Youth Minister at a Parish outside of the Minneapolis area. He loves his job, and he is happy that he also has time to work on writing new songs and work on his music ministry. He is engaged to be married to Katie, who is a First Grade teacher at a local Catholic School. Keep your eyes open for Connor. I believe he and his music have a lot to offer others and will continue to bring much peace and mercy to his listeners. Check out his website at www.connorflanaganmusic.com.
Joe Miralles hails from the suburban area of Philadelphia, PA. He became involved in the music world at a very young age through his love of percussion and of music. Joe is a singer/songwriter, husband, father and Catholic Christian man who is inspired by his faith and the love of Christ. Quoting his website bio: “Joe Miralles delivers thought provoking songs that are both memorable and heartfelt.”
Joe has been involved in the music business since the 1980’s in high school. He is my younger brother, so I have had a front row seat for many years of this talented songwriter and musician. He currently plays acoustic guitar and sings, but he started out as a drummer going to Philadelphia and New York clubs in the 80’s and 90’s playing with bands, writing songs and singing. Over his music career, he has had the opportunity to work with Grammy-award winning producers and perform and play with many professionals in the music business in addition to landing one of his songs in a major motion picture in the 1990’s. He did all of this while also working full-time during the day and even pursuing an advanced degree in the evening.
After settling down with his wife Jeannine and then birth of their first child, he had a “God moment” when the Holy Spirit enlightened his heart that playing music for God and writing about the Lord and his mercy in songs were his destiny. Observing this happen over the years for me has been an honor and a joy for both me and my family. Joe’s latest release is called “Five”. His website is www.joemiralles.com which will give more information about his other releases, his bio and additional information on his ministry and upcoming gigs. I believe his music has and will continue to touch many hearts as his lyrics speak of loving others and of loving God.
Joe’s greatest hope is that his listeners will experience Jesus Christ and the redemption that he offers to all people. His music is honest, heartfelt and real, and it speaks of how even in human struggle, God’s mercy is available even in the toughest of times of life. He plays his music in local coffee houses and Churches throughout the Philadelphia area and beyond.
Supporting Christian and Catholic Artists
The best way we can support artists like Father Kevin, Connor and Joe are to listen to, download or buy the music they have to offer and to spread the word to other family members or friends. If you can, please check-out their web-sites, and by all means let others know about them and any other good quality musicians. Listening to inspiring and God-centered music is like offering a prayer to God whether hymns, classical, contemporary or Christian and Catholic Contemporary music. For parents of children and teens, this kind of music is a GREAT choice to be enjoyed in the car or anywhere. God bless you all until next time!