Julie Carrick – Living The Faith Boldly

Year of Faith Events – Carrick Ministries

Julie Carrick sang her first solo at the age of 5.  Since then, she has devoted her life and her music to Jesus.  Even after surviving a rare form of lung cancer a few years ago, Julie continues to minister and share her faith with Catholics all over the world.  We were recently blessed to once again host one of Julie’s fantastic missions:  Living Our Catholic Creed.  

One thing you will notice about Julie is that she is humble and transparent.  She shares freely of her own pain and her own joy.  Her music flows from a wellspring of experience throughout her life.

She proudly tells of how her husband of nearly 30 years bore witness to his Catholic faith to a co-worker.

She shares her agony upon learning that her daughter had been raped and subsequently became pregnant.  Her daughter Edel’s courage in accepting and embracing that new life is also a part of Carrick Ministries.

She shares her own story of temptation, when she has to make a choice between a lucrative recording contract with “stipulations” and her own morals and values.

Throughout the evening, Julie performs her award winning compositions, as well as classic hymns, interweaving inspiration with quotes from St. Teresa of Avila and an attentive reading of the Creed. 

This mini concert/mission is perfect for the “Year of Faith”.  You will truly be inspired to live your faith boldly, taking a stand for marriage, for life, and for what “We Believe”.

For more information on Carrick Ministries, available concert and event dates and to order Julie’s recordings, see Carrick Ministries.

No compensation was received for this review.

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Simple Music Guidelines

Mass confusion.  That’s what music for Mass seems to be these days.  Catholic liturgical music has gone from chant, to folksy, to rock ‘n’ roll, to chaos.  Well, maybe chaos is too extreme a word.  Whatever happened to good old-fashioned guidelines?  Is it just assumed that we know what we’re doing?  If music is the least of the priorities of those who issue guidelines for the Mass, then something is seriously wrong, because there is an awful lot of music in the liturgy.  There are at least four hymns and half a dozen sung responses.

Much is left to the discretion of the music director, which is as it should be, ideally.  My question is, where does the music director turn for direction?  As organist and music director for two small town rural parishes, which share one priest with a third small town parish, I have been searching for over a decade for guidelines in choosing hymns and settings for our services.  I do the usual:  read the readings, psalm and gospel, choose applicable hymns from the missalette and hymnal, try and be consistent with the music for the responses.  With all the choices available, it can get overwhelming.  In my youth, we had a teen group that would play for the teen Mass.  I do believe we occasionally made some inappropriate choices in the music we played for Mass in the name of keeping it “upbeat and lively”.  I now have a totally different perspective of what kind of music is in order for our most sacred of services.

This is where I get lots of feedback.  Even though most of our congregation does not sing no matter what type of music is played, some will not hesitate to inform me that the songs were:  “wonderful as usual” (thank God you didn’t notice all my goofs), “boring old hymns” (if the words to “Immaculate Mary” bore you, maybe you need a little focus and meditation), “songs we don’t know” (really?  This is the 100th time we’ve done “Be Not Afraid” out of the missalette and you don’t know it?), “too much Spanish” (1/2 and 1/2, alternating, for a bilingual Mass), the Our Father is supposed to be said, not sung (still waiting for the final word on this).  Yet the Diocese, for all its’ concern with Safe Environment, annulments, fundraising appeals and the New Translation (overly hyped I think), does not seem to think liturgical music worthy of being addressed.  Ah, so I guess this is just part of my personal spiritual journey.

So as I continue to search for answers to the all-pervading question of what to play for Mass this Sunday, I will read the blogs of other church musicians, occasionally check the diocesan website for information, and network wherever I can, to see what other music directors are doing.  And in the end, I’ll make sure and clear it with my pastor.  Meanwhile, Holy Spirit guide me, and help me to choose music that will soften the peoples’ hearts and lift their spirits.

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The Pilgrim Virgin of Guadalupe

A couple of months ago I was priviledged to participate in the pilgrimage of Our Lady of Guadalupe within our Mexican community.  Once a year, a couple from Prescott brings a life-size portrait of the Virgin to our small town and She visits a number of homes where we gather for a nightly rosary, singing and a snack or meal afterwards.  The food is always wonderful, the fellowship is comforting and the prayer time is liberating.  More than one person has remarked on the relief experienced after laying his or her troubles at the feet of Our Lady.

This last visit lasted two months.  Though it was often difficult to drag myself out of the house in the evening, when all I wanted was to eat a simple meal in front of the TV or read a good book, once I got there the power of shared prayer and devotions worked its healing magic on my weary body and mind.

Now that the Pilgrim Virgin has moved on, I struggle to say my daily rosary.  The day gets so busy that when evening finally comes I am so tired that I fall into bed, reach over for my beads and maybe make it past the opening prayers before sleep overtakes me.  On days when we have somewhere to go, we manage to say the rosary in the car.  Living 50 miles from anywhere does have its perks.  Sometimes my best time to say the rosary is in the evenings when I am topping off water troughs for the animals.  The rhythm of the prayers, the cool of the mountain evening and the glory of the Arizona sunset just seem to lend themselves to meditation.  Even then, frequently the boy is pestering me to play cowboy squirt guns or throw the baseball with him.  Well, we keep trying.  And we are truly blessed!

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Vacation Bible School

Catholics didn’t used to have Vacation Bible School.  We had day camp, or youth group, or nothing at all.  It was great fun, we went swimming, went to the beach, roller skating, did arts and crafts, and had a big campout on the last night.

Now a lot of our churches are having Vacation Bible schools, but my local one doesn’t.  So I take my son to the Baptist church’s VBS.  It is a great ecumenical and community building experience and I just love the Baptist preacher and his wife, who also just happens to be one of my favorite authors.  Oh, and the kids have a lot of fun too.

The ladies in charge of arts and crafts really outdo themselves with clever activities.  The games are very clever and exciting, the snacks are fun and imaginative.  The children learn a new Bible verse each night, and work on songs and dances all week.

On the last night of vacation bible school, the children put on a delightful production for their parents and friends.

Every year we look forward to VBS at the Baptist Church We hope they continue having it for years to come.

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God Bless America

It warms my heart to hear people sing the Star Spangled Banner. In recent years, it seems I’ve noticed alot of people who don’t know, or refuse to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, or sing our National Anthem. As a student in Catholic schools for ten years, not a day went by when we didn’t say the pledge, and the anthem, as well as other patriotic songs were frequently included in our morning singing.

Undoubtedly, our country has severe flaws. Our president is less than inspiring to many of us. Our lawmakers are a big disappointment, to say the least. But we Americans, we Catholic Americans, come together on the Lord’s Day, and encourage each other; we receive the nourishing body and blood of Christ and are strengthened to go out and do what little we can to be the change we want to see happen.

O’ say, does that star spangled banner yet wave, o’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave?
As long as it continues to wave, and we continue to pray, there is great hope for our great country.

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