Tag Archives: chicago

Rocking out with Ray Herrmann and St. Alphonsus

Ray Herrmann waves at the end of an Aug. 14 concert in Baltimore. (CR Staff/George P. Matysek Jr.)

In this week’s Catholic Review, you’ll meet Ray Herrmann – a talented member of the rock group, ‘Chicago,’ and a devoted Catholic who is involved in quite a remarkable religious music project.

Over the last few years, Herrmann has produced three CDs of the musical works of St. Alphonsus Liguori. The great saint and founder of the Redemptorists was an accomplished composer, but his works have largely gone unnoticed and unheard since the 18th century.

Working with Redemptorists of the Denver Province, Herrmann put together a very moving collection of the saint’s music and prayers. The collection is focused on the rosary, the Seven Sorrows of Mary and the Way of the Cross. The most recent CD also features Liam Neeson reading some of St. Alphonsus’s prayers with the saint’s music serving as an underscore. (Read the CR story about the St. Alphonsus project here).

Here’s a sample of “To Jesus in His Passion,” one of St. Alphonsus’s compositions as arranged by Herrmann:

Herrmann is a multi-talented musician. I was fortunate to see him in concert and spend some time with him at an Aug. 14 Chicago performance at the Pier Six Concert Pavilion in Baltimore.

Check out this sax solo from that concert.  It’s certainly different from anything St. Alphonsus would have played!

It’s definitely worth buying Herrmann’s collection of St. Alphonsus’s works. It’s inspired music and long overdue for production. All proceeds from the sales of the CDs go toward helping the Redemptorists in their South American and African mission work.

Check out Herrmann’s producation company and purchasing information here. For more on the St. Alphonsus project, click here. Chicago’s website is here.

In the meantime, here are some more shots of Herrmann in action…

Ray Herrmann plays the flute during an Aug. 14 concert with 'Chicago' at the Pier Six Concert Pavilion in Baltimore. (CR Staff/George P. Matysek Jr.)

Ray Herrmann plays a solo. The musician began playing the piano at 6 and clarinet at 7. He learned flute and sax in high school, earning a master's degree in music from the University of North Texas. (CR Staff/George P. Matysek Jr.)

'Chicago' performs Aug. 14 in Baltimore. (CR Staff/George P. Matysek Jr.)


Cardinal Bernardin on the silver screen

A Jesuit priest is turning the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin’s bestselling “The Gift of Peace” into a movie. Chicago Catholic News has the story:

After sex abuse allegations were recanted against Cardinal Joseph Bernardin in the mid-1990s — and before the cancer that would claim his life was detected — he led a powerful retreat in Mundelein.

“He was emotionally very vulnerable, and somewhat euphoric,” recalled the Rev. Michael Sparough, a Jesuit priest who attended the spiritual gathering.

“He just talked about the trauma and the nightmares he had, and how tremendously stressful this whole thing was, but how the truth was ultimately triumphant.”

“That retreat had a tremendous impact on my life.”

Now, Sparough is leading an effort to bring Bernardin’s story to the silver screen. The 60-year-old priest, who helps run a Barrington retreat center and has written a number of books, is working with two Hollywood script writers to turn Bernardin’s bestseller, The Gift of Peace, into a mainstream feature film.

It’s certainly no done deal, but Sparough said Bernardin’s successor at the Archdiocese of Chicago, Cardinal Francis George, has given him permission to turn the book into a screenplay. And Sparough believes the public is ready for a story like this.

“It’s a classic hero’s journey, and I think it’s a story that needs to be told in our time — and my hope is it’s a healing story for those who have been wounded by the Church, and a story that will remind us of some of the best parts of our Catholic tradition,” Sparough said.

In recent years, the Church has been mired in scandal over its handling of clergy sex abuse cases in the United States and around the globe. Pedophile priests were transferred rather than stripped of their duties, and allegations that children were molested often weren’t taken seriously.

The irony, Sparough said, is that Bernardin was considered by many to be ahead of his time in developing policies for dealing with problem priests. And that was before he was accused of abusing a man named Steven Cook when Cook was a student years earlier in Cincinnati.

It’s how Bernardin handled those accusations — made in 1993 and later recanted — that really define “the man, and his story and his life is really a parable of contemporary sanctity,” Sparough said.

Read the rest here.

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