Tag Archives: st. alphonsus

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.)


Baltimore celebrates a saint

Catholic Review photo/George P. Matysek Jr.

Baltimoreans didn’t let today’s feast of St. John Neumann go by without a special celebration inside the downtown church he once served as pastor.

Following the 12:10 p.m. Mass at the Shrine of St. Alphonsus, dozens of worshippers formed a solemn line Jan. 5 to venerate a relic of the Bohemian-born saint. One by one, they prayerfully touched or kissed a piece of the saint’s bone that was encased in a gold reliquary.

St. John Neumann, a Redemptorist priest and provincial leader for his religious order, served as St. Alphonsus’ pastor from 1849-52.  Pope Paul VI proclaimed him a saint June 19, 1977.

An image of the saint peered out from the church sanctuary, where a one-of-a-kind statue was on display. Designed by Franco Alessandrini and specially commissioned for St. Alphonsus, the newly installed statue shows St. John Neumann vested in his episcopal garb and seated on an ornate wooden chair.

Catholic Review photo/George P. Matysek Jr.

Monsignor Arthur Bastress, current St. Alphonsus pastor, explained that the artwork hearkens back to St. John Neumann’s 1852 consecration at St. Alphonsus as the fourth Bishop of Philadelphia. It seems the chair used in the consecration had been borrowed from the nearby Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. After lying prostrate on the church floor, the new bishop was seated by Baltimore Archbishop Francis P. Kenrick.

“We still have that chair,” Monsignor Bastress said with pride. He noted that Alessandrini used that exact chair as a model in designing the new St. John Neumann statue at St. Alphonsus.

In addition to marking St. John Neumann’s feast day, today was also the launch of a yearlong celebration of the 200th anniversary of his birth. The saint is well-known for his humility, his promotion of eucharistic adoration, his outreach to immigrants and his support for Catholic schools.

Monsignor Bastress will present a 3 p.m. lecture at St. Alphonsus Jan. 8 on the “Missionary Spirit of St. John Neumann,” followed by a Tridentine Mass. Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien will celebrate a special 3 p.m. Mass at St. Alphonsus March 27, one day before the anniversary of St. John Neumann’s birth and the 159th anniversary of his consecration as bishop.

Check out this Redemptorist site for more on St. John Neumann and this year’s celebrations.

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