Concert series: COVID-19 relief for Catholic faith communities

Catholic Extension is honored to host a concert series to support and recognize poor faith communities who, already struggling for daily survival, have been thrown into further turmoil because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Join us here on Thursday, June 4 at 7 p.m. for a special performance from the Francis Leblanc from the Diocese of Lafayette, Louisiana.

Mr. Francis Leblanc, a native of Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, has served as the music director of the Diocese of Lafayette, Louisiana, for over 35 years.  He is a graduate of the University of Southwest Louisiana, currently known today as the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He has been employed as a music teacher for Vermilion Parish Schools for over 20 years.  He serves as the music minister at Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church, Lafayette; Immaculate Heart of Mary, Lafayette, St. Elizabeth Seton, Lafayette and St. Francis of Assisi, Breaux Bridge. He is also the diocese’s music director for the Office of Black Catholic Ministries’ annual African American Catholic Youth Congress.

In times of crisis, churches are always the first to open their doors and help those in need. The social distancing mandate has turned this response upside-down. In order to keep people safe, church doors must close.

Unfortunately, for poor communities that already only see a few hundred dollars in the collection basket each week, these contributions have been immediately cut to zero. Sudden job loss has created further financial instability.

Despite this, churches are coming up with creative ways to reach out to and help their communities. They are offering drive-through blessings, ministering through FaceTime, and bringing food to home-bound elderly.

Catholic Extension’s mission is to work in solidarity with people in America’s poorest regions to build up vibrant and transformative Catholic faith communities. By joining in our watch party, we invite you to join us in solidarity as we work to support these communities and their much-needed outreach.  

Concert series line-up:

This line-up will update as we set more dates for artist performances.

Thursday, May 28

SkaAmen, Performance #2 | Diocese of Stockton, California

SkaAmen was formed in 2008 by Diego Hernández, after his encounter with Jesus Christ in a youth retreat. His love for music and the desire to put himself at the service of God led him to form the alternative rock band, Amen (former name of SkaAmen). SkaAmen is a multi-member band from all over the bay area, with members from the Diocese of Stockton, Oakland & San Jose. Read their full bio.

Thursday, May 21

Rev. Edmundo Zarate-Suarez | Diocese of San Diego

Rev. Edmundo Zarate-Suarez was born and raised in Mexicali by Agustin and Margarita Zarate. One of six siblings, he was raised on a farm. After going back to university, he was given the opportunity to begin seminary formation in Ireland, where he lived for four years studying  Philosophy and Theology. On June 29, 1996, he was ordained to the priesthood. He served as associate pastor for his first two years of priesthood, then began his first assignment as pastor at Our Lady of Guadalupe, a parish three blocks away from the border with Mexico. Since then he has been a pastor of three other parishes, and currently is pastor of St. Anthony of Padua in National City, CA. All of his pastorate assignments have been working in communities with high percentages of immigrants.

Sunday, May 17

Greatest hits

Noelle Garcia and David McHugh | Archdiocese of Oklahoma City

Noelle Garcia is a Catholic recording artist and speaker, wife, and mom to five kids. She travels the country sharing the faith through witness, Scripture, catechesis, and music. David McHugh is a percussive guitar player and singer songwriter who invented and patented his own “drum trigger pick guards”. David uses his unique music as a platform to capture the attention of the audience so he can share the Gospel through teaching and witness. 

Thursday, May 6

Jaime Torres, aka “El Serio” | Diocese of Little Rock, Arkansas

Jaime Torres is not just the amazing rapper “El Serio”—he also has an incredible ministry that reaches out to gang members people struggling with drug addiction and the incarcerated in the Diocese of Little Rock. Read his story. 

Sunday, May 3

SkaAmen, Performance #1 | Diocese of Stockton, California

SkaAmen was formed in 2008 by Diego Hernández, after his encounter with Jesus Christ in a youth retreat. His love for music and the desire to put himself at the service of God led him to form the alternative rock band, Amen (former name of SkaAmen). SkaAmen is a multi-member band from all over the bay area, with members from the Diocese of Stockton, Oakland & San Jose. Read their full bio.

Thursday, April 30

Sinai | Diocese of Stockton, California. 

Sinai has been serving their church community for over 15 years. They are thankful to God for the gift of music.  

Sunday, April 26

Father Norman Fischer & Christie Pabin | Diocese of Lexington, Kentucky. 

 

Thursday, April 23:

Mariachi Nuevo Santander | Diocese of Brownsville

Mariachi Nuevo Santander is the National Champion mariachi band from Roma High School in Roma, Texas. Read about this amazing music program. 

Wednesday, April 8:

Edd Hightower | Diocese of Jackson

Sacred Heart in Camden, Mississippi, is a vibrant parish that is faithfully served by the Missionaries of the Most Blessed Trinity, an international religious congregation of men. 

Edd Hightower, Sacred Heart’s talented director of music, is saddened that this tight knit faith community will have to wait a while to gather once again in church. For now, we can enjoy the uplifting Gospel sounds of Sacred Heart’s music in Catholic Extension’s Songs of Solidarity series.

Tuesday, April 7:

Nathan Stell | Diocese of El Paso

Nathan Stell works as a youth minister to spread God’s love and hope to young people in his hometown. Check out his story: “God has transformed me.”

Sunday, April 5:

Catholic artists | Dioceses of Tucson, Kalamazoo and Fajardo–Humacao

Tuesday, March 31

Jossie Santiago | Rincón, Puerto Rico

Jossie Santiago is from the small town of Rincón, in Puerto Rico. He’s been actively participating in church ministry since the age of 15. Through music ministry, he’s been able to participate in masses, retreats, workshops, nights of adoration, and concerts. Read Jossie’s full biography. 

Your support today will ensure the strong, healing presence of the Church is available and accessible during this pandemic and into the future.

Learn about our GIVE PRAY INSPIRE initiative to join us in building solidarity among Catholics around the country!

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