Thursday, November 09, 2006
Paul Harrigan: Evangelizing Catholic Youth Through Song
By Hope Frances
Keeping Catholic youth alive in their faith is often challenging as they confront the growing pains of adolescence and the pressures of the world today. Catholic musician Paul Harrigan uses his music ministry to reach out to teens and encourage them to keep their fire for the Lord alive and burning bright. His passion is evangelizing through his music to youth and young adults.
"Young adults are the future leaders of this world, and the world has many very attractive allurements that will take them away from God and their faith. I think we need to reach out to them at this stage in their lives because it can be a time of rebellion against authority, especially parents," Paul said.
Singing God’s Good News
Paul sings the good news of the Lord with his band Holywood as well as solo acoustic sets.
"Holywood is a hybrid band. Henryk Chrostek is the lead guitar player who also plays in Light In The Lord at Holy Redeemer Church. Also in the band are bass player Mike Perry and drummer John Severino."
"Having grown up in a family of ten kids, (eight boys) my musical taste draws from an eclectic pot to be sure. I would classify my music as pop, rock, praise & worship Holy Spirit driven!"
The most profound experience for Paul and Holywood was the invitation they received to play at World Youth Day in Cologne, Germany last year.
"We felt it was an incredible blessing for us to be invited to participate in the event that bears the legacy of John Paul II. World Youth Day was created by the late pontiff in an effort to join together the youth of the world in celebration of their faith. He felt the youth was the future of not only the church, but of the world."
"We performed in a venue called Leverkusen. Some of our military stationed in Germany were there with their families. Youth from different places throughout the world attended the concert. We also performed in concert for an audience that gathered to hear Jim Caviezel's testimony and view a special screening of 'The Passion of the Christ.' We had the grace of performing live, impromptu concerts in Cologne at the beautiful cathedral - The Dome. On the steps of the cathedral were thousands of youth that were on fire for their faith."
"In addition, we broke out the guitars on the train. We ministered hopefully to some people who may not otherwise have been exposed to Catholic-Christian music."
Of his band Holywood, Paul said the members have been "absolutely phenomenally faithful to the music and to the ministry." Their most recent concert was held at Holy Redeemer Church in Montrose. They kicked off the new youth program at the church with parishioners ranging from 8 - 80 years old in attendance. Paul can also be found singing and playing percussion there every Sunday at their youth mass.
Paul also reaches out to the youth through the powerful medium of radio. He is a co-host, along with Eddie Perez, on a one-hour show through El Sembrador Catholic Radio entitled Generation Connexion. The program is broadcast live every Wednesday from 6 - 7 pm.
"It's designed to bridge the gap between youth and the older generations. We talk some religion, some politics, entertainment and life in Southern California and in the United States. Again, it's a way to evangelize and share our faith and love for Christ and His church. I play a couple of acoustic songs, which is fun. I'm writing some new songs to present to the youth in that forum."
"There's a trust that develops between the listener and the radio personality and that can be really beneficial when you're trying to get the message across, especially to some impressionable youth."
Blogging the Youth
Judging from the positive feedback of the Generation Connexion blog featured on this website, Paul is definitely reaching the youth.
"Young people have written to us through the blog on Parishworld.net. They have said that they really enjoy what we're doing and it encourages them. I think that's the real test - when you hear from the youth themselves writing to us and telling us that we are making a difference in their lives and in their world. That really is an awesome thing to hear."
Paul is also involved in ministering to the youth through a confirmation class at a local parish. "
The idea is to try and introduce these kids to Catholic-Christian music they haven't really heard before or if they have, they don't listen to it regularly. We just enjoy going there and showing our love for Jesus Christ and His church through song."
Paul knows the importance of keeping kids alive in their faith as they move towards adulthood. He shares his faith and love for Jesus Christ with Southern California youth through song - from the heart and the depth of his soul.
He hopes to "keep reaching out and evangelizing youth that it's cool to be Catholic."
Once again proving that…God shines brighter than all the stars in Hollywood.
(For more information on Paul Harrigan and his band Holywood, please visit his website at www.paulharrigan.com.)