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Ascension Thursday Hymn

To the melody of ST DELIO ("Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise") []

New praises be given to Christ newly crowned
Who back to His heaven a new way hath found
God's blessedness sharing before us
He goes What mansions preparing, what endless repose!

His glory still praising on thrice holy ground
Th'apostles stood gazing his Mother around
With hearts that beat faster, with eyes full of love
They watched while their Master ascended above.

"No star can disclose Him," the bright angels said;
"Eternity knows Him, your conquering Head:
Those high habitations He leaves not again,
Till judging all nations, on earth He shall reign."

Thus spoke they, and straightway, where legions defend
Heav'n's glittering gateway, their Lord they attend
And cry, looking thther, "Your portals let down
For Him who rides hither in peace and renown."

They asked, who keep sentry in that blessed town
"Who thus claimeth entry, a king of renown?"
"The Lord of all valiance," that herald replied,
"Who Satan's battalions laid low in their pride.

" Grant, Lord, that our longing may follow Thee there
On earth who are thronging Thy temples with prayer
And unto Thee gather, Redeemer, Thine own
Where Thou with Thy Father, dost sit on the throne.

--St. Bede the Venerable, 673-735. Translation R.A. Knox.

Grapevine News Minute covers the Papal Visit

Susan Bailey writes: Episode #86 of the GrapeVine News Minute is up The podcast player is located on the homepage of the GrapeVine website as well as on the podcast page. Go to to access the player for easy listening. The GrapeVine News Minute for April 27, 2008 Episode #86 Sponsored by Gretchen Harris Music Ministry. We talk to 2 performers (Fr. Stan Fortuna and Dana) and 2 spectators (Matthew Baute and Annie Karto - they happen to be artists too!) on their impressions of the Pope whom they saw in person during his visit to America April 15-20. Matthew's photo album of the Mass at Yankee Stadium Music: B 16 Bomber, Fr. Stan Fortuna (courtesy of Francesco Productions) We Are One Body, Dana (courtesy of HeartBeat Records) Perfect Sacrifice, Annie Karto Love Wins All, Matthew Baute (courtesy of World Library Publications) Read about the Pope's visit plus other news about Catholic music on the new Music section of Catholic Online. Check the show notes for a special iMix of songs performed by various artists for Pope Benedict during his visit - click on the Podcast tab at the top of the website page. We love your feedback! Call the hot line at 206-600-6940

Grapevine Magazine and Catholic Jukebox

Nick Alexander here...

Have you discovered Grapevine Magazine? In my mind, it is the absolute best resource to discovering the latest from Catholic Contemporary musicians, liturgical and entertainment-oriented. Run by Susan Bailey, there are musician profiles, latest events, and music reviews. The resulting magazine is quite attractive in print, and the articles draw attention to this otherwise "blind-spot" in Christian music.

Not to be outdone with print, Susan Bailey has been promoting the Grapevine News Minute (actually, about fifteen minutes), a weekly podcast which allows you to dig deeper in these stories, and get to hear songs live.

Susan Bailey, along with George Leite (of Catholic Jukebox/Catholic Rockers/Catholic PraiseCast fame) presented an informative session at the Catholic Faith & Media Conference at Franciscan U of Steubenville, earlier this month. They even got a few good blurbs about Top Catholic Songs in... Thanks So Much!! (Check out their presentation on Grapevine's main page).

Discover the blessings of Catholic Music, and check out both Grapevine and Catholic Jukebox today.

Song for Karol

Nick Alexander here... In honor of the third anniversary of Karol Wojtyla's passing (aka Pope John Paul II), Mark Mallett has created this exceptional video. Be sure to check out Mark Mallett's website.

Top Ten Easter Songs


Hallelujah! It is with great excitement that the songs listed by the TopCatholicSongs community as the Top Easter Songs are now to be revealed. These are the ten songs that have been nominated, listened to, voted and tallied as the top songs representing a true Easter spirit, for entertainment, education and personal edification. Be continually reminded of the tremendous victory of Christ in this most blessed season by making these songs part of the soundtrack of your life.

  1. Lifted Up by Sean Clive
    It is in His death, lifted up above the earth for all to see, even now, that Jesus draws all people to Himself.
  2. Lift Our Hands by Mark Mallett
    The highlight of our concerts, an action song that gets the whole crowd lifting their hands to our risen Lord.
  3. R.C.I.A. by Nick Alexander
    This parody takes the familiar "Y.M.C.A." and spins it so that it celebrates those entering the Church each Easter.

Easter Message from John Michael Talbot

JMTJohn Michael Talbot is one of the most important figures in Catholic music today. He has recorded fifty albums, spearheaded a religious-and-lay movement that unites the branches of contemplative, charismatic and monastic spiritualities, has been a tireless advocate for social justice causes, and even started The Catholic Association of Music, of which I am an enthusiastic member.

The following is the text of his 2008 Holy Week/Easter message:

Peace and Good in Christ!

It is time for my Holy Week and Easter message to our community. Two thoughts come to mind:

The "holy" in "Holy Week" has special significance. "Holy," means "set apart." Holy Week is time for us to set aside special times and places to do more intensely the positive things we do daily as disciples of Jesus. To be a "disciple" means to embrace the "discipline" of a teacher or master. For a Christian Jesus is our Teacher of teachers, and Master of masters. For most of us this means more intentional time and space for prayer and meditation on Jesus and the Church. In addition to personal spirituality in the privacy of our own home it might also mean going more often to church for Mass or Communion or the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and the "communion" of "community" with those of one mind and heart regarding faith and morality. We can also mention simple acts of kindness that do not have to be noticed or rewarded by anyone but God. On a personal note I was deeply touched during Lent when one of our consecrated sisters brought meals to my hermitage during a time of illness. I was also blessed by a discipline embraced by several monastics of not saying anything negative about anyone. Both of these penances touched me deeply.

I have also been struck in recent weeks by the much talked about report that 8 out of 10 Americans call themselves "Christians." That is much higher than I would have thought, and is very revealing concerning everything from interfaith issues such as meditation and mysticism to moral issues such as pro life and simple living. But the report goes on to say that most of these have not stayed with the religion of their upbringing, and now tend to "shop around" with various churches whenever one gets too familiar, or "old."

This latter point is a bit disconcerting. It is a challenge to the church, and a challenge to our culture. How is it that so many call themselves not just religious or "churched," but "Christians," yet are so unhappy with the stability offered in the institutions of traditional family and church? On one level this report gives us great hope that we will find enough common ground with those of western culture to bring the deeper messages of faith, morality, and mysticism. On another level it means that we Americans tend to only "buy" that which is easy, simple, and quickly replaceable. Is it any wonder that deeper levels of spirituality are seldom reached by those of our own culture?

This is a challenge to those of us who stay with one church or spouse for life. It challenges us to live our stability in a more life giving way. This way must authentically change us within before it can change anyone or anything without. This is called being a "witness" for Christ. But such "witnessing" can be most off putting if done only for display. It must be genuine and humble if it is to have a positive effect.

So I encourage you to set aside some extra time for prayer, church sacraments, and care for everyone we meet. Let's embrace a Christian spirituality that takes us so deep that we no longer feel the need for the easy and quickly replaceable spirituality that has become so prominent in America today. Then we can get to the root of the problems of our culture that sees everything from marriage to monasteries in an easy, and quickly replaceable mindset. Then can we find the stability of Jesus who never leaves us so easily or quickly when we fall into the various troubles of life. Then we can have a stability within that no one can take away. This stability can then bring a deep and abiding peace to our troubled and insecure world.

Of course, I cannot do any of this without God's grace, and most specifically through the dying and rising of Jesus. This is the whole point of Holy Week and Easter. When I let go of my ego centric self in the dying of Christ, then my real self finds its place gracefully in His resurrection. Without this I can do nothing.

In Jesus,
John Michael Talbot
Founder and Spiritual Father
The Brothers and Sisters of Charity at Little Portion Hermitage

Easter Triduum Playlist from Timothy English

Timothy English writes: "Since Holy Week and The Easter Triduum is one mystery, here are some of my favorite Easter peices."

Videos for the Triduum

Nick Alexander here... Thought you all might enjoy some exceptional videos for Holy Week.
Eyes by Nancy Krebs
Oh My People by APOSTOLICA
We Need the Cross by Bryan Murdaugh
Sorrowful by Point 5 Covenant

Top Ten Holy Week Songs

Nick Alexander here...
Holy Week is fast approaching. Therefore, now is the time to reveal this community's Top Ten Holy Week Songs. After a lengthy process of entering song titles, listening, voting and tallying, these songs were the ones that affected us most, particularly for Holy Week, encompassing Palm Sunday (or Passion Sunday), Holy Thursday (or Maundy Thursday), Good Friday, and Holy Saturday... up to (but not including) the Easter Vigil.

  1. Calvary by Sean Clive
    Jesus calls us to embrace our own cross as He hangs upon His.
  2. And Time Stood Still by Dan Dúet
    With this Good Friday song, I wanted to tie in the killing of an innocent Man with the killing of the innocent, unborn today.
  3. Holy Thursday by Nick Alexander
    Funny--but reverent--update on The Mamas and the Papas'"Monday Monday"in homage of the Triduum.
  4. Lamb of God by Trish Foti Genco
    Beautiful cover of the classic Twila Paris song.
  5. Forsaken by John Flynn
    Haunting rendering of Psalm 22, written for Palm (Passion) Sunday
  6. Psalm 42 (As the Deer Longs) by Lynn Geyer
    A sweet and gentle reminder of all that God is to us and how we really don't need to worry.
  7. Eyes by Nancy Krebs
    This song is about the Passion and Death of Jesus as seen through the eyes of the wife of a Roman soldier. It is very dear to my heart.
  8. Father (The Passion) by Bob Metivier

    I wrote it for the Good Friday service several years ago, and got through it until just when it ended, and then it literally"took me out."
  9. Oh My People by Apostolica

    The words are based on the classical"Good Friday Reproaches." Of all my songs, this one evokes the most emotion.
  10. Via Dolorosa by Mel Kennedy
    Watching Heather Whitestone, the first and only deaf Miss America, perform a ballet to this song, gave me inspiration to record my own version.

Feel free to listen in to each of these songs, and make them your own. These iMixes are set up easily so that you can download them to your computer, and listen to them on your MP3 player... or you can burn them onto a CD and listen to them there. Or, you can purchase the albums directly from the vendors. It will bring a greater sense of devotion to this, most sacred and solemn of weeks.

Top Ten Adoration Songs

Nick Alexander here... After accepting submissions, listening to the offerings, and a week-long process of voting, this community has come up with their official Top Ten Adoration Songs list. These are songs that can be beneficial either for adoration, or encouraging to pursue Eucharistic Adoration.

  1. Broken by Christopher D'Alfonso
    Blueprints by Chris D'Alfonso
    Jesus, broken now to make me whole
    Jesus, of my heart take control
    Jesus, all I want is more of you
    More of you
  2. Spending Time Adoring You by Margo. B. Smith
    Sending Up A Prayer by Margo B Smith
    This is a song/prayer to our Lord expressing a loving desire to spend time in His presence adoring Him. As I wrote this song I was reflecting on how much I love to visit the perpetual adoration chapel and be in the Lord’s presence in the Blessed Sacrament. In His presence there is peace, healing, joy and love. In the silence, He speaks to us. 
  3. Holy God, We Praise Your Great Name by Nick Alexander
    Holy God We Praise Your Great Name by Nick Alexander
    A lively, reverent update to the classic hymn.
  4. Open Book by Teresa Smith
    Teresa Smith
    The song was inspired actually during my time of adoration - about going to adoration, his real presence, and speaks of Jesus' ability to "read" us well even though we may not be able to put into words something that may be weighing heavy on our hearts. 
  5. With You by Sean Clive
    Sean Clive
    "Come away with me for a while to a place set apart…" Sometimes all you need is quiet. If you meet Him daily, you realize that all the other parts of your day are spent walking with the Lord. (Mark 6:31a
  6. Jesus, Teacher by Michael Howard

    Teach me how to live like you
    Show me how to pray
    Humble me in all I do
    I’ll follow you, just lead the way
  7. Quiet Here With You by Lynn Geyer
    Journey to Forgiveness by Lynn Geyer
    The awesome humility we can experience as we sit quietly before the Lord. 
  8. Holy Are You, Lord by Mark Mallett

    This is my favorite song to sing before the Blessed Sacrament. I recall how my ministry team would gather before the tabernacle, and raise our voices in this song until we were drenched in God's presence.
  9. Psalm 123 by Valerie Von Fange
    Steadfast Love by Valerie Von Fange
    A beautiful praise song based on Psalm 123
  10. You Are Enough by Celeste Zepponi
    You Are Enough by Celeste Zepponi
    My producer Joe Hand and I always start our work sessions with prayer. This particular song was written as a result of one of those prayer times. I will never forget Joe sitting across from me, holding my hands and praying. I was in tears that morning, feeling out of place... Joe prayed for a long time. His voice was comforting, as if Jesus was speaking to me through him. I kept hearing the words: I am enough, I am enough, I am enough for you. Do not worry about your ministry,your age, or what it takes to produce this offering of praise. I have given you everything you need to accomplish this work. I am enough for you. The next morning I wrote this song. We never know where God is leading, especially when we feel the weakest. But, if we are in prayer, we can be sure God is listening and He has a plan. God is enough. 

Feel free to listen in to each of these songs, and make them your own. These iMixes are set up easily so that you can download them to your computer, and listen to them on your MP3 player... or you can burn them onto a CD and listen to them there. It will bring a greater sense of devotion to the practice of Eucharistic Adoration.

Story Behind the Song: Deliver Me From Me

Mark Mallett writes: I wrote Deliver Me From Me at a time when I felt acutely my spiritual poverty. I think that's why so many people connect to this song---those who are genuinely seeking Christ experience their own weakness, and so this song becomes the song of their heart also. Scripture says, "By His wounds we are healed." Are we not His body? Then it could be said that when we expose our wounds to others in a spirit of humility, they too find healing, because in that humility, that truth, they find Jesus hidden within us, in the distressing disguise of the poor. Deliver Me From Me Deliver me from me From this earthly tent, sagged and leaking Deliver me from me From this earthen vessel, cracked and dried Deliver me from me From this flesh, so weak and worn Lord, deliver me, from me... into Your Mercy Into Your Mercy Into Your Mercy Into Your Mercy Lord, deliver me from me... into Your Mercy ...deliver me from me From this flesh, so weak and worn Lord, deliver me from me... into Your Mercy

Personal Favorite Lent Album - The Lover and the Beloved

Nick Alexander here... If I had to choose a single album that represents my devotion to the Lenten season, hands down, that honor would go to The Lover and the Beloved by John Michael Talbot.

Contrary to the increasing cliches predominant in Christian Contemporary Music, this album presents poetry that highlights the poetry of St. John of the Cross, St. Teresa of Avila, and the late Thomas Merton. Not only in content, but in form--this album eschews the lavishly ultra-production of his Contemporary Christian peers, and presented an album as sparse as possible... one voice, one guitar, nothing else. Such a sound is as counter-cultural as it can possibly be, much moreso than today's crisp highly glossy, radio formats. This was the album that introduced me to the Dark Night of the Soul from St. John of the Cross. Beforehand, it was very easy to be sucked into a "health & wealth" gospel that was blasting thru the television airwaves. Just last year, even Mother Teresa's diaries demonstrated her very own "Dark Night of the Soul" experience, where she did not feel the touch of God for forty years. And yet, she proved herself faithful throughout that ordeal, changing many lives throughout. I cannot recommend this sparse, challenging, and ultimately beautiful album highly enough. John Michael Talbot's guitar prowess has never been surpassed as he is here, and the poetry effectively matches his soothing voice and temperament. You will not experience Lent in the same way.

Lent Resources from Spirit & Song

Nick Alexander here... Robert Feduccia, of Spirit & Song shared with me as to what songs in their repertoire that are most befitting for the season of Lent.
  1. 40 Days by Matt Maher

    Well produced and unabashedly Catholic in its devotion...
  2. Change Me by Tom Booth

    "Ultimately, the call to change is the call to love. Like Mary... May we say 'yes' and be changed."-Tom Booth
  3. Be With Me, Lord by Sarah Hart

    A poignant duet with Curtis Stephan pleading for God's help... and a superb new setting of Psalm 91.
  4. Revive Us, O God by Jesse Manibusan

    Jesse's third album is a musical testament to this transforming power in our lives.
  5. River of Life by Joshua Blakesley

    Joshua's catchy choruses make you want to sing along...

Grapevine Rewind - Nick's Notes - Winter 2007

A Lenten iMix Nick Alexander here... It’s hard to imagine, but this time last year I didn’t own an iPod. Don’t misunderstand me. For those who are current on the iPod craze, I am not giving you a reason to gloat. Neither do I wish to gloat on those who do not yet own this technological marvel. An iPod is a huge financial investment, and it is impossible to understand how revolutionary it truly is without having one yourself. There is a reason I share this. At this time, last year I was preparing for Lent. As a fan of Christian music, that includes loading my multi-disc CD player with albums that can best prepare my heart with the solemnity of the season. It would also mean a greater desire to listen to Christian music. And yet, when I listen to Christian radio, and sing along with the praise and worship classics, sometimes I can’t help but get a sour feeling when a song with the word “Alleluia” comes on, or a song that celebrates Jesus’ resurrection. It’s “Lent!” I mutter. It’s the wrong time! Don’t they understand ... Press to Continue...

Top Ten Songs for Lent

Nick Alexander here... The songs were submitted, the votes have been cast, the community has spoken. What follows is the list for the top songs for Lent.

  1. Between Here and There by Sean Clive
    Our Journey of Lent begins with the first step. This song is a water walking song about complete faith and trust, surrendering ourselves to God when our world would scare us into despair. Step out of the boat. His hands are reaching out to you. He’s called you to come to him. That’s all you need. So, go. He will meet you…
  2. Lord, Hear My Prayer by Margo. B. Smith
    This is a song/prayer about praying for others and trusting in God and His mercy. As Christians we are to pray for each other and trust in God’s mercy to answer our prayers.
  3. A Simple Cry by Last Day
    Matt wrote these words down in a journal several years ago when he was suffering from a bout of depression. The song seems to make a strong connection with a lot of Last Day's fans.
  4. Turn My Heart by George Lower
    I had just heard a witness from a man who had felt that no one would be inspired by his story--he had had no great crisis in his life. Afterwards we were praying together in front of the Blessed Sacrament. I heard the words "Turn My Heart" in my head and I got up grabbed my guitar and left the chapel.
  5. Take, Lord, Receive by Gretchen Harris
    This is the classic song that was known and loved back in the day. The sentiment is timeless. Spirit Alive provides the backing vocals. Based on the prayer penned by St. Ignatius Loyola in the 16th century.
  6. If Today by George Lower
    "If Today" is a setting of Psalm 95 that I wrote when I was working the St. Patrick Life Teen ministry in Tampa, FL. It is definitely a favorite of mine as well as the communities where I have ministered.
  7. As The Deer Longs by Gretchen Harris
    Based on Psalm 42. One year I gave up TV for Lent and thought I couldn't live without seeing certain shows. What I came to learn was that the only thing I couldn't live without was Jesus Christ. This song has always portrayed a longing for Jesus that expressed what was in my heart.
  8. I Call To You by Lynn Geyer
    I've always loved this song and when it came time to choose the songs to accompany the text of Journey to Forgiveness I knew I would be working I Call to You into the mix.
  9. Too Late Have I Loved You by Nick Alexander
    According to musician Fr David Hemann, this is the best rendition of St. Augustine's prayer he had ever heard. (I am humbled by that). This was the "Serious" song on the otherwise comedic "Eternal Life: the Party Album", and it was a wonderful complement to the songs before.
  10. See Christ in All Things by Deacon Chuck Stevens
    This song was written during a retreat in 2004, and speaks of how Christ reveals Himself to us when we look at our own world - and stresses how death to our own self opens a space for Christ to fill, uniting our actions to His death and Resurrection.

Feel free to listen in to each of these songs, and make them your own. These iMixes are set up easily so that you can download them to your computer, and listen to them on your MP3 player... or you can burn them onto a CD and listen to them there. It will bring a greater sense of devotion to this most holy season.

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