Sep 8, 2016
It was an extraordinary experience to kneel before the Blessed Sacrament at Copacabana Beach in Brazil, at World Youth Day in 2013. Catholic musician Matt Maher led us in worship-more than 3 million people, and Pope Francis, sang "Lord, I need you, Oh, I need you," as Matt Maher softly played the guitar.
At the Mercy Center in Krakow this summer, nearly twenty thousand young people knelt before the Eucharist, praising the Lord as Matt Maher and musician Audrey Assad led songs of praise and thanksgiving. I watched as tears streamed down faces, and young people touched by the moment lined up for the sacrament of confession.
Music can be a powerful part of our relationships with Almighty God. And every culture and generation sings songs and hymns of praise and thanksgiving that speak the love of their hearts.
As a child in the Protestant church, I learned the canon of hymns most treasured in America- "How Great Thou Art," "Amazing Grace," "Nearer my God to Thee." As a young man, I learned the inspiring folk songs of Ireland, England, and France. Those songs helped me to grow in devotion to God. They helped me to keep the Lord in the forefront of my mind. They gave language to my praise and gratitude to the Lord. They became a part of my devotional life. And, because I shared them with others, they became a part-an important part-of the Catholic culture I continue to share with my family and friends.