CONWAY — Lynn Pellegrino believes worshipping God through music “is like praying in double-time.” It’s more than just singing or listening to a song — it’s about a feeling, a spiritual movement within the soul.
“It brings you to another place; a place that may be very hard for us to get into because of all the distractions in life and all the things around you. It brings you a sense of peace … Surrender to open up your heart,” she said. “… With music, you have to have the right anointing music that brings you to that level of praise.”
On Feb. 17-18, all are welcomed to experience that movement of the spirit in music with a worship conference sponsored by the Arkansas Catholic Charismatic Renewal. The two-day event, held at St. Joseph Church in Conway, is the first of its kind in the state, said Pellegrino, a parishioner at St. Mary Church in Hot Springs. While the Charismatic Renewal, a movement that aims to build up the Holy Spirit within Catholics, hosts an annual conference, this event will be less talking, more praising God through music. On Friday evening, attendees will experience “soaking” music, allowing the music to work in their hearts for praise during adoration and benediction, Pellegrino said.
On Saturday, Mass will be celebrated at 4 p.m. with Bishop Anthony B. Taylor and will include more praise and worship music during workshops and prayer teams. The musicians — Jamie Diliberto, music director at St. Francis Xavier Church in Metairie, La., and Jerry Palisi, who will be traveling with Diliberto and playing piano and Carol Kennard, music director at St. Joseph — will give testimonies as to how music has changed their life. Attendees will also learn how to open themselves to experiencing Christ through music and how to incorporate it in both the Mass and through events at their own parish.
“It is fundamental of who we are as creations of God. Music is in heaven it is the only thing on earth that is in heaven,” besides the Holy Spirit working within souls, Diliberto said. “… Music has the power to come in and completely convert our hearts and change our hearts and redirect our spirits and allow the Lord to speak to us.”
Diocese of Little Rock charismatic liaisons Father Tony Robbins, pastor at St. Joseph Church in Conway, and Father Norbert Rappold, pastor at St. Peter the Fisherman Church in Mountain Home, will be spiritual leaders for the conference. All those helping with the conference are volunteers, including the musicians.
“This conference is not just for musicians … this conference is an opportunity for you to learn how to get into that place of worship and praise to help yourself but also it’s an opportunity for your church leaders or the people involved or the leadership to really see the powerfulness of what this may be able to do with your parish, to ignite it,” Pellegrino said. “… Let’s face it — people are not going to church … people are losing that connection.”
Pellegrino has been involved in the Charismatic movement for about five years but was moved through music at the “Life in the Spirit” charismatic seminar in November 2015 at her parish.
“That gives me direction in life, that gives me hope, that gives me peace … We thank him through the praises, through the singing,” she said. “… I began going to adoration and the Lord kept on telling me that I was going to put together this music conference.”
Advance general admission is $35 a person, with other prices for students, married couples and families. It includes a boxed lunch for Saturday. Tickets at the door will be an additional $5.
“What our calling is for this conference is to bring those people that have lost that hope and lost their faith and maybe are going to nondenominational churches, those who have really kind of lost that connection with their Catholic roots, and an it’s opportunity to reach out to the young people; music is such a part of their culture,” she said. “… Music can really heal their hearts and open them up to the Lord.”
For more information, call Pellegrino at (501) 353-6984 or visit arkcc.org.
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