LINCOLN (SNR) - Catholics in the Lincoln area will have a unique opportunity to hear a nationally-acclaimed Catholic recording artist live at North American Martyrs church Monday, March 12 at 7 p.m.
Donna Cori Gibson will tour Nebraska next month in a concert series sponsored by the Spirit Catholic Radio Network. Proceeds from her Monday evening performance will go to support the North American Martyrs youth program.
Representatives from the radio station contacted Father Brian Connor, pastor, to ask if the parish would be willing to host a concert.
"He and I were both very receptive to the idea," said Tim Wegner, youth ministry coordinator since 2010. "I know our church has great acoustics…We are certain of a great show from Donna."
Mrs. Gibson was something of a musical prodigy, performing and recording as a child in Miami. While she was studying jazz vocal, opera, engineering and business at the University of Miami, she worked as a studio vocalist, lending vocals to albums, jingles and even cartoons.
Later, she moved to New York and sang virtually every style of music in virtually every kind of venue. But something was missing.
Through the grace of God, Mrs. Gibson said, she realized that her lifelong dream of becoming a famous singer was only emptiness. She determined to give it up in order to pursue the Lord. She later married and became a third-order Carmelite.
Though Mrs. Gibson had no desire to sing professionally, she frequently took prayers word for word from the Bible, popular Catholic devotions, and prayers of the saints and set them to music. Her husband encouraged her to record some of her musical prayers, in deference to Saint Augustine’s teaching that, "…when we sing, we pray twice."
Her first album is titled "Prayers from Heaven and to Heaven." Seven other albums and three videos ensued. Now, in addition to raising her family of soon-to-be five children, she performs throughout the country.
"I know she is known for her sung rosary, and I am really excited to hear that and offer my prayers to Jesus by singing this prayer to His Mother," Mr. Wegner said.
Jim Carroll, executive director of the Spirit Catholic Radio Network, said the station has received many requests to bring Donna Cori Gibson to the area over the years.
"We play her music at Care-a-thon and during our 11 a.m. Monday through Friday music hour," he explained. "We’ve played her Divine Mercy Chaplet for 10 years."
Father Frank Jindra of Ss. Peter and Paul Parish in Omaha and Father Tom Weisbecker of St. Bonaventure Parish in Columbus were the initiators of the Nebraska tour. They initially planned just two concerts for Mrs. Gibson during this year’s Lenten season.
However, Mr. Carroll realized that there was an opportunity to expand the tour to reach more of the KVSS listening area. There will be six concerts in all, including four in the Omaha Archdiocese, one in the Lincoln Diocese and one in Grand Island.
"She’ll be riding in the Bluebird Mobile Studio," Mr. Carroll noted. "And she’ll be a guest on Daybreak, our morning program, and on Spirit Mid-Days over the coming weeks.
Mr. Wegner encouraged everyone to attend the Lincoln concert at North American Martyrs.
"If you are looking to have your Lenten experience changed for the better, consider attending this concert. Make a family outing of this event!" he said, "I hope and pray we can fill the building and offer Donna the support she deserves."
He added that 100% of the proceeds will be used to fund scholarships for parish youth who wish to attend SKY Camp, chastity education, the annual diocesan Niobrara canoe trip, Steubenville youth conferences, the March for Life and numerous other faith-building opportunities.
"I have experienced almost all of these programs, and I can personally attest that they can have a tremendous impact on a child’s or teen’s faith," Mr. Wegner said.
Mr. Carroll agreed that young people need these opportunities.
"The youth aren’t our future, they are the Church now," said Mr. Carroll. "We need funding at the parish level to engage them in their faith."
This concert series is one of a handful of programs sponsored by the Spirit Catholic Radio Network each year. KVSS serves as the media partner for events that have widespread appeal for the station’s listening audience.
Tickets are only $5 and can be purchased at North American Martyrs Church, Gloria Deo Catholic bookstore in the Alamo Center at 56th and Highway 2, or at Spirit Catholic Radio Office in Lincoln at 23rd and O streets.
"Bring tissues," Mr. Carroll advised. "You will be moved by both her voice and the message of God’s forgiveness."