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Our Lady of Pompeii Parish holds faith-enrichment concert with Mary Palmer May 16

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Our Lady of Pompeii will hold their final Faith-Enrichment Series presentation with an hour of contemporary Christian and original music highlighting God’s sense of humor led by Mary Palmer, director of music for the Lancaster parish. Palmer promises opportunities for prayer and meditation throughout the night.

“It’s meant to reach people in a raw level,” she explained of the concert. “Music is a very vulnerable thing, whether you’re the listener or the music minister, and it’s meant to take us to a place where you’re raw and you can encounter Jesus. Often, we hide behind words. We can hide behind a persona or even maybe an assumption of who we think people want us to be. But music can’t lie. Music is pure. Music is emotional. It is the one gift from heaven we can give back to God.”

Our Lady of Pompeii’s Faith-Enrichment Series invites inspirational speakers once a month to offer prayer experiences, inspirational talks, and Christian music.

Mary Palmer

Palmer is a frequent sight at special Masses and presentations throughout the diocese. She is the director of choirs at West Seneca East Middle School, director of music for Our Lady of Pompeii Parish and Niagara University. She also volunteers with the Deacon Formation Program.

She holds a bachelor of arts degree in Music Education, a master’s degree in Music Education, and is a New York state-certified teacher. Her comprehensive master’s project centered around music for children with special needs and emotional disturbance. In this project, she created a K-5 curriculum specifically geared toward minority children from the inner city. Music as empowerment, emotional awareness, and structure has become the backbone of her role as educator and music minister.

Her early dreams of being a professional mainstream musician took her to Las Vegas, where she studied voice with Deborah Lobe, personal voice coach for Bette Midler. During her short stint there, Palmer was privileged to sing at the Stratosphere, Las Vegas Hilton and Flamingo Library, among other venues.

“I started out in Vegas. I was going to be a rock star,” she said. “I had a beautiful conversion out there, and when I came home, the only job I could find was in a Catholic Church. I didn’t want to play music anymore. I just wanted to be the DRE and youth minister.”

She found herself back at her childhood parish. Her pastor knew she played guitar and piano, and told her to learn the organ. Soon, she found herself performing at weddings and funerals around the diocese.

After learning contemporary music by the likes of Matt Maher, she became a traveling troubadour for the diocese.

“It was just word of mouth. All of a sudden, I’m playing at all these different churches and I love it because it’s all for Jesus,” she said.

Some of her musical adventures led her to sing for Masses at parishes throughout Dublin and Galway, Ireland, chapels and churches throughout Poland, St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice, Italy, St. Mary Our Lady Grace in San Giovanni Rotondo, and at the tomb of St. John Paul II in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

She likes working for different priests in different environments and having different audiences to see how others worship.

“It helps me stretch my own spirituality to understand that the way I Jesus is not the way everybody Jesuses,” she explained. “If I’m going to be a servant, I need to have all these tools in my tool box to help feed them through music and bring them to Christ.”

The free concert, “Beloved: An Evening of Healing, Rejoicing, and Love of Jesus Through Music and Prayer!” will take place from 7-8 p.m. on Monday, May 16 in Our Lady of Pompeii Church, 129 Laverack Ave., Lancaster. Finger foods will follow. RSVP at 716-683-6522 is appreciated, but not required. Free will offering accepted. All are welcome.

For more information visit www.olpparish.com.  

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