Topeka parish mission puts message to music

Steve Angrisano entertains with Christian music during the 2009 National Catholic Youth Conference in Kansas City, Mo., Nov. 22. Nearly 21,000 teens, 3,000 adult chaperones and local volunteers from across the U.S. attended the Nov . 19-21 event. (CNS photo/John Caulfield, Catholic Key) (Nov. 24, 2009) See NCYC-OVERVIEW and NCYC-SPEAKERS Nov. 24, 2009.
Steve Angrisano entertains with Christian music during the 2009 National Catholic Youth Conference in Kansas City, Mo., Nov. 22. Nearly 21,000 teens, 3,000 adult chaperones and local volunteers from across the U.S. attended the Nov . 19-21 event. (CNS photo/John Caulfield, Catholic Key) (Nov. 24, 2009) See NCYC-OVERVIEW and NCYC-SPEAKERS Nov. 24, 2009.

by Jessica Langdon
jessica.langdon@theleaven.org

TOPEKA — Steve Angrisano’s name strikes a chord in music-loving Catholics of all ages.

And people across the generations are precisely the audience the musician and Catholic ministry leader will reach out to when he and his wife Jenni arrive in Topeka this November for a parish mission at Mother Teresa of Calcutta Parish.

A luncheon and workshop with Angrisano for musicians will be held at the parish from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Nov. 9.

And then Nov. 9-11, from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. each evening, the parish mission will take place at the church.

“This is not a night that requires the kids to go in one room, the teens to another, the adults in yet another,” the singer/songwriter/storyteller explains on his website.

Instead, it’s a family faith experience in which Angrisano hopes to inspire young and old alike with his “message of faith, hope and love.”

His inspiring music and message have hit home with Nancy Ruoff, who often references Angrisano’s stories as coordinator of youth ministry at Mother Teresa.

“We have seen Steve Angrisano at various events — World Youth Days and National Catholic Youth Conferences — over the years and have always been impressed with his ability to tell stories that really stay with you,” said Ruoff.

He makes connections, and his stories encourage people to change and to grow, she said.

She’s especially pleased that Steve and Jenni Angrisano will share their insights during an event that has family at its very heart.

The theme for the parish mission is: “Family as Trinity: One in Mind, One in Heart, One in Mission.”

This has been in the works for many months.

Father Tom Aduri, pastor of Mother Teresa, wanted this to be something that would appeal to the entire family.

Organizers describe it as something that touches not only the nuclear family, but also the parish family and the wider faith family.

Mary Zachariasen, parish life coordinator at Mother Teresa, notes the timing of the event, with the church focusing in many special ways this year on the family. She points to the extraordinary synod on the family recently conducted in Rome as just one example of this renewed attention.

“It was a Holy Spirit thing, because it all kind of worked together,” said Zachariasen. “We were grateful we decided to do this when we did.”

Also a musician, Zachariasen is looking forward to learning about liturgical music from Angrisano’s perspective during the musicians’ workshop.
Organizers explored a lot of ideas as they narrowed down the “Family as Trinity: One in Mind, One in Heart, One in Mission” theme, she said.

“One in Mind” recognizes that family is where someone learns the foundation of the faith, while “One in Heart” refers to ideas such as forgiveness, reconciliation, healing brokenness, and overcoming fear, loneliness, or isolation.
“One in Mission” encompasses teaching and living the faith.

Each night of the mission will have its own focus, and attendees will take something home to help them engage with their faith — and their families — even after the mission comes to an end, said Ruoff.

Many families today struggle to find time to be together and connect, but this is a chance to bring everyone together in one place, said Ruoff.

There will be activity kits for the little ones, so there’s no need to hire a baby sitter for the mission. And the mission is open and free to all, even members of other parishes.

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