Local musician hopes to make album with community support

“Hey, are you the music guy?”

Shaun Garrison, musician and worship leader for the Genesee-based Fellowship of Catholic University Students, gets that question regularly at national FOCUS events.

“Then they’ll proceed to tell me how the time of worship music I led at eucharistic adoration years before was a singular moment of conversion and reawakening for them,” Garrison shared.

In hopes of sharing his music more widely, Garrison is trying to raise $20,000 by Aug. 31 to record an album of original music, through a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter.

“This album is so important to me because I believe it’s come from a divine calling,” Garrison told the Denver Catholic Register Aug. 20. “God planted this desire in me about 15 years ago, and I have a strong conviction that he has called me to write and record these songs.”

Funds raised from the campaign, which began Aug. 1, would cover the costs of studio fees in Nashville, professional studio musicians, recording, mixing, mastering, printing and duplication, video capture and editing, and travel.

“Recording music is an expensive endeavor,” he said. “Crowdfunding makes the recording process possible for independent artists like myself who otherwise couldn’t afford to put money up front.”

As of Aug. 21 he had raised $12,098; or 60 percent of the goal, through 107 backers. It is an all-or-nothing endeavor, so if Garrison does not meet the $20,000 goal, he will not receive any of the money raised, supporters’ credit cards will not be charged, and the project will end.

“There’s a lot of good momentum,” he said, “and I’m humbled by the outpouring of support from all these amazing people.”

He’s also thankful for God’s perfect timing, even though he can’t claim to understand it, he said.

Shaun Garrison with his wife and four children.

“This project has been a lot of work for me, as a man with a wife, four children, and a full-time job,” Garrison said. “But my wife and I felt that the Lord was calling us to pursue this dream at this time. It’s been so exciting and surreal to see things in motion to make this lifelong dream a reality.”

According to the Kickstarter website, friends, fans and inspired strangers have pledged $1 billion to back projects promoted on the site, successfully funding 68,016 of more than 100,000 projects posted.

To learn more about Garrison or be part of the project, click here. Backers will receive a copy of the album and other rewards depending on their giving level.

COMING UP: Q&A: USCCB clarifies intent behind bishops’ Eucharist document

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Last week, the U.S. bishop concluded their annual Spring meeting, during which much about the Church in the U.S was discussed. In particular, the bishops voted to draft a document on the meaning of Eucharistic life in the Church, which was approved by an overwhelming majority.

Since then, speculation about the nature of the document has run rampant, the chief of which is that it was drafted specifically to instigate a policy aimed directly at Catholic politicians and public figures whose outward political expressions and policy enactment do not align with Church teaching.

The USCCB has issued a brief Q&A clarifying the intent of the document, and they have emphasized that “the question of whether or not to deny any individual or groups Holy Communion was not on the ballot.”

“The Eucharist is the source and summit of Christian life,” the USCCB said. “The importance of nurturing an ever
deeper understanding of the beauty and mystery of the Eucharist in our lives is not a new topic for the bishops. The document being drafted is not meant to be disciplinary in nature, nor is it targeted at any one individual or class of persons. It will include a section on the Church’s teaching on the responsibility of every Catholic, including bishops, to live in accordance with the truth, goodness and beauty of the Eucharist we celebrate.”

Below are a few commonly asked questions about last week’s meeting and the document on the Eucharist.

Why are the bishops doing this now?

For some time now, a major concern of the bishops has been the declining belief and understanding of the Eucharist among the Catholic faithful. This was a deep enough concern that the theme of the bishops’ strategic plan for 2021-2024 is Created Anew by the Body and Blood of Christ: Source of Our Healing and Hope. This important document on the Eucharist will serve as a foundation for the multi-year Eucharistic Revival Project, a major national effort to reignite Eucharistic faith in our country. It was clear from the intensity and passion expressed in the individual interventions made by the bishops during last week’s meeting that each bishop deeply loves the Eucharist.

Did the bishops vote to ban politicians from receiving Holy Communion?

No, this was not up for vote or debate. The bishops made no decision about barring anyone from receiving Holy Communion. Each Catholic — regardless of whether they hold public office or not — is called to continual conversion, and the U.S. bishops have repeatedly emphasized the obligation of all Catholics to support human life and dignity and other fundamental principles of Catholic moral and social teaching.

Are the bishops going to issue a national policy on withholding Communion from politicians?

No. There will be no national policy on withholding Communion from politicians. The intent is to present a clear understanding of the Church’s teachings to bring heightened awareness among the faithful of how the Eucharist can transform our lives and bring us closer to our creator and the life he wants for us.

Did the Vatican tell the bishops not to move forward on drafting the document?

No. The Holy See did encourage the bishops to engage in dialogue and broad consultation. Last week’s meeting was the first part of that process. It is important to note that collaboration and consultation among the bishops will be key in the drafting of this document.

Featured photo by Eric Mok on Unsplash