Catholic musicians (from left) Taylor Tripodi and Aly Aleigha sing together during the concert portion of an evening of Eucharistic adoration and music Oct. 12. They participated in the evening as part of Adoration Artists, an organization that believes “music is one of the few things that can be used to deliver truth to people at all points in their Christian walks – from the nonbeliever to the devout. Through music, we find moments of connection between the created and the Creator that are impossible to find elsewhere.” (Catholic Herald photo by Jenny Snarski)

Jenny Snarski
Catholic Herald Staff

More than 40 adorers were scattered throughout St. Joseph’s Church in Rice Lake for a holy hour that took place Oct. 12 as part of a national initiative promoting Eucharistic adoration and Catholic musicians.

After exposition and some moments of silent prayer, the musicians – Rice Lake’s own Aly Aleigha (Schissel) and Cleveland native Taylor Tripodi – sang, “Take a moment to remember who God is and who I am … Here is my heart, Lord.” Three priests heard confessions as the holy hour progressed in a meditative atmosphere, culminating with benediction.

The Holy Hour and concert were part of The 177 Project, a three-month-long initiative of Adoration Artists, to promote adoration with an event in each of the 177 dioceses across the continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Tripodi, who attended the Franciscan University of Steubenville with Schissel, shared her first experience of adoration at a Steubenville conference for teens.

“Adoration has played a huge role in the reason why I am still Catholic … Being put in touch with the Eucharist, my whole world just changed,” she said. She shared that The 177 Project’s goal was to put people in an encounter with the living God – and to take that presence and radiate it. Tripodi affirmed that, for those attending – which included couples and families with teens and young children – “your presence on a Friday night says a lot about you.”

Schissel’s participation with The 177 Project has primarily been in western states. Her presence at the Rice Lake event was unplanned, and after performing two of her original songs, she decided to debut a new song.
Written during a May 2018 pilgrimage to the Holy Land, the song was about Peter’s denial of Jesus on the night of his passion and named “Gallicantu,” which means “cock crows.” The lyrics spoke of one’s best intentions to fight for Christ and the experience of falling short: “Through my failures, your love is an ecplise.”

Tripodi, who had performed two nights before in Escanaba, Michigan, and Nashville, shared what a blessing it has been to spend an hour every night leading Catholics in adoration.

Her first performance was a song based on an experience she had, observing her youngest brothers and thinking about how time flies. As the oldest of nine children, she was inspired by Jesus’ Gospel message of being like a child in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven: “I can’t let go of the innocence I once held close … little is what I always want to be,” and ended with “little is what I always choose to be.”

The singer introduced her next song – an adaptation of Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” – with the story of how her mother had gotten pregnant at 19, considered an abortion but was unable to go through with it. Tripodi was the child she bore.

Sharing a summary of St. Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, she said, “We are so much more than just bodies – not that attraction is bad, but it needs to go more than skin deep.” Her “baptized version” of Sheeran’s catchy tune centered on the lyrics “You are more than a body.”

Before a final song that the two young women sang together, Tripodi said: “You don’t have to sing and have a guitar for your life to be so important and have great purpose – God loved you from all of eternity and wanted you to be here … your life has infinite value … God has a plan for our life, we just have to open our lives to that plan.”

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