I have been so blest over the years to meet so many wonderful pastoral musicians who selflessly give of themselves and their talents, to help nurture the sung prayer of the people in their communities of faith. They truly inspire me, and they are the ones who make the music that liturgical composers like myself create come alive – they take the notes on the page and make the songs both prayer and praise for the people of God!
One who exhibits all of these qualities and so much more, is my good friend Genaro Garcia from the greater Los Angeles area. Genaro serves full-time as the Administrative Assistant to the Principal at Cantwell-Sacred Heart of Mary High School in Montebello, California, but I believe his true vocation and calling is being a pastoral musician, being the Director of Music Ministry at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Los Nietos, California.
Genaro would say that he is primarily a bass player, but he is also a guitarist, pianist, choir director, and more recently, a composer of liturgical music.
He recently released his first CD, “Come with Joy,” and you can purchase a copy by emailing him at: [email protected]. Here are some samples of his music on his website:
One of the most humblest ministerial servants that I know, Genaro – or as most of us have come to call him, “G” – and I have become good friends over the past few years, and he so faithfully and with joy has assisted me with many presentations that I have given at the annual Los Angeles Religious Education Congress held in Anaheim every year. He, without complaining, lugs his guitars, amplifiers and music stands to all of the different rooms where we rehearse and offer the presentations. He is such a joyful presence to have be a part of the events that I am involved with – he helps calm me down, and he reminds me through his witness, that to be a pastoral musician is an honor and privilege.
I was so excited and happy that Genaro was able to join me on the most recent pilgrimage I led to the Holy Land this past late December-early January. He brought his guitar, and played and sang with me and the other folks on the tour at all of the holy sites. Here he is being blessed by Fr. Ray East when he – along with the rest of us – renewed his baptismal vows at the Jordan River.
Like me, Genaro is a big baseball fan, and he and his wonderful wife Laura love going to the Los Angeles Angels games. He was not happy at all when my Minnesota Twins beat them recently, but it has not caused any rift in our relationship (LOL!).
Genaro is truly a model of what it means to be a pastoral musician, and even on a deeper level, what it is to be a servant-disciple in love with his God and with God’s people. It is an honor to be his friend, and to be in his presence whether we are making music together, or just being “with.” I love this guy. And I know that all who he serves, loves him as well. God bless you, G!