Last Saturday night was BYU Baltimore Alumni’s second annual benefit concert for Baltimore’s Catholic Charities, the largest charitable organization in the city/state that cares for the poor and needy. The concert (and the forming of a Baltimore chapter of BYU Alumni) was really the brainchild of our dear friend, Doug Desmarais, who has been a friend and mentor of ours since we moved to the Baltimore area 3 years ago. He loves this city of his and that feeling is contageous. He has a gift of making everyone around him feel special. He constantly reminds people to talk of Christ and to walk the talk.
So, it was natural for BYU alumni to decide to raise money for Catholic Charities since they do more than anyone to feed, clothe, and teach the poorest among us. I’m sure we’ll find more ways to get shoulder-to-shoulder with them in the future. So far, we’ve endeavored to raise money for them. The first concert was in the spectacular Basilica with Jenny Oaks Baker and Declan O’Rourke. The acoustics there made it really tough to hear Declan’s songs and so this year we chose to have the concert in the dining hall itself of Our Daily Bread, where Catholic Charities feeds about 800 people each day and have since the 70s, without missing a day. Both places felt like hallowed ground.
This year, the concert starred Peter Breinholt and Declan O’Rourke. I had never really heard Peter’s songs, though I heard his name a lot when we lived in Provo/BYU. Doug recommended that Jess accompany him and he was all for it. He came to our home a few hours before the concert and he and Jess rehearsed for an hour. After he left, she was so impressed with how gracious and kind he was and was excited to perform together. I’m totally kicking myself for not suggesting that she not only accompany but also sing with him the song “Grow Old With Me.” That would’ve been all-time.
Both Peter & Declan were warm and intimate with the crowd. I think everyone was surprised by just how personal they made the night. Declan shared his reaction to recent experiences of losing his uncle and getting married and how those experiences related to his songs. During the concert, I noticed a couple of homeless men standing outside and I wished we could’ve opened up the windows and doors and invited them all in. For the past couple months, I’ve been thinking a lot about Christ’s teaching of who will inherit the kingdom of God. He said those that fed Him and gave Him drink when he was hungry and thirsty; those that fed him when naked; those that visited him when sick and in prison. Those ‘righteous’ would say, “when did we ever do this to You?” And, he will say, “…inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren ye have done it unto me.”
We talked about this as a family and decided to to do a service project each month related to feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, etc. We have a long way to go to live up to that standard of discipleship, but Jess and I have been both feeling lately that our life needs to be spent in the service of others (particularly the most needy) instead of in the service of ourselves. We rational-lies our limits, but there’s no escaping the truth that where much is given, much is required.
Here’s some of the highlights of the 2+ hour concert:
And, if you like what you hear, you can see more of the songs on the YouTube playlist from the night here: