Former rock musician brings music, message to Sauk Rapids stage

Categories: Around the Diocese

By Kristi Anderson
For The Visitor

Energized by his faith, former rock musician John Michael Talbot now appears to crowds at over 150 events each year, trekking from parish to parish, city to city, spreading the Gospel through his music and words.

He will return to the Diocese of St. Cloud Oct. 20, spending three nights at Sacred Heart Church in Sauk Rapids for a parish-wide mission event that is open to all people and all faiths.

If you go

When: 7 p.m., Oct. 20, 21 and 22

Where: Sacred Heart Church,

2875 10th Ave. NE, Sauk Rapids.

A free will offering will be taken each evening to support the ministries of John Michael Talbot and the Brothers and Sisters of Charity. The suggested donation

The singer-songwriter, guitarist, author, TV host and the founder of the Brothers and Sisters of Charity is excited about the “Francis Effect” and embraces Pope Francis’ proclamation that everyone is called to a renewed personal encounter with Christ.



“The call for repentance and change is urgent,” Talbot said. “We need revival in America. The … time for comfortable Catholicism is over. We have to step out of our boats and if we will dare to do that and keep our focus on Christ, we can walk on water. Miracles can happen.”

Each evening presents a unique experience. The first night Talbot will share his own testimony: how he went from rock-‘n’-roller in the band Mason Profitt, sharing the stage with such bands as The Grateful Dead and Pink Floyd, to doing what he loves today — being a “troubadour for the Lord.”

“I tell a lot of jokes. I’m funny,” he admits, “but when I play my music, people weep. They weep tears of deep metanoia, tears of true conversion. Music touches the soul in a special way.”

The second night, Talbot invites people into a personal encounter using the Jesus Prayer. He says that people need to breathe with both lungs and this night will involve rediscovering the Eastern [Catholic and Orthodox] “lung.”

The last night Talbot will walk participants through the liturgy.

“We’ll talk about better singing, better preaching — not because there is anything wrong with the music and preaching we have,” he explained, “but because we need to pay attention, to become active listeners, to smile, maybe even give an ‘Amen’ once in awhile. When we have that engagement in preparation for the Eucharist, we can respond personally, not out of law — no ‘mumble and stumble’ — but come fully to the table to give our life to Christ.”

Talbot finds inspiration through reading and studying Scripture and learning about the saints.

“I love the saints,” he said. “I am knee deep reading Maximus the Confessor right now. It is just amazing. A paragraph will keep you in rapture the whole day. I love the Fathers of the Church, monastic history, the reformers of the 11th century, Augustine, Basil, Athanasius. I read this stuff and am neck deep in it all the time. The reason I love them is because they always point to Jesus. The average Joe and Susie can go for it, because they did it. We can do it in our time, in our way.”

How does Talbot’s long time ministry stay relevant in today’s changing world? He says it is that, with all of the world’s problems, being Catholic is “still the best ballgame in town.”

“Faith is the substance of all things,” Talbot said. “Faith is the personification of the great things we hope for in the now, the things we haven’t yet seen. We may be in the middle of great darkness — and the darkness is very real — but we personify the light in the now. Faith changes our attitude and drags us out of the doldrums, gets people out of the religious routines that are boring and gets them excited about Jesus.”