The New Catholic Music Movement

      My name is Daniel Oberreuter.  I am a husband, a father of three young boys, and the lead singer of the Catholic rock band, The Thirsting.  Long before I was ever married and had children, I felt a call from Jesus to form a Catholic rock band that would be true to the Catholic faith as a means to evangelize. Out of this call was born The Thirsting.  It was 2006 and I was heavily involved in youth ministry at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Vancouver, WA and it was there that The Thirsting first began with myself as the leader and three high school members. 

      With more zeal then brains, I borrowed $5000.00 and recorded our first EP titled “No Greater Love.”  It consisted of 3 songs: In this Sacrament, I am not Worthy, and Ocean of Mercy.  After recording the EP, and doing multiple local concerts, the original members of the band, aside from myself, all grew up and headed off to college, and I was left by myself with a dream and a passion to promote the Catholic faith through music.  

     I began to write more music on my own and then recorded The Thirsting’s first full length album, Companions of the Lamb in 2008.  Again I borrowed money and funded the record. I was fueled by my passion to evangelize through music, and specifically through Catholic music.  After completing Companions of the Lamb, I enlisted new members, and again, with more zeal than brains, began touring across the nation with a Catholic message.  I had no connections though, so I picked up my phone and made thousands (yes thousands) of cold phone calls to churches, dioceses, and youth directors across the nation.  My zeal for my faith and my passion to evangelize pushed me forward.

    I hit many road blocks along the way.  I tried to get accepted by Steubenville conferences, Lifeteen conferences, and larger diocesan conferences in order to offer my services to evangelize but was continually denied.  My music, as Catholic as it was, did not seem to be accepted by many in Catholic leadership circles across the nation.  I didn’t fit the standard praise and worship “Jesus” music. Our music was rock with a very Catholic message.  I found acceptance only in random churches and youth ministry programs across the nation where youth ministers on fire for their Catholic faith ate it up.  I would offer full band concerts with full production to churches while hardly asking for any money.  Most churches could barely afford, or concede, to pay much of anything.  I struggled, yet pushed forward, the only way I knew how.  I would tour, then take a couple months off and do booking, then tour again, and the cycle continued.  

    One of the greatest outcomes of my touring was meeting my wife.  She was a revert, and was also trying to do Catholic music.  She actually found me on Myspace!  I had a profile for the band and she contacted me about doing Catholic music.  I thought she was great looking, so I contacted her back and we began our relationship. We dated off and on for a few years and finally In 2010 we got married. 

At the time I was basically broke.  Having spent all my time and money trying to fund and do Catholic music with very little financial success, I made a decision to take a job as a youth minister at a local Catholic church in Vancouver, Washington in order to support my new wife.  During this time though, I still continued to write new songs, and again, wanted to make authentic Catholic music with lyrics that did not water down the truth or give only a basic “Jesus” message.  I wrote lyrics that would never be accepted on mainstream contemporary christian radio.  I had no desire to ever be a part of contemporary christian music simply known as CCM, as I recognized they would never accept me for my Catholicity.

    After one year as a youth minister It was quite clear to me that I was in the wrong place, so I quit my job and went full time again into Catholic music.  I borrowed more money and recorded The Thirsting’s second album Universal Youth, and again, went back to the phone and began making cold phone calls - trying to do whatever I could to be accepted in the Catholic church as a Catholic musician.  Still, it seemed very few people in Catholic leadership circles cared.  My only acceptance, aside from random churches and a few diocese across the nation, was with NCCYM and NCYC.  

    In the midst of this struggle to evangelize through Catholic music, I discovered that the only real place to engage Catholics, that I could get into consistently, was the mass.  The majority of American Catholics do not do much outside of the mass so if I wanted to get my message out through music it had to be done through the mass. 

     Back in my early days of writing, I wrote a song called Come Hold my Son. It basically depicted Jesus’ life through Mary’s eyes.  I began to play the song as a 2nd communion meditation and offer CD’s after each mass along with a free-will offering concert in the evening. Through this song, I was and have still been able to pay my bills.  God showed me a way to minister to His people and also make enough money to support my family.

    But this is not where the story ends.  I could live a very simple life, playing my song Come Hold my Son at churches across the nation, still making cold phone calls, and giving acoustic free-will offering concerts.  These concerts are very powerful, and I will continue to do them, but I feel that God wants more.  Stay with me…

    This leads me to today and why I am writing this article, or blog, manifesto, or whatever you would like to call it.  I am here today to tell you that I am done trying to work solely within church leadership structures to evangelize.  Oh, my message is Catholic and I will continue to be a devout Catholic pointing others to the faith, and if a youth minister or diocesan director calls me and wants me to perform I will do so. But, I will not be bound by structures within the church to share the good news of the Catholic faith.  All one really needs to evangelize through music is an audience.  My audience is you the reader and the listener, and all I need to do is let you hear me.  I do not need a Steubenville conference that has never accepted me, or a diocesan director, or a youth minister who won't call me back. All I need is YOU, my audience, fans and friends.  Don’t get me wrong, Steubenville conferences, and diocesan conferences are wonderful events and I support everything they do with all my heart, and if asked to play for one, I will do so. But I do not need them.  All I need is YOU.

    I want to start a new musical movement within the Catholic Church of musicians who are not afraid to boldly promote and stand up for the Catholic Church.  Musicians that do not water down the teachings of the Church so that he or she may be more accepted by a general audience.  The true Catholic music movement is one that is unafraid to be Catholic.  One that is not motivated by money, but rather souls.  One where the music is secondary to the message.  Yes that’s right, the music takes a back seat to the message.  Music must be the tool, the avenue, or the instrument to bring the message - not the other way around.  We get into so much trouble as Christian musicians when we approach it the other way.  The contemporary christian music Industry will never accept true Catholic musicians.  So why are Catholics trying to fit in with them? Us Catholics accept contemporary christian music on the radio, but we will never be accepted by them.  A true Catholic musician is one that hears the word of God and proclaims it boldly in all of it’s entirety.  When a true Catholic musician discusses the Church, he is not afraid to proclaim publicly that the Church is Catholic!!!

    That being said, I need your support in this new, yet very old endeavor.  The only way I can succeed is if I have the support of my fans.  Will you take this journey with me? Let’s build a new Catholic musical movement together. Lets support Catholic musicians that take a Catholic stance at all times, and not only when it is convenient.

    How will we build this new musical movement?  Through our relationships. We, yes we, the artist and the fans will inspire this Catholic musical movement.  Fans will support authentic Catholic musicians and Catholic musicians will offer fans inspiring authentic Catholic music. And it is really that simple.  That’s how it works in the secular world.  With God’s help, it will work in the Catholic world. 

     I pledge to you my fans that I will continue to offer cutting edge Catholic Rock and I will be unafraid to boldly proclaim the Catholic Church and all Her teachings and that the Catholic Church is the true Church of Christ. Will you take this journey with me?  I know you know we can, and I know you know others that want to take this journey as fans and artists.  We are in this together.  Look for more to come from The Thirsting, and I will look for more to come from you. Please share this article with your friends and family or post it on Facebook.

The Mission of The Thirsting is to inspire souls to KNOW, LOVE, and SERVE Jesus in the Eucharist

Stay Strong // Stay Catholic

Daniel Oberreuter