For the first-time ever, Catholic Charities, the Diocese of San Jose, and the Church of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) will join together to raise their voices and awareness for the plight of refugees by producing the Lamb of God Concert on April 22 and 23 at 7:30 p.m. It will be held at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Joseph in downtown San Jose.
The concert will benefit Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County’s Refugee Resettlement and Refugee Foster Care Programs. Each program helps refugees upon arrival adjust to their new culture by providing life skills through a range of services, from finding housing, to searching for a job, to learning English, or learning how to use a computer.
“I am delighted that the Diocese of San Jose and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints have this opportunity to work together in co-sponsoring the Lamb of God 2017 concert,” said Bishop Patrick J. McGrath. “Catholics and Mormons share many of the same values and concerns, among them the importance of home and family. With both the choir and the orchestra composed of members from our parishes as well as Mormon congregations, the performance proves to be an event that will hopefully touch the lives and hearts of many. I am grateful for this effort and look forward to collaborating with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints at other such events in the future.”
Since 1979, Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County has served over 7,000 refugees, from unaccompanied minors to individuals and families, who seek a safe haven from violence of war and terror, poverty, and oppression. Their Refugee Foster Care program is the only program in Northern California that serves unaccompanied refugee children.
Terry Davis, Director of Public Affairs for the San Jose South Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, was inspired to do something to help refugees after Elder Patrick Kearon of The Seventy during the April 2016 LDS General Conference speak about the importance of helping refugees. He said, “This moment does not define the refugees, but our response will help define us.” The Mormons also share a history with refugees because they have had to flee their homes because of persecution. Elder Kearon asked Mormons to serve however they could. The next day Davis and her colleagues reached out to Catholic Charities and offered their assistance, from providing volunteers to giving financial assistance to help ensure that refugees in their programs and future refugees will have what they need to thrive.
“After Elder Kearon’s speech, I was forced to take off political lenses regarding refugees and see the situation as it really is: a human crisis,” said Davis. “Being a refugee is simply a point in time. I think that someday our grandchildren will learn about this time in history, when there are 60 million displaced people around the world who fled persecution or terror. What will we say when they ask us what did we do to help these refugees? I hope this concert will touch people’s hearts and will help raise awareness and funding to help make a difference. The Diocese has been essential in this collaboration. We simply would not be able to organize this event without Bishop McGrath and Wendy Scherbart.”
The concert, Lamb of God is composed by Rob Gardner and features 13 vocal soloists, a cello soloist, 2 narrators, a 120-voice choir, 70-voice balcony choir, and 35-piece orchestra. The San Jose performances have been underwritten by the Forever Young and the Mercy and Roger Smullen Foundations. San Jose City officials, County Supervisor Dave Cortese, congregations, and community members are showing their support by getting involved.
“As Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County stays true to its long standing tradition of serving refugees, we are delighted to be joined by our brothers and sisters from The Church of Latter-Day Saints,” said Gregory R. Kepferle, CEO of Catholic Charities.
“Together, with the Diocese of San Jose, we will remain a steady force in these turbulent times. We will welcome those whose lives have been disrupted by war and conflict. The donations received from the Lamb of God benefit concert will aid refugees in their transition to a new and brighter future.”
The concert is an example of how a group of people from different faiths and backgrounds can come together to make a difference for the most vulnerable in society. We hope the community will join us on April 22 and April 23 as we raise our voices and show the world that refugees need our help. After all, we are all children of God.
Admission is free with a ticket. For tickets and information go to
www.LambofGodEaster.com. All donations will benefit Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement Programs.