Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I was born into the Catholic faith. At 14, I was "born again" and found Jesus personally but lost His Church. After thirty years as an evangelical protestant, I have come full circle to find that He has been there all the time, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I wish others to find the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as I have found.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Rich Mullins - Patron Saint of Dulcimer Players

Rich Mullins was a giant in the Contemporary Christian Music industry. He had written songs that had become anthems that are still sung in many evangelical churches. Sing Your Praise to The Lord and Awesome God, and Creed are some of the most well known. He went to be with the Lord as a result of a traffic accident on September 19, 1997.
   What is not as well-known is that Rich was on his way to conversion to Catholicism. One of his last albums was called "Liturgy, Legacy and a Ragamuffin Band." In his liner notes Rich explains that it is a concept album mirroring the liturgy; "Cuts 2-6 of this album loosely follow the pattern of a liturgy - a tool used for collective worship. In it there is proclamation, praise, confession of sin, affirmation of faith and celebration of grace." (cf. liner notes on LLRB album 1993).  After graduating from college  (again)with a BA in music education in 1995, he moved to a Navajo Indian reservation to teach children music. He attended daily mass while there.  One of his last works was a musical about the life of Saint Francis basing it in the Great Plains. (Canticle of the Plains)
   Three weeks before Rich died, he was staying with a family in Elgin, Illinois in preparation for a recording. The young man whose parents hosted Rich recently wrote to my wife telling us a little  about Rich's spirituality. The host mom said jokingly to Rich, "so are you going to worship Mary now?"
    Even though Rich was not officially received into the Church before died, his music and theology expressed during his concert chats was clearly Catholic. He believed in baptismal regeneration and did not believe we could be saved by faith alone. (Faith without works is like a screen door on a submarine, is one of his songs)  A priest is on record stating that Rich was going to be received into the Church on September 22nd, 1997. Check it out here.
    So can a non-Catholic be a saint? Yes, in the sense that we are all going to be saints if/when we get to heaven. Can Rich be the un-official patron saint of dulcimer players? I think so based on the Creed: "I believe in the communion of saints."  Rich prays for us, and I believe he, like others in heaven, is now perfected and righteous and his prayers "availeth much."  Here's a little tune in honor of the unofficial patron saint of hammer dulcimer players:



Anonymous Nancy said...

If Rich fully intended to enter the Church, but was prevented by his death from doing so officially, wouldn't that be an example of what the Church recognizes as "baptism of desire"? In effect, when he left this earth he was Catholic even if he never had the chance to publically profess it.

I laugh about it, because it could have been a whole lot worse for me, but when I was in RCIA I was hit by a car when I was heading for the bus stop to get to Mass for the Rite of Acceptance (thanks be to God all I suffered was a very badly skinned knee and some major bruising). The funny thing about that was at the class before this Mass our priest indicated that once we completed the Rite of Acceptance we would be allowed to have a Catholic funeral. You should have seen the look on his face after Mass when I told him what happened and reminded him of his comments - it was the first time I'd seen him rendered speechless. I like to say that Satan went to some great lengths to keep me from becoming Catholic, but thanks be to God, the Lord needed me to hang around a little longer to do His business here on earth.

August 05, 2013 11:59 AM  
Blogger Russ Rentler, M.D. said...

Yes I think you are right about that Nancy!
I am glad The Lord allowed you to stay around a bit longer!

August 05, 2013 12:12 PM  
Anonymous RenĂ©e said...

Were you in Latham for the dulcimer festival? That's about 130 miles east of the tiny village where I was born.

That's God's country.... :)

August 05, 2013 7:24 PM  
Blogger Russ Rentler, M.D. said...

Lots of Carholic churches around there too!

August 05, 2013 8:06 PM  
Blogger Russ Rentler, M.D. said...

Catholic I mean.

August 05, 2013 8:08 PM  
Blogger pamelajoon said...

That's a lovely tune. I'm not Catholic myself, just a Ragamuffin. Knowing how Rich modeled his life after St. Francis, I've called him (to myself, at least) Saint Wayne, for many years.

August 14, 2013 4:14 PM  
Blogger pamelajoon said...

That's a lovely tune. I am not Catholic myself, just a Ragamuffin. Knowing how Rich modeled his life after that of St. Francis, I've called him (to myself, at least) Saint Wayne, for many years.

August 14, 2013 4:19 PM  
Blogger Russ Rentler, M.D. said...

Saint Wayne! I like that!

August 14, 2013 10:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I actually stumbled upon this post because I was trying to find out whether there was any room for non Catholic Saints, because I'm a protestant whom is currently considering the Catholic Church, and I've always considered Rich to be a Saint of sorts. (Rich and Fred Rogers are the only two personages honored by being on my "people I admire" section of my facebook profile - once I put them there, I realized there was really no one else I would/could list who could quite live up to either of them...)

Anyway - thanks for the post...

August 21, 2013 4:18 PM  
Blogger Russ Rentler, M.D. said...

Thanks anon for stopping by. If you have anty questions, let me know, I probably covered it once!

August 21, 2013 4:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for this posting about Rich, and I agree with Nancy, the "baptism of desire" gets him in and we would be "doubly Blessed" for it! Thanks Russ, and thanks Rich.

October 18, 2014 11:27 AM  
Blogger bchristy said...

Catholicism is so opposite of many of the aspects of Christianity that Rich Mullins believed. He had a personal relationship with his Savior Jesus Christ from the time he was a little boy and I don't believe this is perpetuated in the Catholic Church. They feel they have to go through Mary to reach Jesus or God. He was knowledgeable about the Bible and could quote Scripture like no one I have ever seen. My Bible class many years ago met with some young men who were in a seminary to be priests and we were appalled at how very little they knew about the Bible itself. I had a Catholic friend once who told me he was even encouraged not to read the Bible. The fact that he loved St Francis and wanted to emulate him in his devotion to God is no case to prove he wanted to turn Catholic. It has been stated that he wanted to receive Christ's body and blood in the sacrament. This is odd in itself because the Catholic church is not the only church that offers the Sacrament. It is usually called the Lord's Supper instead of referring it to Holy Communion. I'm sure the church he attended offered Christ's body and blood in the form of the bread and wine (or juice) too. Most churches that I have been to do not even require that you be a member to partake it it, but only ask that you accept Jesus as your Savior. He may have liked the liturgy of the church and even talked of becoming a Catholic, but none of these articles will ever convince me that he was serious and about to go through with it before he died. I would have to hear it personally from his friend Mitch who had once said he could be as "changeable as the wind" or from his brother Dave or other family members who knew nothing about this purposed decision.

October 11, 2015 6:08 AM  
Blogger Russ Rentler, M.D. said...

With no disrespect Christy, what you believe about the Catholic Church is irrelevant to this discussion. Rich had pursued being Catholic and was one week from being received into the Catholic faith. I have spoken to his priest friend who told me personally about his conversation with Rich a week before his death. Rich's mission employer was upset about his daily attendance at mass when he lived on the reservation. He told them he would consider not going to Mass if they could find an alternate church that taught scripture the way the Catholic Church did.

If you are interested, I suggest you read this

October 24, 2015 11:49 AM  

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