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Traveling Music Ministry Renews Parishes & Families


St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church
Portland, Oregon
United States

More Info

For more information, email Joe Elbow.

Holy Family Apostolate Gives Christ through Song, Stories, and Personal Testimonies

"It was easy to put together the evening and so many graces flooded forth on the 250 people who attended. If you ever have the chance, even if it is with a week or less notice, invite Michael John Poirier ino your parish; he leads us so well into the heart of Jesus and his infinite mercy." Fr. John Amsberry - Pastor St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church Portland, Oregon Oct. 12, 2007

The need it meets

Music reaches some people in a way that words alone cannot. The Holy Family Apostolate is a traveling ministry that combines music, storytelling, and personal witness in order to spark greater love for Christ and the sacraments.

Where it came from

The Holy Family Apostolate began when Michael John Poirier set his personal prayers to music, recording a CD in 1986. He started a traveling music ministry that from 1993 onward would take Poirier all over the States and Canada.

In 1994, Poirier married; he and his wife, Mary, founded what is now called the “Holy Family Apostolate.” They have three kids, and they typically do 1 – 3 events a week, traveling as a family.

Poirier’s home base is in Oklahoma, and he operates under the authority of Archbishop Eusebius J. Beltran of the Oklahoma City archdiocese, taking great care to be totally faithful to the Church.

How it works

The Holy Family Apostolate can be adapted to the needs of the parish:

  1. A multi-day mission at a parish. For three consecutive evenings, Poirier gives talks on a theme, shares his own conversion story, tells stories, and sings with his acoustic guitar. Typically, this runs Monday-Wednesday, and Poirier sings at the previous weekend Masses to promote the mission.
  2. A “Prayersongs” concert and Holy Hour at the parish. The music prepares the parishioners for adoration, during which Poirier shares his conversion story. The Holy Hour also includes more music and quiet time for personal prayer.
  3. Storytelling at schools. Poirier visits schools for a story hour with young children and their parents. The kids then invite their parents to the concerts. Some of his original stories are recorded on CD.
  4. Retreats or conferences. Poirier often presents at conferences and retreats, usually as a singer and musician, but also as a speaker.
  5. CD sales. Michael's catalog of 13 CDs are available individually for suggested donations. If someone can only afford $1 or even nothing at all, they receive the CD of their choice.

The results

Poirier performs for about 40,000 people annually. The Holy Family Apostolate receives hundreds of letters and emails every year reporting the impact of Poirier’s ministry.

Key elements

  1. No material props needed; Poirier travels with all of the materials needed for his ministry. Since the songs are prayerful, Poirier performs in the sanctuary of the church.
  2. Promotion: Word of mouth is particularly effective, as is the pastor’s support.
  3. Stipend: HFA works within the means of the parish, relying on the pastor to set the appropriate stipend. They have never refused to do a concert or a mission because of money.
  4. Other key elements depend on the type of mission chosen and the sort of follow-up that the pastor wants to implement.

How to implement it

  1. Visit and click on the “contact” tab, or call Joe Elbow (executive director for Holy Family Apostolate) at 405 330 1376. Let him know the type of mission you want.
  2. Discuss what theme you would like Poirier to address.
  3. Promotional plan: HFA designs custom flyers for their events and prints them as bulletin inserts. They can also write up bulletin announcements, put promotional ads in a diocesan newspaper, and arrange radio spots on local Catholic radio stations.
  4. These practical arrangements can be taken on by a pastoral assistant, or by the person in charge of music ministry, or by whoever is in charge of the parish’s family formation programs.
  5. Some parishes use the concert or mission to spark interest in a follow-up program such as perpetual adoration, a stewardship drive, or a parish-wide renewal program.

Fr. John Amsberry is pastor of St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church.

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