Meet the man who sang at Rio’s Eucharistic Adoration: “The arms of St. Peter’s are really big”

It was a mesmerizing and deeply moving moment during the pope’s visit last week.  But who was the guy on his knees strumming the guitar?

From Religion News Service: 

Growing up Roman Catholic in Newfoundland, Matt Maher never imagined that his childhood interest in music would lead to a career as a Grammy-nominated, chart-topping Christian rocker — let alone a crossover artist featured on Christian radio and in evangelical worship.

Growing up Roman Catholic in Newfoundland, Matt Maher never imagined that his childhood interest in music would lead to a career as a Grammy-nominated, chart-topping Christian rocker — let alone a crossover artist featured on Christian radio and in evangelical worship. Photo courtesy Matt Maher

After he stopped going to Mass as a freshman in high school, Maher wasn’t even sure about his own faith. The idea of maintaining a personal relationship to God seemed a foreign concept.

“Where I grew up, evangelical Christianity really hadn’t made any strides,” said Maher, now 38, describing the mainline religious culture of his wind-swept Canadian homeland.

Listen to any of his catchy, guitar-driven pop-rock anthems, such as his new single, “Lord, I Need You,” and it’s clear God is never far from Maher’s mind these days.

Maher’s 2009 album, “Alive Again,” reached No. 6 on Billboard’s “Top Christian Albums” chart, and he’s received two Grammy nominations for songs co-written for Christian singer Chris Tomlin. He just launched a five-month North American tour in support of his new album, “All The People Said Amen.”

“Lord, I Need You” is already climbing the Christian radio charts, proving that Maher’s lyrics strike a chord with Protestants too.

Maher said one of the things that reignited his love for Catholicism is what he describes as its “all-encompassing worldview” that welcomes people from all walks of life. He said the same principle drives his songwriting, and the title of his new album is intended to spread this message of “unity” and “community.”

“The arms of St. Peter’s are really big,” Maher said. “The art is supposed to reflect that.”

Read more. And check out the video below of his singing during Adoration.

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UPDATE: My blog neighbor Frank Weathers has more on Matt Maher and found this great interview, where he talks about how he came to write that particular song:

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