Musicians visit Archdiocese to inspire vocations to the religious life

January 27, 2014

By Catherine Rogan, Media Relations Specialist, Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston

Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston welcomes Grupo Emmanuel:
The group is visiting Houston to inspire people to enter the religious life

Grupo Emmanuel is well-known in Latin America and has travelled extensively throughout the world. This week, they are in the Houston-Galveston area for the first time.

Grupo Emmanuel is a group of musicians from Mexico but they are not simply performers. Their ministry’s purpose is to bring people closer to God using a unique combination of worship and music.

Starting on Monday, Jan. 27, Grupo Emmanuel will be here for Cielo Abierto (“Open Heaven”). Primarily for young adults, Cielo Abierto is a five nights of praise, worship and Eucharistic Adoration at several parishes across the Archdiocese, concluding with a concert on Saturday, Feb. 1. The concert will be held at the Catholic Charismatic Center, 1949 Cullen Blvd., Houston at 4 p.m. The group’s goal is to help people open their hearts and minds to God and ultimately invite them to consider the priesthood or religious life.

Cielo Abierto is a profound personal encounter with the love of God. Through the sacrament of reconciliation and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, it is an invitation for attendees to recognize that Jesus is alive and present each time a priest consecrates the altar. Through the event, the group seeks to encourage laity, clergy and religious to live the primary vocation God calls upon them – to love Him and to love one another.

Members of the group say that since they started Cielo Abierto approximately four years ago, they have seen great conversions, witnessed an emergence of priestly and religious vocations and experienced a renewed spirit in attendees.

Grupo Emmanuel is here thanks to the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston’s Office of Vocations and their Office of Hispanic Ministry. In the midst of our fast lives which can be full of noise, Cielo Abierto is an opportunity “to sing to the Lord, to hear how much he wants us and loves us,” according to Fr. Dat Hoang, Director of the Office of Vocations.

Sergio Castillo, Director of the Archdiocese’s Hispanic Ministry added: “Many of us came to the U.S. looking for a more fulfilling life, but we miss the fact that Christ is the one who gives us the true fullness of life. Cielo Abierto is an opportunity to rediscover this awareness through an encounter with the Lord, who alone can give us the fullness of life.”

Grupo Emmanuel’s hope and prayer is that the renewed spirit they have seen in their travels continues as they embark on their first trip to the U.S.

About Grupo Emmanuel:
Grupo Emmanuel’s ministry started at Our Lady of Sacred Heart in Mexico. It was there that Pedro, Juan and Gil Gonzalez-Garcia, who were members of the church’s Emmanuel Choir, pledged to use their talents to express their love and commitment to Christ.

After several years of playing together at various Catholic festivals they were inspired to record an album, “Remembrances.”

In 1993, the Gonzalez-Garcia brothers embarked on an adventure in the Lord as missionaries musicians. This led to the formation of Grupo Emmanuel. Current band members include Cristal Dominguez (vocals), Enrique Vazquez (bass), Luis Reynoso (keyboard and chorus), Juan Gonzalez (electro-acoustic guitar/ lead vocals), Misael Aguirre (drums) and Pedro Gonzalez (voice and preaching).

The group started Cielo Abierto approximately four years ago in Mexico City’s National Auditorium – the inaugural event completely sold out. Since that time, they have brought their ministry to numerous cities throughout Mexico and South America, and to other countries around the world, inspiring many to live a life devoted to Christ.

The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston serves 1.2 million Catholics in 10 counties.
It is the largest Roman Catholic diocese in Texas and the 12th largest in the United States.
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