SPECIAL TO THE CATHOLIC HERALD
In the Midwest, Lent is usually accompanied by gray skies and lack of sunshine, and can be taxing on the spiritual and psychological health. It can also be challenging for Catholics to feel motivated to enter this holy season. However, Lent can be 40 days of opportunity for growth and renewal, a time to focus on God and his Son’s sacrifice.
Typically, Anna Nuzzo, local singer/songwriter and member of St Anne Parish in Pleasant Prairie, would be leading parish missions around the country during these weeks through Divine Mercy Sunday. However, due to the coronavirus outbreak, all have been canceled for the international singer and former Shalom World TV Host. Nuzzo has used this situation to work on her fifth original music album.
“I have many friends that travel for their ministries as speakers and we are all now unexpectedly grounded. It was hard for us to accept that our events were being canceled, but yet we understand it is to flatten the curve of the spread of this virus to allow for the healthcare system to catch up,” she explained. “Needless to say, it’s been helpful to be able to talk and pray with these friends, and share in our mutual disbelief at what the world is facing today.”
After completing several early parish missions in Utah, Indiana, California, Pennsylvania and Oconomowoc, Nuzzo was preparing to lead an Amazing Mercy event the next day when she got the call that the bishop of the diocese canceled all events and public Masses.
“This was to be the first of many of my events to be canceled. When I flew back home, I was amazed at the quietness and lack of people at both the Pittsburgh and O’Hare airports,” said Nuzzo. “They were practically empty. This was a stark wake-up call for me. It felt very strange, yet I did try to appreciate the peacefulness of it, too. I fly often for my music ministry and so the most obvious difference between the lack of hustle and bustle was the quiet. I will never forget that.”
It was disheartening for Nuzzo to have the Masses and events canceled because she felt that during such a time of tribulation, it was more important to reach out to others with the messages of faith, hope and love. Rather than look for her solace in attending Mass and receiving Jesus in the Eucharist, she understood this Lent would be a period of withdrawal, prayer and obedience to the Church and government leaders for the benefit of all.
Ironically within the name coronavirus is the word, Corona, which in Italian means crown and is significant to the Italian who looks to Mary for comfort.
“For me, this coronavirus has been a sign about another corona or crown, our Queen Mother. I had been praying about this for a while. I had wanted to do a Marian album, but I had been praying about what kind of album it should be,” she said. “I didn’t have a clear picture of what God wanted it to be yet and I wasn’t sure when exactly I’d be able to squeeze in the time to fully plan and record it. Well, with the canceling of all my events for the next two months due to coronavirus, looks like Corona, the Crown, the Queen Mother wants me to do this now.”
The idea for the Marian album stemmed from a previous conversation with Nuzzo’s friend, Susan Tassone, an award-winning Catholic author and speaker, who urged her to sing songs from Marian apparition sites. Nuzzo loved the idea and decided to reach out to another friend, “Miracle Hunter” and Marian theologian, Michael O’Neill, to collaborate.
“He loved the idea and agreed. We discussed the possibility of this CD being like a supplement to his popular 2019 book, ‘Virgin, Mother, Queen: Encountering Mary in time and tradition,’ which he co-authored with Robert L Fastiggi,” Nuzzo said. “We decided the CD would have the same title, ‘Virgin, Mother, Queen.’ And have the same gorgeous cover photo of Mary and Jesus.”
Nuzzo’s CD, which will include songs dedicated to each of the apparitions discussed in Fastiggi’s book, will include a special insert, a booklet written by Fastiggi and will be released this summer.
“There will be a variety of songs – some Marian hymns, some traditional apparition site songs, and some newly composed by me, such as my rendition of the ‘Hail Holy Queen,’ my rendition of the ‘Hail Mary’ in French, and also ‘Pray for Us,’ a song based on my friend Fr. Edward Looney’s Litany of Our Lady of Good Help,” she said. “This is a very unique and creative CD that I hope people around the world will enjoy as much as we have enjoyed creating it. I love that it will also be a tool to learn about Marian Apparitions and the history of some of the most beloved ones.”
Though the social isolation due to the coronavirus is disheartening for most, Nuzzo is enjoying one side effect: her two sons, Drake, 20, and Luke, 19, are both home from college and will be finishing up their college studies online.
“I am trying to keep my family healthy while enjoying our family time together” she said. “My husband, Mike, a partner in Southport Healing, Cooling and Plumbing in Caledonia, is mostly working from home, too. So, we are all adjusting to this new normal right now, praying for those souls who have died from this virus and for the recovery of those who have it now or will get it. I have many relatives in Italy, and they are also on the forefront of our thoughts and prayers.”
Nuzzo’s new Marian CD will be available in the summer.
Visit her website www.annanuzzo.com or follow her on social media to learn about her upcoming events and exact release date.
Nuzzo’s other CDs are available online, at various Christian bookstores across the country. Her music is also available on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, Pandora and You Tube.