PROVIDENCE — Singer, songwriter and contemporary Christian music artist Audrey Assad will perform at McVinney Auditorium in Providence on Tuesday, September 25, her only New England appearance this year.
The concert is sponsored by Saint Patrick Academy, a co-educational Catholic high school located in Providence, and the school’s Academy Discipleship Club 3107.
Assad, the daughter of a Syrian refugee, is an author, speaker, producer and critically-acclaimed songwriter and musician, having been lauded by the New York Times, nominated for multiple Dove Awards, and receiving the iTunes Christian Breakthrough Album of the Year award. In addition to her top-charting albums, Assad speaks about art, faith, womanhood, justice and pornography addiction at Catholic and evangelical events.
Father James Ruggieri, pastor of St. Patrick Church, Providence, feels that Assad is a very talented musician whose music is very sincere. He added that she is very open about her own faith development with its ups and downs.
"Her sincerity will resonate with our young people," he said. "We decided to bring Audrey to Providence because she is a Catholic musician who is extremely talented. She will be speaking to our school and to some local eighth grade classes that will be joining us for an assembly. She will be speaking about the importance of being peacemakers in these challenging times."
In an interview with Rhode Island Catholic, Assad shared that the youth and young adults in the Diocese of Providence can expect her witness and performance to be vulnerable and from the heart.
“I cannot do this any other way — I must show up as the real me, or not at all. So there will be little filter on how I express the real suffering and joy of life that I have experienced. And of course I’ll be singing. It will be a contemplative prayerful and hopefully joyful time. I’m always a little scared when I have to talk to rooms full of young people. I just feel such a desire and responsibility to make sure that I communicate clearly how deeply worthy of love they are — just as they are. If I manage to communicate that to them while I am in Providence I’ll be grateful and thrilled.”
In February 2018, she released a new album entitled “Evergreen,” which features songs of rebirth, identity, the rebuilding of trust and discovery of joy and love. Assad shared that breaking through fears and rediscovering joy is an everyday exercise.
“Practicing gratitude and presence is key — joy and peace don’t live in the past or the future, they live in the now. Sometimes we as people of faith put so much pressure on ourselves to have our spiritual selves perfectly sorted and settled at all times, but nothing and no one is that simple. Learning to ride the waves of life in gratitude and presence is how I stay connected to joy, even when I am suffering greatly.”
Assad recently took part World Meeting of Families in Ireland, calling it both a beautiful and difficult experience.
“Hearing the Pope apologize in the Mass for abuses and scandals was good, but also difficult — a reminder of the hard reality the Church is living. I will say honestly that I was honored to be there but that I felt that I encountered, in a very close way, the broken times the Church is dealing with right now. And that is a good thing. To face and see reality is the only way forward, and for whatever reason the World Meeting of Families was a visceral encounter with that reality for me.”
While on the road, Assad shared that she tries stay close to nature as much as possible to remain centered and rested in the love of God.
“Hopping from plane to church green room to hotel room and not seeing any trees or sky or water is a pretty surefire way for me to get to feeling burned out and bummed out,” she explained. “So I try when I can to experience the outdoors, even if it’s just by driving with the windows down. Something about that keeps me feeling very close to my sense of belonging in this universe and in God.”
For more information about Assad’s performance at McVinney Auditorium in Providence on Tuesday, September 25, or to purchase tickets, visit www.mcvinneyauditorium.com, or call the box office at 401-278-4588.