It was a communion of technology, faith and worship at the Sun Bowl Stadium in El Paso Wednesday, Feb. 17. Before Pope Francis delivered a blessing to a crowd of approximately 45,000 at the Two Nations, One Faith Papal Telecast during his historic Mass across the border in Juarez, Mexico, multi-platinum selling country music artist Collin Raye inspired event-goers on a world stage. As the headliner of the prelude to the anticipated telecast, Raye shared his personal testimony of faith and performed his inspirational music from his album, His Love Remains, the top rated “Praise and Worship” CD on Amazon in 2012.
Raye, who converted to Catholicism at the age of 23, is a 10-time Male Vocalist Of The Year Award nominee and multiple No. 1 country hit-maker with songs like “Love, Me,” and “In This Life,” captivated the melting pot of diverse cultures with his moving performance of songs like “Give Me Jesus,” “Here I am Lord,” “How Great Thou Art,” and his top five single, “Love Remains,” which Raye said he always viewed as a hymn when he recorded it in 1995. Raye performed alongside rising singer Andrea Thomas. The two sang “How Beautiful,” before Thomas electrified the Sun Bowl with “Ave Maria,” sung in the traditional Latin.
“I was so blessed to be able to donate my time and talent for this beautiful event. The Pope’s visit to the border was unforgettable,” he said.
Days prior to the worldwide broadcast, Bishop Mark J. Seitz of The El Paso Catholic Diocese said,
“We want to demonstrate [through this event] to The Holy Father that our two nations, and our two sister cities, embody ‘Two Nations, One Faith.’ Pope Francis’ visit to this region will be a historic moment for these communities, and give a voice to the often voiceless, especially children and families who are at the center of the critical issues facing the border.”
A frequent inspirational speaker at Christian and Catholic events, Collin Raye often tells the poignant story of losing his granddaughter Haley to a rare neurological disorder, and the challenges that come with understanding God’s will in traumatic loss. He testifies through the process, God has faithfully led him to see things envisioned for his life now, which he could not see before.
“God has a larger purpose. Rarely is he going to do what you want him to do – and thank God for that,” Raye said.
“If my life has taught me anything that I want to share with people –we all can learn to be still and listen to God when we pray… just say, ‘Lord, just do whatever with me. Utilize whatever of me you can,’” he added.
In 2011, Raye released his first inspirational album, His Love Remains, which quickly shot to No. 1 on Amazon for inspirational and religious music. It is a compilation of unique renditions of classic hymns as well as originals, written by Raye, like “Undefeated,” “I Get What I Need,” and “Love Remains.”