Prayer garden honors music director’s legacy

Geraldine Biggs McGrath is pictured in St. John Baptist De La Salle’s new prayer garden named in her honor alongside Father Robert Milbauer, pastor, on the occasion of her retirement as music director June 29

St. John Baptist De La Salle in Granada Hills dedicated a new prayer garden honoring Geraldine “Gerry” Biggs McGrath, who retired after 60 years as parish music director June 29.

The sixth of eleven children of the late organist and composer Richard Keys Biggs, Gerry became De La Salle’s music director soon after graduating from Mount St. Mary’s College in Los Angeles in 1951 with a Bachelor of Music degree in choral conducting.

Gerry formed her first parish choir out of the post-war G.I.s and young housewives who made up the community of the growing San Fernando Valley. With her late husband of nearly 55 years, Herbert McGrath, Jr., she raised seven children while continuing to lead music ministry over six decades. She counts her pastoral ministry work with the choir at De La Salle as her most treasured musical accomplishment.

Among her other accomplishments are: first lay woman to teach at the Los Angeles archdiocesan seminary of Our Lady Queen of Angels; appointee to the Los Angeles Archdiocesan Music Commission; founding member of the National Pastoral Musicians; and recipient of the Papal Cross Pro Ecclesia Pontifice medal from Pope Benedict. As a soprano soloist for many weddings, liturgies, concerts and funerals over the years, Gerry “has been the soundtrack of the milestones of life for countless Catholics and non-Catholics alike,” noted daughter Noelle.


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May 26, 2016

  • Thursday, May 26

    ACCW Meeting, San Pedro Pastoral Region, Southeastern District, St. Raymond Catholic Church, 12320 Paramount Blvd., Downey. Registration 9:30 am - Speaker Deacon Douglas Johnson. Mass at 11 a.m. Luncheon $12/ person, check payable to Alice Avery, 19126 Pricetown Avenue, Carson, CA 90746, Contact:  Alice Avery (310) 637-1364 or Verna Harmmer (562) 633-2503

     

    15th Conference on Mental Health and Spirituality- “Looking Over the Horizon”, 7:30 a.m. – 4:45 p.m., Los Angeles Convention Center. Keynote speakers: His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgön Chetsang, Fr. Laurence Freeman OSB, Dr. Martin Southard, Director of Doctoral Social Work Program, University of Southern California. $50 Registration fee covers, breakfast, lunch and snacks. For more info: Destiny Walker (213) 639-6396 or mhasconderence@dmh.lacounty.gov. Presented by: Los Angeles County Dept. of Mental Health

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