Making music for sake of Christian unity


GALLOWAY — The 2009 Hearts Afire Concert for Christian Unity was held at Assumption Church here on Friday night, Aug. 28.

A severe thunderstorm kept the crowd to about 300 people, but it included worshippers from dozens of Catholic parishes and Protestant churches from as far away as Harrisburg, Pa.

Carl and Martie Granieri, of St. Joseph Parish, Somers Point, are the founders and directors of Hearts Afire, which is a non-profit lay ministry based in the Atlantic City area.

During the evening, as members of Hearts Afire Lifeblood Team washed the feet of people in the congregation, Father Yvans Jazon, Assumption’s parochial vicar, led a prayer of unity. This was followed by a prayer for Unity from Rev. Rozellia P. Matthews, pastor of Salem United Methodist in Pleasantville.

Pianist, vocalist and composer Carl Granieri spent 12 years as musical director for the Sands and Showboat casinos in Atlantic City.  Martie Granieri is The Childcare Health Consultant for the Atlantic County Women’s Shelter. Together they hosted the evening and were joined by featured artists and The Hearts Afire Band.

The music ranged from contemporary Christian to traditional music from the Catholic and Protestant hymnals that were given a contemporary treatment. An original song by Hearts Afire called “May I Wash Your Feet” complemented the foot washing and Veronica’s Veil devotions.

The 100-voice Hearts Afire Praise Choir included singers from local Catholic and Protestant churches.

Hearts Afire has a weekly radio show on Sundays 6-7 a.m. The show is heard on WOND 1400 AM in Atlantic City and 1580 AM from Hammonton to Philadelphia. To learn more about Hearts Afire, visit the website at