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Catholic Music Spotlight Interview with Celeste Zepponi, You Are Enough
By Lisa M. Hendey

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Q:  Celeste Zepponi, artist and musician, thank you for sharing your beautiful talents for the glory of our Lord!  Would you please briefly introduce yourself to our readers?

Hello Catholic moms. Thank you for allowing me to share my faith with you. In my ministry I speak to churches and women’s groups. I share my testimony, music, and paintings of angels. I encouraging others to recognize and develop their own gifts, talents, and abilities as prayer. When I am not working on art or ministry, I enjoy my vocation of family life as a wife, mother, and grandmother.

Q:  Could you please describe your own faith journey?

I was born into a Catholic family and attended a Catholic school. Early in life, I developed a deep love for the Sacraments and teachings of the Holy Catholic church. My faith in Jesus Christ gives me tremendous joy and purpose in life. I believe that God has a wonderful plan for every life! 

Q:  How did you come to the decision to share your creative talents for spiritual purposes?

I taught art to children for many years. It was in working with children that I began to desire to create art like children do, freely, playfully, and unconcerned about the finished art piece. Children do art just for the fun of it. I decided to invite Jesus to sit with me while I enjoyed making art.  Prayer is conversation with God. So conversing with Jesus and creating art is a regular part of my prayer experience. I paint angels because I am free to use my imagination and express my desire to offer worship. In bringing my gifts to Christ, I received a new talent in mid-life. I now write music. I did not have this talent in my young life. So now I remind others that God gives good gifts to His children and can give us new talents and gifts at any age and stage in our lives. I am doing things in my life I never imagined. All praise and thanks be to God.

In 2001, the experience of painting angels and writing songs was so prolific that the entire album formed over a six-month period of time. In an unplanned circumstance, I sang a few of my songs to a Dominican nun, Sr. Marie Vianney Hamilton. She was filled with excitement upon hearing the songs and insisted I record them. She took my music to her Dominican Mother-house in Nashville TN and found someone to produce my first album, Inside the Rainbow. During this time, I found out that Sr. Marie is a member of the order of St. Cecilia, the patron saint of music. Shortly after meeting her. I also discovered that St. Cecilia is my own patron saint. It was a joyful, grace filled time in my life. I felt like St. Cecilia was involved in my music and even though I had no idea how to produce an album nor did I know what I would do with it when I finished, Sr. Marie insisted, “You must sing these songs for Jesus”. She called me and wrote letters to me until I finished the album.

Q:  Which is your first love, art or music?  How do you find the time to create in both genres?

I feel called to give worship in music.  People often tell me how healing the music is or how it blesses them and helps them to pray.  The Holy Spirit touches hearts through music. I am grateful to God to be able to sing His praises. But, painting is my first love. Creating art is one of my favorite things to do, which is why I began offering it as a prayer of thanksgiving. I also like to write, so I create in cycles between times of painting, writing my talks and prayers, and singing/songwriting.

Making art is a joyful experience that I look forward to with great excitement!

Recently I have been sculpting the angels. We do not need big blocks of time to create, working a few minutes here and there eventually adds up to a finished piece. My goal is to create something beautiful for God each day of my life. I may only have time to write a few words of praise on the top of a page or set a canvas on an easel as the first step of a painting. I often sing while I do housework. Like a doting parent, God’s awaits to adorn His heavenly refrigerator door with our humblest masterpieces.

Q:  Your new CD, You Are Enough, is just wonderful!  What led to the inspiration for this project and the songs you wrote?  Do you have a favorite track on the record?

I have special memories related to each track, but pressed to choose one, I would have to say it is You Are Enough. I wrote the song after I had started the album. It was written out of my weakness, which is exactly where God’s strength shows up best.

The following description is printed inside the album cover:

My producer Joe Hand and I always start our work sessions with prayer. The song, “ You Are Enough” was written out of one of those prayer times. I will never forget Joe sitting across from me, holding my hands and praying. I was in tears that morning, wondering what a visual artist in mid-life was doing in a Nashville recording studio. Joe prayed for a long time. His voice was comforting, as if Jesus was speaking to me through him. I kept hearing the words: I am enough. I am enough. I am enough for you. Do not worry about your ministry, your age, or what it takes to produce this offering of praise. I have given you everything you need to accomplish this work. I am enough for you. The next morning, I wrote a new song. You Are Enough for me O Lord” We never know where God is leading, especially when we feel the weakest. But, if we are in prayer, we can be sure God is listening and He has a plan. God is enough.

You Are Enough is also being included as the first song on Catholic Music 2007, a new compilation cd of 32 Catholic artists that is being marketed nationwide.

Q:  What was it like to work with Joe Hand?  What did you learn from this project?

Joe Hand has a deep faith. He is also one of the most talented and sincere artist I know. When Joe produces music he paints with sound. I loved working with him.

In producing my second album, You are Enough. I learned that God is enough for me. I learned to be obedient in my little part. That is all we are called to do. God sees the bigger picture.

Q:  Who are some of your musical influences and your favorite musicians?

In my faith formation, I have been especially blessed by the music of John Michael Talbot and Jim Cowan.

Q:  On the topic of art and painting, what inspires your pieces and what do you hope to convey with your work?

I believe to give worship to God is our greatest human joy. Hands open and lifted are ready to receive joys poured out from Heaven. Drawing these gestures of praise is a natural movement of my heart, like breathing. I realize my faith is free gift, of which I am not worthy, which causes me to offer even more praise and thanksgiving! 

Through my work, I pray to remind people to lift their hands and offer praise. This is a powerful prayer for community as well as for private prayer.  I lift my hands in worship often when I am alone in my own home. I have written many songs and prayed for many people offering this expression of private praise. Once, while conducting a women’s retreat, I awoke in the night and felt the Lord say to me. Women worry, hands lifted in worship form a “W”. Tell them to change the “W” word Worry to the “W” word Worship and I will take care of their worries. It works for men too.

Q:  For those looking to tap into their own creative energies, what words of encouragement and advise would you offer?

Don’t ever say you are not creative. Be careful what you think and let your own ears hear yourself saying about you! God created you and loves you and God can indeed creates through you. Pray to be an empty vessel and ask the Holy Spirit to fill you with God’s love. God only gives His children good gifts and He has great plans for your life. We are not created to live in darkness, but in the light. If we spend our energy convincing ourselves we can’t do anything, or comparing ourselves to others, we don’t have the peace of mind, or the energy to enjoy being who God designed us to be.  Don’t miss your gifts! Your life is very important. Ephesians 4:7 states very clearly that every baptized Christian has been given special gifts for ministry. It is Christ himself, through the power of His life, death and resurrection, as head of the church, who personally chooses which spiritual gifts you have. Not only did Christ die on the cross for your salvation, but has commissioned you personally to be a viable part of the entire body of the church!

Q:  Celeste Zepponi, thank you for sharing your inspiring talents!  Are there any additional thoughts or comments you'd like to share with our readers?

Repent…be free, choose to live in peace,
Forgive yourself, forgive others…let it go
Love never fails

Lisa M. Hendey, wife and mother of two sons, is the founder of CatholicMom.com and the host of the Catholic Moments Podcast.

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