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  • Writer's pictureProfiles in Catholicism

An Interview with Mark Lajoie



Gordon: When did you attend Assumption University, what degree did you earn, what was your favorite course, and why was it your favorite?

 

Mark: It was Assumption College in those days, in the mid-90s. I got a Masters in Theology, Religious Education. (I had previously got a BA in History, minor Philosophy from Framingham State College.) I think my favorite moment was the final oral defense at Assumption, where I presented the interconnecting arc of discovery I had made throughout all my courses, especially building on the idea of identity and mission in the Church. I could have kept talking for hours! My cum was 4.0 of 4.0!

 

Gordon: When were you a teacher at Bishop Guertin High School and what topic did you teach?

 

Mark: From August 1999 till January 2022. I taught theology, but I soon became the go-to guy for the Bible, mostly teaching Freshmen. I also really enjoyed teaching ‘basic Catholicism’.

 

Gordon: When were you first interested in Music as a career? Who is your favorite religious composer, and why is that composer your favorite?  

 

Mark:  Early on, I realized I had a special gift. The Roussel side of my family is ridiculously musical, and it seems I got a lot of it naturally. But, a poor, confused young boy was also given a sure identity and a mission to reach others through music. I decided very soon that I did NOT want to get into that search for fame and fortune. In fact, I felt I was offered a choice by the Lord: pursue music totally, at great risk to my soul, or get married, have children, and do music as part of my life, with a surer path to salvation. I chose the latter, all the way.

 

In terms of classical composers, Handel’s Messiah played a key part in my reversion experience as a teen. Mozart and Vivaldi affected me later. Further, discovering that it was possible to express faith and prayer in contemporary styles made a huge impression on me, such as Christian rock, U2 and others. I actually wrote a whole article on the topic of my musical influences on my Substack recently: https://open.substack.com/pub/marklajoieoflivingwaters/p/marks-most-remarkable-album-memories?r=1gvqty&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web

 

Gordon: What instruments do you play?

 

Mark: 12-string Ovation guitar, Strat-style electric guitar, bass, a little keyboard, the digital mixing board.

 

Gordon: Please share with our readers an overview of your work at Living Waters Music.

 

Mark: We started in 1976. In the earliest days, I played a key role as main songwriter, lead singer, thematic witness organizer for preaching the Faith. We often were reaching teens. Starting in 2010 and since, I have been the de facto online organizer for our music. I have salvaged our old tapes, organized new song creation, albums and recently new re-mixes using poor man’s technology.

 

Gordon: What songs have you published? Please provide an overview of each song.

 

Mark: I have published over 70 songs with more on the way. I don’t have time and space to overview all of them! Most of them were performed with Living Waters through the years, but lately I am also producing my own songs as myself, such as “Give Through Devotion” and “You Need Love (Don’t Throw Your Life Away)”. Many I would characterize as inspired songs. Probably most notable is “Peter the Rock” which was presented to Pope John Paul II by US Ambassador Raymond Flynn. The Pope then sent me his Apostolic Blessing. Here is that song:

 

Gordon: Does  good religious music bring us closer to God? If so, in which way?

 

Mark: St. Ephrem the Syrian not only thought so, he did so, using music to not only touch the heart, but to defend doctrine and liturgical practice. I have come to understand firmly that it was a mistake to interpose contemporary music into Mass as I used to do in my charismatic days. It is not proper. Now, I actually go to an FSSP traditional parish and sing Latin in the men’s schola! However, I am equally emphatic that our kind of music, what I and my Living Waters family created, has and can be powerful tools of supernatural grace and healing. I am trying to spread this music, because it is blessed by the Holy Spirit.

 

Gordon: Thank you for a great interview and your music.

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