"Big Four" Highlights


A New Tune

Catholic journalist collaborates with rock legend

Biblical scholar, prolific writer, accomplished editor, cable TV host, father of six children – and budding rock star. Mike Aquilina has a long and varied career. Although his name is not yet famous among rock fans, after writing and recording songs with the legendary Dion DiMucci (“The Wanderer”), Aquilina may achieve that status soon.

He’s also a valued friend and supporter of Fathers for Good, for which he took a few minutes from his busy schedule to answer these questions.

Fathers for Good: Are you still working with Catholic evangelist Scott Hahn?

Mike Aquilina: Yes. Scott and I just finished taping our tenth 13-week series for EWTN. This one’s on his book The Creed. I’ve been with the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology since its founding in 2002. My titles are executive vice-president and trustee.

Mike Aquilina (right) shares a moment with Dion at the Grammy Awards.

FFG: You've been collaborating in recent years with Dion DiMucci and now with Paul Simon. Give a rundown of your projects.

Mike Aquilina: Dion is an old and dear friend. He’s the one who got me into writing music. A few years back, when he was working on his album Tank Full of Blues, I ended up co-writing half the songs on the album. Then I worked on more than half on his next album, New York Is My Home. He recorded the title track with Paul Simon, who then included it on his own recent album, Stranger to Stranger. I’ve been a fan of both men’s music since I was a kid, so the whole experience has been surreal.

I haven’t gone looking for musical projects. I pretty much write when I’m hanging around with Dion. I long ago lost count of the number of songs we’ve written. So maybe some of the others will make it onto albums someday.

FFG: Have you always been a music fan?

Mike Aquilina: I’ve always loved music. My older brother Charlie played in a rock band in the 1960s, so I grew up with the right soundtrack. When I got to high school, I played in bands with the neighborhood kids in Pittston, Pa. — Mike O’Malley, John Marino, Jim Berrettini, Kyle Skrinak, Ray Hassey, Tony Burns. Many of my bandmates are still making music in one form or another.

FFG: Does music have a role in evangelization?

Mike Aquilina: Absolutely. I think music was one of the primary means of evangelization and catechesis in the early Church. Most people couldn’t read. And those who could read weren’t buying books on the doctrine of the Trinity. The early Church Fathers taught the faith and spread the faith in many ways, but I think hymns were among the most effective. Good hymns make the faith memorable — and memorizable. They take up residence in the brain. They move the heart.

FFG: Any projects in the works?

Mike Aquilina: I’m just finishing up a book on music in the early Church. It’s due out from Emmaus Road Press later this year.

Watch the official video of Dion and Paul Simon performing New York is My Home.