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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April 19, 2015

  • Sunday, April 19

    Special Needs Mass, 10 a.m., Father Maguire Council Hall, 4315 N. Vincent Ave, Covina.Mass for persons with physical and intellectual disabilities, their families and caregivers. For more information, contact Elizabeth, (909) 599-9833, ebinerfamily@gmail.com.

    Renew: Spring Clothing Drive and Beer Bazaar, 1-8 p.m., Angel City Brewery, 216 S Alameda St., Los Angeles. St. Vincent de Paul will be on-site collecting donations of gently-used clothing, shoes and accessories, while also selling items from their downtown shop. Artists and local vendors will be set up in the brewery selling artisanal wares. Those who donate five or more products during the event will receive a raffle ticket, redeemable throughout the day to enter to win products from Angel City Brewery, St. Vincent de Paul and Beer Bazaar vendors.

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