Lorraine Hess’ Veritas Album Shines the Light of Christ

Lorraine Hess’ Veritas Album Shines the Light of Christ in a World That Needs More of The Truth

On Tuesday, November 7, Lorraine Melito Hess ’86 will return to St. Mary’s Dominican High School for a performance of songs from her latest album, Veritas. She is grateful for her alma mater’s support of this endeavor. “It will be so special to sing this music where my love for sacred music began,” shared the acclaimed Catholic singer, songwriter, music minister and recording artist.

Born and raised in New Orleans, music is woven into her family’s roots that includes Jazz and Cajun musicians. Since age 16, Lorraine has served the church in music. The national speaker and retreat facilitator holds a master’s degree in Pastoral Studies from the Institute for Ministry at Loyola University New Orleans. She counts her greatest vocation her marriage to husband, Rob, and their four sons.

After releasing six solo albums of original liturgical and sacred music, she hopes that Veritas will draw people closer to truth. “I think all of us have witnessed the deterioration of truth through social media filtering and the way several news networks spin information they report to us,” she said. “We are constantly comparing our worst selves to others’ filtered selves, and it’s causing so much anxiety and depression. People are hungry for the real Truth, and we need to look no further than the Word of God and the example of Christ to love God and love neighbor if we want inner peace. But sometimes the truth is unpopular. Only if we’re strong in our faith can we speak up with courage. I hope this album encourages people to seek and speak the truth.”

Since her last full album, See the Miracle (2019), Lorraine had written several new songs, but found it challenging in deciding to record a full EP (extended play). She recalled, “While I was discerning in prayer about it, several people coincidentally asked me if I was recording new music and if I was coming out with a new album soon. I took that as a sign from God that I should move forward. When it came time to decide which six or seven songs would make the album, I went back to my previous albums to see which songs were most requested, streamed, to be sure the music would have the best chance of feeding the soul.”

Most of the time, Lorraine writes for the liturgy. On the Veritas album, some songs can be used for Mass, but this songwriter considers it, “more of an album for listening. The cover song, Via, Veritas, Vita, has a very different vibe than most of my music, merging chant with contemporary worship, and I am excited to perform this at Dominican for two special reasons. I wrote it in 2016 in memory of Sr. Delia McDonald, OP, Sr. Mary Hilary Simpson, OP, Ms. Marianna Bertucci, and Mrs. Carmen Gaudet – four Dominican icons who died around the same time and were pillars of strength and truth at Dominican. The second reason is that the only time I was able to perform this in public was March 2020, a week before the shutdown at a concert I did at Dominican. It was my last public appearance before the world quarantine. I had all the classes take a different part while the band was in the middle of the gym, and it was a special moment in time for me to see the song come alive in the place where I learned what Veritas meant.”

Much has changed in the recording industry since her first album in 2008. “We’ve moved out of the CD-purchasing world into digital,” Lorraine noted. “Some people don’t even own a CD player, yet when I do events, people still want CDs. The challenge was forecasting how much of the music will be downloaded, and how much purchased as a CD, and how to budget for that. For the graphic art, I took into consideration what a cover should look like in a thumbnail, so simplicity was key. However, having done several projects, it was a no-brainer deciding who would produce and engineer it. I went to Atlanta and worked with Ed Bolduc and John Carrozza, who had done three of my other albums. They know my music and my voice, so it magically came together like working with old friends.”

Inspiration comes to Lorraine from different sources. With A Father’s Heart was inspired by Pope Francis’ Apostolic Letter of the Year of St. Joseph. Inspiration for As I Pray was during her adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. When people share with Lorraine the impact of her music, she said it is a very humbling moment, “especially when they are using my music in difficult times. A woman once approached me at a restaurant. She was clearly very sick. She pulled out of her purse a list of my music she had selected for her funeral and wanted to show it to me. I was speechless. I had the honor of singing at her funeral not long after. I once got a message from someone who was on her way to a chemo appointment to tell me my music was her playlist. Those moments make me fall to my knees in awe that God would use me in this way.”