The Montpetits, known collectively as Cat.Chat, will bring their concert tour to B.C. in 2013
By Nathan Rumohr
For 10 years the Montpetit family has chatted about the Catholic faith to children across North America. Their touring concert group, called Cat.Chat, or Catholic Chat, has performed for students from Saskatchewan to Texas.
Cat.Chat, which has visited the Lower Mainland before, will be back May 21-31.
"The ministry has definitely been growing," said Gerald Montpetit, lead singer and cofounder, along with his wife Denise, of Cat.Chat Productions.
"We're quite amazed at what God has done for our ministry," said Denise. She said she thanks God for allowing her and her family to evangelize children through almost 400 concerts.
Youngsters can expect a lively show as Gerald performs with his children Reanne, 16, Dominic, 14, Jerome, 10, Luc, 7, and the group's mascot, Moses the Cat, played by Kerrie Gould.
The shows consist of music and dancing to the sounds of guitars, bongos, and snare drums. The group tells stories rooted in the Bible while showing their skills on the unicycle and at juggling. Denise is their stage manager. The youngest Montpetit, Vanessa, 3, will likely join her siblings in the family ministry in the future.
Denise called the shows a life-giving experience. "It's so neat to see family and kids so pumped when they come out of a concert. Parents will say, 'I never had this growing up.'"
Gerald and Denise created Cat.Chat because they saw a need for Catholic resources dedicated to children from preschool to Grade 5. Denise, a religious educator, and Gerald, a musician, prayed for discernment about how they could fill this void. Enter Moses the Cat.
"Moses was an interesting story," Gerald said. "A good friend of ours had a unique cat."
Gerald said the cat, named Moses, was super fast, witty, and considered squirrels a delicacy. Inspired by the feline, the Montpetits created the character Moses the Cat and Cat.Chat was born.
"We tied the cat to Moses in the Bible," Gerald said. "We wanted to pick the name of a leader like Moses who could lead these kids on a journey of their own."
Gerald voices the cat.
The ministry has grown to include DVDs, books, saint cards, and Vacation Bible School resources for parishes.
"When we first started we didn't anticipate things would grow as they did," Gerald said.
Originally Gerald, aka the Cat Chat Man, performed with just Moses the Cat, but as the Montpetit family started to grow, so did the group.
"As the kids started growing up they wanted to do more, and they had a lot of potential," Gerald said. "It just kind of evolved over years as the kids took responsibility."
The ministry has grown in popularity as well. While Cat.Chat was touring the southern U.S. in 2011 they made a stop at the Eternal Word Television Network studios in Alabama. While there they met the network executives and agreed upon an eight-episode series, which began airing in March.
Cat.Chat has also caught the eye of theologians and clergy, who say the children's ministry is a great tool for Catholic families.
"My kids love Cat.Chat," said Christopher West, a Catholic speaker and author. "Cat.Chat is a wonderful tool to help parents and kids grow together in their love and appreciation for the richness of our Catholic faith."
Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto recommended the group and their resources to parents as a way of teaching their children about the faith.
"This material aims at communicating the message of the Gospel and the teaching of the Catholic Church in a simple and dynamic way through music and story-telling," he said. "(Cat.Chat) spreads the good news of Jesus to children and their families."
More information on Cat.Chat and a list of upcoming concerts can be found on their website, www.catchat.ca.