Sacred Heart Parish in Lakewood will host the Donut Man, who teaches children how to fill the holes in their lives. Rob Evans will perform at Southwestern School in Lakewood on Sunday, April 26, at 5 p.m.
Evans, a father of six children and grandfather of eight, uses his musical talents to entertain children while teaching them all about God through fun, upbeat songs. His energetic live shows put a new spin on faith formation for elementary school-aged children. Doors are scheduled to open 45 minutes before the show starts.
"This was all actually our pastor's idea, Father Piotr Zaczynski," Muniz said of inviting Evans to come to Lakewood. "He had listened to him and liked him, and thought, 'Why don't we bring him?' Rob Evans and his wife were very open to coming, and that is how the ball started rolling, actually."
Initially, Father Zaczynski had wanted to bring the Donut Man as an end of the year thank-you to the parish's religious education program, but they decided to incorporate it into a larger event so members of other nearby parishes would also be able to come. When asked why this was important, Muniz said the event would help connect the parish, in Chautauqua County near Jamestown, to others in the diocese.
"Because we are so far away from Buffalo, we kind of need to initiate our own activities down this way," said Muniz. "For a show of this caliber, there really aren't things like this to offer, so we thought if we could get [Evans] to come, this would be fantastic for the kids to have fun, enjoy their faith and do something that's great with their family."
In his performances, Evans uses the recurring metaphor of a donut to show children how "something can be good, and yet still have something missing." He teaches children that although they are made in God's image, this is not enough, and they need to fill the God-shaped hole left in their hearts with active profession of their faith. His many CDs and DVDs are available at www.donutman.com.
The Donut Man's songs include titles such as "Angels to the Rescue," "The Greatest of These is Love" and "I Can Do All Things Through Christ, Who Strengthens Me." The shows are geared toward younger children, in grades six and under. Muniz said older children in the parish, including the Confirmation students, will be on hand to help prepare for the concert, which will be a large event.
The concert venue holds 900 people, and the parish has not organized anything like this in the past. The parish currently organizes a children's liturgy program for pre-K through third grade, youth groups and a religious education program. Additionally, Father Zaczynski tries to organize other outings, such as laser tag, ice-skating or snow tubing, to promote a sense of parish community.
When asked what differentiates Evans from other performers who may sing similar Christian songs for children, Muniz said, "You can definitely tell that he's a very faithful person."
"You see that in his songs. This is not something that he just does because he's trying to make money. This is something he does because he loves his faith and wants to pass his faith on to the children, and starting when they're small, to get them excited about the Catholic Church, faith and God."
For Evans, being the Donut Man enables him to use a symbol for faith that will appeal to children while also delivering a powerful message about faith they will be able to understand.
"What he's trying to say is if you don't have God, you don't have faith in your life, you have a hole in your heart, so I think that's what he's trying to do," Muniz said. "He's trying to fill that hole to make them understand how important it is to have God in your life."
After the concert, Evans will be selling his CDs and DVDs, and will meet and greet children and their families. Each album is tailored to deliver a different message about the faith, and addresses topics such as the Sacraments, especially the "Bath Song," where he compares baptism to hand washing.
Parishes may buy group tickets for a reduced price. As of the end of January, about 150 tickets had been sold. The parish will continue selling the tickets until they are gone, Muniz said.
For more information or to buy tickets, call 716-763-2815. To learn more about Rob Evans and his performances visit www.donutman.com.