In new album, composer with local roots celebrates a marriage saved by faith

April 5, 2023 at 4:34 p.m.
In new album, composer with local roots celebrates a marriage saved by faith
In new album, composer with local roots celebrates a marriage saved by faith

By Gina Christian • National Reporter, OSV News and Monitor staff reports

On Independence Day in 2021, Michigan-based composer Tony Manfredonia felt anything but free.

The 30-year-old, who has scored everything from Mass settings to videogame soundtracks, was “at the bottom of the barrel” in his young marriage, he told OSV News.

“I was at the lowest point in my life,” said Manfredonia, who has his roots in the Philadelphia area. “I asked, ‘Do I even want to live anymore?’ I got to that point where I considered leaving. ... and I said, ‘I just can’t do this anymore.’”

More than two years later, Manfredonia and his wife, Maria, have renewed their commitment to each other – which he chronicles in his new album “Anchored,” describing it as “a true story of spiritual warfare, and how complete surrender to God saved my marriage.”

The “cinematic, symphonic rock” forms a tale of “Satan’s attempt to destroy marriages and families” and “the miraculous gift of faith and ... God’s faithfulness,” Manfredonia wrote on his website.

Utilizing music and the media to share a powerful faith experience is nothing new to Manfredonia, who is the one of three children of Jim and Cheryl Manfredonia of Domestic Church Media, Ewing, a Catholic media apostolate with radio stations covering portions of the Diocese. Both parents have musical backgrounds and regularly share their faith-inspired talent in their programming and other concerts. (See sidebar)

Painful Journey

The crisis of what Manfredonia described as “anger, hatred and frustration” in his marriage had been sparked by discussions of having children amid several medical conditions his wife was battling.The marriage entered a dark season in the spring of 2021. Discord between the couple emerged “on numerous fronts emotionally (and) financially,” and the prospect of parenthood was frightening.

“When we started seeing improvement (in Maria’s condition), we said, ‘Maybe let’s start talking about kids,’” he said. “Through those conversations, questions suddenly arose: ‘Did we make the right choices with this marriage?’”

Manfredonia added he even wondered if the marriage was stifling his artistic gifts.

“I feel so ashamed to think that I asked myself, ‘Is she holding me back from a better career, fame and fortune?’” he said. “At the time, I thought those were ... things that would make me happy.”

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Yet amid the turmoil, Manfredonia and his wife were able to recall the “mutual suffering” that had brought them together, and their Catholic faith. Manfredonia was diagnosed in 2012 with anorexia, prior to his music composition studies at Temple University. He chronicled his recovery through a blog he created, and Maria, who also had struggled with the disorder, sent a message of support that led to Manfredonia’s traveling to her hometown in Michigan for a visit. The two married after Manfredonia graduated in 2016, and now reside in northern Michigan.

Saved Through Prayer

Their pastor, Father Peter Wigton of St. Mary Parish in Charlevoix, Michigan, helped them navigate one of the darkest moments of their marriage, said Manfredonia. During an anguished, sleepless July 4 weekend in 2021, Manfredonia called Father Wigton, who advised the couple to pray and seek God’s guidance – which they did, first in separate churches, and then together with the pastor and the parish prayer team.

“Our prayer was for discernment in our marriage, and when Father Peter asked if I was sensing anything, I saw in my mind ... an image of Maria giving birth, and us out at a park with our children. … this openness to kids.” Manfredonia said he felt “a visceral change” during the prayer session that imparted “a sense of bravery.”

“In an instant, I went from questioning my marriage ... to ‘Wow, I can’t wait to have kids,’” he said. “And it hasn’t stopped ... I still believe we witnessed a miracle.”

With that restoration now set to music, Manfredonia is seeking to give other struggling couples hope in Christ.

“Jesus’ resurrection is so powerful because he died,” said Manfredonia. “You can’t have the resurrection without the death. You have to know ... the trials to appreciate the transformation and redemption.”


Related Stories

On Independence Day in 2021, Michigan-based composer Tony Manfredonia felt anything but free.

The 30-year-old, who has scored everything from Mass settings to videogame soundtracks, was “at the bottom of the barrel” in his young marriage, he told OSV News.

“I was at the lowest point in my life,” said Manfredonia, who has his roots in the Philadelphia area. “I asked, ‘Do I even want to live anymore?’ I got to that point where I considered leaving. ... and I said, ‘I just can’t do this anymore.’”

More than two years later, Manfredonia and his wife, Maria, have renewed their commitment to each other – which he chronicles in his new album “Anchored,” describing it as “a true story of spiritual warfare, and how complete surrender to God saved my marriage.”

The “cinematic, symphonic rock” forms a tale of “Satan’s attempt to destroy marriages and families” and “the miraculous gift of faith and ... God’s faithfulness,” Manfredonia wrote on his website.

Utilizing music and the media to share a powerful faith experience is nothing new to Manfredonia, who is the one of three children of Jim and Cheryl Manfredonia of Domestic Church Media, Ewing, a Catholic media apostolate with radio stations covering portions of the Diocese. Both parents have musical backgrounds and regularly share their faith-inspired talent in their programming and other concerts. (See sidebar)

Painful Journey

The crisis of what Manfredonia described as “anger, hatred and frustration” in his marriage had been sparked by discussions of having children amid several medical conditions his wife was battling.The marriage entered a dark season in the spring of 2021. Discord between the couple emerged “on numerous fronts emotionally (and) financially,” and the prospect of parenthood was frightening.

“When we started seeing improvement (in Maria’s condition), we said, ‘Maybe let’s start talking about kids,’” he said. “Through those conversations, questions suddenly arose: ‘Did we make the right choices with this marriage?’”

Manfredonia added he even wondered if the marriage was stifling his artistic gifts.

“I feel so ashamed to think that I asked myself, ‘Is she holding me back from a better career, fame and fortune?’” he said. “At the time, I thought those were ... things that would make me happy.”

[[In-content Ad]]

Yet amid the turmoil, Manfredonia and his wife were able to recall the “mutual suffering” that had brought them together, and their Catholic faith. Manfredonia was diagnosed in 2012 with anorexia, prior to his music composition studies at Temple University. He chronicled his recovery through a blog he created, and Maria, who also had struggled with the disorder, sent a message of support that led to Manfredonia’s traveling to her hometown in Michigan for a visit. The two married after Manfredonia graduated in 2016, and now reside in northern Michigan.

Saved Through Prayer

Their pastor, Father Peter Wigton of St. Mary Parish in Charlevoix, Michigan, helped them navigate one of the darkest moments of their marriage, said Manfredonia. During an anguished, sleepless July 4 weekend in 2021, Manfredonia called Father Wigton, who advised the couple to pray and seek God’s guidance – which they did, first in separate churches, and then together with the pastor and the parish prayer team.

“Our prayer was for discernment in our marriage, and when Father Peter asked if I was sensing anything, I saw in my mind ... an image of Maria giving birth, and us out at a park with our children. … this openness to kids.” Manfredonia said he felt “a visceral change” during the prayer session that imparted “a sense of bravery.”

“In an instant, I went from questioning my marriage ... to ‘Wow, I can’t wait to have kids,’” he said. “And it hasn’t stopped ... I still believe we witnessed a miracle.”

With that restoration now set to music, Manfredonia is seeking to give other struggling couples hope in Christ.

“Jesus’ resurrection is so powerful because he died,” said Manfredonia. “You can’t have the resurrection without the death. You have to know ... the trials to appreciate the transformation and redemption.”

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