About Fr Chris Skinner | Inspirational Christian Music
Welcome to the official website of Fr Chris Skinner who is pleased to present his entire music catalogue with a niche in Contemporary Catholic Music, Contemporary Christian Music and Catholic Liturgical Music. His entire collection of songs from 20 albums (1990 - 2018) have been completely remastered and uploaded along with playlist categories for his uplifting, inspirational, service songs. We hope you enjoy his music.
Fr Chris Skinner is a priest of the Society of Mary, a religious order founded in France in the 19th Century. Members of the Marist order, by which it is also known, were the first Catholic missionaries to Aotearoa/New Zealand. They accompanied Bishop Pompallier and arrived in New Zealand in 1838.
Chris’ role in the Society of Mary is in formation of seminarians (trainees for the Marist priesthood). He has been working at Marist Seminary since 2010 assisting the rector of the seminary discern with the student whether they have a genuine call to Marist life as a priest or brother. Chris entered the Society of Mary in 1978, he took his first vows in 1980, his final vows in 1984 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1985.
After ordination he taught in two secondary schools, Roncalli College in Timaru and St John’s in Hastings. He went on to be a co-founder of the Youth Alive Programme assisting youth at risk in West Auckland, he volunteered at the Auckland’s People’s Centre and later became chaplain to De La Salle College, South Auckland. He left Auckland for Wellington in 1999 to become chaplain at St Patrick’s College in Wellington and then assistant priest at St Mary of the Angels in the city. It was in Wellington, that he received a national platform singing his Anzac song, ‘Sons of Gallipoli’ at the National War Memorial. The song has become widely known and utilized during Anzac commemorations. Given this publicity he went onto record with the support of Gray Bartlett, one of the first versions of ‘You Raise Me Up’, which earned him singer and song of the year respectively on Christian Radio.
The Society of Mary Crest
Chris began writing songs and playing the guitar when he was 16 and took an active part in uplifiting and inspirational church music within his local parish and then also when he entered the seminary. While at Secondary School he was chosen for the role of Joseph in 'Joseph and His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat' and performed the role of Jesus twice in 'Godspell', in a seminary production and once as a junior teacher for a combined College production in the Hawkes Bay when he was teaching at St John’s in Hastings.
He began formal singing training while in Auckland in the 90’s and was a member of the Auckland Opera Chorus performing in a number of their productions at the Aotea Centre.
It was in 1990 that he approached the Society of Mary asking them to fund his first album, ‘Under Southern Stars’. With the assistance and support of an Australian Marist also a musician, he travelled to Sydney and recorded the album in Homebush. He has steadily recorded further albums since then averaging an album every two years with the encouragement and support of those who believed in and appreciated his music. His earlier albums were recorded at Mandrill, York St and Karekare under the direction of Stuart Pearce. While working in South Auckland, he began his long association with Peter van Gent and recorded many of his subsequent albums at South Auckland Studios under Peter’s direction. Given Peter and Stuart’s contacts in the music industry, many fine musicians have been invited to sing and play on Chris’ recordings as well as talented family members, friends and music associates. He is particularly proud of the songs he recorded with his mother, Catherine Grace Skinner, and given her death in 2016, they are treasured recordings.
As a Marist priest, Chris’ music is influenced greatly by his faith, his love of Scripture, his sense of God in the beauty of creation and his Marist spirituality. His retreat experiences both in New Zealand and overseas, and his one on one conversations with people sharing their lives and stories have inspired many songs. It has been a privilege for him to express his personal insights and the inspiration he has received from so many wonderful people, and in turn, through the music, encourage and inspire others in their lives and faith. It is what motivates him. He will often support his preaching at Mass with a song. He rarely receives comments on his preaching but always on his singing. A Marist Brother once told him. Chris you don’t need to preach. All you need to do is sing. Chris is grateful to continue to do so and to now have all his music available online and accessible to a wider audience. May the songs continue to uplift and inspire.