John Francis Maher was born in New York City and raised in rural Chester County, near Pottstown, PA. He is of mostly Irish descent and identifies as an Irish-American. His father is an Episcopal priest and his mother also is an ordained minister. John Francis received a Masters of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary in 2017, and a Masters of Sacred Theology from The General Theological Seminary in 2018.
John Francis began to explore the path to ordination after a successful career in the music industry. He has received two national songwriting awards from ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers). One is for ‘Socially Conscious Songwriter of the Year’, and the other for ‘Lyricist of the Year’.
John Francis has performed in venues ranging from prisons, to pubs, to cathedrals. He has also performed upon invitation at the United Nations summit for the anniversary of their Millenial Goals toward the Eradication of Extreme Poverty. He has released two critically acclaimed albums, 'The Better Angels', and ’Strong Wine & Spirits’ and is finishing a third. He has also toured extensively in the US and Europe, and has performed with Loretta Lynn, Kris Kristofferson, George Jones, Mavis Staples, Wilco, Suzanne Vega, Rickie Lee Jones, Steve Earle, Indigo Girls, Sinead O’Connor, and many others.
John Francis was also one of the founding members of Broad Street Ministries in Philadelphia, a missional community at the crossroads of the arts, justice, and hospitality for the city's most marginalized individuals, where he was a music director for many years. He brings all these experiences to St. Paul’s where he is eager to use his gifts to serve this parish as Assistant Rector, focusing on outreach and missional engagement.
For his pen name, John Francis uses a Gaelic spelling of his last name: O’Mara. You can listen to John Francis’ music and watch videos of his performances at his website. www.johnfrancisomara.com