I am very excited about coming on board to serve you, the parishioners of Good Shepherd Catholic Church as the new Director of Liturgy and Music. Every time a parish welcomes a new member, I think a certain degree of excitement, anxiety and fear permeate the community. Each new member – be it someone like myself or a new parishioner – brings their piece of individuality into the mix, and the community is strengthened, and that is exciting. It is also changed, and that is where the anxiety and fear can surface. Let me tell you that I am very excited about coming to pray with you, learn your stories, and experience how the Reign of God is taking shape in this community. I shall do my best to respect your style of prayer and learning and I shall also do my best to help those same aspects of Good Shepherd to grow and flourish.
I come to you serving in liturgy, music and outreach for the last 11 years at St. Catherine of Alexandria in Milwaukee. Prior to that I served for 22 years at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in West Allis. For the past 14 years, I have been adjunct faculty for Marian University teaching adult students and traditional undergraduates in the area of Theology and Leadership. I teach both face-to-face classes and online instruction. I also serve as the Assistant Program Director for the Graduate Program in Thanatology. I have a BA degree in Adult Education and completed a MA degree in Pastoral Liturgy and Music with an emphasis in scripture, voice and organ at St. Joseph College in Rensselaer, Indiana. As I worked toward earning that degree, I spent a lot of energy working with liturgy, music and justice issues.
Liturgy is “the work of the people” but it is my desire as Director of Liturgy and Music to oversee, guide, and help prepare music which both honor the traditions of the church and of Good Shepherd, and create a sacred environment that fosters the involvement of everyone in the prayer of this faith community. This ongoing development of a common vision and philosophy of liturgy and music can only be done in collaboration with you, the Good Shepherd community, staff, priests and deacons, Prayer and Worship commission and the various committee members.
The “work of the people” necessitates the involvement of many ministers, such as presiders, servers, lectors, usher-greeters, musicians, choir members and cantors, Eucharistic ministers, and sacristans to name a few. So another major part of my ministry is recruitment in the area of music. For me, the most rewarding part of my ministry is helping people discover their talents and skills and nurturing them within a particular ministry. In order for liturgy to be a rich and seamless experience of prayer, there need to be on-going communication with and between all the various ministers. The liturgical life of a community is all-encompassing, and unlike other “programs” it really has no beginning and end as such. So communication with music ministers will exact a good portion of my time on a daily basis.