I felt it was important today to retrace my roots in music ministry. St. Cecelia is the Patroness of Music and in that honor, I reflect on the blessings that music has provided me over the years.
Being musically talented brings a lot of options over ones life.
When I was 16, it was the year 2000. A friend of mine a few years older than me invited me to join a youth choir he was forming at our Parish. I thank God for Tim Westerhaus, because he is the passionate musician who is blessed with an abundance of talent. He also sees it in the hundreds or maybe thousands of musicians he has served in the 23 years since.
In the summer of 2001, I was invited by Tim and my dear friend, Matt Reichert, to attend a week long camp for teenage liturgical musicians. It was here where my faith, talents, and joy all came together. Singing with that massive crowd of my peers, praying for all the things young people bring to prayer, and sharing these gifts with the world was a life affirming event.
This camp lead me to a work study position at the Univeristy of St. Thomas in 2006 where Rob Strusinski sought me out to help with campus ministry. I faithfully coordinated musicians and worked with the team to make the Sunday night Mass a well attended and appreciated practice of our faith.
The story behind this is that I never wanted to be a full-time church musician. I wanted to teach band and choir as I felt it was my calling. I sought a music ed degree, but the memoir I will write someday about my college experience will explain how all that fell apart.
When I finished at St. Thomas it was the spring of 2008, and the great recession left me without work. After a year of scrapping by, my sister Mary suggest I apply for a Church gig. I didn't think my B.A. in music, and 10 years of liturgical experience was enough to get me a job.
But thankfully, Fr. Larry Blake hired me at the Church of St. Joseph in Waconia in 2009. I quickly became passionate about the work of music ministry.
Working for the church has networked me to some of the most amazing people. Other disciples who have their unique charisms that bring forth the kingdom to this world.
Let us not forget how Celcelia suffered for her discipleship. She's a martyr after all, and legend says she was killed by attempted beheading, but to this day, her body is incorrupt, looking like she is asleep!
I remember praying to St. Jude, and St. Cecelia during the transition times. I was miserable and depressed. I asked them to show God how I could serve Him. I would say that after 23, well almost 24 years, I am happy to be ministering through music.
St. Cecelia, pray for us! I still ask your intercession to our Lord Jesus to keep the ministry of music alive and thriving in me and those whom I serve.