PO BOX 5079 (51102)
SIOUX CITY, IA (51105)


Musicians Retreat set for September

By KATIE LEFEBVRE, Globe staff reporter
(Email Katie)

When musicians go to Mass, they are always “on,” because they are playing or singing.

With this in mind, the Diocese of Sioux City is planning a Musicians Retreat for music directors, cantors, organists and all involved with music at the parishes.

“The last time we got together as a group of musicians in the diocese would have been when the new Roman Missal came out in 2011,” said Father Brent Lingle, diocesan director of worship. “I know when we did the Roman Missal training, there was a thirst and a desire among the musicians to do more frequent training and the opportunity to learn from each other, grow and be spiritually renewed.”

The retreat will be held Sept. 26-27 at Cathedral of the Epiphany in Sioux City.

“Our diocesan musicians have questions about diocesan norms, where things are going and what resources are available to them, especially in light of the new translation,” said Matthew Geerlings, director of sacred music at Cathedral. “We really need to start forming bridges, start a dialogue with one another and help one another in the positions we have at our parishes.”

He continued the retreat is “a way for us to minister to them and is a form of saying thank you for the work they do in their parish.”

Spiritual life of church musician

The retreat will begin Friday evening with dinner and a keynote speaker, Father James Moore, OP. His address will focus on the spiritual life of the church musician.

Father Moore is the director of the Schola Cantorum, an all-male choir composed of seminarians at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C. In 2004, he earned a master’s degree in philosophy – writing on music and morality. He earned a master of music degree in organ performance from the University of Notre Dame and is currently a DMA student in sacred music at the Catholic University of America where he studies under Dr. Leo Nestor.

Geerlings met Father Moore at the Cathedral Musicians conference in Washington, D.C.

“His talk on the spiritual life of the church musician was fascinating,” said Geerlings. “He comes to it from both sides – the musician side and the pastoral side. He speaks the language of the musician. A lot of people don’t understand everything that goes on in our lives and what we have to do to make things work.”

He added musicians sometimes put their spiritual lives on “the sidelines. As a musician when we are at Mass or any church service, we aren’t thinking about prayer or talking to God. It is Father says this, I have to play or sing this right afterwards.”

Sung night prayer featuring the Cathedral choir will be in the church followed by social time to relax and get to know one another and renew acquaintances.


Saturday will begin with 9 a.m. Mass with Bishop Walker Nickless and the full Cathedral choir.

“This would allow them (the musicians) to sit in the pew for a change to pray and enjoy it from a different perspective,” said Father Lingle.

Time will be spent going over the general instruction of the Roman Missal, why they do what they do and review of diocesan musical norms and acceptable songs and practices.

“Part of that will also include musical resources that are out there,” said Father Lingle. “Rather than spend money with publishers, there are a lot free resources in the public domain. We want to be able to show people where to go to get those things.”

When the bishop goes out to a parish, there is a Mass planning form and a music form that need to be filled out. Sometimes there are questions, Father Lingle noted, and people are looking for what they are supposed to do.

“It is good to get everyone together to talk about what the bishop’s expectations are and what the expectations are from my office,” said the director of worship. “When the bishop goes out, we don’t want it to be a burdensome thing for people. We want it to be a great moment of joy. We want to provide the tools to plan big liturgies, but more importantly, just to help them through the week to week ministry they do.”

Throughout the day, Father Moore will be available for one-on-one time with musicians who would like to talk to him. He will be the homilist for the 4 p.m. Mass at Cathedral.


“What we are hoping is that this will develop into something more regular,” said Father Lingle.
Geerlings also hopes this will lead to meeting more frequently, possibly a few times a year in different locations.

Overnight accommodations are available at Ramda Inn and Holiday Inn Express in Sioux City. There will be a small registration fee. Registration will be available online and due by Sept. 19. Visit for more information or contact the Office of Worship at (712) 233-7551 or

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