Personnel Changes in Music at SAP

By its nature, the Lenten season is a time of significant change.

I would say that, as a parish, we have experienced quite a bit of change lately.

This weekend, our Associate Director of Music and Sunday morning organist, Debbie Berardi, will move on to her new role at Saint Joseph, Husband of Mary Roman Catholic Church here in Las Vegas. Debbie will serve that community as their new Director of Music and Principal Organist.

Debbie came to us several years ago after coordinating music at Saint Peter the Apostle in Henderson and working as a staff organist at our cathedral, Guardian Angel. She moved to Las Vegas with her husband, Nick, a retired New York City educator, after serving as the Director of Music at a parish in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and the Director of Music for the Cathedral of Saint Joseph for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Wheeling, West Virginia.

Saint Joseph, Husband of Mary Roman Catholic Church, is a wonderful community with a long tradition of musical excellence and adherence to the Roman Rite norms fostered through its former Director of Music and the devoted clergy serving that community over the years.

We wish Debbie well in her new role, and we pray that the Holy Spirit fills her heart, mind, fingers, ears, and (as an organist) feet with the same musical passion she has brought to our parish. Talented musicians abound in Las Vegas; however, talented musicians with the best intentions of the Catholic Church and fidelity to her liturgical norms are nearly impossible to find. We thank her for her years of service to our faith community.

At Saint Anthony of Padua, Steve Borzage and I will pick up the slack that this now leads. Since the start of COVID, Steve and I have both had our roles expanded greatly beyond that of a parish musician. From producing daily streamed Masses with music and slides to assisting with the day-to-day administration of a large suburban parish, we are no longer “just” musicians.

One of my organ students, a phenomenal pianist who has served our community as a substitute and a handful of other Catholic parishes throughout the Diocese of Las Vegas, will continue to grow in his vocation of serving the Church. He will be helping us out at weekend liturgies and as the need arises. Ironically, in the fall of 2019, Fr. Bob signed off on my plan to create a liturgical music school program here at the parish starting in June 2020. Well, we all know that turned out. I pray that now that we are back to “normal,” I can begin developing that process again.

This weekend, the Second Sunday of Lent, I encourage you to think about your vocation. I wish to impress this specifically on my peers – the younger Millennials and older Gen Z’s. As mentioned in my speech at Fr. Bob’s retirement Mass, the priest shortage isn’t coming. The shortage is already here. Take a moment to discern your vocation within the Church. For me, it has been serving as a musician and administrator while also being a father and husband. For you, it might be a vocation to the priesthood. It could also be a vocation similar to mine as a spouse and Catholic parent serving in some capacity as a member of the laity.

The future of our faith is up to us. The previous generations have done their share. What are your talents? Interests? Are you into music? Teaching? Accounting? Engineering? Groundskeeping? Development? Logistics? All of these skills – and so many more – go into building a thriving Catholic community of faith. Helping our priests with other tasks allows them time to focus on our spiritual needs. A well-known and respected Catholic homilist once told me it takes at least two hours of preparation for every minute of his homily. His homilies typically clock in at six minutes. You can do the math. Nearly a third of the average work week is spent preparing just the homily.

So while we’re traveling on our Lenten path forward, consider your involvement in the needs of your parish. God is calling you!