Name: Colleen Tague
Family: Parents Tim (deceased) and Kathy Tague; siblings Anne, Becky and Bill
Parish: St. Joseph’s, DeWitt
How old were you when you became aware of your Catholic faith?
My faith has always been present to me, probably tangibly since I was 6 years old. Ever since I was young, I had great examples from my family on ways to be a good Catholic. From going to daily Mass often to saying the rosary daily as a family, plus being homeschooled for eight years in a Catholic curriculum, I’ve had a lot of “church” deeply involved in my upbringing.
Being a musician, particularly an organist, I’ve been involved in music in the church since second grade. Progressing through children’s choir, I reached the awkward gap between children’s choir and adult choir. My choir director, Jeannie Dean, out of the generosity of her heart, let me be an assistant for the children’s choir. It was during this interim that I also began song leading and playing the organ for weekend and holiday Masses. By my sophomore year I realized what I was meant to do. It was Christmas Eve; the choir always sang at midnight Mass. This year we were doing something different with a full-out procession as part of the Mass. Choir members were assigned to carry in different parts of the crèche, banners or pots of incense; I got a pot of incense. The swell of the music, the atmosphere and knowing that my part was helping enhance the worship experience of others sent chills down my body. Knowing the power of music to enhance worship, to focus on God and to draw the congregation closer to him has given me the career path I’m now pursuing.
How does faith impact the decisions you make?
My upbringing has naturally been a large part of how I see things and make decisions. Faith drives my biggest decision so far, as I pursue a bachelor’s degree in church music. I’d considered just a general music major, or a double major of business and music. While I’m still maintaining a business minor, I couldn’t see myself not working in the Church, especially in music. Since beginning college two and a half years ago, I’ve learned a great deal, both in the classroom and on my internship at the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis. While there I was able to see what it’s like day to day in a large music ministry. Some days were really long, but I enjoyed it. That experience has shown me that I really have made the right choice to blend my love for the Church and for music in my choice of career.
How do you pray?
I see prayer as just gentle communication with God. There’s the option of formal prayer, like a quick Our Father or the rosary, and these hold profound meaning and value. Sometimes, just whispering “Jesus” over and over provides comfort in times of stress or particular challenge. It’s that gentle reminder that he is always with us.
What Scripture passages or stories inspire you?
When I have time to devote to meditation I find great solace in the Psalms. Perhaps it’s the connection to music; perhaps it’s the emotions behind them: celebration, sorrow, praise, penitence. The Wisdom books also give me similar peace and reflection. Whenever I need a reminder to look beyond myself, Matthew 7:1-27 is a great admonition of humility. Then in times of spiritual loneliness, John 13:31-17:26, the Last Supper discourse, has several passages that are comforting reminders of Jesus’ sacrifice and care.
Who has been a model of the Catholic faith in your life?
I know it sounds cheesy, but ultimately I have to say my family. My dad would always make time for daily Mass during his lunch hour; both my parents would pray together and with us kids. My mom would always make sure to have family rosary every night. My mom and grandmother were my main teachers while I was homeschooled so they, too, stand out as models to me. Since my great-aunt moved back to Iowa and has gotten involved at St. Joe’s in parish council and activities, she also has given me inspiration. My junior and senior year of high school I did the Great Adventure Bible Study and the Matthew Bible study with my grandmother and great-aunt, which gave me a great opportunity to bond with them, personally and spiritually.
How has your Catholic faith helped you to deal with life’s challenges?
I think the biggest challenge that my faith has carried me through is my dad’s death in 2006. It was my freshman year of high school, so things got more challenging very quickly because my siblings were all grown up and moved out. I remember while his health was declining everyone in my family and everyone we knew were constantly lifting up prayers. One unusual thing that I and some of my family members still remember was singing hymns together as his time approached. It created a profound sense of peace.
Name: Colleen Tague