By Barb Arland-Fye
The Catholic Messenger
Catholics who attend Mass just about anywhere in the United States are familiar with Dan Schutte’s music. He composed “Mass of Christ the Savior,” a musical setting of the revised text of the Roman Missal Third Edition that many parishes are now using. He also wrote “Here I am, Lord,” “Servant Song,” and “Table of Plenty,” and other familiar hymns that Catholics still sing today.
Because of a Benedictine sister’s initiative, Schutte has agreed to perform April 8-9 at St. Ambrose University in Davenport. On Friday, April 8, he’ll perform a concert titled “Here I am, Lord: Living the Vocation of our Baptism,” beginning at 7 p.m. in Christ the King Chapel on campus. The evening will feature prayer, singing and reflecting on God’s call with a listening heart. Tickets are $20. St. Ambrose students get in free and other students pay $5 with student ID.
On Saturday, April 9, Schutte will lead the “Mass of Christ the Savior Workshop” from 8:30 a.m. to noon with registration beginning at 8:30 a.m. He’ll talk about the process he used in writing Mass of Christ the Savior. Participants will also learn how to engage their faith communities more fully in singing. Fee is $25; St. Ambrose students get in free and other students with an ID pay $5. You can attend both events for $40.
Proceeds will help establish the Benet House Scholarship Fund to provide opportunities for individuals and groups living on the margins to have their spiritual needs met. Sister Bobbi Bussan, OSB, who directs the Benet House at St. Mary Monastery in Rock Island, Ill., orchestrated Schutte’s visits. “I saw that Dan Schutte was traveling around the country and it’s the 30th anniversary of some of his classic music that we still sing at Mass and that a lot of Christian churches use.”
Sr. Bussan and her board of directors were looking for a signature event for the Benet House, and a concert and workshop featuring Schutte seemed ideal. Desiring a venue with a central location and ample seating capacity, she reached out to Father Chuck Adam, chaplain of St. Ambrose University. “I said, ‘Here’s my idea,’ and asked if he wanted to be a partner on this.” Fr. Adam was enthusiastic.
“We appreciate the ministry that Benet House provides and are happy to partner with the Sisters of St. Benedict by hosting this concert at St. Ambrose University,” Fr. Adam said. “The music of Dan Schutte and the St. Louis Jesuits was the prominent liturgical music during my own days as a college student and I very much appreciate what this music did for the celebration of the Eucharist. In fact, Here I am Lord was the gathering song at my First Mass. I would hope the concert would allow those in attendance to deepen their response to the call of God in their own lives.”
And whatever money is made will go into the scholarship fund “so we can reach out to people in need,” Sr. Bussan said. Her volunteer work with people living on the margins inspired the idea to broaden the reach of the Benet House Retreat Center. “We have this beautiful space at the monastery and we’d like to share it with people who wouldn’t normally be able to do something like this and who are marginalized.”
She’s in the process of partnering with several social service agencies in the Quad Cities to identify individuals who might be interested in a day at the retreat house. “It’s not a ‘come to God’ meeting, but something that will enhance their self-esteem – with a spiritual connection. They’ll be free to walk along the trails, sit on the patio, enjoy the day, and sit by the lake. My idea here is for us at Benet House to be totally inclusive.”
For tickets: call the Benet House Retreat Center at (309) 283-2108 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Or go online at www.smmsisters.org.