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Pastoral musicians celebrate retirements, set St. Cecilia Institute

News of the Diocese

July 19, 2023

Pastoral musicians celebrate retirements, set St. Cecilia Institute

Music is an integral part of the liturgy and pastoral musicians throughout the diocese are doing their part to make the celebrations more meaningful.

Two longtime pastoral musicians in the diocese are retiring and their years of service were celebrated at a recent potluck dinner at St. Clarence Parish in North Olmsted. Special guest for the evening was Auxiliary Bishop Michael Woost who also serves as interim director of the diocesan Office for Worship. The bishop works closely with pastoral musicians when planning special liturgies.

Planning also is underway for a new diocesan institute for pastoral musicians. The St. Cecilia Institute will launch in August 2024.

Among this year’s retiring musicians is Greg Heislman, music director for the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, the mother church of the diocese. Heislman plans to leave his position by early fall.

Also retiring is Herb Dillahunt, director of music ministry at St. Clarence.

Pastoral musicians celebrate retirements, set St. Cecilia Institute

Heislman has spent 42 years in pastoral music ministry. Anyone who attends Mass, confirmation or other liturgical events at the cathedral has experienced his work. He plays the piano and organ and directs the cathedral choir. He also works with pastoral musicians from throughout the diocese to organize the diocesan choir for major liturgies like ordinations

“There is no such thing as volunteers. You all helped create this,” Heislman told his fellow pastoral musicians when speaking of the diocesan choir and other collaborative efforts.

Dillahunt has worked 50 years in music ministry, the last 11 years at St. Clarence. He said he started as a musician at age 17.

The St. Cecilia Institute is a new venture that will be explained to diocesan pastoral musicians during an introductory program on Aug. 8 at the Center for Pastoral Leadership in Wickliffe. The event begins at 2:30 p.m., said Angieszka Bieniek, an assistant professor of pastoral music at Saint Mary Seminary and Graduate School of Theology. Bishop Edward Malesic will speak to the group as will Father Damian Ference, vicar for evangelization.

The session is free. There is a cost of $18 for those who want to stay for dinner.

Click here for more information and a link to register.

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