David Haas performs in June 2019
David Haas performs in June 2019

St. James in Chatham and St. Joseph in Stuyvesant Falls are getting ready for a weekend filled with music, praise and worship.

On Friday, Oct. 4, St. James will be hosting a concert for author and musician David Haas, a renowned liturgical composer known for popular works such as: “Blest Are They,” “You Are Mine,” “We Have Been Told,” and “We Are Called.”

The next day, Saturday, Oct. 5, Haas will be offering a retreat day from 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m. at St. Joseph’s parish. The retreat falls one day after the Feast of St. Francis and will focus on the saint’s work, as well as spirituality in the Catholic faith.

Justine Rodriguez, director of music at St. James, Chatham, and St. John the Baptist, Valatie, began talking with Haas about coming to the Diocese just over a year ago. Last July, Rodriguez attended one of Haas’ workshops at the annual National Pastoral Musicians Conference in Raleigh, N.C. After his talk, Rodriguez took a chance and approached the musician, asking if he would consider coming to her parish.

“I said would you consider traveling to us, and he was really open to coming,” said Rodriguez.

Haas will be joined for his performance by members of the St. James’, St. John’s and St. Joseph’s music ministries. Some songs will be sung by Haas solo, while for others he will be accompanied by the members of the music ministries: “He’ll lead some pieces himself and then invite pieces of our music to sing with him,” said Rodriguez.

Haas’ concerts often include involvement from the musicians of the parish he is visiting, something that Rodriguez always loved, adding that it makes the music “more accessible” to the audience.

“I’m a music teacher so that’s important to me. It needs to be accessible. He’s really a master at making music accessible.
“He’s very careful about the text (of songs),” Rodriguez added. “The text is so beautifully set for music. It’s careful and beautifully put together, and the singing its beautiful.”

The next day, guests are invited to join Haas at St. Joseph’s parish for the retreat. Fitting for the day’s theme of celebrating the spirit of St. Francis, Haas recently published a work entitled “My God and My All: Praying the Rosary with Francis and Clare,” which will be available for purchase at both events. No music experience is required to attend the retreat day and all guests are encouraged to come. 

“We’ll sing and pray together and be in a prayerful space,” said Rodriguez. “It’s a great opportunity to be in the present moment. Just a great day to sing and pray and be together. It’s so nice and it’s such an amazing experience.”

Tickets for $15 for the concert and $50 for the retreat. All proceeds from the concert and retreat day will go toward helping young adults at the three participating parishes attend the National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC) in November. 

“I’m excited to see it come into place,” said Rodriguez. “I can’t wait; it’s a tremendous opportunity to work together, but also it’s a great opportunity to be together.”

Tickets are available for purchase online at: www.stjameschatham.org. For all Evangelist readers, enter the promo code “evangelist” and get $3 off each concert ticket and $10 off the ¬≠retreat day. Tickets are also available by check/mail. For paper registration forms/more information, please visit the St. James, Chatham website. For more ¬≠information about Haas and his work, visit his website: www.davidhaas.us.