In 2019, we gave a small gift to all of our liturgical ministers who served at Christmas time. It was a wrist band, in blue, yellow, red, or green that had stamped on it, Liturgy: The Work of the People. We serve – I have served you, that you might do your job, which is to give thanks and praise to God in all things. We celebrate the Sacred Liturgy at this altar, this table of our community – our family, so that you are spiritually uplifted to celebrate the Liturgy of your life. The Liturgy of your life at your work desk, in the maintenance shop, with your tool box; on the operating table; at your office.
And so it is, that Liturgy is the Source and Summit, literally the center of our Catholic lives. I have been privileged, honored and humbled to serve you in this intimate part of our community’s life. It has been my love to work with you, for you and along side you.
When I began to minister among you, I introduced myself with a quote from the Confessions of St Augustine –
Late have I loved you, beauty so old and so new:
late have I loved you.
And see, you were within and I was in the external world and sought you there, and in my unlovely state I plunged into those lovely created things which you made.
You were with me, and I was not with you.
The lovely things kept me far from you, though if they did not have their existence in you, they had no existence at all.
You called and cried out loud and shattered my deafness.
You were radiant and resplendent, you put to flight my blindness.
You were fragrant, and I drew in my breath and now pant after you.
I tasted you, and I feel but hunger and thirst for you.
You touched me, and I am set on fire to attain the peace which is yours.
I am profoundly grateful to God for the good work he has done in and through you – the People of God of St Monica Church these past 135 years. People have gathered first, on Arizona and then from 1925 in this place. You have brought your joys, your hopes, your dreams and sorrows here and laid them at the foot of the altar to be transformed into new life through the Eucharist.
The Bishops at Council in the 1960’s first took up the conversation and discussion about the place of the Liturgy – The Holy Eucharistic celebration – in the life of the Church.
You have been so gracious and generous to me over these many years. So in parting I must say:
St. Monica – Thank you. My heart is so full of gratitude and the love you have shown me. In the words of Jack Nicholson to Helen Hunt in the movie, As Good as it Gets: “You have made me want to be a better man.”
Thank you and God bless the work of your hearts, minds, hands and souls. May God who has begun this good work in you, bring it to completion.
-Dr. Dale Sieverding
Dale Sieverding has served the parish of St. Monica Catholic Community for nearly eleven years. With deep respect and gratitude to him, I publicly share his departure as Director of Worship. For more than a year, Dale has been in discernment around what greater contributions and vision he could bring to the worship life of this parish. With my consultation over these past few months, Dale decided in mid-September to pursue opportunities beyond the parish to grow and expand his vocation and fulfillment.
Dale’s contributions to St. Monica span a broad spectrum of parish life. With six and later seven Masses of varying liturgical styles each weekend, the weekly rhythm of our parish worship rested in his hands. He collaborated with clergy in residence and guest presiders and coordinated more than 400 volunteers across all liturgical ministries.
Allow me to share a few other hallmarks of Dale’s service to St. Monica. Upon his arrival, the immediate task at hand was a smooth adoption and implementation of the most recent translation of the New Roman Missal. In addition to regular training for liturgical ministers, Dale introduced Liturgical Formation Days several times a year: including a keynote speaker, breakouts by ministry, retreat, reflection, and fellowship. Working with the parish council, Dale was the primary driver of the 2013 member engagement survey by Gallup, which informed the Strategic Vision 2020 document published shortly after that.
Dale also wrote and won three grants through the Calvin Institute of Worship, which launched two projects at St. Monica: the Liturgical Arts & Ministry Project (LAMP)—a weeklong overnight camp for high school liturgical ministers and musicians, and Honest to God—a year-long series of reflections on the psalms.
In 2018, Dale led a significant renovation of our church, including an award-winning liturgical lighting design, forward-looking audio infrastructure with a hearing loop, repairs and refinishing to the floors, pews, marble, and cabinetry, and rejuvenation of beautiful architectural elements like the bas relief sculptures above the entrances.
Dale’s greatest gifts and strengths lie in the relationships he has built and fostered with you as parishioners, his open and compassionate heart, and above all else, his pastoral vocation. For this reason, he is a champion and advocate for the ministry of hospitality—from which all other ministries emanate. Dale continued and augmented that spirit of hospitality at St. Monica with two Hospitality Summits. More than 150 ministers gathered from neighboring parishes throughout the Archdiocese to deepen their sense of welcome, service, and accompaniment. This is what I will remember most: how Dale embodied “All Are Welcome.”
And so join me this weekend and next in offering our thanks, love, and encouragement to Dale. He’ll be present at morning Masses this weekend, and we’ll host a reception next weekend, Nov. 14, following the 9:30 a.m. Mass to surround him with our well wishes. We will miss you, Dale and we love you.
Msgr. Lloyd Torgerson