This June, Saint John’s Abbey and University will bestow its highest award, the Pax Christi Award, to Father Michael Joncas, University of St. Thomas artist-in-residence and a fellow in the Center for Catholic Studies, and University of St. Thomas alumni David Haas ’80 and Marty Haugen ’91 M.A. for their longtime contributions to liturgical composition.
Joncas said he is “humbled and honored” to have been designated a recipient, noting that this confirms St. Thomas’ decision to bestow the Distinguished Alumnus award to the three of them in tandem in 1995.
“We have worked together for nearly 40 years trying to provide singable hymns and liturgical pieces worthy of our common Christian worship heritage, collaborating on and critiquing compositional projects, singing and playing on each other’s recorded collections and offering lectures and workshops on various aspects of church music renewal,” Joncas said. “It is heartwarming that Saint John’s Abbey and University would bestow on us this great honor as a recognition of our past work and as a goad to future endeavors.”
In their letter to the honorees, President Michael Hemesath and Abbot John Klassen, OSB, wrote, “You have generously offered your musical talents and contributed greatly to the ‘full, conscious and active participation’ of the people of God in the liturgy as called for by the Second Vatican Council. Your compositions are sung by congregations and choirs and ensembles around the world, across a wide variety of Christian traditions. In your writing, speaking and presenting, you have evocatively connected liturgical music with the work of the churches for peace and justice. Your commitment to sung liturgy exemplifies the Benedictine spirit, as shown in the first scholae cantorum founded by Benedictines in the seventh century to teach sacred music to youth, through the work for liturgical reform by our Father Virgil Michel and other leaders of the Liturgical Movement.”
The trio will receive their award at Saint John’s Abbey in Collegeville on Sunday, June 25.