Dear Shrine Community,

My heart is full as I write this.  For more than eight years, I’ve had the privilege of being part of the music ministry at St. Anthony Shrine.  I’ve had the honor of playing and singing at thousands of Eucharistic celebrations, Lazarus funerals, Christmas mornings and Good Fridays.  I’ve hugged saints and joked with bishops, danced in the aisles with sparkly-shoed princesses and cried in sorrow at the foot of tiny coffins.  I’ve witnessed the power of your prayer, seen you at your best after receiving Communion and heard you sing “surely, the presence of the Lord is in this place” like angels.  Thank you for every minute of joy.

It is time for me to accept a new challenge.  I’ve been invited by a local parish to help them build up their music program, and I have to answer the call.

I’m not leaving the Shrine – I’ll still be serving as director from afar – but, starting in August I won’t be able to be part of weekend liturgies.  While this new opportunity is exciting and challenging, my heart is breaking at the thought of not being in your presence week after week.

Fr. Tom and the friars are committed to making this transition work!  The Arch Street Band will thrive with the addition of a new pianist, and with your help.  Please sing and pray in full voice.  Welcome the visitor and encourage each other with your smile.  And if you remember, whisper “YAY CHURCH” for me once in a while.

In lieu of eloquence, I’ll type the words we’ve sung together countless times:

Surely, the blessing of the Lord is in my heart,

and it’s here when we’re together or apart.

Now, I feel the rush of angels’ wings and I know how great thou art!

Surely, the blessing of the Lord is in my heart.


Please God, send your blessings on our Church.

Peace and all good things,



Dear Shrine Community,

I’d like to follow up a bit on Jennifer Galea’s note (above) that she will be going from full-time to part-time hours at St. Anthony Shrine.  Many of you may not be aware of the full spectrum of things that Jennifer does for the Shrine.  She will continue in some roles and discontinue other roles.

We will continue to add new band members as necessary and appropriate.  There isn’t any decrease in our spiritual or emotional commitment to the band.

For many years, Jennifer has been the heart and soul of The Arch St. Band.  She will surely be missed by all of us.  Having said that, I am confident that the Holy Spirit will continue to work in the remaining members of the band.  They have much musical talent and great chemistry among them.

This is sad news indeed for the Shrine.  Nonetheless, we wish Jennifer all the best in her new role and are extremely grateful for her many years of full-time work and ministry here.  Please pray for us all as we work through this transition.

Fr. Thomas Conway, OFM
Executive Director