“Holy Priests” posts serve to illustrate the great work our priests do to help people fall in love with Jesus through the Mass.
I first met Fr. Netusil when we were freshmen at Mount Michael. We were classmates for one year and I remember him as a passionate musician with a joyful personality.
1) What are some of your strongest musical influences: sacred and secular?
I suppose that my greatest sacred music influence has been the works of GP Palestrina, an Italian Renaissance composer. There is simply something about his music that speaks deeply to my heart. My greatest secular music influence were undoubtedly my high school music teachers. Those folks were so influential in a time when I was developing a love for music. And they were so supportive and encouraging. Now, I’m sure you’re asking who my greatest influence as an artist is, right? I’d have to say George Winston. I went to a concert in high school and it changed my life. I strove always to be able to play like him, and while I didn’t achieve that level of ability, his influence pushed me to be a better pianist.
2) How did the liturgy and sacred music influence you as you accepted your call to the priesthood?
Do you know me? HAHA. It was and is my life. I was a liturgist for many years before entering theology school. In my pre-theology school period, I looked at liturgy in a very different way than I do today, mostly because I learned that liturgy really isn’t about what I want or like, its focus is the worship of God. Beautiful and solemn liturgies drove me to seek out God more, and to promise always to celebrate the Mass and the Sacraments to the best of my ability, and to never be lazy. That promise hangs on the wall of my office, and I see it every day. I’d also say that it was my deep love of liturgy that wanted me to experience God in a deeper way, because I encountered priests who were deeply in love with the Eucharist, and deeply reverent at Mass. Of course, I encountered those who were sloppy and lazy, and I vowed never to be that way.
3) What role does music take for you when you celebrate Mass? How do you experience music during Mass from your unique vantage point as the celebrant? For example, do you sing the prayers and dialogues, do you pray while the musicians sing, do you sing along, do you sing with your microphone on/off, etc?
I believe in the concept of Progressive Solemnity, so as the level of the celebration dictates (Ferial day, Memorial, Feast, Solemnity) I expand upon the sung elements of the liturgy. We always sing the Alleluia. For a Memorial I add the sung doxology. For a feast, I sing the antiphons, and for Solemnities I sing everything. Of course, as Sunday is always a celebration of Easter, I sing the entire Mass, including the Eucharistic Prayer. In the Cathedral, that becomes other-worldly, at least for me. 🙂
4) How does the type of Mass being celebrated (i.e. weekday Mass, school Mass, nursing home Mass, primary weekend Mass, teen Mass, ferial/solemnity) influence what music there should be at Mass?
I don’t believe in the concept of “a type of Mass”. The Mass does not change dependent on who attends. The Mass does not belong to the teens or this group or that organization. The Mass should never be called “the contemporary Mass” or “the traditional Mass” because that labels the liturgy with agendas. It also should never influence the music, because we have a treasury of music that is independent of the age or circumstance of the people. Teens should be taught to sing the patrimony of the Church. The Church should not be expected to submit to the contemporary rock-and-roll based “praise and worship” music for use in the Sacred Liturgy. By doing so, we are profaning the sacred by letting the secular violate what is sanctified.
- Ordained June, 2012. Conception Seminary College 1991-1996, Kenrick School of Theology 2007-2012.
- Previously associate pastor, then Administrator, then Pastor of St. Patrick’s in O’Neill, and President of St. Mary’s Schools, 2012-2015.
- Currently Master of Ceremonies for Archbishop George J. Lucas and Parochial Vicar at St. Cecilia’s Cathedral.