I first met Fr. Broheimer when he was the pastor in Neligh and Tilden and he helped with our parish reconciliation services. He would honor me by asking about our music program and our organ, showing an interest in what our parish musicians were doing. A talented musician, Fr. Broheimer regularly gives organ recitals.
1) What are some of your strongest musical influences: sacred and secular?
Secular classical music always fascinated me even from a young age. An appreciation for the musical arts will naturally lead one into the pinnacle of this art, Sacred Music. The actual purpose of all (real) art is to reflect the true, the good, and the beautiful. Because God is the source of all these, music finds its greatest expression in the praise of God. So early on after experiencing, studying, and playing much secular music, I was naturally led to appreciate Sacred Music the most. Obviously, as a priest, this is of great interest to me.
2) How did the liturgy and sacred music influence you as you accepted your call to the priesthood?
Following my last answer, Sacred Music was very formative for me. How could it not be? That is the purpose of Sacred Music – as Sacred Music gives voice and expression to their faith and love of God it shapes the minds and hearts of the faithful at the same time. It was a natural transition for me to go from playing and singing secular music to playing and singing sacred music and then to be called to the priesthood. I would say at least Sacred Music opened the door to God’s mysteries for me as good Sacred Music is able to do for all people when offered according to the Magisterium of the Church.
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?
In my current assignment, most of the Mass is sung, and nearly every bit on high feast days. We are thankfully a singing parish. The people know that to sing well is to praise God twice, as the saying goes. The sacred texts are enlivened when sung. It’s quite different to sing the prayers than to merely speak them. When sung, the beauty and reverence that is due in Mass becomes apparent to all. Celebrating the sacred mysteries calls for our greatest offering of praise to God; our greatest industry and effort. Singing is a part of this offering and has been since the beginning of man’s praise of God.
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?
There is a hierarchy or progressive solemnity to our celebrations. A weekday ferial Mass is not likely to have any singing, while a solemnity should have the fullness of music. This is according to the mind of the Church, of course. While the Mass is always the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, not all celebrations have the same “weight,” if you will. That progression of music at the Mass must be done according to what the priest and people are capable of, but here at St. Peter, the people are quite capable and want to sing with their hearts and their voices at every opportunity. We do sing a bit more here than most parishes.
The Reverend John P. Broheimer
- Kenrick Major Theological Seminary – June 7 2003
- Mary Our Queen – Omaha
- St. Cecilia Cathedral – Omaha
- St. Francis of Assisi – Neligh and Our Lady of Mount Carmel – Tilden
- Teaching Duties, Pope John XXIII High School – Elgin
- Currently: St. Peter – Omaha
- Spiritual Director for the Legion of Mary – Our Lady of the Rosary Curia, Archdiocese of Omaha