My name is Deb Rojas. Greetings from the Rojas family to our new parish at St. Monica’s.
I thank God for the opportunity to introduce myself and my family to you. I look forward to getting to know you as we journey to heaven together. Let me tell you something about my family and me, my faith life, my musical background, my philosophy about liturgy and music and some initial impressions of St. Monica.
I am the proud mom of four kids, high school and older. Kirsten and Trinity are going into 11th and 10th grades. They will be moving with me to Berwyn. Elly and Rich are young adults and working out of state. By the way, Elly and Kirsten are talented pianists. Rich plays some folk instruments, and they all sing.
My dad is a Baptist pastor, so I literally grew up “in church.” As a young child, I knew that God loved me and desired my love. That seed continued to grow over the years. Although I attended a Protestant college, historic faith traditions fascinated me. I found the Orthodox and Catholic faith especially intriguing. At some point, friends gave me a book by Dr. Scott and Mrs. Kimberly Hahn entitled, Rome, Sweet Home. It was my first exposure to the Catholic faith through Catholic eyes. It tells a beautiful conversion story. While it was great reading and provided food for thought, I wasn’t ready to give Catholicism an honest look. Yet, God continued to place faithful Catholics in my family’s path. To summarize, a very long story, my family and I were received into the Catholic Church in the summer of 2013.
Musically, my mother introduced me to the piano at the age of 5. I started playing piano/keyboard and singing in church in my teens. I graduated from Cairn University with a Degree in Music and in Bible. I continued learning through private instruction over the years. I come from a military family. Thus we moved frequently. However, this provided the opportunity to play in military chapels, local parishes, and community groups. These provided exposure to a variety of sacred music experiences. I was exposed to historic and contemporary music as well as “blended” approaches towards music and liturgy. I love choral music and dabble in violin, viola, and composition.
I have been touched by the liturgy and music vision that St. Monica seems to be developing. The idea of “encountering Christ” through the music, God’s Word, and the beauty of our sacred traditions is exciting. I see liturgical music as more than “playing at Mass” – much more. It can move people. It can touch people. It can also heal people. I seek to serve God as a wounded healer. To that end, I am in graduate school at Divine Mercy University, pursuing a Masters in Counseling.
As the Catechism states, the Eucharist is the “source and summit of our faith.” One way we encourage each other to better know and love Christ is by singing and making music to the Lord. Ultimately, music in the Mass finds its meaning and purpose in pointing us to Jesus. That expression can be a joyful noise or a glorious sound. Regardless of style, when we offer our hearts to God in worship, He receives the glory. Because music should be an offering to God, we give it our best effort and ask Him to bless the work. Soli Deo Gloria (SDG) marked J. S. Bach’s compositions, meaning “to God be the glory.” That says it all.
It is my hope and prayer that God will allow me to serve you with excellence. I also hope to serve you with special kindness, grace, encouragement, and love. My philosophy of music, ministry, discipleship, parenting, etc. is very simple. Life is relationships, and our most important relationship is with Christ. As we grow in the knowledge and love of God, grace and love outpour into our families, work, and leisure. If we are falling in love with Jesus, the love that we have for each other is going to be a powerful influence on Berwyn and the world. “They will know we are Christians by our love.
Discipleship seems to be very important at St. Monica. Discipleship takes place on the daily journey. But it starts at the beginning of each week with Jesus. Here we intentionally spend time setting aside the busyness of life, the distractions, the worries and the entertainment. We focus on what God wants from us and what he wants to give us. Musical offerings will continue to incorporate contemporary and historic elements. We have an incredible history of church music, millennia in the making. We also have truth, goodness, and beauty being composed today. I love working with adults and children of all ages to “make disciples of all nations” through the music and the liturgy.
Thank you for entrusting me with the honor of serving God and you as your new Director of Music and Liturgy. Please pray for me! I am praying for you.
Blessings and peace in Christ through Mary,