By Michael Gresham
The Texas Catholic
Dave Moore has a fairly optimistic outlook on life and faith. He admits that he and his wife Lauren trust fully that God will guide the way, even when a few unexpected challenges pop up during one’s faith journey.
And that’s why when he thinks back 18 months ago to the launch of their nonprofit — the Catholic Music Initiative — and how that coincided with the COVID-19 pandemic taking its grip on north Texas, Dave only sees the blessings that have been created.
“We had to adapt to these new challenges, but God met us in that place,” Dave said. “And while it was uncomfortable and challenging at times, we know it was definitely where we needed to be. We’re doing what He has called us to do.”
A Call to Serve
With the creation of the Catholic Music Initiative, the Moores hoped to create a nonprofit that would not only provide an outlet for musicians within the diocese but also provide opportunities to create music that evangelizes and inspires, form new disciples of God and serve the faithful communities.
“There is a very deep-seeded desire in our mission to really create unity with our music. I think that unity begins with the people in the pews being in full unity with God,” Dave explained. “I think that people will hear the music and draw upon the memory that draws them closer to the heart of God. Maybe it is that memory that helps them feel the unity and the peace.”
The couple started the initiative in 2019, receiving official paperwork as nonprofit in January 2020. Their “labor of love” was becoming a reality, but so too was the threat of a global pandemic — which forced the couple to adjust their focus.
“We were just starting to get the ball rolling when the pandemic hit,” Lauren said. “Our three pillars at the time were create, form and serve. With the pandemic, we went really straight into the service aspect.”
Dave is quick to credit Bishop Edward J. Burns for providing both the inspiration and the vision that has guided their efforts through the pandemic.
“I’ve been in a lot of situations where there is a mess, and God will give you the clear signs of the path to follow,” David said. “But it makes it a whole lot easier when you have a bishop like Bishop Burns who is really trying to lead by example with his message of hope even during this pandemic. He’s putting faith into action.
“Because Bishop Burns is so focused on goodness. Because he is so focused on letting people really see the heart of the gospel through his actions, he rallies the creatives,” Dave added. “He sparks a fire within us. A lot of what we are doing is our response to his call to serve.”
Creating a Gift
As the couple began implementing their music in the diocese’s weekly televised Mass, Lauren said they realized that the hymns and arrangements that they had been writing could be shared with the greater community of faith.
“This led us into wanting to create something for the people so that they could have something to remember,” she said.
And, according to Dave, it gave them a chance to offer renewed focus on one of the nonprofit’s three core missions.
“We were challenged with something because we wanted to create, form and serve. The pandemic actually kind of saved us from ourselves because it made it very clear that our bishop was asking us to serve in this particular ministry with the Masses so the form and serve focuses began happening organically,” he said. “Now we were allowed to turn our focus to the creation aspect.”
Through the Catholic Music Initiative, the couple set a goal of creating three years of Mass music, creating different arrangements that can be shared with parishes to meet their needs.
In addition, working in collaboration with Catholic Music Initiative musicians, the couple has released a 10-track CD of their music.
“We started with the ones we have used the most and have written music for over the years. We have developed new chords and new ways of playing with those old melodies that people really feel connected to,” said Lauren, adding that “This is Volume 1 of more to come. We plan on continuing to do this over the years.”
Dave said that the CD is something that was born out of their “creative labor and heart for God.”
“We wanted that to be a gift to the people of this diocese,” Dave said. “We wanted it to be a gift for the people who maybe at some point in time during this pandemic felt a little left out or that they weren’t able to participate. We wanted this to be a gift to that person to let them know that the Church is alive.”
In addition to the CD, the initiative is offering all the music and all the parts to it to the musicians in the parishes so that they can start implementing it into their own communities.
“I just want what we do to really empower and inspire people in the parishes,” Dave said.
Lauren added that the CD also was a way to give the people within the Catholic Music Initiative community an opportunity to use their gifts.
“During the pandemic, so many of our musicians were just stripped of their ability to use their gifts. So that part of the create was fostering place of creativity for those musicians as well,” she said.
The couple created the CD with the help of Nathan Sullivan running logistics, Charles Longoria mixing and editing, and a group of CMI singers and musicians ranging from members of SMU’s Catholic Ministry to a number of diocesan priests.
“I want this to bless the people in the pews,” Dave said. “I want it to bless the people who wish they were in the pews. And I want it to really get the music ministers and Catholic school kids excited.”
Visit catholicmusicinitiative.org for more information about the CD, the CMI’s Mass of Peace composition and the nonprofit’s future activities.