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Alumni and Friends Making an Impact

Honoring Their Mothers With Music

Church was essential in the lives of Larry and Carrie Kelley’s mothers. When their daughter, Caroline ’22, graduated this past spring, they honored all three women with a gift to Campus Ministry in support of liturgical music.

Larry and Carrie, members of the Parent Leadership Council, both lost their mothers in the past few years. “Church was always very important to my mother, and she loved it,” said Larry. His mother had polio and was in a wheelchair, having lost the use of her legs. “After my dad passed, we would take her to church.”

One thing Larry’s mother enjoyed at church was the music. “Part of the reason I like to go to Mass is for the music, and I think about my mom when I’m there,” he said. With the gift, he wanted to support students with a desire to be involved in music at church.

“The Kelleys have made a substantial impact in funding for the Undergraduate Music Minister program,” said Scott Paeplow, associate director of Campus Ministry for liturgy and music.

The UGMM program employs 18 undergraduate students from a variety of majors, as well as from each class level, who provide leadership for music at each of the different Masses. They lead the music and recruit friends to sing and play at Mass, select the music used and are the centerpiece of the ensemble for the large liturgies throughout the year at events like Welcome Weekend, Family Weekend, Christmas on Campus, baccalaureate and more.

Students audition and interview for this experiential-learning opportunity to make sure they have the musical skills, as well as a calling, to be in this leadership role for the Masses. While the position offers a small piece of musical education, it does not intend to teach students how to sing or play an instrument. “Instead,” said Paeplow, “students come to the program with that demonstrated ability and use it in order to step into a leadership role.”

The program encourages students to develop their vocational gifts and serve the larger Catholic church community when they leave UD. Paeplow said the Archdiocese of Cincinnati has parishes that cannot find music ministers who are available to help them in part-time capacities. “So, this program could have a significant impact on the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, as well as on the national and global Catholic church.”

After graduation, some UGMM students have become full-time music ministers. Others graduate and take positions as engineers or teachers, but music ministry is such an important part of their lives that they feel a vocational calling and serve as part-time music ministers, sing in the choir or play as an accompanist at a parish.

UGMM program members are paid undergraduate student employees who are formed in the principles of proper music ministry and the service they provide to the Catholic liturgy. With increases in minimum wage, the number of students involved might have had to be reduced.

Gifts from the Kelleys, along with those given during One Day, One Dayton and throughout the year, support UGMM and strengthen UD’s music ministry through the purchase of new music and equipment, such as microphones, and upkeep on musical instruments. But most gifts go toward the UGMM program.

“The Kelleys’ generosity has really allowed that program to continue to be vibrant and has allowed students to continue through their entire UD undergraduate career.”

“The Kelleys’ generosity has really allowed that program to continue to be vibrant and has allowed students to continue through their entire UD undergraduate career. And many of them do,” said Paeplow.

The occasion of Caroline’s graduation felt like the right time for the Kelleys to make this gift. Not only did they wish to honor their mothers by supporting music in church, they also wanted the University to know they were grateful for their daughter’s time here. “She’s very happy with the experience that she had there, so it’s our way of saying thanks.”

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