Composer of ‘On Eagles’ Wings’ to Premiere New Music and Workshop for Professional Musicians at SHU

News Story: March 1, 2010
Father Joncas

One of the most productive and popular composers of church music will premiere a new piece, “A Time of Jubilee,” at Sacred Heart University. Father Jan Michael Joncas, best known for the beloved hymn, “On Eagles’ Wings,” will present “A Time of Jubilee” on Wednesday, April 14, at a Vespers service in the University’s new Chapel of the Holy Spirit at 7:00 P.M., with lyrics devoted to the Spirit of God. The event is part of a year-long celebration of the new Chapel and is free and open to the public.
The Vespers service will be followed by a public talk by Father Joncas entitled, “Sing a New Song: Composing for Roman Catholic Worship Since Vatican II.”  An evening prayer service, Compline, will follow the talk. 

Also on Wednesday, April 14th, at 2:00 P.M., Sacred Heart University will present Father Joncas with an honorary doctorate at a special academic convocation. Immediately following the presentation of the degree, Father Joncas will give a public talk on “Music and Ministry.” On Thursday, April 15, from 10 A.M. to 2 P.M. he will present a Workshop for Professional Musicians. The workshop is free and open to all professional musicians. Seating is limited for the workshop, so to reserve your space, please contact Sheila Moseley at or 203-396-8097.

The author of three books and more than 150 published articles, Father Joncas was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis in 1980. A graduate of the College of St. Thomas, he holds a master’s degree in liturgical studies from the University of Notre Dame, and a license and doctorate from the Liturgical Institute at the College of St. Anselm in Rome. He is an associate professor of Catholic Studies and Theology at the University of St. Thomas, his alma mater.
A former campus minister and pastor, Father Joncas has composed and arranged more than 300 pieces of liturgical music now used in a wide variety of Christian traditions. “A Time of Jubilee” begins with the thought that “God’s Spirit rests on me.” Then, taking up themes that are proclaimed on the exterior walls of the Chapel of the Holy Spirit, he declares that God has “anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor; to prisoners, liberty; to open blinded eyes; and to heed the captives’ cries.”

He addresses the Holy Spirit in a variety of ways, calling the Spirit the “dance of God throughout the ages, the breath of the creating God, the gift and promise for the living, courage for a pilgrim people, and the cloud by day and fire by night.”