Br. Duane Lemke, SCJ, director of the formation program in Chicago, had been tossing around the idea of doing a blog for some time. Inspired by an aunt, he sat down this summer and centered on a theme: music.
“One of my earliest memories is of a journal my aunt (and godmother) kept of song lyrics,” wrote Br. Duane in his first blog entry. “Back in her day, there was no such thing as a quick Google of one’s favorite lyrics, and a right-click cut-and-paste. Nope. This was retro when retro was new: a journal kept on looseleaf paper in a three-ring binder covered with flowers. Each lyric was written by hand, representing time spent listening to the song over and over again, just to be sure she got it right. This wasn’t a painstaking task, but an act of devotion. She loved music.
“Thus began my own devotion to music. I like music of all genres, sometimes in languages I don’t understand. Sometimes it may be the beat that gets my feet tapping. Sometimes the song may simply be fun. At others, the song might remind me of a time with friends or family. Maybe the lyric gives words to something I am not able to express well myself. All of this is great, but it is not what this blog is about.”
What is the blog about? “As a Catholic, and as a Dehonian [member of the Priests of the Sacred Heart] I’ve found grace in my natural love for music. Many times the lyrics and music I love have become fodder for deeper faith, even if the song is not overtly religious (often when the song is not overtly religious). As a minister, I’ve also made use of songs such as these in teaching and passing the faith on to other generations…
“In this blog I will introduce you to ‘My Dehonian Playlist.’ It is a real playlist. These are songs I turn to when I want to re-energize my commitment as a religious brother, as a person of faith. These are songs that I find have inspired and challenged me to live well my particular slice of our great, wide faith. Just like that handwritten journal gave expression to my aunt’s favorite music, I hope for this blog to be a record of those songs that are worth my time and that serve as an inspiration to my faith.”
After posting that first blog entry, Br. Duane reflected a bit more on what inspired him to start “My Dehonian Playlist.”
“I want to enjoy the creative juices that I experienced as a catechist when trying to find ways to link the faith with stuff from everyday experience,” he said. “I’m getting a chance to flex catechetical muscles that haven’t been exercised since I left parish ministry.”
Br. Duane also thought that the blog could be a way of creatively sharing the spirituality and theology of the Priests of the Sacred Heart.
“I realized that I had to stop talking and step up and finally put my fingers to the key board.”
If you would like to take a look at Br. Duane Lemke’s Dehonian Playlist, click here.
Who is Br. Duane?
Br. Duane Lemke is 37 and professed first vows in 1997. A home-grown SCJ, he grew up in an SCJ parish in South Dakota and as a teen, worked for the SCJ community when it had a pastoral team in Eagle Butte, SD. He has worked in parish ministry and currently is the administrator of the Dehon Formation Community in Chicago. In June he was elected to the Provincial Council of the U.S. Province.