Father Shaun Wesley’s new Christmas CD is the gift that keeps on giving — spiritual fulfillment to listeners and money to parish projects.
The 12-track album “A Sacred Season,” features Father Wesley singing religious classics like “Ave Maria” and “Still, Still, Still” in his signature tenor voice. It provides a musical journey through Advent, Christmas and Epiphany.
“I hope that it helps to kind of draw them into the meaning of the season. If they listen through the CD, they’ll kind of hear the season playing out, from ‘O Come, O Come Emmanuel’ to ‘We Three Kings,’” said Father Wesley, pastor of St. Rose of Lima Church in Carlisle, Sts. Cyril and Methodius Church in Slovak and Holy Trinity Church in England.
While he said friends and relatives have encouraged him to record an album for years, the idea came to fruition when Sacred Heart Church and School in Morrilton, where he grew up and graduated, asked alumni to help donate to the capital campaign for additions to the church and school, including an expanded vestibule area and a safe room for the children. The campaign hopes to raise almost $3 million.
“I was trying to find out how I could make a better contribution than what I was financially able to,” Father Wesley said.
Alisha Koonce, capital campaign director and director of development at the school, said, “It is such a personal gift and a way to give back and we’re just thrilled he offered to do that.”
But the music does not stop at Morrilton. St. Vincent de Paul Church in Rogers is also selling the CD to help raise money for its Haiti mission where buildings were destroyed Oct. 4 by Hurricane Matthew. Father Wesley said he was an associate pastor that helped along with others to get the Haiti mission established for the parish. St. Anne Church in Berryville is selling it to raise money for their youth ministry and St. Elizabeth Church in Eureka Springs is selling it in its gift shop. He has served as pastor at both parishes.
The parishes he serves currently will also receive money for projects, including a building repair fund and restoration of an antique painting of Sts. Cyril and Methodius.
“I would say it’s an important way for me to give back. I believe 100 percent my voice and ability to sing is a gift from God I had from a young age,” he said. “My singing goes all the way back … In a certain sense, it was born there at Sacred Heart.”
Even though “A Sacred Season” is his first album, the compilation, produced by Fiery Moon Productions in Fayetteville, all came together quickly.
“I think it was divine providence that wanted it to happen,” he said. He and Linda Kelly, music director at St. Joseph Church in Fayetteville who provided piano and organ accompaniment, started the process in October and the CDs were in hand by Dec. 1.
“I think my favorite on the CD is ‘When Blossoms Flowered ‘Mid the Snows,’” Father Wesley said. “It’s one that’s not as common, but it has kind of a beautiful message to it and more of a fun sound to it.”
The CD is available at any of the involved parishes for about $15. All profits from the CD go to specific parish projects while the churches have separately helped to reimburse Father Wesley by about a third for the cost to make the album, he said.
The album is a reminder of “the meaning of Christmas, the meaning of our savior coming and the joy we get from that,” he said. “I just hope my voice and the music helps to draw them to that.”
A free preview of the track “Gabriel’s Message” can be heard at sacredheartmorrilton.org/Parish/CapitalCampaign/ThisSacredSeasonChristmasCD.aspx.
Please read our Comments Policy before posting.Article comments powered by Disqus