Wyoming Catholic College Partners with the Magnificat Institute of Sacred Music; Paul Jernberg to Join College Faculty as Choir Director and Composer-in-Residence

When Paul Jernberg first heard about Wyoming Catholic College, he was appreciative of its integrated, immersive curriculum. As a New England-based composer dedicated to the renewal of Catholic sacred music, however, he never imagined a direct collaboration with the College. But Providence had other ideas. “My son had worked on projects for COR Expeditions,” Paul says, “and I’d heard wonderful things about it from friends and former students. But I had no idea it was destined to become such a significant part of my life.”

In 2017, he had become the founding director of the Magnificat Institute of Sacred Music, “a non-profit organization dedicated to the renewal of sacred liturgical music in the Catholic Church through a  rediscovery of the beauty, genius, and importance of the Church’s great traditions, through the composition and use of new, holy, and beautiful liturgical music, and by offering educational opportunities for clergy, church musicians, and laity to understand Catholic sacred music in the context of the Church’s rich liturgical history.”

For years, Paul had sensed that the Institute’s mission might be strengthened through partnering with an academic institution which shared similar goals regarding sacred music. And as a strong proponent of St. John Paul II’s vision of Church unity as expressed in Orientale Lumen, he was appreciative of the College’s efforts to “breath with both lungs” by celebrating both the Roman and Byzantine rites. So, when a generous benefactor of the Institute (who was also a supporter of Wyoming Catholic) mentioned the College as a possible ally in his efforts, Paul was intrigued.

The College was equally intrigued. “We have always wanted a stable vision for our college choir and a musical formation for our students rooted in the Church’s rich liturgical history,” said President Glenn Arbery. “We also want to share the fruits of this musical formation beyond the college. When Mr. Jernberg and our Dean, Professor Kyle Washut, began to explore the possibility of a mutually beneficial agreement, it seemed providential—and then several of the Institute’s (and the College’s) benefactors offered to fund the partnership. We couldn’t have been happier.”

Paul moved with his wife Anne to Lander in June 2022, and now combines his work as director of the Institute with his role as the College’s Choir Director and Composer-in-Residence. In that role, he will function as an adjunct faculty member of the College, directing the student choir at a monthly Liturgy and providing mentorship and coaching to the student directors of the College’s Schola, Roman Rite Choir, and Byzantine Choir.

For a more detailed account of Paul Jernberg as a composer and conductor of Catholic sacred liturgical music, the 2019 documentary from French filmmaker Francois Lespes, The Song of the Longing Heart, provides an excellent window into his musical ministry and can be seen HERE, in its entirety. Also, below, a recording of “Theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven: A fully-sung Mass for Persecuted Christians” that was composed by Jernberg, filmed by Lespes, and celebrated at St. John the Guardian of Our Lady Parish, Clinton, Massachusetts in October, 2022.

Related College News