New Cathedral Music Director

We have hired Dr. Paul Thornock to be the new Organist and Choir Director for the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. He is a very talented musician and brings a wealth of experience in liturgy and music. Paul and his wife Nancy and their three children will be moving to Savannah this month. Paul will begin his duties on August 1, 2018. I know that you will welcome him, and his family, to the Cathedral!

Paul Thornock earned the Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Puget Sound where he studied organ with Edward Hansen and conducting with Paul Schultz. He earned the Master of Music in Organ Performance and Literature degree from the University of Notre Dame as a student of Craig Cramer. While at Notre Dame, he was graduate assistant organist at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart under Gail Walton. Thornock earned the Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music as a student of Roberta Gary.

For sixteen years, Thornock was Cathedral Director of Music and Diocesan Music Consultant for Saint Joseph Cathedral in the Catholic Diocese of Columbus, Ohio. He conducted the semi-professional Cathedral Choir, the fully professional Cathedral Schola, and worked as Artistic Director of the Cathedral Concerts series. He released two choral CD recordings from the Cathedral, and was responsible for commissioning the Cathedral’s Paul Fritts and Co. organ. In addition to his cathedral responsibilities, he served on the faculty at Capital University Conservatory of Mu-sic and Trinity Lutheran Seminary teaching organ literature. Most recently, Dr. Thornock Director of Music at St. James Cathedral in Seattle and taught organ at the University of Puget Sound.

Dr. Thornock has performed for regional conventions of the American Guild of Organists, the 2008 national convention of the Organ Historical Society, the American Institute of Organ Builders, and has been heard as both an organist and conductor on the nationally syndicated radio programs Pipedreams and With Heart and Voice and was a first place winner in the Strader organ Playing Competition. In 2012, Thornock was awarded a grant from the Tangeman Sacred Music Center to record four organs by Paul Fritts and Co., chronicling the firm’s evolution over four decades. Dr. Thornock has recently been invited to play a solo recital at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris in 2020.


The Bishop’s Annual Appeal 2018

The Bishop’s Annual Appeal 2018

Next weekend, throughout the Diocese of Savannah, we begin the Bishop’s Annual Appeal for 2018. In this year’s appeal Bishop Hartmayer encourages us to be Missionary Disciples who proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ through our many acts of service and ministry, as well as through our generous giving.
The financial goal for the whole Diocese for this year is $2,700,000, which represents an increase of $100,000. The Diocesan goal has not been increased for three years. Our Cathedral parish is assigned a goal which is based upon our previous year’s total offertory, relative to the total Diocesan offertory. Because you have been giving so generously to the Cathedral, our offertory has been increasing. This year the Cathedral parish is being asked to contribute $114,395 to the Bishop’s Annual Appeal.
In the previous year’s appeal, 311 registered members or households contributed a total of $162,594. That represented, at the time, approximately 22.8% of our parishioners.  That percentage is a number that we must increase! We are now a parish of approximately 1000 households.  As I say each year, if we all give something, each according to his means, we will have no trouble meeting and surpassing our parish goal.
This year, the Diocese is asking that we conclude our pledging in a very timely manner. I would ask you to make your pledge to the Bishop’s Appeal within the next four weeks. If you do that, we can be confident of a positive outcome and have no further need of reminders. In addition to that, if it is possible, when you make your pledge consider doing so “online” with a credit or debit card. It is much easier to keep track of donations received.

It has always been wonderful to see the Cathedral parish responding quickly and generously to the Bishop’s Appeal. We are after all the Bishop’s Church and it is important that we provide inspiration and support for all the parishes of the Diocese of Savannah. I thank you for your continued and generous support of this important appeal.

Rev. J. Gerard Schreck


Ash Wednesday and the Beginning of Lent

On Wednesday, February 14th, we begin our Lenten penance. We will hear the words of the Prophet Joel, who says: Even now, says the Lord, Return to me with your whole heart, With fasting, and weeping, and mourning; Rend your hearts, not your garments,  And return to the Lord, your God. For gracious and merciful is he,  Slow to anger, rich in kindness, And relenting in punishment.

What strategy will you adopt in order to “rend your heart, not your garments”? The Church suggests that we 1) increase our prayer; 2) deny ourselves pleasure, by abstinence and fasting; 3) perform works of mercy and charity.

The Fridays of the Season of Lent are days of abstinence from eating meat. Anyone who is fourteen years of age is obliged to abstain from eating meat on Fridays. Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of fast and abstinence, which means that we eat only one full meal that day (and two smaller meals) and abstain from meat. All adults up to the age of sixty are obliged to fast and abstain. Fasting on these days, however, is still recommended for children and seniors.
This year we join with the whole Diocese in the Living the Eucharist program of renewal. If you are wondering what you can do to increase your prayer and spiritual reading during Lent, this program is a perfect opportunity. On Ash Wednesday, everyone who comes to Mass will receive a copy of the small book, Exodus to Easter, which contains daily prayers and reflections for Lent.
To be reconciled with God, and with the Church, and with one another, is a very important part of our Lenten penance. We humble ourselves and put away our pride by admitting our sins and weaknesses. That’s our part of the process. But it is so important that we allow God the opportunity to do His part, and speak to us words of forgiveness and peace. Because God is “slow to anger, rich in kindness, and relenting in punishment.”
Each Friday, from 4:00 to 5:00, and each Saturday, from 11:00 to 11:50, and from 4:15 to 5:00, the Sacrament of Reconciliation is available at the Cathedral. On Monday evening, March 19th, at 7:00 PM, we will have our Lenten Penance Service and there will be the opportunity for individual confession. We will have several Priests on hand to assist us. I encourage you to take advantage of these opportunities to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation prior to Easter Sunday.