Christ Cathedral


By STAFF     12/22/2015

Internationally respected liturgical music director and organist John A. Romeri will lead burgeoning music ministry.


Garden Grove, CA (Dec. 8, 2015) – After extensive study, discernment, and reflection regarding the unique and dynamic needs of the developing music ministry of Christ Cathedral and the scope of responsibilities and key attributes that a future leader of this program should possess, the Most Reverend Kevin Vann, Bishop of Orange has selected Dr. John A Romeri, former Director of Liturgical Music for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, as the first Christ Cathedral Director of Music Ministries. Dr. Romeri will lead the development of not only the Christ Cathedral Parish’s music program but also the liturgical music program that will support major diocesan celebrations that will take place within the inspiring edifice of the Christ Cathedral after its renovation and dedication. Dr. Romeri will begin his work at Christ Cathedral January 19, 2016.

“We are blessed to welcome such an esteemed director to lead the emerging music ministry programs of the Christ Cathedral. I have known John for many years, since he was the organist and director of music at the Cathedral Basilica in St. Louis and I have witnessed his ability to raise the hearts of the faithful to God through excellent musical performance. I especially remember these talents on display when he was the director of the Pueri Cantores choir for the Archdiocese of St. Louis, when I went with my niece and her family to Rome a number of years ago.” said Bishop Vann.

The sacred music performed under the leadership of Romeri will serve to give praise to God and to inspire the faith of thousands at the daily liturgical celebrations held by the parish and campus communities, while also touching the hearts of millions more across the world through celebrations and programs broadcast internationally by EWTN Global Catholic Network. “Because the development of a music ministry that serves the needs of the cathedral parish as well as the diocese and the greater Church is such a comprehensive and significant undertaking, it cannot be developed ‘overnight’. It is necessary for us to begin developing this program well in advance of the dedication and opening of the Cathedral,” added Bishop Vann.

Romeri’s multi-pronged role will include overseeing the entire music ministry of the cathedral parish, including all of the choral language groups, musicians, sacramental celebrations, special parish celebrations, weddings and funerals. In addition to these significant responsibilities Romeri will lead the liturgical music program in support of major diocesan liturgies, such as ordinations, the Chrism Mass, Rites of Election, the Red Mass and a variety of celebrations related to major Church organizations. The cathedral music ministry under Romeri’s direction will also develop and oversee a cultural music program that is non-liturgical, organizing concerts, recitals and productions that showcase both religious and secular music.

“As both a parish community and cathedral campus that is a very visible center of faith, we are blessed to welcome such an acclaimed and well respected leader to develop our music programs. Following in the tradition of excellent musical performances on the campus set by Reverend Robert Schuller, we are inspired by what Romeri will bring to our campus,” said the Very Reverend Christopher Smith, Rector and Episcopal Vicar, Christ Cathedral.

About John A. Romeri

John A. Romeri served as Director of Liturgical Music for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia from September 2010 until September 2015. This position included being the Director of Music and Organist at the Cathedral Basilica of SS Peter and Paul. In Philadelphia, he conducted three choirs: the Cathedral Basilica Choir, he reestablished the Archdiocesan Choir of Philadelphia, and founded the Archdiocesan Girls’ Choir. He created Concerts at the Cathedral Basilica and served as its Artistic and Executive Director.

From 1992 – 2010, he was the Director of Music and Organist of the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis. Additionally, he served as Director of the Office of Sacred Music for the Archdiocese of Saint Louis, and as the Artistic and Executive Director for Saint Louis Cathedral Concerts, which he established. For fourteen of those years, Dr. Romeri served as the organist for the Saint Louis Symphony.

Prior to going to St Louis, he held similar positions at both the Church of the Assumption, and at the Diocese of Pittsburgh, both in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He served as an adjunct professor at both Duquesne and Carlow Universities.

Dr. Romeri earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Organ Performance, Magna cum Laude, from the Conservatory of Music, University of the Pacific, Stockton, California, and a Master of Sacred Music degree from Westminster Choir College, Princeton, New Jersey. He also holds the Choirmaster and Associate Certificates from the American Guild of Organists. In 1998, he was presented an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Lindenwood University in Saint Louis.

He has served as chair of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians’ National Board of Directors and was named “Pastoral Musician of the Year” by that organization in 2003. The Missouri Choral Directors Association voted him the “Outstanding Choir Director for 1998- 1999,” the same year he was the coordinator and conductor for the papal visit to St. Louis. He is a past Dean of the Saint Louis Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. He is the immediate past Vice-President of the National Board of Directors of the International Student Choral Organization of the Catholic Church, Pueri Cantores. In 2010, Dr. Romeri and his wife Karen were honored by the Saint Louis Chapter of the American Guild of Organists with their highest distinction, the Avis Blewett Award, for their significant contributions to the musical life of the Greater Metropolitan Saint Louis Region. He is the current Dean of the Philadelphia Chapter of the AGO. John serves on the Liturgy Committee of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. In May 2015, received the Westminster Choir College Alumni Merit Award for “distinguished contributions to the Field of Sacred Music.”