ATHER JEFFREY KEYES was recently featured in Regina Magazine, a beautiful Catholic publication we’ve mentioned in the past. As usual, Regina includes beautiful images like this one.
Below is a short excerpt. Notice that Fr. Keyes mentions Fr. Lawrence Heiman, C.PP.S. (1917-2012), a well-known promoter of Gregorian chant.
ENTERED THE SEMINARY in 1971. In four years I learned how to play guitar and got a degree in Thomistic Philosophy. I left the seminary in 1976 and worked in a hot dog stand and an insurance company before re-entering another seminary in 1977.
The ’70s did horrific damage to the church and I was criticized for associating priesthood too closely to the sacraments and worship and not enough to social justice. They did not want a “musical priest.” I was also told to throw away that old Thomistic stuff.
Disgusted and hurt, I went back to selling hotdogs and making music in a liberal Catholic church on Sunday evenings. I also spent summers in the mid-West working on Graduate Degree in Liturgy and music. When I first got to that Midwest College, all my professors in music were priests, Precious Blood Priests. I am especially grateful to Fr. Bob Onofrey and Fr. Larry Heiman for encouraging me to be both musician and priest. After all, if they could do it, why could I not do it?
Fr. Heiman would become my mentor in Gregorian Chant for more than 30 years until his death at the age of 92. I joined the Precious Blood community in 1988. I was professed in 1990 and ordained to the priesthood, October 26, 1991.
You can read the full article here. Fr. Keyes is also featured in Sacred, Beautiful, & Universal, a 60-minute documentary on Sacred Music.