Biography

DAVID HAAS resides in Eagan, Minnesota and serves as the Director of The Emmaus Center for Music, Prayer and Ministry and as the animator for the Cretin-Derham Hall Taize’ Prayer Community in St. Paul.  Highly regarded as one of the preeminent liturgical music composers in the English-speaking world, he has produced more than 50 recorded and printed collections of music by GIA Publications; much of which is sung and prayed throughout the world.  As a conference speaker, retreat/workshop leader, and concert performer he has traveled and presented in all 50 states, Washington DC and Guam; as well as in several provinces of Canada, and in England, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Israel, Greece, Turkey, The Bahamas, Australia, New Zealand, The Philippines and Singapore.

In addition to his pastoral service to the cause and renewal of liturgy and its sung prayer he has also several published books and media resources with Clear Faith Publishing, Twenty-Third Publications, Saint Mary’s Press, Liturgy Training Publications, Franciscan Media, The Pastoral Center, and The Crossroad Publishing Company; and has served as a consultant to many catechetical publishers.

A native of Bridgeport, Michigan (Saginaw Diocese), David comes from a musical family and studied vocal music performance, piano and conducting at Central Michigan University and completed his music and theological studies at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. He served in full time ministry in liturgy, music and youth ministry at two parishes, Immaculate Heart of Mary in Ankeny, Iowa; and at the Church of St. Thomas Aquinas in St. Paul Park, Minnesota; as well as serving as composer-in-residence at the St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity in St. Paul; at St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Minneapolis, and as a member of the national advisory council for the National Association of Pastoral Musicians (NPM). During these years and after, David was deeply involved in the renewal of Christian Initiation through his work as a faculty member for various institutes of the North American Forum on the Catechumenate; and over the years has been a featured speaker at various conventions and conferences for NPM, The Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, The National Catholic Education Association, The National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry, The National Conference for Catechetical Leadership, The Gathering Pastoral Ministry Conference, The National Association for Lay Ministry, The East Coast Religious Education Conference, the Mid-Atlantic Ministry Congress, the Big Island Liturgy and Arts Conference in Hawaii, and many other conferences and institutes.

For many years David has been an international advocate for the role of young people in the life of the church, having served in campus ministry in the twin city area at Benilde-St. Margaret’s High School in St. Louis Park and at Cretin-Derham Hall in St. Paul. He was the founder and executive director of Music Ministry Alive!  (www.musicministryalive.com), an international liturgical music formation effort that has reached thousands of high school and college age youth since 1999. He also been a guest lecturer at various colleges and universities throughout the United States and beyond, including the St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity in St. Paul; St. John’s University in Collegeville; Boston College; Mount Saint Mary’s University in Los Angeles; St. Mary’s University in San Antonio; Fontbonne University in St. Louis; St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa; The Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio;  St. Catherine University in St. Paul; Presentation College in Aberdeen, South Dakota; The University of Portland in Oregon; St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia; The University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio; Loyola University in Maryland; St. Mary’s University in Winona, Minnesota; Saint Mary-of-the Woods College in Indiana; The University of Toronto; Ateneo University in Manila, The Philippines; St. Patrick’s College in Maynooth, Ireland; and at the North American College in Rome.

In 1991 David was nominated for a Grammy Award for the recording of I Shall See God (GIA), and several of his books have received awards from the Catholic Press Association and the Association of Catholic Publishers. In 2004 David was named “Pastoral Musician of the Year” by the National Association of Pastoral Musicians, and that same year he received the Crosier Award for Outstanding Service in Ministry, and later also received the “To Serve as Jesus Did” award from the Servants of Jesus community in Michigan. In 2014 the National Catholic Education Association awarded David the Emmaus Award for Excellence in Catechesis for his contributions to catechetical ministry, and twice together with Michael Joncas and Marty Haugen he has been recognized for contributions to the ministry of liturgical music, being awarded the Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1995 from the University of St. Thomas in Paul; and recently, the 2017 Pax Christi Award from St. John’s Abbey and University in Collegeville, Minnesota. In 2015 David received an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters, HONORIS CAUSA, from the University of Portland in Oregon.

An Interview with David Haas: Music, Ministry, and Life