By: Kaila Trowbridge

The University of Saint Mary held their 15th annual theology lecture on Tuesday, October 9 at the Annunciation Chapel. The special guest this year was Fr. Ricky Manalo, CSP, Ph.D. His lecture was entitled “Tune, Text, and Theology: Composing for Today’s Church. Manalo is recognized for pioneering and promoting Asian Catholic liturgical music in the United States. He studied composition and piano at the Manhattan School of Music, studied theology at the Washington Theological Union, and history, liturgy, culture and sociology at the Graduate Theological Union in California. He currently teaches graduate-level pastoral ministries at Santa Clara University and recently his work was recognized by the National Association of Pastoral Musicians, honoring him with the “2018 Pastoral Musician of the Year Award.”

The event was a special treat for the guests. Manalo played piano and was accompanied by flutist Jordan Lee Buckner and singers Alexis Meyers and Kylie Visocsky. He encouraged guests to sing along with him, which made for an interactive experience. Manalo explained where his ambition came from, and brought his music to life in the chapel. He elaborated on his theological processes that he uses to create his music. “To me, composing is just responding musically to God’s grace,” Manalo said. Manalo performed eight of his musical pieces and had the audience engage in all of them. 

The 15th annual theology lecture was special and guests were able to get to know Manalo better during a reception after the lecture. Guests could enjoy treats, mingle, and express their thoughts and opinions about the lecture. “I thought he was just going to teach us a subject of theology I was not aware of,” USM student Julissa Serrano said. “I enjoyed singing along and I appreciated his time here.”

The annual theology lecture was a success and it is going to be hard to top the performance given by Manalo for next year’s lecture. 

Kaila Trowbridge is a junior at the University of Saint Mary and is studying digital communications.