Allow me to introduce myself (or, as the case may be, “reintroduce” myself): My name is Kelley Burns, and I am the new Director of Music and Liturgy here at the Newman Center. I’m new to this position, but I’m definitely not new to the parish!
Newman is my home, and it has been for almost as long as I can remember. I have memories of singing in the Christmas choir, flapping my angel wings (ahem, arms) and giggling–much to the dismay of my parents and the director, I’m sure. I made my First Communion in the old chapel. My then best friend and I wore matching dresses and veils for the occasion. I remember sitting in the orange chairs in the basement MPR for Mass on Sunday mornings and then going to “Friendship Groups.” I was in high school when Life Teen started here at Newman, and I remember missing part of the Steubenville conference because (with permission) I went to a Bob Dylan and Paul Simon concert across town the same night.
I spent many days and nights here as a Mizzou student and many of my favorite college memories came from Newman’s campus ministry. I served as the Awakenings retreat rector, worked as a Life Teen core member, and helped with the music at the 5pm and 8pm Masses. Trent Rash and I worked together to start (and perform in) the first Newman Week musical, Godspell. (You can still see our picture up on the wall by the student lounge!) I forged lasting friendships which I still cherish now–most of my oldest and greatest friends were made because of Newman.
Speaking of special people, I also met my husband here while in college. Ironically, he grew up in this parish too, but we didn’t meet each other until we both became involved at Newman as college students. We were married here in 2003, and since that time, we’ve been busy raising four fiesty redheads and perfecting our coffee making skills. You may have seen our kids running around Newman: our daughter is an altar server and our oldest son plays guitar at the Sunday 5pm Mass and also runs the soundboard. Our middle son recently made his First Communion and so now he tries a little harder to stay awake at Mass. And our youngest is usually dancing or shout-whispering or mimicking Father from the front row.
I have served on the parish staff twice before: from 2010-2013 I was the Director of Youth Ministry. After that, I worked as the parish Volunteer Coordinator for a short time. Additionally, I have a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education and a Master’s degree in Arts Integration in Education, teaching elementary music with Columbia Public Schools for six years. I have also spent the better part of the last 12 years leading the music at the 5pm Sunday Mass.
All this to say again, Newman is my home. It is because of this community of faith that I came to know Jesus. And it is because of this community that I continue to come to know him still. Your faithfulness is a witness to me. I am grateful to have been a part of this Newman family for so long, and I am certainly excited for what is to come! As Laura Ingalls Wilder would say, “Home is the nicest word there is.” Thanks for being “home” for me.