Author: Karin Poellinger, Staff Writer/Technical Editor
May 29, 2018

Most people would agree that they can’t imagine attending Mass without music. For Mackenzie Kloempken, she can’t imagine not being part of that music. In fact, Mackenzie has a hard time remembering the last time she attended a regular Mass without playing the role of choir member, cantor, or instrumentalist.

Mackenzie was a music major in college and performed in choirs and musicals throughout high school. However, when Mackenzie was faced with some health issues, things changed, and music took a backseat. After being sidelined from performing, the Pax Christi choir became a safe way for her to re-enter the music world. Mackenzie said that although it was the first time she participated in music ministry, it was a place where she felt very at home. Now, when talking about participating in Mass and connecting with the congregation, she says, “This is where I feel most myself.”

Music is a unique way to connect with the congregation and Mackenzie feels that those involved with music ministry are with each parishioner on their faith journey. She is aware that when people come to Mass that they have their own story, and own reasons for why they are attending that day. Mackenzie wants to share her gift of music to help provide a connection and to also offer encouragement. While she has participated in music ministry at other congregations, Mackenzie is most at home at Pax Christi. She tries to embody the spirit of “All are Welcome!” by making eye contact with parishioners and making them feel comfortable no matter how they decide to participate and practice their faith. For some individuals this can mean singing along and participating, and for others it’s just listening and reflecting.

Mackenzie’s grandparents were Pax Christi parishioners and were the reason that Mackenzie and her family joined the parish. Both her grandparents passed not that long ago, and the Pax Christi worship space is where she feels closest to them. Mackenzie points out that music ministry is not just part of weekend Mass, but also weddings and funerals. Being in music ministry means that you are with people during life’s highs and lows, and Mackenzie takes great pride in being present to support people at these important times.

Another important time for music ministry includes the days leading up to Easter—a special time of engagement between the choir, instrumentalists, and the congregation. Mackenzie notes that for her, Holy Thursday is especially moving. People are brought together through the washing of feet and she enjoys how the music and rituals tie together. This year’s music for Easter Vigil service involved a first at Pax Christi when Mackenzie was selected to be one of the two cantors to lead the Easter Proclamation Exsultet. Mackenzie became the very first female to cantor that part of the Easter Vigil service. She recalls the beauty of the sanctuary as the candlelight illuminated the faces of the congregation and the gratitude that she felt being entrusted to such a technically difficult role. Mackenzie realizes that other people may not have been aware that she was the first woman to cantor that part of the Easter Vigil service, but thinks it is important for those who have an awareness of diversity and equity to see a woman in such a role. To her it further supports the idea that “All are Welcome!”

When talking about demographics, Mackenzie would most like to reach the younger members of the parish. The 11:00am service includes many families who bring their young children, and she hopes the kids see music ministry as something they can be a part of. As a Millennial, she is also there to make it known that her generation can be present and engaged in the community. Taking her involvement further, she is seeking participation in the Worship Council, where she can play an even larger role in helping her generation form connections with the Pax Christi Community.

In her professional life, Mackenzie is taking a big step this year. She will leave her job as a school paraprofessional and is committing herself to pursuing music as a full-time profession. She isn’t sure where that will lead, but she knows it’s her purpose—the place where talent and passion intersect.

Written by Karin Poellinger, Staff Writer and Technical Editor

Pax Christi Catholic Community

12100 Pioneer Trail
Eden Prairie, MN 55347


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