by Cori Hilsgen
If you are looking for something to break up the boredom of staying inside during the cold month of January, the Social Justice Concerns Committee at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Sartell is hosting “A Night of Hope for Place of Hope” Concert at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 26 to benefit Place of Hope Ministries in St. Cloud.
Fr. Kevin Anderson and Nathan Mathews will perform at the concert, which will feature Anderson’s latest recording, HOPE. He uses spiritual insights from 30 years of priesthood to form a tranquil sound that has been described as “Enya meets John Denver meets God.”
Anderson said the event is for all ages and faith backgrounds and is a night based on hope to offer hope. It’s meant to be an evening of song and reflection and a mini-retreat night.
Mathews said the two plan to perform works Anderson wrote and/or assisted with. The two have worked together on Anderson’s compact disc recordings and have performed at many retreats/reflections concerts and benefit concerts.
Mathews may also play a few piano songs he wrote for a recording he created in 2001 called Inroad.
Anderson, a singer and songwriter, is a pastor at Christ Our Light Catholic Church, which serves Princeton and Zimmerman. Before that, he was pastor at the Newman Center serving the campus of St. Cloud State University, taught religion at Cathedral High School and was a campus minister for the College of St. Benedict. He also served as associate pastor at St. Mary’s Cathedral St. Cloud and St. Mary’s Parish in Little Falls.
Anderson grew up in Elk River where many of his family still resides. He majored in music at St. John’s University in Collegeville and has graduate theology degrees from Loyola University in Chicago and St. John’s School of Theology.
For the past 36 years, Anderson has studied voice with Dr. Shirley Ann Holzer of St. Cloud.
Mathews is the city manager for Bemidji. He grew up in St. Cloud, attended St. Augustine’s school and graduated from Cathedral High School. He met Anderson while he was attending John XXIII Middle School, and the two have been creating music together for 30 years.
Mathews said he has played liturgical music all of his life. He graduated from St. John’s University in Collegeville with a degree in English and a minor in piano performance. During college, he was involved in campus music ministry at the College of St. Benedict.
Mathews studied Suzuki piano with Terri Dulugosch of St. Augustine’s Parish as a child and studied classical piano with Dr. Paul Wirth at the Central Minnesota School of Music in middle school and high school. He also studied classical piano with Dr. William Ibes of SJU. After graduation from the university, he worked at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wis. as director of liturgical music for four years.
Mathews earned a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and previously worked as the city administrator for the outstate Minnesota areas of Staples and Winnebago.
He currently accompanies liturgies at St. Phillip’s Catholic Church in Bemidji.
Mathews and his wife, Elizabeth, who have been married for 17 years, have three children.
Anderson has performed many concerts in the St. Cloud area. Those have included benefit concerts for the Anna Marie Shelter and Cathedral High School. He was a featured singer during Cathedral’s Rock Around the Clock fundraisers for the arts.
Anderson also played the role of Jesus in the St. Cloud Theatre Group production of Jesus Christ Superstar, appeared on numerous recordings sponsored through Together Encounter Christ, and won first place in the National Association of Teachers of Singing in 1991.
Anderson, a singer and songwriter, teamed up with Mathews in the early 1990s when Mathews was a student of his at Cathedral High School.
Anderson said he wrote the music, but Mathews brought it to life with his piano music.
Place of Hope Ministries in St. Cloud focuses on restoring and bringing hope to people who are struggling. Its ministry services include hospitality, meals, sheltering homeless residents, Sober Support, Hope for Veterans, teaching life skills, children’s outreach, jail and prison outreach, developing orphanages in Africa and much more.
The mission of the St. Francis Xavier Social Justice Concerns Committee is to “foster education, prayer and action around various social justice concerns of the day and to reach out to the parish in various ways to build the reign of God in our midst.”
Molly Weyrens from Central Minnesota Catholic Worker said the group holds discussions about various topics, sponsors those who are homeless for a week each year and seeks to keep Catholic social teaching alive in the parish. Housing and hunger are the group’s current issues.
There is a nominal fee per person or a family group rate for the event.
Author: Cori Hilsgen
Hilsgen is a contributing reporter for the Newsleaders. The central Minnesota native is a wife, mother and grandmother. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Management and Communication from Concordia University – St. Paul, MN and enjoys learning about and sharing other people’s stories through the pages of the Newsleaders.