Raven Composer Pens National Eucharistic Congress Theme Song

The theme song chosen for the National Eucharistic Congress in 2024 almost didn’t happen.

Diane Mahoney said she had to put her nose to the grindstone to finish her song on time to enter it into the National Eucharistic Revival competition. She didn’t expect to win.

“The deadline made me finish it,” Mahoney told the Kansas City, Kansas, Leaven newspaper. “I need a deadline to finish some things. But I never expected that I’d win. There is always that glimmer of hope that you can, I guess. It’s like buying a lottery ticket.”

The alumnus of Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, was submitting her song “We Do Believe, O Lord” to the 2024 Eucharistic Congress music competition. You may know by heart previous winners from the competition, including “Gift of Finest Wheat.”

“We do Believe, O Lord,” was selected in the theme song category over 177 other compositions.

“I am extremely humbled by the honor,” Mahoney told The Leaven. The song will be recorded professionally and debuted online, then played throughout the 2024 National Eucharistic Congress. “Music for me is always a prayer,” she said. “And I hope that the song will bring people closer to God and closer to the real meaning of the Eucharist at Mass and beyond.”

“It makes sense that a Raven wrote the theme song to the National Eucharistic Congress,” said Benedictine College President Stephen D. Minnis. “Benedictine College has been at the center of the National Eucharistic Revival.”

The multi-year effort to promote Eucharistic faith is headed by Minnesota Bishop Andrew Cozzens, who is one of seven 21st-century bishops who graduated from Benedictine College.

“Nothing is more important than the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist,” Minnis said. “We are determined to make that message very clear.”

He cited several ways the college is promoting the Real Presence:

  • National Eucharistic Congress. Benedictine is sponsoring the 10th ever National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis, the first in 83 years. A Raven wrote the theme song, and Ravens are helping plan the event.
  • National Symposium. On the Feast of the Annunciation, the college held its 2023 Symposium for Transforming Culture on “Proclaiming the Real Presence,” featuring keynote Elizabeth Lev speaking on art and Eucharistic faith.
  • National Procession. Benedictine College Kansas campus will be a stop on the “Junipero Serra Route” of the National Eucharistic Congress’s National Eucharistic Procession that will travel from San Francisco through the Rocky Mountains, stop at Benedictine College and then go on to St. Louis on the way to Indianapolis.
  • Video and prayer resources. The college is producing a video series about the Eucharist to boost faith in the Real Presence and offers perpetual Eucharistic adoration and prayer aids.

Benedictine College’s music education program launched Mahoney’s adult music career. Mahoney first learned music as a child in Carroll, Iowa, from the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration. She followed her undergraduate degree in Kansas with a master’s in voice from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln.

Fellow alumnus of the Benedictine College music department Father Francis Hund of Olathe, Kansas, told The Leaven Mahoney “is a person of many musical gifts. She has a sense for the liturgy as a prayer from the heart. She is a prayer-filled person.”

Besides, he said, “She has a wonderful voice.”

The judges of the contest entries were from Source and Summit, Oregon Catholic Press, the Society for Catholic Liturgy, the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions, GIA Publications/World Library Publications and the National Association of Pastoral Musicians. A winner had to combine strong poetry, musicality, creativity, good theology and sound doctrine matching the mission of the Eucharistic Revival — but the beauty and appropriateness for liturgical use and expression were paramount.

The competition came down to live performances of the finalists. Mahoney’s song incorporates verses from the Gospel of Mark and Psalm 1.

The song will be released when professionally recordings are completed.

Read the entire Leaven article here.

Read the Catholic Messenger article here.

Images: The Leaven and
The Catholic Messenger.

Benedictine College

Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas. The school is honored to have been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report, the best private college in Kansas by The Wall Street Journal, and one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation by First Things magazine and the Newman Guide. It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging. Benedictine College is dedicated to transforming culture in America through its mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.