SALT LAKE CITY — In June, Arlie Llenares retired after 25 years as the administrator for liturgy and music at the Cathedral of the Madeleine. Now the search for the right person to fill the position has come to an end. Fr. Martin Diaz, the cathedral rector, has selected Jeremy Castellano from all the applicants.
“The qualities that made Jeremy the best choice were his knowledge of the liturgy and his experience at two previous parishes; namely, St. Francis Xavier and St. Joseph the Worker,” Fr. Diaz said.
In addition to his work at the two local parishes, Castellano holds a Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies from the Catholic Theological Union, which he received in 2017. He also spent 20 years working at Channel 4 and KSL.
When he left television journalism, he wanted to take a job where he was helping people and making a contribution, he said. At St. Francis Xavier Parish, he helped run the office and assisted the pastor with the sacraments. At about that same time he began the diocese’s Lay Ecclesial Minister formation program. He was certified as an LEM in 2014, the same year that he started working at St. Joseph the Worker Parish. There he undertook pastoral work and learned a bit of how to run a parish, including the financial aspect, he said.
Last year, Castellano began the diocesan deaconate formation program; he expects to be ordained in 2020.
In his new position as the cathedral’s liturgy and music administrator, Castellano will work closely with the cathedral’s director of liturgy and music as well as the cathedral organist, Fr. Diaz said.
Until September, Castellano is being trained by Llenares, and “I am trying to soak everything up,” he said, adding that he is “just seeing if there’s anything that I can add to help everything go smoothly … but I am really excited just to be able to focus on the liturgy.”
The Cathedral of the Madeleine serves a wide community. People of many different cultures and backgrounds visit it to worship, observe cultural celebrations, attend concerts, or just to learn more about the history of the place.
“The cathedral serves its own parish community along with the many visitors who come for worship weekly,” Fr. Diaz said. “The cathedral serves the needs of the bishop and the larger diocese. Jeremy will be working in each of these areas to ensure that each person who comes to the cathedral has the opportunity for a faith-filled encounter with God.”
Castellano shares Fr. Diaz’s view of his job.
“Everything that we do should be done out of love, and I just want and hope to love what I do,” he said. “If we are in a relationship that we love what we do and we work together, we can accomplish anything. You have to love what you are doing and be happy – that’s the key. And just be nice to people and work together and always listen; there is always common ground no matter what. It’s just really important to never forget that,” he said.
On Aug. 1 Castellano celebrated his 25th wedding anniversary at the cathedral – the same place that he was married. He and his wife have two children at Juan Diego Catholic High School.