‘Then he opened their minds to understand the Scripture’ LK 24:45
Keir Ward is a beautiful witness to the power of God’s love in one’s life. Be inspired and encouraged by his interview. Patrice Abona gives details about important events coming up at ECRC like the Marriage Retreat. Missionary priest Fr. Steve Mateja explains how faith played a role in his weight loss and shares a special epiphany moment.
Minister of Music, Sacred Heart Church, Detroit
Keir Ward Vocalist, musician, composer, producer and a recording artist who has worked with national and international-acclaimed recording artists including: The Contours, The Vandellas, Marvelettes, The Shirelles, John P. Kee, Salt of the Earth, and Vicki Winans. Keir has written and composed many works including his first mass, The Mass of Praise—1990, and The Mass of St. Leo-Detroit—2000. Currently, Keir is the Music Director for several choirs including: The Motown Legends Gospel Choir, The Black Catholic Ministries Gospel Choir, and The Ward Family Singers, the last group being comprised of his wife and children. He currently teaches choir at St. Clare of Montefalco and Detroit Cristo Rey Catholic Schools, and is the Teaching Artist for Mosaic Youth Theater’s First Stage, Second Stage, and Main Stage Singers. In the summer of 2017, Archbishop of Detroit, Allen Vigneron commissioned a Gospel mass for ecumenical ministry for the Archdiocese of Detroit and Keir rose to the challenge. He is currently the lead musician and musical director for Sacred Heart Catholic Church and can be heard performing and ministering with his family, The Ward Family; comprised of his wife, Charlene and three gifted children: Arym, Timothy, and Coleman. His oldest son, Coleman recently cantored for the Beatification of Blessed Solanus Casey and is currently the Minister of Music at Nativity in Detroit
Armed with a love of gospel music and a natural curiosity, as a tween Keir Ward could be found picking out notes and eventually teaching himself how to play the piano in the sanctuary of Saint Cecilia Parish in Detroit. It wasn’t long before Keir taught songs and directed the choir under the guidance of his mentor Marjorie Gabriel-Burrow. By the age of 16, Keir was deeply immersed in Black Christian worship and he was already influencing Black Catholic Worship in the city. In 1986, in a shocking move—with the urging of Sister Carita Loving, HVM—Keir applied for the Minister of Music position at Epiphany Catholic Church. Upon acceptance, at the age of 16, Keir became the youngest Minister of Music in the Archdiocese of Detroit.
Upon hearing of the inevitable closing of Epiphany, Sr. Carita set out to find a home for her youth ministry and found it at St. Leo in Detroit. She immediately caught the ear of Bishop Thomas Gumbleton to bring Keir on in the Music Department. At 18, Keir transformed the music department at St. Leo and served as the parish’s Minister of Music for 28 years. His first major work, inspired by St. Leo’s faith community, The Mass of Praise, was recorded and sung there in 1990.
Keir Ward is also a recording artist who has worked with nationally and internationally-acclaimed recording artists including: The Contours, The Vandellas, The Shirelles, John P. Kee, Salt of the Earth, and Vicki Winans. In addition to the Mass of Praise, Keir has written and composed many works including the Mass of St. Leo-Detroit (2000). Currently, Keir serves as the Music Director for several choirs including: The Motown Legends Gospel Choir, The Archdiocese of Detroit Black Catholic Ministries Gospel Choir, and The Ward Family Singers, the last group being comprised of his wife and children. He also teaches choir at St. Clare of Montefalco and Detroit Cristo Rey Catholic Schools, and teaches music for Mosaic Youth Theater’s First Stage and Main Stage Choir programs.
In the summer of 2017, Archbishop Allen Vigneron commissioned Keir to write a Gospel Mass for ecumenical ministry in the Archdiocese of Detroit. Keir rose to the challenge, and the Mass of the Sacred Heart was born. Inspired by his love for Detroit and its’ people, he presented this Mass to the Archbishop and it was accepted.
On Sunday, September 6, 2020 Keir became Sacred Heart’s 5th Minister of Music where he will lead the Sacred Heart Choral Ensemble, the Youth Choir, Teen Choir and our Cantors. Keir can often be heard performing and ministering with his family, The Ward Family; comprised of his wife, Charlene and three gifted children: Arym, Timothy, and Coleman.
Keir Coleman Ward on FaceBook
Fr. Steve Mateja
Fr. Steve Mateja is a priest of the Archdiocese of Detroit. He has served at Our Lady of Good Counsel in Plymouth, St. Lawrence in Utica, Divine Grace in Carleton, St. Frances Cabrini in Allen Park and St. Mary Mystical Rose and St. Francis/Maximilian in Armada (northern Macomb County). Father Steve was ordained to the Holy Priesthood in May 2012. Other than His love for Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary, Fr. Steve enjoys Michigan Football and reading.