Thomas Stehle has been active in full time music ministry for more than forty years. A native of Butler, Pennsylvania, he has served in the Dioceses of Pittsburgh, PA and Peoria, IL and for the last 31 years in the Archdiocese of Washington DC. For eighteen years prior to his appointment at the Cathedral he was Pastoral Associate for Liturgy and Director of Music Ministries at Our Lady of Mercy Church in Potomac, MD where he was deeply involved in the design of the new church building and the installation of a 66 rank French-romantic pipe organ. During his time there the music program expanded to encompass choirs of all ages and styles including a schola cantorum, handbell choir, as well as the active participation of high school instrumentalists.
In January 2008, Tom was appointed by Archbishop Wuerl as the director of music for the Papal Mass of Pope Benedict XVI at Nationals Park in Washington. Under his direction, four choirs comprised of 775 singers and instrumentalists and the Washington Symphonic Brass orchestra provided music for more than three hours. In 2015, Tom was again asked to oversee the musical planning for the papal visit of Pope Francis, including the direction of the Schola Cantorum for the Midday Prayer at the Cathedral and the overall coordination of five choirs and two orchestral ensembles on the grounds of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and the Catholic University of America.
In recognition for the 2008 Mass, Tom received the Papal Benemerenti Award on Easter Sunday at the Cathedral the following year. Duquesne University, his undergraduate alma mater honored him with the 2008 “Mind, Heart and Spirit” award for outstanding service to the Church. In September 2016, he received the Papal Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Medal for his contributions to the liturgies of the 2015 Papal visit.
Tom is active professionally, having served as vice-chair of the board of directors of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians, after serving 10 years as the chair of the Council of Chapters for the same organization. He is also a member of the Conference of Roman Catholic Cathedral Musicians. He taught courses on liturgy for the EPS program of Trinity University in their Washington DC and Northern VA programs and at the Washington Theological Union.
In addition to the Guilbault-Therien pipe organ at Our Lady of Mercy, Tom was instrumental in the design and acquisition of the 22 rank pipe organ for Holy Trinity R.C. Church in Pittsburgh in 1981 as well as overseeing the successful fundraising campaign for the completion of the Great Organ at the Cathedral culminating in the installation of more than two thousand pipes that that fully realized the original plan for the Lively-Fulcher Opus #1, begun in 1994, including the new Positif and the Bombarde divisions as well as a significant portion of the Pedal division.
He is a frequent clinician and speaker on topics of liturgy, church architecture and music and has published articles in professional journals and magazines including Pastoral Liturgy,Ministry and Liturgy,The Liturgical Singer,and Pastoral Music,and the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions.
In addition to his undergraduate work at Duquesne University, Tom also earned two graduate degrees (M.A. 1990 and M.Arch. 1997) from the Catholic University of America where he was the recipient of the Caldwell Organ Scholarship and the Magi Endowment for Liturgical Arts. He also studied choral conducting at Westminster Choir College of Rider University.