Honoring Kathryn and Jeffrey Wiegand

Kathryn and Jeffrey WiegandThe Center at Mariandale will honor Kathryn and Jeffrey Wiegand at the Hope Harvest Festival at Mariandale on Sunday, October 15, 2023.

Kathy and Jeff met through the Harvard-Radcliffe Christian Fellowship in college, where he captained the national championship varsity squash team and she played piano for the Radcliffe Choral Society. They married in 1979 and moved to New York City; Jeff attended Cardozo Law School, practiced law for several years, and transitioned into the stock market in the heady 1980s. Kathy studied ethnomusicology at Columbia University, where she led music for the Catholic campus ministry under the visionary leadership of chaplain Paul Dinter.

As the Wiegand family circle expanded, they relocated to New Rochelle, raising six children and settling into Holy Family Church. Kathy continued to serve in various musical capacities, such as running a vibrant children’s choir (including participation from the entire clan—who remembers Jeff’s liturgical harmonica?) when Msgr. John Mescall was pastor at Holy Family. Other musical projects included Songcatchers, Sound Shore Chorale, New Rochelle Opera, the annual musicals at Albert Leonard Middle School, NYSSMA accompaniments for New Rochelle High School students, and music for campus ministries at the College of New Rochelle and later at Iona College where the Office of Mission & Ministry was shepherded, as Kathy opines, with wisdom by Carl Procario-Foley.

Jeff and Kathy joined in a number of marvelous community efforts in and around New Rochelle. They supported the Elinor Martin Residence, housing unwed mothers in the former Holy Family convent (Jeff was on the board while Kathy had a regular baby-sitting gig) and had leadership roles in Men’s and Women’s Cornerstone, an adult retreat program at the parish. Jeff was a founding member of City Squash, a youth enrichment program in the Bronx with an amazing track record channeling young athletes into college. The Wiegands were able to introduce their youngsters to international development work through Amistad, an orphanage in Bolivia, and through World Vision, where family donations focus on providing microloans to entrepreneurs across the globe. Recently Kathy and Jeff traveled to Kenya, with their son Dan and his girlfriend Anne Baldwin, to visit the Kibera Girls Soccer Academy where Anne had taught. KGSA provides an education and safe housing to young women in the largest informal settlement in Africa.

As their younger generation was launching away from New Rochelle, (Wiegand offspring now live in Santa Monica, Denver, Philadelphia, Connecticut, Boston and Portland, Maine) Kathy felt increasingly drawn to prayer and quietness. Through Connie Koch OP she was introduced to the Mariandale Center, where she began spiritual direction with Gaynell Cronin and participated in the yearlong Contemplative Formation program. When Jeff retired from Robotti & Company in January of 2020 Kathy and Jeff emptied their New Rochelle home and moved to their quirky Adirondack camp full-time. And then COVID hit. (What timing!!) Since then they both have come to appreciate Mariandale’s virtual reach and broad palette of spiritual offerings. As our churches struggle to open up and adapt to the needs of our world, Kathy and Jeff believe that the Center at Mariandale is truly a beacon of hope and a model of welcome and nurture.

A number of Kathy’s contemplative songs were inspired by or dedicated to friends from Mariandale.  Visit kathywiegandmusic.com or stream “Kathryn Donovan Wiegand” to access music from her three CDs. To view Jeff’s gallery of oil paintings visit jpwiegand.org.

As the Church celebrates sixty years since Vatican II, Mariandale is blessed Kathy and Jeff who embody what the Council envisioned as models of “full, conscious, and active” participation in the Church and world.  As gifted musicians, Cornerstone retreat leaders, Mariandale program participants, advisors, and donors,  and parish council members –  the Wiegands have, for well over four decades, demonstrated engaged, educated, passionate and pastoral church leadership.  In the public realm they have been integrally involved in contributing to programs of the Elinor Martin Residence, World Vision, and City Squash, to name a few, that offer dignity to marginalized and vulnerable.  Mariandale celebrates Kathy and Jeff Wiegand for being the beacons of hope that they are.

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