David Robert Haas (born 1957 in Bridgeport, Michigan), is an American author and composer of contemporary Catholic liturgical music.
Haas studied vocal music performance and conducting at Central Michigan University, and has a degree in theology and music from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.
In addition to serving in parish liturgical ministry in Michigan, Iowa, and Minnesota over the years, he also served as composer-in-residence at the St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity in St. Paul, Minnesota; and was also campus minister and artist-in-residence at Benilde-St. Margaret's in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, where he taught in the music and theology departments. In 1999, Haas began the program MUSIC MINISTRY ALIVE!, a five-day liturgical program for youth and adult leaders that takes place on the campus of St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota.
He has produced over forty-five original collections and recordings of liturgical music. He is also the author of over 20 books on the topics of liturgy, music ministry, spirituality, and religious education. His music is sung throughout the world and appears in hymnals of various Christian denominations, including Roman Catholic and Methodist, and has been translated into Spanish and French. Years ago, Haas was a leading voice in the liturgical and musical aspects of the implementation of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA), active as a team member for the North American Forum on the Catechumenate, and as a composer creating ritual music for the RCIA rites.
Haas is also known for his early collaborations with Michael Joncas and Marty Haugen, and for many years the three of them were an important influence on liturgical music in the English-speaking world. They traveled together throughout the United States and beyond for many years, presenting concerts and workshops. Haas presently continues traveling as a speaker, workshop leader, and concert performer alone, and often with his friend and colleague, Lori True. He formerly wrote a monthly column for Ministry and Liturgy magazine entitled, "Sung Prayer".
As of 2017, he worked at the preparatory school Benilde-St. Margaret's in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, where he was campus minister and artist-in-residence, and taught at its departments of music and theology. From 2011 to 2018, Haas also worked at Cretin-Derham Hall High School in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he provided liturgical music for Mass, and occasionally used the school campus to host Taize prayer events.
Haas lives in Eagan, Minnesota, where he is the director of the Emmaus Center for Music, Prayer and Ministry, and is active as a cantor at St. Cecilia's Parish in St. Paul.
Allegations of sexual misconduct
On May 29, 2020, advocacy group Into Account sent a letter to Catholic organizations, accusing Haas of sexual misconduct with "nearly a dozen" victims. This was subsequently reported by the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests and Catholic News Agency. The letter also denied any knowledge of any criminal charges against Haas. Following publication of the letter, Into Account said that an additional 14 women approached them with allegations of sexual misconduct by Haas. Initially, Haas denied the allegations and denounced them as "false, reckless and offensive". Then, on July 9, 2020, Haas issued an apology on his website saying "I have come to realize that I have caused great harm to a variety of people. I make no excuses for any harm that I may have caused. I take responsibility for my behavior and I am truly sorry."
- On June 13, 2020, GIA Publications announced that it had terminated its relationship with Haas and was removing Haas's works from their publications.
- On June 15, 2020, Oregon Catholic Press announced that it was also removing Haas' songs from their website.
- On June 23, 2020, Mennonite Church USA announced it would be removing Haas' music from the upcoming edition of the Voices Together hymnal and replacing it with other songs.
- On June 16, 2020 The Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis confirmed that it had also received similar reports, and Haas had requested a letter of recommendation which the archdiocese refused.
- On June 30, 2020, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles stated that it has opened an investigation into these allegations, and that it "is also reviewing GIA Publications’ announcement that it is suspending its relationship with Mr. Haas as his sponsor and publisher". Haas was also prohibited from performing in the Archdiocese.
- On July 9, 2020, The Crosier Fathers, who had previously awarded Haas their Outstanding Service in Ministry Award in 2004, also issued a statement expressing their empathy and condemning abusive behaviour.
- On July 20, 2020, the Diocese of Jefferson City announced that it had banned the use of Haas' music.
Haas married fellow composer Jeanne Cotter in October 1988, after the relationship started when Cotter was 16 and Haas 23. Haas and Cotter divorced in March 1995. Haas later remarried.
Awards and recognition
- 1995: Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of St. Thomas (together with Michael Joncas and Marty Haugen) — later rescinded in July 2020
- 2003: Outstanding Professional Book Award from the Catholic Press Association
- 2004: Pastoral Musician of the Year from the National Association of Pastoral Musicians — later rescinded in July 2020
- 2004: Outstanding Service in Ministry Award from the Crosier Fathers
- 2014: Emmaus Award for Excellence in Catechesis from the National Catholic Education Association
- 2015: Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Portland