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Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption

1111 Gough St

San Francisco, CA 94109

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Requiem Mass for the homeless who have died on the streets of San Francisco

About this event

This November 6th at 10 a.m. at San Francisco's iconic Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption, we gather together to pray for and with the homeless of San Francisco: We pay our respects to, and pray for the souls of, all our brothers and sisters who died on the streets this past year, in San Francisco and beyond: high and low, rich and poor, we gather to bow our heads in sorrow for the equal dignity of every human soul.

Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone commissioned this solemn new Requiem Mass for the Homeless in the high sacred music tradition from Benedict XVI Institute's composer-in-residence Frank La Rocca. Richard Sparks conducts the premier Benedict Sixteen Choir and instrumentalists.

Frank la Rocca explains: "This Mass includes an unusual and intense 7-minute post-Communion meditation that communicates the depth and intensity of the suffering of the homeless: from astonishment at people's indifference, anger at their circumstances, and a kind of inner pleading for dignity and compassion. It represents, musically, the voice of those who suffer on our streets." The text of this post-Communion meditation is in Latin, taken from Lamentations 1:12:

"O all you who pass by on the street.

look and see if there be any misery like unto the misery

that has befallen me".

A new painting "The Patron Saints of the Homeless" by San Francisco native Bernadette Carstensen, Benedict XVI's painter-in-residence, will be set up as a temporary shrine in the Cathedral of St. Mary to encourage devotion on behalf of the homeless.

Together, they will create the solemn beauty that reminds us of the equal dignity of every human soul before the God who loves each one of us.

Join us for a morning of respect, equal dignity, and spiritual healing that will help each of us to see the face of Jesus Christ in all of us, but especially those in greatest need.

Because of Covid limitations, we are asking all attendees to register for Requiem Mass. As we write, a cap of 1000 will attend in the Cathedral, the overflow will be accommodated on the cathedral plaza. Seating is not guaranteed.

Because this is prayer, not performance, Requiem Mass tickets are free; We request a $100 donation from those who can afford to do so. Ten percent of all donations will go to Catholic Charities, St. Anthony's Dining Room, and other Catholic ministries that help the homeless and those in need.

Afterward, the Archbishop will lead a procession to St. Anthony's Dining Hall, chanting the Litany to the Patron Saints of the Homeless, newly commissioned from Benedict XVI Institute's poet-in-residence James Matthew Wilson. St. Anthony's Foundation invites you to break bread with them and their guests in the Tenderloin.

And later that afternoon at St. Patrick Seminary in Menlo Park register for The After Conference, a chance to hear from the composer Frank La Rocca, Stanford music professor William P. Mahrt, and experience Tantum Ergos by three living Catholic composers. Registration required.

Program: November 6, 2021. San Francisco

10 a.m. Requiem Mass for the Homeless

Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone, celebrant. Frank La Rocca, composer. Richard Sparks conducts the Benedict Sixteen Choir and Orchestra. Together we pay respects to all who die on the streets and to the equal dignity of every human being

11:15 a.m. Litany for the Patron Saints of the Homeless and Procession to St. Anthony's Dining Hall.

Archbishop Cordileone lights a candle before the new Shrine to the Patron Saints of the Homeless; He leads us in procession from the Cathedral to St. Anthony's Dining Hall in the Tenderloin, chanting the new Litany to the Patron Saints of the Homeless (composed by Benedict XVI Institute's poet-in-residence James Matthew Wilson.)

12:00 p.m. Break bread together, hospitality by St. Anthony's Foundation and Dining Hall

4 p.m. The After-Conference at St. Patrick's Seminary in Menlo Park. (Registration required). Talkback with composer Frank La Rocca, Archbishop Cordileone, Stanford Prof. William P. Mahrt, Tantum Ergo festival by three living Catholic composers, PLUS After Hours talk on scoring the film "Mass of the Ages" by composer Mark Nowakowski.

About Richard Sparks and the Benedict Sixteen Choir

Richard Sparks is the principal conductor of “The Benedict Sixteen,” the Benedict XVI Institute’s sixteen-voice premiere choir. Sparks was recently inducted into the Royal Swedish Academy of Music.

His distinguished musical career includes:

Founder Seattle Pro Musica; Principal Conductor of the Pacific Northwest Bach Festival. Director of Choral Activities at Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) and led the Choir of the West from 1983-2001; Conducting Seattle Symphony Chorale for four years. Conducting the Seattle Symphony Chorale for nine recordings on the Delos label including a Grammy-nominated recording of Hanson’s Lament of Beowulf. Founder and artistic director of Choral Arts Northwest for 11 years, making three CDs on the Loft/Gothic label. Professor of Music and Chair of the Division of Conducting & Ensembles at the University of North Texas for 10 years. Many of his performances can be found on YouTube, including a Vivaldi Gloria with over two million views, Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers, and the 1725 version of the St. John Passion.

The biographies of the distinguished singers of the Benedict Sixteen Choir, San Francisco's finest, can be found here.

About Frank La Rocca

Frank La Rocca is Composer-in-Residence at the Benedict XVI Institute for Sacred Music and Divine Liturgy.

His previous work for the Benedict XVI Institute, "The Mass of the Americas," has been hailed as "Perhaps the most significant Catholic composition of our lifetimes." (Michael Olbash), and " a cornerstone of modern liturgical composition." (Mark Nowakowski). He is also the recent winner of the ORTUS international choral composition competition and was awarded a 2018 American Prize for his "A Rose In Winter – the life of St. Rita of Cascia", a major work for chorus, orchestra, and soloists.

La Rocca has received grants, commissions, and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, California Arts Council, the Foundation for Sacred Arts, Young Women's Chorus of San Francisco, Diocese of Oakland, California State University, ASCAP Foundation, USC Thornton Chamber Singers, Vanguard Voices, London Festival of Contemporary Church Music, Cois Cladaigh,, and many others. His work, Diffusa Est Gratia was toured by the renowned London Oratory School Schola Cantorum in Fall 2017 in Boston, New York, and Washington, D.C.

His CD In This Place (Enharmonic Records) reached the top ten in classical CD sales on Amazon and was a 2013 "Critic's Choice" at American Record Guide. His website is

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Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption

1111 Gough St

San Francisco, CA 94109

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