Stranger in a strange land

San Francisco – It is a city of fog and a city of food, and a strange place for a midwesterner to find himself.

My wife and I made the move about four months ago, and while the city has much to offer, we still feel somewhat out of joint here.

One gem we have found, however, is a parish called St. Dominic’s. It is, of course, run by Dominicans, and where there are Dominicans, beautiful music can usually be found. This is true of the parish, which has an 11:30 am Solemn Mass, with Gregorian propers and sacred polyphony. The church is gothic in design and includes flying buttresses added in the 80s for ‘seismic retrofitting.’ I laud the architect who decided to keep such retrofitting in the spirit of the building.

The parish seems to have a diverse set of liturgies. There is a 5:30 pm mass that is labeled as “contemporary.” My wife and I have not had the courage to attend said liturgy. They also have a Taize style candlelight mass at 9:00 pm. In having spent some time around the Catholic blogosphere, I’m amazed that the contemporary and solemn mass communities can coexist in the same parish!

And while it has been an adjustment to be in a new city, my wife and I have found much hope from this place, and much comfort from Christ’s presence there. On our first weekend at St. Dominic’s, the mass setting was Palestrina’s Missa Aeterna Christi Munera, which just happened to be the mass setting we chose for our nuptial mass. In a new place, in a strange city, we felt God’s comforting embrace.

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3 Comments on “Stranger in a strange land”

  1. Argent Says:

    I’m glad that you’re settling in. Have you learned your way around in a car yet?

  2. John Kasaian Says:

    Have you been to either St.s Peter and Paul or the Shrine of St. Francis yet?
    SF is an interesting place. Do try to make the West Coast Walk for Life in January—-you’ll see spiritual warefare close up, San Francisco style!

  3. Kevin Tsang Says:

    Welcome to the Bay Area! As a former parishioner of St Dominic’s I’ve been to the “contemporary” Mass which features the usual guitar and drum set concert, and as for the candellight Mass it’s much more solemn music is sung by a single cantor. If I had to chose I’d rather attend the 9 pm Mass. But I wonder if 9 pm is a kosher time for a Sunday Mass. Since I’ve moved to the Eastbay I’ve been celebrating the Tridentine Mass at St Margaret Mary in Oakland. I think both of you would really enjoy celebrating in the Extraordinary Form. For me it’s been a prosperous and glorious three and a half years since I’ve discovered such a magnificent aspect of our heritage. If you’re ever in the neighbourhood, the Sunday Tridentine Mass is celebrated at 12:30 PM, and St Margaret Mary’s address is 1219 Excelsior Avenue Oakland, CA 94610.

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