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.