Catholic San Francisco


(Courtesy photo)

St. Cecilia pastor Msgr. Michael Harriman is pictured with the parish choir last Easter Sunday. Behind and to his right is Russell Ferreira, music director.

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St. Cecilia Parish 100 years old
December 5th, 2016
By Tom Burke

St. Cecilia Parish, San Francisco has been striking the bell for its 100th anniversary since an opening centennial year Mass Aug. 28. The celebration schedule has been full, and continues through June 4 when a time capsule with mementos of recent and longer years will be buried in front of the church for opening at a later date.

Msgr. Michael Harriman has been pastor of St. Cecilia’s for 22 years and said in a letter to the parish that he “had never experienced a liturgy” like the opening Mass Aug. 28 calling it “a wonderful moment in the history of our parish.” He spoke, too, in the letter about the day’s assembly growing to “standing room only” how “the music of our combined choirs was extraordinary” and how “our assembly sang like I have never heard them sing before.” Flowers in the church were beautiful, he said, noting students from the parish school were “involved in all aspects” of the Mass. A reception welcomed parishioners old and new where he saw “friends and families visit and reconnect.”

Just drawing a few items from the upcoming centennial schedule, parishioners and others can look forward to events including the Official 100 Year Anniversary Mass and Gala Jan. 7; an alumni Mass Jan. 29, plus docent tours and service projects on various dates.

Music, too, is a centerpiece of the centennial.

Russell Ferreira has been music director at St. Cecilia since 1987. “Music is an essential part of parish life at St. Cecilia’s,” Ferreira told Catholic San Francisco. Accompanists and song leaders at liturgies include, with Ferreira, Frances Peterson, Beatrice Martin, Cecilia Cardenas, Valerie Nicolson, Cliff Shaw and Steve Tocchini, and the Celebration Singers. Holy Names Sister Margaret Kenzie directs a children’s choir.

“God has given us the gift of music,” Ferreira said. “It is our great joy and duty to share this gift.”

The music element of the centennial is well under way and has already featured a choral festival Oct 23 with a 65 voice ensemble from St. Cecilia’s, St. Mary’s Cathedral, St. Teresa Parish, San Francisco, and St. Thomas More Parish, San Francisco. A “musical feast” Nov. 20 featured soloists and choirs from St. Cecilia’s as well as music faculty from the parish school.

“As ministers of music, we are workers in the field,” Ferreira said, “like so many that came before us and so many that will follow.”

Visit the parish website:

St. Cecilia celebrations
A seasonal program of “Lessons and Carols for Advent” with the adult choir takes place Dec. 18, 4 p.m.; Feb. 26 an organ recital is at 4 p.m.; an evening of Irish music is featured March 19, 4 p.m.; and an evening of chamber music will be presented April 23, 4 p.m.

From December 8, 2016 issue of Catholic San Francisco.


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