Staying connected through Music & Song

St. Stephen’s Chamber Choir

The flagship choir at St. Stephen’s Parish is the Chamber Choir, which provides music for the 9:30 AM Mass on Sundays.  The Chamber Choir frequently sings two, three, and four-part music that ranges in style from traditional hymnody to large choral anthems to new music by today’s foremost Catholic composers.  The ability to read music is not a requirement, but some basics will be learned.  Rehearsals are held every Thursday night at 7 PM in the church.

(Note that rehearsals are currently on hold due to the Covid-19 shutdown.)

Chamber Choir Membership Requirements
- Must demonstrate a desire to serve God through music

Singers of all voice parts are welcome! If you’re interested in joining the St. Stephen’s Music Ministry, please contact Maria Calderazzo.

St. Stephen’s Cantor Ministry

Cantors are considered strong and spirit-filled vocal leaders who command full, active, and conscious participation in the liturgy through song.  Cantor responsibilities include proclaiming the Responsorial psalm and other responses and acclamations as needed, announcing hymn numbers at various parts of the Mass, and occasionally leading hymns solo when the choir is not present.  A good cantor will have the technical ability to learn and execute liturgical music independently as well as the religious understanding and the servant’s heart required to encourage hearty participation.  Cantor auditions are held in May each year, and anyone who has been consistently singing with the Chamber Choir for at least four months may request an audition.

Cantor Requirements
- Must demonstrate a desire to serve God through music
- Must be a current and active member of the Chamber Choir for at least four months
- Must have a basic understanding of music theory and the ability to sight-sing
- Must be able to prepare music individually at home outside of weekly rehearsals and Masses

St. Stephen Music Mission Statement
To build a music ministry that:
- Prayerfully proclaims the word of God and the message of the Catholic Church,
- Possesses the technical musical skills to more beautifully sing our praises,
- Celebrates the diverse ethnic cultures of our Catholic community in an authentic, thoughtful way.

The Cecilian - Newsletter by Maria

May 4, 2021

Hello everyone!


May the fourth be with you all… (and with your spirit)! It felt really nice to be back indoors for all Masses this past weekend.  Seeing the churches filled with people was a welcome sight after over a year without regular indoor Masses.  I know that most of you are fully vaccinated by now, so I want to thank you all for continuing to do your part in wearing masks, maintaining proper social distance, and following all the protocols when you’re at the church.  By the time you read this, I will be receiving my second dose of the Pfizer vaccine.  I’m feeling very thankful and optimistic for the future.  We are one step closer to reconvening as a choir once again, and I am counting down the days until our first rehearsal together in the church.


Around The Parish

*  Tomorrow, May 5, we will be celebrating the first joint social event at CTK/St. Stephen in over a year - a Cinco de Mayo party on the lawn at Christ The King with food, drink, and mariachi!  Admission is $20 for adults and $15 for children.

*  For more announcements and parish updates, go to our parish website.


Prayers of the Faithful

If you have any specific prayer requests, please email me and they will be included in the next newsletter.


In addition to everyone fighting the coronavirus - patients, their families, first responders, and anyone considered an essential employee - let's hold the following people in prayer this week:

*  Carl, Viola, and Kevin Nagel

*  Fr. Paulson, Fr. Lee, Fr. Timoney, and all the priests in the Diocese of Oakland

*  Our fellow St. Stephen's parishioners and our family in faith at our sister parish, Christ The King

*  Healing prayers for Vona Lorenzana's sister-in-law (terminal lung cancer)

*  Healing prayers for Alison Derby (almost total hearing loss in right ear)

*  Healing prayers for Robert Anuskiewicz (terminal lung disease, awaiting transplant)

*  Healing prayers for Vona Lorenzana

*  Healing prayers for Enrico Banson, Sr.

*  Healing prayers for Tony Romano

*  Healing prayers for Helen Vierra (recovering from COVID-19, pneumonia)

*  Healing prayers for Jeff Maurer (kidney transplant recipient) and Jennie McLaurin (kidney donor)

*  Healing prayers for Peggy Sylvester (recent surgery)

*  Healing prayers for Robin Gigoux (knee replacement)

*  For the continued health of Meagan Milani and her two unborn twin girls (Meagan’s Cesaerean section will be on Thursday)


St. Stephen, pray for us!

St. James and St. Phillip, patron saints of Uruguay, pray for us!


This Weekend’s Readings and Musical Meditations



For the full text of the readings, click here.

Para leer las lecturas en español, haz click aquí.


First Reading: Acts of the Apostles 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48

Peter entered the house of Cornelius and proclaimed the good news to his household.  They listened and believed, so Peter had them baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.


Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 98

"The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving pow’r, his saving pow’r."


Second Reading: 1 John 4:7-10

John wrote, “Let us love one another, because love is of God.” The person without love knows nothing of God because God is love.


Gospel: John 15:9-17

Jesus told his disciples, “This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.” There is no greater love than this: “to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”


Musical Meditation: “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling / Sólo Excelso, Amor Divino” (HYFRYDOL)


Over the next few weeks, you can expect to hear quite a bit of hymnody at St. Stephen.  There are so many beautiful hymns that capture the jubilation of the Easter season as well as the specific joys of the many attributes of Jesus (if you didn’t catch Fr. Paulson’s homily on the titles of Jesus last weekend, it’s worth seeking out one of the previously live streamed Masses).  This weekend, Jesus tells the disciples to “remain in my love”, just as He remains in the love of God.  The Gospel reading gives so much power to the word “love”, making it an active verb that has the ability to make the impossible possible.  At the end of the Gospel, we hear the Golden Rule - “love one another”.  With all the weight given to the word “love”, hearing those three simple words takes on a whole new context.  Love is not merely a noun, or even a verb, but a choice.  The choice to love someone is not one taken lightly, but it is the only thing that God expects of us in our earthly lifetimes.


Bearing that sentiment in mind, let’s take a look at the text for “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling”:


Love divine, all loves excelling,

Joy of heav’n, to earth come down!

Fix in us your humble dwelling;

All your faithful mercies crown.

Jesus, source of all compassion,

Love unbounded, love all pure;

Visit us with your salvation,

Let your love in us endure.


Here we see the active, powerful qualities of love emphasized.  The relationship between God and all those who love him is referenced a few times in vertical terms; love comes down from heaven and fills the hearts of God’s faithful.  Words like “love unbounded” make it clear that the love of God is as endless as God himself.  More than that, the love described is the love that only God can provide, and it’s right there in the first line.  This week, as you pray through this hymn before and during our Masses, I invite you to find how the love of God is compelling you to love others.


Maria’s Kitchen Corner

I wish I had more desserts in my recipe arsenal, but alas, baking is not my specialty.  Back to the regularly scheduled savory food.


Homemade tortilla chips are wonderfully easy to make, especially when the tortillas are high quality.  I’ve been a big fan of Siete Foods since their legendary grain free tortilla chips started waltzing their way into Whole Foods about five years ago.  Since that time, the Latino family-owned company has grown exponentially to offer tortillas, taco shells, taco seasoning packets, hot sauces, slow cooker sauces, and salsas that are both healthy and extremely flavorful.  I always keep some of their chickpea tortillas in the fridge so that I can whip up a bowl of tortilla chips when I have a lot of leftover cooking fat in my cast-iron skillet.  Very much a win-win situation.  Pair this with your favorite salsa or guacamole and enjoy!


Homemade Tortilla Chips

Makes about 5 dozen chips



*  1 package Siete Foods chickpea tortillas

*  2 tablespoons cooking fat (Irish butter and leftover bacon fat are my faves)

*  Maldon sea salt



*  Put the cooking fat in a heavy, flat-bottomed skillet and turn the heat to medium-high.

*  Cut the tortillas into eighths.  Once the cooking fat is melted, gently assemble one layer of the cut tortillas in the skillet.  Flip with tongs when the bottom is lightly browned and crispy.  When each side is done, set each tortilla chip on a paper-towel lined plate.  Repeat this process until all the cut tortillas have been cooked.

*  Serve with your favorite salsa or homemade guacamole.


Drink Pairing: Jerica’s Fruity Freeze

When the weather hits 90 degrees in early May, it’s way too hot for anything other than the most refreshing cold beverages.  This is a thirst quencher in a glass - perfect for a balmy summer evening on the patio!



*  1 shot limoncello

*  1 cup frozen fruit (we used peach and mango)

*  1 teaspoon simple syrup

*  Juice from ½ lemon



*  Combine all ingredients in a blender.  Serve in fun glasses and enjoy!


That’s all from me this week.  Take care, and I’ll see you soon!


God bless,



“I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being.” (Psalm 104:33)