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

July, 2021

Hello everyone!

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve written to you.  Now that we are back to weekly Masses in the church, there’s less of a need to sustain parish life purely through digital means.  It’s been so nice to see all of you back in the church!  Because we are now shifting into a new phase of pandemic-era worship, The Cecilian will take on a new form as well.  You can expect a monthly update with all the same features of the weekly newsletter that started last year.  If you no longer wish to receive The Cecilian in your email every month, just send me an email at  You will still be able to see the most recent newsletter, in addition to other parish news and announcements, at our website:

Many of you have been anxious to resume singing as a choir.  At the moment, we’re planning on bringing back the choirs at both St. Stephen and Christ The King this fall.  This could change based on the state of the pandemic and diocesan guidelines, but as things evolve, it’s looking more and more likely that we will have the clearance to sing as a choir again in a few months.  Exciting news!  If you’re nervous about singing again after so many months without rehearsals or singing in Mass, now is the time to start singing more around the house (practice singing along with the YouTube links to the Musical Meditations every week!).

On another note, we recently said adios to our Spanish Mass at Christ The King.  Because of the recent lifting of coronavirus restrictions, a lot of the Spanish-speaking congregation that had found a temporary home at Christ The King have now returned to their home parishes around the Bay Area.  Many, many thanks go to Fr. Paulson for opening the door to the Spanish-speaking community, and to Socorro Magdaleno for making each liturgy so beautiful.  I am sad to see this wonderful Mass go, but I am glad to see our community return “home” once more.  If you are looking for a Spanish Mass, I have compiled a spreadsheet of all the parishes that offer Masses in Spanish in the Diocese of Oakland.

Prayers of the Faithful

It’s been a while since this list has been updated, and we need your help to make sure everyone that needs our prayers is mentioned.  If you have any specific prayer requests, or if you see something that looks out of date, please email me and they will be included in the next newsletter.

Let's hold the following people in prayer this week:

*  Fr. Paulson, Fr. Lee, Fr. Timoney, Fr. Gerry Moran, 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

*  All the priests and deacons who are beginning assignments at new parishes this month, including the two newly ordained priests in the Diocese of Oakland

*  Healing prayers for Carl Nagel, Vona Lorenzana's sister-in-law, Enrico Banson, Sr., Tony Romano, Helen Vierra, and Jeff Maurer

*  For the repose of the souls of Peggy Sylvester and Gerry Hinckley.  Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon them.

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, pray for us!

St. Stephen, our parish patron and patron saint of deacons, pray for us!

St. Benedict, patron saint of kidney disease, pray for us!

St. Junipero Serra, patron saint of California, pray for us!

St. Ignatius of Loyola, patron saint of soldiers, pray for us!

St. Mary Magdalene, patron saint of converts and women, pray for us!

St. Kateri Tekakwitha, patron saint of the environment, pray for us!

St. Maria Goretti, patron saint of young women and purity, pray for us!

This Month’s Readings and Musical Meditations

15th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME - July 10-11, 2021

For the full text of the readings, click here.

Prelude/Musical Meditation: “A Rightful Place” (Steve Angrisano)

16th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME - July 17-18, 2021

For the full text of the readings, click here.

Prelude/Musical Meditation: “You Alone” (Sarah Hart/Dwight Liles)

17th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME - July 24-25, 2021

For the full text of the readings, click here.

Prelude/Musical Meditation: “Bread of Heaven” (Sarah Hart/Jesse Manibusan)

18th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME - July 31 - August 1, 2021

For the full text of the readings, click here.

Prelude/Musical Meditation: “I Am The Bread of Life” (Steve Angrisano/Tom Booth)

Musical Meditations

Now that we’re switching to a monthly newsletter, I wanted to try something a little different with the Musical Meditations.  Below each weekend’s readings, you’ll see a YouTube link to the Prelude song for each week.  During the height of the pandemic drive-up Masses, I found that the Prelude song was a way for the congregation to mentally prepare for the Mass.  It’s something I would like to continue in the future, especially as we await the beginning of the choral season.  Sometimes there’s a song that we use as a Prelude that ends up a major part of our liturgical repertoire!

This month, we have four beautiful Prelude songs that focus our attention on the liturgy.  While one is very familiar to our congregation, the rest are likely new.  I hope that you’ll reflect on these songs during the week in preparation for the weekend liturgies and discover something new about the rest of the readings and music for the Mass.  Enjoy!

Maria’s Kitchen Corner

Looking for a cold dessert to keep you cool during the expected heat wave this weekend?  These Lemon Meringue Bars with Poppy Seed Crust will help!  Those who know me know that I am obsessed with lemons and anything lemon flavored, and summer time has me craving lemons like no other.  Consider these bars the summer pick-me-up to beat the heat.

Lemon Meringue Bars with Poppy Seed Crust

Makes 9-12 bars


For the Crust:

*  2 cups all-purpose flour

*  6 tablespoons granulated sugar

*  2 tablespoons cornstarch

*  1 teaspoon lemon zest

*  ¾ teaspoon kosher salt

*  1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), melted and cooled, plus more for greasing the pan

For the Lemon Filling:

*  1 ¾ cups granulated sugar

*  4 teaspoons lemon zest

*  2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

*  ½ teaspoon kosher salt

*  5 large eggs

*  4 egg yolks (reserve the whites for the meringue)

*  1 cup fresh lemon juice from about 6 lemons

For the Meringue:

*  4 egg whites

*  1 teaspoon cornstarch

*  ½ cup granulated sugar

*  1 teaspoon vanilla extract

*  Pinch kosher salt


*  To make the crust: Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Line the bottom and sides of a 9”x13” baking dish with foil, taking care to cover the corners as well.  Lightly butter the foil.

*  Whisk the flour, sugar, poppy seeds, cornstarch, lemon zest, and salt together.  Add the butter and mix until well combined.  Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan.  Bake until deep golden brown, about 25 minutes.

*  Just before the crust is finished baking, prepare the filling: Combine sugar and lemon zest in a large bowl.  Rub zest into sugar with your fingertips until well combined and fragrant.  Add flour and salt.  Whisk in eggs and egg yolks, followed by the lemon juice.

*  When the crust is finished baking, turn the oven down to 300 degrees.  Pour the filling over the hot crust and return the pan to the oven.  Bake until filling is set, but just slightly wiggly in the center, about 23 to 25 more minutes.  While the bars are baking, prepare the meringue.

*  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the egg whites and cornstarch.  Whip on medium-high speed until the mixture is foamy.  With the mixer running, slowly add the sugar, about 1 tablespoon at a time, and whip until soft peaks form.  Add the vanilla and salt and briefly mix to combine.

*  When filling is set, remove pan from the oven and switch the oven to broil.  Carefully spoon and spread the meringue over the hot bars, then set it under the broiler until the meringue is deep golden brown, 1 to 3 minutes, depending on the heat of the broiler.  Keep a close eye on the meringue during this process.  It can go from perfectly golden to scorched in mere moments.  Cool completely before slicing and serving.

Wine Pairing: Pacific Star Winery Viognier

Speaking of beating the heat, my other secret weapon for cooling off during a heat wave comes in a glass.  Any white wine or rosé that likes being served super super cold is a must during the dog days of summer.

The great thing about sharing my love of wine with all of you is knowing how many of you appreciate a great wine as well!  I’ve come to realize that my taste in white wine is similar to Chris Lang (our intrepid office manager and all-around superhero at St. Stephen), and my taste in red wine lines up with that of Walter Lang (sacristan, volunteer extraordinaire, and fellow polyglot).  When Chris and Walter celebrated their anniversary at Pacific Star, they were kind enough to bring me back two wonderful bottles: a Charbono (which I will be opening up the next time we make Chateaubriand steaks), and this delightful Viognier.

Viognier grapes have some inherent honey notes on the palate that can make savory dishes taste bitter.  This one is no different - the ripe tropical fruits on the nose and palate are delicate enough to get overwhelmed by a meal dominated by garlic and savory herbs.  I highly recommend pouring out this wine with your favorite fruit and cheese plates, or just enjoying it without food over good conversation.  You can tell that this one was a winner because this is the only picture I was able to capture - the bottle was gone so fast I wasn’t able to take a properly staged photo!

That’s all from me for now.  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)