Feast of Annunciation: Latin Mass and Gregorian Chants by Stanford Graduate Students by Guest Contributor Elizabeth Nisperos

South San Francisco, CA  April 12, 2022 by Elizabeth Nisperos, ESC Contributor

March 25, 2022, is a special date for in Rome, Pope Francis consecrated both Russia and Ukraine to the heart of the Immaculate Conception as stated in the Secrets of Fatima.  Ukraine has been consecrated to Mary since 1037 AD: Pope Pius consecrated Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1942. Pope John Paul consecrated Russia in 1984.

The Eternal Word Television Network(EWTN)  through Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory of Washington DC celebrated at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception on March 25. Locally, St. Veronica’s Church celebrated a special solemn mass of the Annunciation with Fr. Cameron Pollete as celebrant.  The Feast of Annunciation of Mary is when  Archangel Gabriel announced her conception of the child Jesus.  After nine months, it will be December 25, Christmas Day.

Priests entering the altar


Fr. Cameron Pollete, Parochial Vicar started his South San Francisco priestly duties in 2021 to replace the priest who retired. He is a new South San Franciscan resident.

Fr Pollete (French in origin) looks like a teenager “I’ve been told that I Iooked very young.” As a person, he radiates calmness, gentleness, and patience. He ministers the Eucharist slowly with reverence but he can laugh out loud joyfully when you talk to him.

Fr Pollete saying homily


The idea for Latin mass to do something new and fresh came from the Pastor of St. Veronica’s   Fr. Patrick Driscoll.

I grew up attending Latin Masses and know how to pray the rosary in Latin. It is common knowledge among Catholics, the devil is scared and runs away when he hears Latin prayers.

The treat for the Annunciation was the presence of  Stanford graduate students who sang the hymns in Latin.

Stanford is known for  intellectual/academic/sports/business/new technologies. I was surprised that a group of graduate students were interested in Latin, a dead language, and singing Gregorian chants. The Saint Pius Schola members are graduate students of Stanford University who sang William Byrd’s “Mass for Three Voices” and Gregorian Chant. The attendees were given a booklet of the mass both in English and Latin.

Stanford students singing at the mezzanine


The Stanford graduate students rendered a mesmerizing rendition with their voices suitable for the Lenten season. I liked most is the “Sanctus’ where the layers of voices are hypnotic for meditation and calmness. I didn’t have a pen so I was not able to get their names. I asked, “Do you have a website?”  The leader humbly  said, “Oh no, we’re only students.”

Stanford group photo at the virgin statue.

I saw neumes or the notes in the booklet. Gregorian Chants are atonal and are notated with square notes called neumes. Years ago I listened to Dr. Robert Greenberg, composer, and professor “How to Listen to  Understand Great Music” lecture. He said the order of  Catholic Mass with music accompaniment was entangled with the history of Classical Music.

With the ongoing Ukraine-Russia war what kind of classical music European composers will compose? Dr. Greenberg’s lectures include the history of maps and wars related to composers of classical music. We need prayers and music for peace around the world. I pray and light a candle every day for peace.

Priests exiting the altar, Fr Pollete is in the middle

Check out his site to understand the great music lectures:


Dominus Vobiscum. Oremos

God bless you. Let us pray




About Elizabeth Nisperos

Eliz Nisperos’ is a long-time resident of South San Francisco and a lover of the arts and is a regular contributor to Everything South City. A former Commissioner of our Cultural Arts Board, Nisperos’ love of beauty spans from the visual, written word, and song. She is an award-winning Calligraphist, among many other disciplined talents.


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2 years ago

Thank you, Eliz and ESS for posting this important story. After all, SSF once had a very large community of Italian people, most of which were (are) Catholic. And now, thankfully, we have a good number of Hispanics and Filipinos both of which are devout Catholics. The Pope’s consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Conception was especially important as we face the GENOCIDE of thousands in Ukraine! Rest assured that your sharing the Word of God is very much appreciated; especially in this world where the Lord is altogether forgotten, but SO needed! God bless you and your families!