On February 11, 2023 the Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland hosted the world premiere of Frank LaRocca’s Messe des Malades: Honoring Our Lady of Lourdes. The premiere took place during the joint World Day of the Sick Mass, hosted by the Western Association's Oakland and San Francisco Locations. The celebrant was the Most Reverend Michael Barber, S.J., Bishop of Oakland, and the homily was given by the Most Reverend Salvatore Cordileone, Archbishop of San Francisco.

Mr. LaRocca is the award-winning sacred music composer of the Mass of the Americas, and the requiem Mass of the Homeless. The Messes des Malades is a very special Mass honoring Our Lady of Lourdes and featured the Benedict XVI Institute Choir conducted by Richard Sparks.

"Messe des Malades honors those who suffer indignity with their illnesses and yet, through the intercession of Our Lady of Lourdes, still maintain their faith in God’s providence. It also honors the charitable work of the Knights and Dames of the Order of Malta, particularly in the Bay Area". - Frank LaRocca

Because of the extraordinary nature of this event, the Mass was broadcast live on EWTN. In case you missed it, you can watch the entire stream HERE.

The Oakland and San Francisco Locations of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta combined forces to assist Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone and Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ in concelebrating the Mass for those seeking God’s grace and mercy. The poignant and ancient sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick was offered to all those in attendance.

In addition to the Order of Malta, the Mass brought together the Knights and Dames of the Order of the Holy Sepulcher, the Knights of Columbus, the Dominican Friars Province of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, the Dominican Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist, and many more who have given their lives to God via the consecrated life. They all processed together in union with the poor and the sick to worship God and ask for healing love for our broken world. The Cathedral was filled to capacity.

Afterwards, Oakland's Bishop Michael Barber reflected on the Mass saying,

"I saw a lot of people with spiritual joy today. Some of the sick wept as they were anointed. It was an unforgettable day in the Liturgical Life of the Diocese of Oakland."

Archbishop Cordileone gave a powerful homily to all those in attendance and to all those around the world watching on EWTN. If you would like to read the full transcript of his homily, click HERE.

Defense of the faith and obeisance to the poor and the sick: the former is contained in, but not confined to, the latter. Yes, it is necessary to defend the faith by speaking and teaching the truth, but also to defend it through goodness and beauty. Goodness and beauty are the means by which the truth of Christ becomes visible. It harnesses the power of the truth to heal and cast light in the midst of darkness and suffering...It is the experience of suffering that creates within us the capacity for creating something beautiful for God, with each of us making our own journey from darkness to light, from sickness to health. - Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone

All photos courtesy of Amelia Plumb Photography. https://www.ameliaplumb.com