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about us

About Benedict XVI Institute

“The only really effective apologia for Christianity comes down to two arguments, namely the saints the Church has produced and the art which has grown in her womb.” -Pope Benedict XVI

The greatest problem we face both inside and outside the Church is:  the loss of the sense of the sacred. In a busy and distracted society, people from all walks of life hunger for deep meaning, for the timeless, for the transcendent. They hunger for the presence of God.

The Benedict XVI Institute for Sacred Music and Divine Worship’s unique mission is to open the door of Beauty to God.

We pursue this mission through two great strategies: providing practical resources for more beautiful and reverent liturgies and energizing a Catholic culture of the arts.

Our core vision: The greatest art, the greatest liturgy the Catholic Church has ever produced is yet to come.

“This is still the commitment that I ask of you today: to help… ministers, cantors, artists, musicians, to cooperate so that the liturgy may be the ‘font and the summit of the vitality of the Church.”
-Pope Francis

1 Peter Yorke Way
San Francisco, California 94109

Maggie Gallagher, Executive Director

maggie1960gallagher@gmail.com

our leadership

staff team

Executive Director

Chant Composer

Executive Assistant

Anthony Bargas

Artistic team

Composer-In-Residence

Poet-In-Residence

Conductor

Music Director of Archbishop Schola

Children's Chant Camp Consultant

Senior Fellow, St. Junipero Serra

Board

Board Member

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Thank you to donor A-1 Self Storage

Maggie Gallagher

Executive Director

Maggie Gallagher’s experience includes successfully founding two nonprofit organizations, The National Organization for Marriage and the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy. She was also a founding editor of two magazines: the online The National Pulse (which grew quickly under her leadership to 450,000 Facebook likes), and the Manhattan Institute’s quarterly journal of urban policy, The City Journal. She was a nationally syndicated columnist for 17 years, an editor and a columnist at National Review, and the author or co-author of four books, most recently Debating Same-Sex Marriage (Oxford University Press, 2012).

Fr. Samuel F. Weber

Chant Composer

In addition to teaching at St. Patrick Seminary, Father Weber has served as the founding director of the Institute of Sacred Music in the Archdiocese of St. Louis and Magister choir of the Cathedral-Basilica of Saint Louis. He has served as a faculty member at Kenrick-Glennon Seminar, Wake Forest Divinity School, and St. Meinrad’s College. He received the Licentiate in Sacred theology with a specialization in sacred liturgy and monastic spirituality from the Pontifical Athenaeum Sant’ Anselmo in Rome. He studied Gregorian Chant with Dom Eugene Cardine as wellas music history and composition at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago.

Frank La Rocca

Composer-In-Residence

Frank La Rocca is Composer-in-Residence at the Benedict Institute. The recent winner of the ORTUS international choral composition competition, he was named a 2018 American Prize winner for his “A Rose In Winter – the life of St. Rita of Cascia”, a major work for chorus, orchestra and soloists commissioned by Alfred Calabrese, Director of Music at St. Rita’s Catholic Community, Dallas.

Trained as an academic modernist during his degree studies at Yale and University of California, Berkeley, La Rocca came to see this approach as a barrier to authentic musical expression, and spent many years in search of a personal creative language. His catalog includes works in all genres, with an emphasis on a cappella sacred choral works. At a recent University of Notre Dame conference, “James MacMillan: The Musical Modes of Mary and the Cross”, La Rocca presented a talk entitled, The Apologetics of Beauty: a Musical Theology of the Incarnation, based upon his choral work O Magnum Mysterium.

A three-part article in Catholic Arts Today chronicles his journey:

Frank La Rocca’s Search for the Sacred (Part I)
Frank La Rocca: The Crucifix and the Crack in the Door (Part 2)
Frank La Rocca Comes Home (Part 3)

More can be learned about Frank La Rocca on his personal website, www.franklarocca.com.

James Matthew Wilson

Poet-In-Residence

James Matthew Wilson is Associate Professor of Religion and Literature in the Department of Humanities and Augustinian Traditions at Villanova University. An award-winning scholar of philosophical-theology and literature, he has authored dozens of essays, articles, and reviews on all manner of subjects secular and divine, and especially on those where we see the two in their intrinsic relation, as truth, goodness, beauty, and being disclose themselves in art and culture, in the political and intellectual life, in our quest for self knowledge and the contemplation of God. His scholarly work especially focuses on the meeting of aesthetic and ontological form, where the craftsmanship of art-work discloses the truth about being.

Wilson is a poet and critic of contemporary poetry, whose work appears regularly in such magazines and journals as First Things, The Hudson Review, Modern Age, The New Criterion, Dappled Things, Measure, The Weekly Standard, Front Porch Republic, The Raintown Review, National Review, and The American Conservative.

He has published eight books, including The Vision of the Soul: Truth, Goodness, and Beauty in the Western Tradition (CUA, 2017); the major critical study, The Fortunes of Poetry in an Age of Unmaking (Wiseblood, 2015); a collection of poems, Some Permanent Things; and a monograph, The Catholic Imagination in Modern American Poetry (both Wiseblood Books, 2014). Wilson is the Poetry Editor of Modern Age magazine, and also serves on the boards of several learned journals and societies. His most recent book is The Hanging God (Angelico, 2018).

Twice, Wilson has been awarded the Lionel Basney Award by the Conference for Christianity and Literature; he has been a runner up for both the Foley Prize for Poetry by America magazine and the Jacques Maritain Essay Prize by Dappled Things magazine. The Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture awarded him the 2017 Hiett Prize in the Humanities, the largest award of its kind.

Wilson was educated at the University of Michigan (B.A.), the University of Massachusetts (M.A.), and the University of Notre Dame (M.F.A., Ph.D.), where he subsequently held a Sorin Research Fellowship. He joined the faculty of Villanova in 2008.

Richard Sparks

Conductor

Richard Sparks is the principal conductor of “The Benedict Sixteen,” the Benedict XVI Institute’s sixteen-voice professional choir. In addition he will lead the East Coast premiere of the Mass of the Americas at the iconic Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C. on November 16.

The Bay Area 2019 season for the Benedict XVI Institute under Richard Sparks’s musical leadership includes an All Soul’s Day Requiem Mass for the Homeless Dead at St. Mary’s Cathedral and St. Nicholas Day prayer service featuring the O Antiphons at St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park.

Richard Sparks distinguished career includes:

  • Founding Seattle Pro Musica in 1973 and in seven seasons conducted over 70 different programs with three ensembles.
  • Principal Conductor of the Pacific Northwest Bach Festival.
  • Director of Choral Activities at Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) and led the Choir of the West from 1983-2001
  • Conducting Seattle Symphony Chorale for four years.
  • Conducting the Seattle Symphony Chorale for nine recordings on the Delos label including a Grammy-nominated recording of Hanson’s Lament of Beowulf.
  • Founder andartistic director of Choral Arts Northwest for 11 years, making three CDs on the Loft/Gothic label.
  • Artistic Director of Pro Coro Canada, a professional chamber choir in Edmonton, Alberta, from 1999-2011.
  • Professor of Music and Chair of the Division of Conducting & Ensembles at the University of North Texas for 10 years. Many of his performances can be found on YouTube, including a Vivaldi Gloria with over two million views, Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers, and the 1725 version of the St. John Passion.
  • Experience with both traditional Gregorian Chant and Anglican Chant

Richard’s latest book, The Conductor’s Toolbox: Transforming Yourself as Musician and Conductor, can be found at GIA Music.

Sparks is one of the few Americans invited to work with the famed Swedish Radio Choir in 2002, 2007, and 2008, including preparing the Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem for a performance with Valery Gergiev and the Rotterdam Philharmonic,which is on DVD with BIS Records. He has also guest conducted the Santa Fe Desert Chorale, Vocal Arts Ensemble of Cincinnati, and the Anchorage Music Festival among many others.

Archbishop Cordileone and the Benedict XVI Institute for Sacred Music and Divine Worship are honored that Richard Sparks brings his distinguished talents to the B16 mission of offering great and elevating works of sacred music, both old and new, in the context in which they were made to be heard: as prayer, not performance.

Preview some of Richard Sparks’ works here:

Rebekah Wu

Music Director of Archbishop Schola

Music Director for the Benedict XVI Institute Teaching Choir and Schola

Mary Ann Carr-Wilson

Children's Chant Camp Consultant

Mary Ann holds a B.M. and an M.M. from San Diego State University. She has appeared as a soloist with the San Diego Chamber Orchestra, the San Diego Symphony, and the San Diego Master Chorale. She spent several years as director of the youth and adult choirs at St. Anne Catholic Church in San Diego. Both choirs use Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony at weekly Sung and Solemn masses in the Extraordinary Form.

Amy Giuliano

Senior Fellow, St. Junipero Serra

VADIS VR was founded by Amy Giuliano, a recent Yale graduate trained in virtual reality technologies at Yale’s Center for Collaborative Arts & Media and credentialed in Art History & Religious Studies at Yale’s Institute of Sacred Music & Divinity School. A dual citizen of the United States and Italy, Amy studied Theology at the Angelicum in Rome for several years where she also worked as an art historical guide. Upon her return to the States, Amy’s work as a university lecturer prompted her to seek ways to provide her U.S.-based students with transformative access to historic, religious & artistic sites abroad. She especially wished to open the Catholic Church’s rich artistic patrimony to students who may otherwise never explore it. Ever since Amy began creating these virtual tours and using them in her own classroom, she has dedicated her time to building a virtual tour inventory covering sites in Rome, Jerusalem, and beyond. This inventory includes sites from the following periods: Early Christian, Byzantine, Carolingian, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, and Modern. It is available to educational and religious groups for didactic and catechetical purposes. VADIS VR also creates tours on commission; see the Cathedral Basilica in Newark, NJ, as a recent example. VADIS VR was awarded the TSAI Center for Innovation Prize with funding at Yale in 2018.

Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone

Board Member

Salvatore Joseph Cordileone was born in San Diego in 1956. His roots run deep in San Diego. He attended Crawford High School, San Diego State University, the University of San Diego, and St. Francis Seminary in San Diego. He was ordained a priest of San Diego July 9, 1982. He was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of San Diego on July 5, 2002. He earned his Doctorate in Canon Law from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. In 1995, he was called to Rome and served seven years as assistant at the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the Church’s highest canonical court.

On March 23, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Bishop Cordileone as the fourth Bishop of Oakland. Three years later, on July 27, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI appointed him the Archbishop of San Francisco.

Bishop Michael Barber

Board Member

On May 3, 2013, Pope Francis appointed Barber as bishop of the Diocese of Oakland. He was consecrated and installed on May 25, 2013. Barber, who is a Jesuit, was the first American bishop appointed by Pope Francis, who is the first Jesuit pope.

Besides English, he speaks Italian, French, Samoan, liturgical Spanish and Latin.

Mark Brumley

Board Member

Mark Brumley is a California-based writer and CEO of Ignatius Press in San Francisco, one of the biggest U.S. Catholic publishers and multimedia distributors.  He was also an apologist with Catholic Answers and was director of Communications and of the Office for Social Ministries of the Diocese of San Diego. He is the author of several books, including The Seven Deadly Sins of Apologetics, and executive producer of several religious documentaries. He worked with the late Cardinal Avery Dulles, S.J., to publish an updated edition of his History of Apologetics.

He holds a Masters degree in theology from the University of Dallas, is a Trustee of the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology in Berkeley, and lives with his wife and some of his children in Napa, California.

Christoph Tietze

Board Member

Christoph Tietze is a Fellow and Professor of Sacred Music at the Graduate Theological Foundation in Mishawaka, WI. Dr. Tietze began his organ studies at age 10 in his native Germany.  He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in music from San Jose State University, Master of Music and Master of Musical Arts degrees from Yale University’s Institute of Sacred Music, and the Doctor of Sacred Music from the Graduate Theological Foundation, completing his coursework at St. Benet’s Hall, Oxford University, and Sarum College in Salisbury, England. Dr. Tietze has held music director positions at cathedrals on the East and West coast for 23 years and is currently Music Director/Organist at St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco, California. He has lectured throughout the United States and Europe on Gregorian chant, the introits, children’s choirs, improvisation, and the music of Karg-Elert, and his books on the introits are published by Liturgy Training Publications and World Library Publications.

Richard Vigilante

Board Member

Richard Vigilante began his career as a writer and editor for National Review. He is the founding editor of the City Journal, a quarterly magazine of urban culture and policy launched by the Manhattan Institute. He moved on to become a successful book editor at Regnery Publishing, helping transform an economically defunct publishing venture into a commercially successful book publisher.  He moved on into financial communications, editing a tech newsletter for George Gilder, then rising to become communications director and partner in Whitebox, a Minneapolis hedge fund. He is a founding board member of the Chesterton Academy and the Chesterton Schools Network, and the Chairman of the Board of Teach for Christ, a new organization which recruits college graduates to volunteer a year of their life helping Catholic Schools.

Fr. Brandon Macadaeg

Board Member

Fr. Brandon Macadaeg is a native of the East Bay. He was ordained to the priesthood in 2013 for the Diocese of Oakland. Currently, he is the Parochial Administrator of St. Lawrence O’Toole-St. Cyril of Jerusalem Parish and St. Paschal Baylon Parish, both in Oakland. Previously, he served at Holy Spirit Parish in Fremont, holding variety of positions, initially as Parochial Vicar, then as Interim Principal of the school, and lastly as Interim Parochial Administrator. In addition to his pastoral duties, he is the Spiritual Director of the Confraternity of Eucharistic Devotion, Diocese of Oakland.

Fr. Macadaeg holds a Bachelor of Sacred Theology (STB) from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. He also attended the School of Philosophy of the Catholic University of America as a Basselin Scholar, obtaining both a Bachelor of Philosophy (Ph.B) and a Licentiate of Philosophy (Ph.L), submitting a thesis entitled, Natural Law and Natural Rights in the Philosophy of Jacques Maritain. Fr. Macadaeg’s academic interests include Political Philosophy, Sacramental Theology and Liturgy. Fr. Macadaeg joined the faculty of St. Patrick Seminary in 2018 and teaches Homiletics I in the Pastoral Studies Department.

Deacon Frank Reilly

Board Member

Deacon Frank Reilly is the President and Chief Operating Officer of Reilly Financial Advisors. He oversees day-to-day operations, strategic alliances, joint ventures and compliance, as well as developing new services. Dn. Reilly is co-chair of the firm’s Investment Committee and represents Reilly Financial Advisors internationally. He has conducted business and negotiated contracts in Switzerland, England, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and the Czech Republic. He has traveled for business to Europe, Africa, the Middle East, India and the Far East. Prior to co-founding Reilly Financial Advisors, Dn. Reilly worked in multiple roles at LPL Financial. He holds a BS and a Master’s Degree in International Business from the United States International University and has earned the FINRA Series 4, 7, 24, 63 and 65 licenses. He serves as a deacon at St. Kieran Parish in El Cajon, CA.

Bishop Robert F. Vasa

Board Member

The Most Reverend Robert F. Vasa, Bishop of Santa Rosa, California

  • Undergraduate Studies –  Saint Thomas Seminary College, Denver, Colorado B.A. 1972
  • Theological Studies – Holy Trinity Seminary (University of Dallas) M. Div.  1976
  • Ordained a Priest for the Diocese of Lincoln in Nebraska – May 22, 1976
  • Post Graduate Studies in Canon Law (JCL) – Gregorian University in Rome – 1979-1981
  • Appointed Chancellor of the Diocese of Lincoln 1981- 1985
  • Appointed as Judge of the Diocese of Lincoln Tribunal 1981-1985
  • Appointed Judicial Vicar of the Diocese of Lincoln 1985—1990
  • Pastor Saint Peter’s Parish in Lincoln – May 21, 1990
  • Named Prelate of Honor – November 28, 1995
  • Appointed Vicar General of the Diocese of Lincoln 1996-1999
  • Named Bishop of the Diocese of Baker – November 19, 1999
  • Ordained Bishop for the Diocese of Baker – January 26, 2000
  • Named Episcopal Moderator for the Catholic Medical Association – November 2000
  • Participated in The Report of the CMA Taskforce on Child Sexual Abuse: To Protect and To Prevent (2006) (Available at www.Cathmed.Org)
  • Participated in the filming and production of Healthy Families Safe Children: The Power of Relationships (2007)
  • Presently serves as President of the Institute for Religious Life
  • Appointed as Bishop of the Diocese of Santa Rosa on June 30, 2011

Moira Conzelman

Board Member

Moira was born in Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong and attended Maryknoll Convent School (MCS) Primary and Secondary schools until her family immigrated to San Francisco in 1966.  She graduated from Palo Alto High School in 1966 and in 1968 received an A. A. from San Jose City College. Pacific Telephone hired her in 1968 and between Pacific Telephone and AT&T she worked for 32 years and retired in 2000.  While working full time, she received a B. A. in Business Administration from St. Mary’s College in Moraga, CA.

She has been a Patron of the Metropolitan Opera, Carnegie Hall, San Francisco Symphony and Opera, and numerous museums and charitable organizations in New York and San Francisco for over 30 years and is a supporter of the Archbishop’s Circle and a member of the Benedict XVI Institute, and the Truth, Beauty and Goodness Initiative.

She is currently active in the Maryknoll Alumnae Association of Northern CA and served as Co-President for 3 years, and is currently the MCS Alumnae Representative for our Maryknoll Worldwide Network. (“At our last Gala Fundraiser,” reports Moira, “we rented Ellis Island for an evening.  The event sold out quickly and we raised a million dollars for the Sisters’ Overseas Missions.”)

With her late husband Bruce Conzelman, Moira founded Harmonique Wine in 2002 and purchased what is now Conzelman Vineyards in 2007, which grows premium Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes for sale to other wineries and to Harmonique for her wines.

In addition to going to the Opera and Symphony, farming, and making wine, Moira also enjoys fly fishing, boating, and traveling.  In her early twenties, she says, “I could be found at the Fremont Dragstrip racing my stock 55 and 56 Chevys and one Chevy Nomad.”

She is currently a parishioner at Star of the Sea in Sausalito.