Society of St. John the Apostle
St. John's Oratory
Offering the Only Fully Traditional Pre-Vatican II
St. John's oratory is the only location in the Bay Area that has preserved the real, valid, Traditional Latin Mass (1950) and Roman Catholic rites before they were changed into a Half New Order (Novus Ordo) service in 1962, when Vatican Council II began, and into an invalid Full New Order service in 1969. A couple of new "Latin Masses" have popped up recently, but these are associated with Half Novus Ordo Vatican II service of 1962+ or the Full Novus Ordo service of 1969. They are most assuredly NOT the Traditional Latin Mass, even though they may be falsely advertised as such.
St. John's Oratory did not come only recently to this Apostolate, but has offered, with experience, knowledge, and commitment, the Traditional Latin Mass and Divine Office every Sunday and Holyday since 1992. St. John's Oratory is also known as a center for promoting the traditional Latin Gregorian chant of the traditional Roman rite. Gregorian chant is sung every Sunday and Holyday by the St. John Gregorian Schola of San Francisco.
For general information about the times and nature of the Society's services, click on Services at the Oratory. All services are offered only on site. This is not a wedding chapel. We do not conduct extra-congregational weddings or funerals.
For the Society's current schedule of fully Traditional Latin Masses and other traditional services, click on Current Mass Schedule Bulletin.
For general information about traditional Roman Catholicism, click Traditional Roman Catholicism.
If you wish to receive our weekly E-mail bulletin containing information on Oratory schedules and activities, please send your name, mailing address, and E-mail address to the Society. If you have any questions, you may send them to the Society as well.
Relying upon your continuing generosity, we do not send out numerous fund-raising communications throughout the year, but only one at Advent/Christmas and one at Holy Week/Easter. We ask you, therefore, before secular Christmas preparations intrude upon your spiritual Advent preparation, to consider sending a tax-deductible donation to support the Oratory's work as the only site in the San Francisco Bay Area making available the fully-traditional (1950) Roman-rite Latin Mass, Sacraments, and Sacred Chant. See the "Donations to the Society" section below. Contributors become Benefactors of the Oratory and share in the fruits of all the Divine Offices and Holy Masses that we offer here.
In the darkness preceding the dawn of Christmas Day, at 11:00 p.m. Christmas Eve, December 24, the traditional Matins of the Divine Office for the Nativity of Our Lord, consisting of ancient antiphons, hymns, psalms, and the commentary of Pope St. Gregory the Great on the census proclamation of the Roman emperor that brought the Holy Family to Bethlehem, the commentary of St. Ambrose on the significance of the shepherds, and the commentary of St. Augustine on the Incarnation of the Word will be chanted by our St. John Schola.
The Matins will be followed by the procession to the creche and the High Mass of Christmas at Midnight, which will be chanted by our St. John Schola. The fully traditional Latin Matins and Midnight High Mass are available only at this location in the Bay Area. Therefore, you are encouraged to arrive before the time that Matins begin. There will be no other Mass at the Oratory on Christmas day. For further information, click on Current Mass Schedule Bulletin.
An additional altar server is needed to serve the Traditional Catholic Latin Mass. No experience or knowledge of Latin is necessary. We will teach you what you need to know. If you would like to serve at the altar or have any questions, you may address the Society.
Additional men are invited to add their voices to the St. John Schola Cantorum (small choir) to sing Gregorian plainchant in an authentic setting. No previous knowledge of the chant or musical notation is required; most of our participants have had little or no music background. We can teach you all that you need to know by ear if you have just a basic ability to sing. No auditions. You do not have to be Catholic. We are a small, friendly group, no pressure, just enjoyment, but we are led by a highly-experienced praecentor (leader).
For sixteen years our group has been chanting in the intimate setting of St. John's Oratory at the historic Fishermen's & Seamen's Memorial Chapel at Fishermen's Wharf in San Francisco. We practice 9:00-9:30 a.m. Sundays and then chant the traditional Catholic Hour of Terce 9:30-10:00 a.m and chant monthly for the only fully traditional Missae Cantatae (Sung Masses) in the Bay Area.
We are currently producing live recordings of our chant for the ChantCD label. You will receive a free copy for family and friends of any CD in which you participate. We make no pretense to being anything but amateurs (lovers of the chant) and to demonstrating merely what is achievable over time by an amateur small chant choir.
For further information about the St. John Schola for Gregorian Chant, click on St. John Schola for Gregorian Chant. If you have any questions, you may address them to the Society.
Our traditional Catholic schola answers the peal of the call to prayer from the bell-tower to chant the Hour of Terce, followed by the chanting of the Angelus to the traditional eighteen strikes of the bells. Then follows the Asperges, or lustral sprinkling of the congregation with Holy Water, which takes place before the principal Mass on Sundays. After the Asperges, the Sung Mass begins.
The Hour of Terce of the Divine Office is the third Hour of the day, the one traditionally appointed to be chanted immediately before Holy Mass. The majority of this recording covers the Mass for the Feast of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ. This feast, assigned to July 1, celebrates the redemptive power of the Blood of Christ shed upon the Cross for mankind. The Ordinary chants here are taken entirely from Mass VIII De Angelis of the Kyriale, supplemented by three traditional motets: one Gregorian, one by the sublime polyphonist Palestrina, and one by St. Thomas Aquinas. The ancient French melody Christus Vincit constitutes the recessional. The recording is 57 minutes long. The beauty of the devotional images on the cover artwork of these CDs, designed by a leading traditional Catholic graphic artist, is stunning and makes owning the CDs a treasure for the cover images alone.
Our St. John Schola is recording this CD series entitled A Traditional Chapel Sings Gregorian Chant. For descriptive and ordering information on our CD series and to hear excerpts of our Gregorian chant, click on St. John Schola for Gregorian Chant.
If you wish to support the work of the Society, click on the box above to make a donation easily, securely, and confidentially by bank account or credit card through PayPal (note in the PayPal message field: "Donation to SSJA"). By doing so, you will be part of the habitual intentions of Benefactors specially commemorated at Traditional Latin Masses. Using PayPal reduces our administrative burden considerably, but if you need to use a paper check, E-mail the Society for a mailing address.
Since July 8, 2001, the Society's ninth anniversary, you are site visitor number:
From August 23, 1992, through September 30, 2016, the Oratory of St. John has experienced Traditional Latin Mass visits totaling:28,737
Copyright © 1991-2016. Publication of any material from this site without explicit written permission is strictly prohibited. The Society of St. John the Apostle operates independently of any diocese or other religious society. The information and materials contained in this web site are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind, either express or implied, including without limitation any warranty of accuracy, adequacy, or completeness of the information and materials, title, non-infringement, merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose and freedom from computer viruses.