The annual Shantigarh Requiem for the Unborn Mass, taking place the evening of Jan. 21 at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels with Archbishop José Gomez presiding, will draw people from all generations, including teenage choristers.

John Bonaduce, composer of the Requiem Mass for the Unborn and music director of Our Lady of Peace Church in North Hills, will conduct a combined choir made up of 80-100 singers from choirs he teaches at Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks as well as his Shantigarh Choir at St. Bernardine of Siena Church in Woodland Hills and also singers from other parishes. 

Music for the Mass, written specifically to affirm the Church’s belief in the sanctity of all human life, has had an impact on its singers, including some of the young men of Notre Dame’s “Chevalier” advanced choir, who spoke to The Tidings last week after rehearsal. 

“When I sing these songs, I really pay attention to the words, and the meaning of the music really hit me,” said Martin Mendiola, sophomore. His favorite song is “Tell this Generation,” which, he explains, “reminds everyone who’s listening to not forget what we’re supposed to do [because] sometimes we forget what’s right or get so caught up in life.” The music’s pro-life message resonates with Mendiola since, “I really think that anyone should have the opportunity to life.”

Fellow sophomore Ryan Snyder observes that the Mass welcomes people “of many opinions” and also “brings people together.” He thinks the music is evocative of “the emotions or feelings of the unborn child who cannot speak and who can be lost so easily [through abortion].”

“It’s the most beautiful music I’ve ever sung, and I’ve been singing church music for a long time,” said Brett Schaffer, a sophomore who sang in his school choir at St. Charles Borromeo School in North Hollywood. “What really struck me was the amount of emotion put into Mr. Bonaduce’s music.

“What the Requiem really does well,” Schaffer continued, “is that it stresses the importance of life no matter how small or how big. It’s saying that life is important, a sacred gift given to you by God. It’s not our right to take that away, because then we’d be playing God.”

Bonaduce told The Tidings that it’s important for his young choristers to attend the Requiem to appreciate that all life, even aborted preborn life, is worthy of commemorating.

“I don’t have to take pro-choice students away from their political base, I just need to nudge them toward the sanctity of life and that’s why they, above all, have to be here,” said Bonaduce. Singing at the Requiem Mass is a required Notre Dame choir activity along with participating in campus Mass choirs and other events.

Bonaduce points out that attendance at the Requiem Mass has grown every year since it first debuted in 1995. It was annually held in different parishes and venues around the archdiocese until the early 2000s, when it moved to the new Cathedral.

“This year, it’s the first time with Archbishop José Gomez as presider, and I’m thrilled he wants to participate,” said Bonaduce.

Among those attending the Requiem Mass will be participants from the Annual Life Issues Conference sponsored by the Right to Life League of Southern California at St. Anthony Croatian Church in Los Angeles the afternoon of Jan. 21. On Jan. 20, 8:30 a.m.-7 p.m., the Respect Life Ministry of St. John Eudes in Chatsworth will hold its third annual Day of Prayer for Life. 

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