In the occasion of the 800th anniversary since the visit of St. Francis of Assisi to the Holy Land, and his meeting with the Sultan al-Malik al-Kamil, and of 50 years since the declaration of San Francisco (CA) and Assisi as Sister Cities, the Custody of the Holy Land, the Archdioceses of San Francisco and the Italian Consulate General in San Francisco, with the cooperation of the local Italian Cultural Institute have presented two pipe organ concerts featuring Mo Cosimo Prontera, Italian internationally famous organist.
The two concerts have been held at the National Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi, in San Francisco, on October 29th, 2019, and at the Holy Cross Parish, in San Jose, on November 2nd, 2019.
San Francisco concert has been hosted by Fr. John De La Riva, OFM Cap, Rector of the National Shrine, who has addressed all distinguished people with his introductory speech; following Fr. De La Riva, Fr. Dr. Quirico Calella, OFM, from the Custody of the Holy Land, has mentioned and emphasized the occasion of the 800th anniversary of St. Francis visit to the Holy Land, which has set the path for many Franciscans to become missionaries in Jesus birth land, along with the 50th anniversary of San Francisco and Assisi relationship as Sister Cities, and the importance of tolerance and reciprocal respect between different cultures and religions, well stated and witnessed by the peaceful meeting between St. Francis and the Sultan al-Malik al-Kamil.
After Fr. Quirico Calella, H.E. Mons. Salvatore Cordileone, Archbishop of Diocese of San Francisco, has addressed the attendance, underlining the importance of cultural events like organ concerts that improve and help people spirituality.
Last speech has been provided by Mr. Lorenzo Ortona, Italian Consul General, who has strongly highlighted the deep Italian heritance of San Francisco, especially of North Beach neighborhood, where the National Shrine is located.
Mrs. Annamaria Di Giorgio, Director of the Italian Cultural Institute, has then given her greetings and presented Mo Prontera bio and the actual concert program.
After that, the magnificent organ of the National Shrine has been masterfully played by Mo Prontera, who executed several pieces, from different authors and historical periods, in order to cover a wide time spread and different cultures.
At the end of the concert, the award ceremony has been held, during which Fr. Quirico has donated several commemorative medals to all the distinguished people attending the concert, along with a very special carved mother pearl tile to H.E. Mons. Cordileone.
The event has been a great success, in terms of attendance, quality of the execution, and commemorative importance.
San Jose concert has repeated the success of San Francisco concert. The attendance has been more with Italian people currently living in San Francisco South Bay Area (Silicon Valley).