Radio Show

Music for Holy Week With Catholic Composer and Singer-Songwriter Francesca LaRosa

Father Dave welcomes back Catholic composer and singer-songwriter Francesca LaRosa to help prepare our hearts for Holy Week with a live music performance.

Francesca began composing music to accompany the lyrics of psalms at Mass when she was 15 years old and finished writing her last one earlier this year. “It has been such a beautiful journey,” Francesca says. “I think a lot of parishes are moving to word-for-word psalms to stick with the whole psalm of the day.” 

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She details her songwriting process with her mom for Psalm 22, which was proclaimed on Palm Sunday. “Psalm 22 is one of the most well-known psalms of lament written by David,” Francesca says. “A lot of my psalms I love to be in major keys and more uplifting, but for Psalm 22 [my mom] said, ‘I want dark, I want to hear low bass notes.’ Even though it’s written by David, we really always think about Jesus on the cross with this song so she said, ‘Try to set the tone for the passion reading with this song.’”

After performing Psalm 22 live, she discusses co-writing music with Grammy-nominated composer and performer Sarah Hart. The duo’s songs “May the Angels Lead You Home” and “Song of Farewell” were recently published by Oregon Catholic Press, a popular music resource for parishes around the world. “Sarah invited me to come to her house to write with her, but unfortunately my grandpa had just passed away,” Francesca says. “I wrote with her in between my grandpa’s passing and his funeral, and I was with her on All Souls Day, actually. We said, ‘What if we wrote about this, what if we wrote about [my] grandpa and all those who have gone before us?’”

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“It was just such an honor and a dream to write with Sarah; she’s so talented. I hope that this song can comfort those who mourn,” Francesca continues. “It’s hard to write about those things that we struggle with, but we just asked the Holy Spirit to sing through us and that we always be a vessel for the Lord. That song really helped me get through that hard time, but it’s been beautiful to hear how it has helped other people.”

Francesca also recently released her setting of the St. Patrick breastplate prayer. Father Dave notes, “Essentially his point is that God protects us, like wearing armor. God is all around us; he’s in front of us and on our side.” Before performing, Francesca says, “I just found those last 15 lines to be so moving…I hope that this setting can help people memorize the prayer, but I feel like it’s not just for St. Patrick’s Day. It’s a prayer that can be used all year round, and it brings me a lot of comfort.”

You can find more of Francesca’s music on her YouTube page and check out her upcoming events here.