Countercultural San Francisco parish attracts growing congregation

The priests at Star of the Sea distribute Communion at the Communion rail. In Lent, Illo began an experimental period of celebrating Mass “ad orientem,” meaning the priest faces the high altar and crucifix during the parts of the Mass where the priest and people address God. While extraordinary form Latin Mass was instituted earlier, there are now two Masses on Sunday and one daily celebrated using the 1962 Roman Missal, known commonly as the Tridentine rite, in addition to English Masses.

Beautiful to hear. The people of San Francisco need God more than ever.

Experimental? Actually the GIRM assumes the priest will be offering Mass Ad Orientem and directs them when to turn around. It’s been the others experimenting this whole time.

The surprising part of the story is where this church is at.

If the parish was centralized in Branson, MO, or Philadelphia, MS or Coudersport PA, it would be a lot less astounding to see a conservative order of business.


Good for that parish, and for their priest!

Countercultural :thumbsup:

Star of the Sea IS countercultural here in San Francisco. I think that since the furor over the removal of all women and girls from the altar in 2015, at the same time that sexually explicit materials were given to young children in the parish school, after which the pastor was removed from his responsibilities at the school, it caused a bit of a fuss city-wide. While all this was going on, there were some major things happening in the Archdiocese around school contracts and inhumane treatment of people sleeping near the Cathedral. It put them in the news quite a bit and there were angry protests happening at both places.

The Star of the Sea pastor was brought in just before then by the Archbishop to be, in essence, the conservative Latin Mass parish in the city.

What’s interesting, two years later, is that there seems to be growing population of people now attending the parish, most of whom are conservative and ethnic. This is not the case for the population of the school, but it is for the parish. I wonder how things will shift and change over the next year or so.

But yes, very counterculture in this very liberal city.

I’m tempted to think the fuss in the city was about how the pastor was removed merely for distributing important educational materials to children. :wink:

My understanding is that the sexually inappropriate materials were given - in error - to school children as young as 8. Parents protested and the Archbishop relieved the pastor and the assistant of their duties at the school. Parents at this time also learned that the pastor was involved in a civil case involving an 11 year old girl in another location in California. Best for all that he not work with the school children.

Brave and steadfast men. Shouldn’t be surprised. It just goes to show that if you remain true to the teachings of Jesus and His Church He will give you the strength to withstand the attack on His Church and on the family in general.

Completely false. The Roman Missal makes no such assumption, in fact it states:

  1. The altar should be built apart from the wall, in such a way that it is possible to walk around it easily and that Mass can be celebrated at it facing the people, which is desirable wherever possible. The altar should, moreover, be so placed as to be truly the center toward which the attention of the whole congregation of the faithful naturally turns.[116] The altar is usually fixed and is dedicated.

The experimentation with the priest facing the people actually happened in the 1940s at Sant’ Anselmo abbey as part of the liturgical movement. Moreover the priest facing the people was already common before that in cathedrals and monasteries, and in the Vatican, where the orientation of the church, or the placement of the altar between the choir and the nave, called for it.

The current Roman Missal allows for both orientations and the rubrics for the EP do not explicitly state which is to be used. It’s not “experimentation”. Both are licit options and the one that conforms to the layout of the church or chapel is the one that should be used.

No. What you contend is not what the GIRM is actually saying at all. It provides direction to the Presider for whichever orientation he finds himself in.

In Europe, we have many churches and chapels that could not accommodate the changes and I have many times prayed the Eucharistic Prayer not facing the people. The Presider limits the time in which he is not facing the people and, of course, the great blessing is that is the renewed and reformed liturgy nevertheless being celebrated which affords full, conscious and active participation of those in the entire liturgical assembly.

All that being said, the Popes have well modeled how the reformed and renewed liturgy we are blessed to have in the aftermath of the last ecumenical council is to be normally said…facing the congregation, with the participation of concelebrants with various ministers, ordained and lay, fulfilling their ministries.

In fact, when the Cardinal Prefect of the CDWDS made a comment concerning the orientation of the altar, the Holy Father immediately clarified that this personal preference the Cardinal was in no sense an indication of any change to be made, presently or pending.

We thank God for the inestimable gift of Pope Francis.

You have reminded me that the aspiration was for this parish to become a house of the Congregation for the Oratory. This also collapsed in the midst of their various other woes and thus the petition had to be withdrawn.

Yes. I know about that too. It has been a story of great drama, to say the least.

It shows the importance of Pope Benedict’s XVI Summorum Pontificum. As a Cardinal he predicted how the Catholic Church would get smaller so maybe he had that on his mind in releasing the Traditional Latin Mass from suppression. The rebirth of this parish might be one of the things he thought SP would accomplish!

Actually, looking at a few years of the Annuario, the Catholic population of the Archdiocese of San Francisco has been growing – the Church there is not getting smaller at all. This is true both in terms of absolute numbers and also as a percentage of the total population.

And the statistics reported to the Holy See makes it very clear that the growth of the population has nothing whatsoever to do with a parish which makes provision for liturgy celebrated using the vetus ordo.

Who’da thunk it? Lol. But we shouldn’t be surprised because Jesus told us this would be the case right? The ‘spirit’ of Vatican II was more inclined to mingle with the culture but from the beginning of the Catholic Church when Christ founded it it was assumed to be counter culture.

I’m glad I looked into this. I was going to joke that I was surprised that anyone in San Francisco was concerned about sexual materials handed out to pre-teens (or that any such could be “inappropriate”) as a bit of irony - but the story is even more ironic than that. The parents were protesting flyers that warned students about engaging in impure acts. No wonder everyone got upset. If it was a Planned Parenthood booklet handed out in school, encouraging teens to use contraception - well, ok - that’s different. I’ll just say that the double standard coming from progressive San Francisco gave me a laugh. Obviously, it wasn’t the “inappropriateness” of the sexual language in the brochure, but that it warned about the sinful nature of impure acts with self - acts which most parents think are “normal”.

Perhaps if you had been there… It was the age of the students that had parents upset.

Thanks be to God! As liturgical liberals and modernists can see, it is the traditions of Catholicism that ignite faith and fervor and bring people to the Church!

May God help us all to return to the Truth! :slight_smile:

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