Churches worth driving to

St. Monica Church, San Francisco


Name of Church St. Monica

Address 470 24th Avenue, San Francisco CA 94121

Phone number (415) 751-5275


Mass times Saturday vigil, 5 p.m.  Sundays, 8 a.m., 9 a.m. (Cantonese) and 10:30 a.m.  Weekdays, 8:30 a.m.  Holy days, 8 a.m., 11 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.

Music The vigil Mass has an organ and singing, the Sunday Chinese Mass has singing, and the Sunday 10:30 has a choir (adult and children’s choir, it alternates each Sunday).  The choir sings many classical pieces.

Confessions Saturdays, 4-4:45 p.m.

Names of priests Father John Sakowski, pastor.  Monsignor Fred Bitanga, in residence (retired).  Father Lawrence Gould, in residence.  Father Sakowski is Polish, was recently installed as St. Monica’s pastor; he serves as pastor of another parish.  San Francisco has a shortage of priests (which will hopefully change under their new bishop, Salvadore Cordeleone), and St. Monica’s is part of a new model for the archdiocese in which they share a pastor with a neighboring parish.

School Yes, K-8th.

Special parish groups/activities Parents Club, St. Vincent de Paul Society, Helping Hands (visits shut-ins), rosary Monday – Saturday, 8 a.m.

Fellow parishioners Originally built to serve Irish and Italians immigrants, many in the congregation today are Asian.

Parking Park on the school playground on the weekends.

Cry room Yes, in the back.

Additional observations St. Monica Church is one of San Francisco’s beautiful old parishes, located in the Richmond district of the city.  The parish was founded in 1911.  The current church was built in 1918, and the parish school opened the following year.  The church was improved throughout the years, in 1926, 30 stained glass windows were added depicting the life of Jesus, and in the early 1950s, stained glass windows were added depicting the life of Mary.  The organ was installed in 1936, and the church was doubled in size in 1951.  In its heyday, 50 years ago, it served 4,000 families.  Today, it serves about 400.  It has a magnificent interior and exterior.  Highlights inside include its stained glass windows, marble floors and altar rail, and altar.


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  1. St. Christopher says:

    No, there will not be more seminarians under Bishop Cordeleone, unless he embraces tradition, and the TLM (which is not likely, although he will say the TLM now and then). Instead, we will have the very sad picture of a once-glorious place, now stripped of its majesty, having to hold only the N.O. mass. Oh, yes, you can get “Cantonese” here, too (with egg roll to go). But, no Latin, the language of the Church. Nice crowd there, at least when the picture was taken. Soon, these churches will be entirely empty, not just mostly empty. It is over folks, except where the Holy Ghost protects the remnant of the True Church. You may have lots of people to something called Catholic, but the message will be very strange (as are many many masses in CA).

    • CHRIS, your comments about cantonese masses (“with egg roll to go”) are, sadly, typical of your angry racist approach.

      each time you read of a parish that celebrates mass in the language of the locals (such as vietnamese, spanish, whatever), you go into your typical racist tirade that is very tedious — and predictiable.

      on behalf of the whole world that is not white and european, i apologize for not being like you.

      • St. Christopher says:

        “Max”: Your comments are offensive, and, typically, completely pointless. The fact commented on is the absence of Latin, not a challenge to the merits of whatever is the local language du jour used by a particular pastor. The babel-like profusion of languages at Mass leads to a fragmented Catholic identity, something so opposed by liberals, such as yourself. In fact, your tribe of liberals idealizes the right of priests to pretty much “speak in the spirit” and ad lib many aspects of the Mass. The elimination of this “right” was a chief factor against the development of the new Missal (you know, the one that uses language like, “for many” instead of the made-up “for all”, just like in the grown-up Bible, actually quoting Jesus, instead of people like Bishop Trautman, undoubtedly an idol of yours). The use of “local” languages leads people away from the sense of being members of a universal church; it also assumes — with no historic evidence, and much to the contrary — that people will not want to be part of a church with a language that they will need to learn. Whoops! Wrong again. Churches throughout the world — except for where the Mass is in Latin — are largely empty and being torn down (or consolidated — also something you liberals love to do). Nope, instead of allegedly “racist,” objections to the use of many many local languages at Mass, instead of Latin, is simply patriotic to the Church, the Mass, and to the Holy Father, who has recently decreed formation of an institute to assure the continued knowledge of Latin within the Church. In fact, you and your liberal pals need to catch-up on the increased agitation for the return of Latin masses, even among those, like yourself, that adore the N.O. As the liberal gospel hymn goes, “soon, and very soon” the use of local languages at mass will be seen for what it is, an outdated anachronism of the 60′s, which unfortunately lead many away from the Church. You need to be more careful to know what you are talking about when you toss around old liberal verbal bombs like “racism”. Your apology is accepted.

        • glad you enjoyed my apology for not being like you. :)

          as for the multiplication of languages, the church translates the bible (and prayers) into vietnamese, english, spanish, etc. for a reason — so people can USE and UNDESTAND them.

          1When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.2And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.3And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them.4And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.

          as for your constant references to the old testament story about the tower of babel, here’s what the NEW TESTAMENT says about PENTECOST in acts, chapter 2:

          “5Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven.6And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language.7They were amazed and astonished, saying, “Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans?8“And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born?”

          • Jim McCrea says:

            Max: you are not alone in being disgusted w/”St. Christopher.” It’s interesting that he chose to hide behind the name of someone whose feast day Pope Paul VI removed from the Roman Catholic calendar of saints in his 1969 motu proprio Mysterii Paschalis.

            Or is just another example of a selective “prudential” judgment by a cafeteria Catholic?

    • R.B. Rodda says:

      The EF Mass does not foster more priestly vocations than the OF Mass. That absurd. It’s that sort of belief that takes the focus away from the real issues that impact vocations.

  2. I see in it’s “heyday” it served 4,000 families, yes as did all Roman Catholic churches before the collapsed of Holy Mother Church due to the thing called “Vatican II”. Pray for the return of the Traditional Latin Mass and sacraments, enough of the man centered “Novus Ordonarian” service with dancing girls, hand holding, clapping, altar girls, lay lectors, communion in the hand, polka, mariachi, rock, guitars, drums, pianos, tamborines, nuns in street clothes and makeup and earrings, giant puppets, the people’s table, kiss of peace, well the sins can go on here forever, remember Mass attendance was at 75% prior to Vatican II, now it stands at roughly 25%, on the good note our Traditional orders i.e. F.S.S.P., Institute of Christ the King, S.S.P.X., are packed with young men wanting to become Holy Priests, and what is it that is drawing them in? The Traditional Latin Mass!!! It will take decades for Holy Mother Church to recover and I will not see it, but our Holy Father has lit the spark in 2007 with Summorum Pontificum, freeing up the Mass of All Times, it never died thanks to the S.S.P.X. and of course it never will. Remember what Pope Benedict stated, I would rather have a few in Holy Mother Church that believe, as opposed to many who have no faith and call themselves Roman Catholics.

    • this part of san francisco has changed, and is mostly asian now.

      hence the mass in chinese.

      if we don’t reach out to other cultures, we are not doing our job.

      this pathetic nostalgia for the bing crosby days of latin mass, cassocks, birettas, etc., won’t do us one bit of good in evanglizing.

      people need to get to know JESUS and they need to be taught about him in a way they can understand.

    • John Feeney says:

      Well said Janek.

    • Jim McCrea says:

      Those churches were filled with people who had been told that if they wilfully missed mass on Sunday, they were going to die and go to hell. Not a very good sign of a well-formed faith. That was “getting your ticket punched” mass attendance.

    • Jim McCrea says:

      You should be arguing for the mass in Aramaic. You know, that language Jesus and his followers most like spoke, along with some Greek.

      Latin: a johnny-come-lately innovation by those interested in “modernizing the church.”

      • Aha!

        Yes, I remember this from Mel Gibson’s film about the death of Jesus.

        Let’s all sign up for Aramaic classes, and also order vestments like those favored by the Lord and his Apostles.

        I don’t think we’ll see any frilly lace, or cappa magna finery, or watered silk, somehow.

  3. I’ve been to St. Monica. It’s nice. If people want a Tridentine mass, a number of parishes in and near SF have them. Most Holy Redeemer is one I can think of off hand.

    • Mark from PA says:

      C & H, I don’t think the people that belong to the SSPX would go to a Latin Mass at Most Holy Redeemer. Good comments, Max. It seems that to some, the purer Church would be free of those immigrant Catholics that like the Mass in their native languages.

    • and now st. mary star of the sea in sausalito, just north of the goldfen gate bridge.

      a friend of mind told me she attends the tridentine mass there each day at noon i think, because father william young moved from most holy redeemer rectory to that rectory in sausalito.

      he’s the same priest who celebrates the traditional latin mass at most holy rosary chapel in marinwood each sunday, too.

    • Jim McCrea says:

      Holy Redeemer no longer has a daily or any Latin mass. The priest who used to “celebrate” it has moved elsewhere.

  4. Catholic means universal – universal as in including people of Chinese dissent.
    I love the TLM and am more traditional minded. But looking at this church makes me grateful for a lot of things – like the fact that there are actually alter rails in San Francisco that are used on a weekly basis.
    I see a beautiful church and a nice community, and probably a wonderful, holy priest. To look at all of that and complain is so ungrateful. Plain and simple.
    And to make a snarky comment about Catholics of Chinese descent when Catholics in China are being slaughtered for the faith is out of line and in very poor taste.

    • CAROL, you are right on target with your comments about the anti-chinese rants.

      people here in san francisco, some of them, are furious that asians have ‘taken over’ neitghborhoods that used to be italian and irish.

      GOD, on the other hand, probably loves us all, even if we are not european…(i say “probably” so as to not shock those who think GOD is caucasian, with a long white beard, and very cranky)…

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