Most Holy Redeemer begins construction of memorial fountain, garden

Debt paid off eight years early

mhrThe following comes from the December 21 issue of Catholic San Francisco.

Most Holy Redeemer Church in San Francisco has broken ground for a memorial wall and fountain that will honor people, living and deceased, who in some way are associated with the parish and its parishioners – many of them people who died of AIDS.

Significantly, the project completes a $2.8 million restoration project that was begun in 1998, with the debt paid off eight years ahead of schedule, said Nick Andrade, a member of the parish finance committee who oversaw much of the project that included restoration of the church.

The names of people to be honored are being etched in tiles for the wall and in large bricks called pavers to be placed in front of the fountain. The tiles can be purchased and etched for $150 and the pavers for $250. There will be room for 400 tiles and 120 pavers, said Andrade. The memorial is set in the church garden.

The project is called the Memorial Fountain and Garden, and those being honored include founders of the Most Holy Redeemer AIDS support group, the group that serves supper to homeless people on Wednesdays, hospice workers and other friends and associates of Most Holy Redeemer, said Andrade, who is also a board member of Catholic Charities CYO.

Most Holy Redeemer is a relatively small church – only 400 families – but it is vibrant, said Andrade. “The mere fact that we paid parish debt off eight years early speaks to the faith and testament of that community,” said Andrade.

He said former Most Holy Redeemer pastors – Father Anthony McGuire, Father Edward Phelan and Father Stephen Meriwether – will attend the dedication, along with the current pastor, Father Brian Costello. Andrade said that will occur in late January or early February, the date to be determined by weather.

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  1. It is appropriate to honor the dead, as long as they were not public advocates to violate Church teaching.
    Anyone who publically advocated the violation of Church teaching should not be permitted to have their name inscribed on any Catholic Church property. This type of memorial is to “honor” the deceased. Heretics, Apostates or Schismatics must not be honored.

    • Seriously, Oscar, paver bricks are available – without a background check – in parishes everywhere. And how many stained glass windows have been bought by mobsters, do you suppose?

      This parish has its problems, this is not one of them.

      • “Background check” — I love it!

        As for “sinners,” some of the biggest sinners in history have had monuments to themselves built, so someone paying for a paving stone in memory of their deceased son or grandmother is hardly a national disaster.

        For me, when I visit such places, it’s a reminder to pray for these people, whom I never even met…

  2. St. Christopher says:

    It is good to wonder how many of the MHR pastors and clergy loved their parishioners enough to tell them directly that any homosexual sexual activity was an affront to God, a cause for mortal sin, and that it placed their souls in jeopardy. This “Memorial Garden” means little, as it will clearly become a focus of yet more homosexual political posturing about AIDS, non-acceptance, etc. The Church’s normal pandering to the homosexual audience at MHR, and everywhere, is simply unbelievable. Instead of lecturing — and giving the wrong moral direction about — the need to everyone to give dignity to homosexuals, etc., the Church should use every chance to reach out to these same lost souls and tell them of its love, and of the need for repentance. In other words, stop your current practices, amend you lives, and come home — just like for everyone else. This failure to unblinkingly look at a political and social movement and say what must be done is a major failing of the modern Church, and perhaps a basis of its institutional downfall. Further, the absence of a moral voice, is evidence of the significant membership in the homosexual lifestyle among the Church’s clergy and leadership. (But, we can all rest easy knowing that American bishops are united against Tradition, except for a few outlier bishops, just to show diversity, of course, and to throw a bone or two toward the Holy Father.)

  3. wow! what a great parish!

    and here just last summer we read that they are giving a big sum of money to help children from the parish afford Catholic school tuition:

    Most Holy Redeemer Parish, San Francisco, has assigned $60,000 of its parish income to tuition assistance for Catholic schools where children from the parish are or may be students. The schools are St. Finn Barr, St. James, St. Anthony-Immaculate Conception, St. Peter, St. Charles and St. Philip. This is the fourth year the parish has used money raised from rental of property it owns to assist students in nearby Catholic schools.

    MHR Parish provides school aid
    July 10th, 2012
    Catholic San Francisco

    • What a great idea. I’m going to suggust to our bishop that we try to encourage this in our diocise. Even if a parish doesn’t have a school, we’reall in this together.

      • the archdiocse of san francisco tried to get parishes to do this very thing (e.g., send money to schools THEIR kids are using), but MOST HOLY REDEMMER is the only parish i’ve heard of that actually did so.

        what a great example of team work and concern for chidlren’s good CATHOLIC education…!

      • Uh no we’re not……..

        • Oh, Canisius, you sound like some of our local pastors who don’t want to help their parishioners afford tuition at the Catholic school next door.

          Kudos to Most Holy Redeemer for being more generous!

        • Mr. Canisus, I don’t understand. I don’t have any children but as a Catholic don’t I still have an interest in supporting our Catholic schools?

    • Max, before I ever allowed one of my children to be taught in these schools, I would want to know exactly what they are being taught, by whom they are being taught, what is happening in the surroundings of the school and what organizations are donating. It DOES make a difference.

      • In other words, Max, it could be a good way to get children AND adults hooked into supporting the wrong groups.

  4. How great to finally see such a positive article. It’s about time!

  5. Laurette Elsberry says:

    The article states that the parish has about 400 families. I think the definition of family should be clarified. My guess is that Catholic San Francisco obtained this number from the parish, and most assuredly the parish considers gay couples as family units. The statistic is therefore tainted.

    The fact that the parish could pay off debt so quickly seems to be an incongruity when we hear how discriminated against gays are in employment, etc. Not so; their income is generally higher than for heterosexuals and they are very generous in their offerings to a church that accepts their sin, along with accepting them as sinners.

    • How did they pay off the loan so quickly? High disposable incomes and love of beauty fit the stereotype well enough, I suppose. Neither of those are bad things I suppose…

    • Jim McCrea says:

      I think the parish has 400 members, not families/family units.

      Which makes its generosity even more noteworthy.

    • Jim McCrea says:

      It’s called generosity, folks. The parish also supports a very active music program with a budget in excess of $100,000 per year.

    • Hi Laurete ~ I’m single and my parish counts me as a family. I think this is the normal practice.


    The Children’s Liturgy meets in the Children’s Room in the basement of the Rectory.

    We use Sermons for Kids and Word On Fire web sites and resources for materials as well as homilies from clergy at MHR. We review the Readings and go into some depth on the Gospel, but sometimes the First or Second Readings, when resources advise.

    The children will hear these messages for the rest of their lives and derive their understanding and direction as a function of growth and maturity. Recognizing this, I endeavor to provide some understanding of life during the time of Jesus on Earth and what day to day living was like in this area. Try to picture what it was like when Jesus ate at a Pharisee’s banquet, etc. What was Jewish life like at the time with Rome’s authority, Herod’s Kingdom and Jewish authority of Chief Priest.

    I then try to take the Reading message(s) into their life, school and home, to give some practicality to their daily living.

    To keep some relative order I provide puzzles and pictures for coloring which are generally appreciated by the children. I review the readings and ask questions about the meanings, looking toward what they can do to integrate positive actions into their lives.

    We pray as a group, saying the Our Father and Hail Mary, and directing these to help members of their family who could use help. We learn new prayers and practice Mass responses in song, not every meeting, but as time allows. The actually time spent is about 45 minutes and it goes by very quickly. Parents are invited to participate or observe as they desire. The social hour after the 8 and 10 A.M. Mass is convenient for parents.


    • St. Christopher says:

      “Max”: what is the “Childrens’ Liturgy”? Is a priest conducting this; a deacon? If not, it is not a “liturgy”; All such “childrens” liturgy sessions are highly dubious, and controversial, in any event, as they tend to confuse children about proper authority in the Church to preach and to explain scripture. What you are describing sounds a lot like role playing, Max. And, who is the “We” in your blog? What are the “We” telling the children anyway? Are these parents? And, by what authority does anyone, outside the clergy, discuss the readings of the actual Mass, and give little homilies to children about how to live their lives. This is what a priest does (and sometimes a deacon); not professed religious (except for fund raising), and never anyone else. The circumstances you describe are not CCD (the classes of which are “suprevised” by a priest, or are supposed to be). Having said this, it is well known that a number of bishops dearly love the “childrens’ liturgy” concept and it is likely that they will continue, until these guys retire. So, yes, what you describe, Max, is “PRETTY SUBVERSIVE”.

      • oh, dear, CHRIS, you sound quite perturbed by…well…just about eveything.

        and yet the good peiople at M.H.R. (and this is probably written by the D.R.E. or another catechist) is doing precisely what other sensible parishes throughout the world are doing:

        having a “children’s liturgy of the WORD” so the little kids can learn about the BIBLE on a level that’s proper for their age group.

        • Way cool to deprive children of the the benefits of Holy Mass! According to the rubrics, the proclamation of the Gospel and the homily may be done only by clergy, not catechists. What are we doing to our children? We’re telling them that it’s okay, everything is actually “pretend.” When they grow up, it’s okay to have a “pretend Mass”, a “pretend marriage”, even be a “pretend Sister of Indulgence” and have a “pretend pilgrimage” to garden shrine to “pretend holy martyrs of AIDS.”

      • St. Christopher, Many, if not most parishes have a special time for the children, usually K-6th grade to learn about the Sunday readings at their own level. The young people are usually called up before the readings and return after the homily. It is not a sin for lay people to read the Gospel to young people and try to help them find meaning at their own age level. The reading of the Word is a very important part of the Mass, and the basis for the homily. What the Priest discusses with adults is not likely to be very profound to a first grader. It is not true that only a Priest can read the Gospel. That is the case during the Mass, but we are all encouraged to read the Bible at home. What do you think happens in Bible Study groups? What do you think happens in small Christian community groups within the parish.? Do you think the Priest attends all of those meetings? How could he do that in a parish of 2000+ families? Sometime we have to be practical!

        • Bob One,
          DURING Mass, only the Priest or ordained Deacon can read the Gospel.
          GIRM (General Instruction of the Roman Missal) must be followed.
          Abuses should be reported to the Diocese Bishop.
          And if the Diocese Bishop does not correct the abuse, it should be reported to the US Papal Nuncio and the Vatican.

          Children must be catechised – first responsibility is the Parents per the CCC. The Parish can assist.
          Children should attend Mass with their Parents, and parish religious classes at another time.
          By attending Mass with their parents, children learn from example and can ask their parents questions after Mass. This is a learning process for children.

        • Mackz formerly known as max says:

          Even the Vatican itself in the “Directory for Masses with Children” indicated, years ago, that a catechist could preach instead of the priest if the priest was incapable of reaching the children due to language problems, and so forth.

          Little kids need the Word proclaimed and preached and discussed in a way they can actually understand and Holy Mother Church makes provisions for this — thank God.

          During a Children’s Liturgy of the Word this happens, then the kids return to church during some noisy time like the collection, and take part in the Liturgy of the Eucharist. As the priest remains in church for the entire Mass, theres no way he can be in BOTH places at the same time!

          • Mackx,

            “if the priest was incapable of reaching the children due to language problems, and so forth.”

            Very big “IF”, and only “if” the priest is in the same room with the catechist. In fact, the catechist should act as interpreter, not substitute priest.

    • max, the devil comes disguised as an angel of light at times (you should know this, as we are informed by the Gospel). Does MHR teaching staff dress up as drag queens while teaching children? Why don’t you look into it and get back to us when you find out?

      • Well, Skai, I checked their webbsite and the people who work and volunteer at this parish seem to dress like anybody else.

        Sorry to disappoint…

        • Jim McCrea says:

          Max: thanks for being a voice of sanity on this site .. a very rare occurrence.

          • Jim McCrea,

            My cousin died of aids. He was baptized two months before he died. Aids is a terrible disease and this disease has caused much suffering. I am grateful for California Catholic Daily’s website for being a voice of sanity that helps to clarify the Teachings of the Catholic Church. Jim, There is much confusion. You commented that it is a rare occurrence for a voice of sanity to be heard on this site. Jim, St. Christopher’s words show true charity and these words should not offend anyone who is striving to accept and follow Church teaching.

            When a person does not accept the teachings of the Catholic Church and works against her Teachings it is even a rarer occurrence for that someone to be honest and forthright and just admit that they do not accept the teachings of the Church.

            St. Christopher wrote, “The Church should use every chance to reach out to these same lost souls and tell them of its love, and of the need for repentance. In other words, stop your current practices, amend you lives, and come home — just like for everyone else.” Jim, My cousin did repent and he was so grateful and appreciative, that there were people like St. Christopher who did care enough to help him come home. I have written before that my cousin lifted his head right before he died and kept asking who is the beautiful Lady? Many rosaries were prayed for my cousin. My cousin was not a wicked person but he was lost and misguided and it should not offend any homosexual to hear that there are homosexuals who do tell God they are so sorry for choosing the wrong path and for offending him. We have been given the gift of a free will.Jim, With Christ’s mercy and love, my cousin repented and he chose to enter into his eternity through the narrow gate.

          • Jim McCrea says:

            Anonymous: I have probably known more people who have died of AIDS than you were even ill from it. Many of them were not gay men, either.

            What were they to repent from … blood tranfusions? Sex with someone who lied about his/her seropositive status?

            MHR has buried in excess of 250 people who died from AIDS, a great number of whom had been disowned by their biological families. They found love and affection from the parishioners of MHR, many of whom were not LGBT. It is said that MHR provided a place where lonely old women could be grandmother to lonely abandoned men who needed a grandmother.

            The wrong path has been chosed by narrow-minded judgmental “Christians” who are quick to disparage others and refuse to recognize the hardness and coldness of their own hearts.

            Don’t be too quick to count on a cushly cloud in heaven.

          • Catherine says:

            Jim McCrea,

            Please Google Catholic San Francisco Marriage and the Bible.
            There are no cushy white clouds but there is such a thing as encouraging sin that will cause AIDS.

        • max, last time I viewed pics from MHR, there was a bishop giving Holy Communion to drag queens called sisters of perpetual indulgence.

          • Mackz formerly known as max says:

            Skai, you choose the wrong type of viewing — get yourself away from sensationalistic things like YouTube and look at the website of the parish itself, which includes shocking things like:

            - First Communion for the second graders.

            - Pancake breakfasts.

            - Sunday Mass.

            - Old folks and young folks gathering for parish socials.

            - Outreach to the sick and homebound.

          • mKxzax, why would I want to intrude on social doings at MHR since it is a gay hangout. Hopefully they convert the gays; maybe the sisters of perpetual indulgence are gays who’ve come a long way in the conversion process.

  7. Will the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence be in attendance?

    • No — rumor has it they have recently become a cloistered order.

      In Idaho.

      • Jim McCrea says:

        They have also established a mission convent next to St. John Lateran in Rome.

        • Mackz formerly known as max says:

          Where they have TRIED to steal the cappa magna of Cardinal Franc Rodé…

          I Googled it and it’s quite the thing to see.

      • Max, your post is not funny. There is a big difference between helping those with AIDS and not condoning any sin that might have caused the disease and helping take care of those with AIDS and encouraging or condoning the sinful behavior. Would you tell someone who caught AIDS from a cheating husband or wife that it was just great that the spouse committed adultery? I hope not. Neither should one give ones approval to homosexual acts and so-called “marriages” while taking care of those with AIDS. One does not have to constantly preach to any person, but they should be given the opportunity to repent of any sins of which they might have been guilty, including sodomy, before they die if that is the case. I am sure Mother Teresa and her sisters did not endorse the wrong things. It is one thing to accept a donation from a group such as Courage and quite another to accept a donation from a group such as Dignity (which does not have Church approval).

        • All one has to do to encourage a person to make a good confession without being preachy about it is to hand him or her an approved examination of conscience, which should always include the sins of fornication with those of the opposite or same sex, adultery, incest, and bestiality. Every good adult prayer book includes such an examination of conscience, also.

          • Anne T, also, this is the Year of Faith. We are supposed to be making an Act of Faith daily. “O my God, I firmly believe that You are one God in Three Divine Persons, Father Son and Holy Spirit.. I believe that Your Divine Son became Man and died for our sins and that he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe these and all the truths which Your Holy Catholic Church teaches because You have revealed them, who can neither deceive not be deceived

          • Good post, k.

          • Thank you for the reminder, K, Great idea.

          • Mackz formerly known as max says:

            “Incest and bestiality?”


            What town do you live in, that has such awful stuff going on???

        • Mackz formerly known as max says:

          My mistake — it’s Iowa, not Idaho, that has gay marriages.

        • Leave it up to the “children of the corn”, then, Mckaz.

        • mCkaz may not be funny, but he is earnest and has an agenda.

        • I still think that church garden shrines should honor canonized saints. Not just ordinary parishioners who may have been saintly in life (such as AIDS victims, as there must be a number of them), but are not (yet) canonized.

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