First Latin Mass at Star of the Sea, San Francisco

Star of the Sea

Star of the Sea

By Gibbons J. Cooney

On Trinity Sunday, May 26, Father Mark Mazza celebrated the first Traditional Latin Mass at San Francisco’s Star of the Sea parish in 50 years. The church was packed: ushers counted 270 of the faithful in the pews. Celebration of the Mass in the Extraordinary Form at Star of the Sea was requested by San Francisco’s Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone as part of an ongoing process of renewal of the liturgy in the archdiocese. The Mass will now be celebrated at Star every Sunday at 11:00 a.m.

Sunday’s Mass was Low Mass: Father Mazza said he does not yet have enough servers and choir members to celebrate High Mass. The cantor, Frances Peterson, did an excellent job with the hymns.  Attendees at the Latin Mass know that no announcements are made after the Mass — the announcements are generally made before the homily. During the announcements Father Mazza expressed pleasure at seeing the church filled and told the faithful that High Mass would be celebrated in the future, but that it is the faithful who will make that happen. He told the people that following the Mass there would be refreshments in the school cafeteria and there would be sign-up forms for choir members, for men and boys to serve at the altar, and for membership in the newly formed Traditional Latin Mass Society of San Francisco.  Father Mazza reminded people that at Mass in the Extraordinary Form, communion is only to be received on the tongue, kneeling at the altar rail, and he said kneeling is of course dispensed for those who through age or infirmity are unable to do so. But he again stressed communion only on the tongue and said, “Now is not the time to assert your individuality!”

At the homily, Father Mazza said that for Trinity Sunday, Archbishop Cordileone had asked all the priests of the archdiocese to preach on the sanctity and defense of marriage. Father Mazza did so. He recalled the book of Archbishop Fulton Sheen Three to Get Married and noted that the nature of marriage is rooted in the Holy Trinity itself. He also observed, essentially, how times had changed, that if a book with the same title came out today, we would expect it to be just the latest crackpot redefinition of marriage. Father Mazza spoke about the decline of marriage across the board, both civil marriages and Catholic marriages, and he reminded the congregation that marriage is the primary vocation of most people, and that married people are expressing what Jesus wants from us.

Following the Mass, many of the faithful accepted Father Mazza’s invitation to visit the school cafeteria. Refreshments were provided by the parish’s Chinese Ministry (Star of the Sea is in the Richmond District, a heavily Chinese area). The table with sign-up sheets was packed. There was a line of people who wanted to sign up for the Traditional Latin Mass Society. The cafeteria was noisy and joyful, and Father Mazza was beaming.

Archbishop Cordileone made a good choice in picking Star of the Sea. The church is centrally located, close to a number of bus lines, and, very importantly for San Francisco, it has a good-size parking lot. It also has a full altar rail.

For further information contact the pastor of Star of the Sea Parish, Father Mark Mazza, at 415-751-0450, extension 16.


  1. Michael says:

    First I was THRILLED to read the article’s words that “the church was packed.”
    However, it then goes on to say that the ushers counted about 270 people, and if memory serves, Star of the Sea can hold a lot more people than that.
    Aside from this little issue, the article is GREAT and sounds very encouraging!
    It’s wonderful that Father Mazza has worked so hard to learn the correct rubrics for the Tridentine Mass, which is not simple thing…

    • Kenneth M. Fisher says:


      I wondered the same thing. Mary Star of the Sea is a parish not a chapel and 270 persons won’t fill a major parish.

      God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
      Kenneth M. Fisher

      • Michael says:

        Yes, Kenneth, Star of the Sea is a gorgeous church, and I hope as the news spreads, more people will come to celebrate the Tridentine Mass there.
        Thanks be to God, it’s centrally located, not out in the middle of nowhere, and a famous parish!

  2. JOHN RONDINA says:

    I hope to be there soon.

  3. Bout time…i attend the latin mass with some regularity, as well as the novus ordo in latin…I do find the tridentine mass, most efficacious!

  4. Jim McCrea says:

    I am so very happy that Fr. Mazza dispensed people with infirmities or age problems from kneeling.

    How very GENEROUS of him!

    • Anne T. says:

      Jim, usually the priest at a Tridentine Mass (Exraordinary) allows the disabled to come to the gate of the altar rail to receive Communion standing or in a wheel chair. Since there are no kneelers at the gate, a person can get close enough to the priest, or he can move out, to give Communion to those in wheel chairs. If one has to receive standing for some medical reason, it is always good to let the priest know before hand, so he does not think you are standing out of obstinacy, or he will tell you to kneel, and even if one explains the situation to him, it will hold up the line.

      • Anne T. says:

        Actually, I should have said the priest MIGHT think one is doing it out of obstinacy, but most likely he might think one does not know any better, especially if the priests serves both the older and newer types of Mass and realizes that some bishops have the people stand at the ordinary form in their diocese.

  5. I attended Star of the Sea for years and am happy to hear that it now has TLM community. However, since the church seats 950 people, 270 can hardly be considerrd “packed”.

  6. Gratias says:

    If you live in SF give the TLM a try. It is worth it.

  7. Mairead says:

    I was at this Mass. Yes, ‘packed’ is hyperbole. BUT I can honestly report that it was a well-attended Mass. The first 15 or so pews were indeed packed, and though the crowd was a bit thinner in the rear and on the sides, there were not many totally empty pews. The church felt full. Moreover, there was a genuine sense of excitement and enthusiasm among the faithful, as the TLM has finally and truly resurfaced in San Francisco. with a regular Sunday Mass at a good time in a good location. God bless Archbishop Cordileone and Fr Mazza.

    • There’s a reason for this. A nice little lady asked you as you were entering to sit down front so the church would look more full. I endorse your comments.

  8. Thomas Edward Miles says:

    I was there, it was educational returning to the dark ages!!

    • Canisius says:

      I will take the Christ Centered “dark ages” over the phallus centered modern world.. Tommy Boy..BURN THE RAINBOW FLAG

    • Abeca Christian says:

      How would you know TEM? Are you that old?

    • Anton L. Seidl says:

      Thomas, your comment reveals a nasty streak in your personality. It was gratuitously mean and intended to insult people who do not think like you. There are many of us, mainly the older generation, who truly miss the traditional mass. God help you, man. You have a problem!

  9. St. Christopher says:

    Prior criticisms of the Archbishop notwithstanding, this is an enormously important step toward the “normalization” of the TLM in San Francisco. Years ago, living in the Inner Sunset, moi saw the traditional Catholic Church crumble, until it now is a virtual shell of its prior glory. Star of the Sea is an architectural gem. But, this is only a first step. There must be a TLM in each parish during a regularly scheduled time each Sunday. And, the TLM must be included in all religious instruction within SF. And, learning Latin fully, and the TLM, and the “traditional form” of all the sacraments must be required of all seminarians. Much more difficult, but much more sacred (Yes, dear readers, there is a difference in grace in receiving the “traditional” form of the sacraments). Good job, Archbishop Cordileone, well done. Quo Vadis, Domine, indeed.

    • Your Fellow Catholic says:

      Yes, Jesus himself instituted the Mass in High Latin, therefore we must do so, to remember him!

      • R.B. Rodda says:

        Hogwash! That’s simply not true. I don’t know if you’re trying to make a joke but to suggest “Jesus himself instituted the Mass in High Latin” is pure bunkum.

      • Canisius says:

        Typical snide response of a homo-sex leftist, and you wonder why gays are not liked?????

        • Rhodesian from Salisbury says:

          Leftist’s and libtard gays abhor anything “traditional” about the faith…they strongly dislike the TLM…the queer agenda is demonic

          • Canisius says:

            Complete agree…

          • Abeca Christian says:

            Actually I have to disagree, there are some homosexuals who do like the TLM. I would see a look of awkwardness when the homily is about marriage between one man and one woman but it seems like he is trying to stay chaste. God bless him!

      • Anton L. Seidl says:

        YFC: Don’t make a fool of yourself. No-one is forcing you to attend a Latin mass. Chill out, man!

    • Michael says:

      Christopher, you are ridiculous in claiming that people “get more graces” by taking part in the Tridentine Mass.
      This is in DIRECT violation to the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church — and common sense.
      As the Church authentically teaches, it is CHRIST himself who baptizes, speaks, gives himself, ordains, confirms, etc., in the Sacraments, and he is no “less present” in English than in Latin.
      If you personally “get more out of” the TLM, I am happy for you, but please don’t issue infallible statements that are quite fallible indeed.

  10. Fredi D'Alessio says:

    I’m very pleased there was such a good turnout. — Please note that the daily TLM at St. Mary, Star of the Sea parish in Sausalito will be moved to 9:30 a.m. beginning June 1.

  11. Such a typical remark from modernists when they say a “return to the Dark Ages” how very sad and dreadfully ignorant of the Holy Mass of All Times. I guess all the prior Catholics and Saints that were alive then were stuck in the Dark Ages and of course don’t count. Only the Springtime of Vatican II with its man made innovations such as dancing girls, altar girls, clapping, hand holding, drums, guitars, tamborines, balloons, giant puppets, lay lectors, polyester vestments, felt banners, people’s table, communion in the hand, nuns wearing skirts, earrings, makeup, these are all worthy virtures.

  12. Elizabeth says:

    Father Mark Mazzi is a gem of the Church!

    ABC couldn’t have picked a better Priest for such a beautiful Mass.

  13. Linda Maria says:

    This sounds great– but in today’s era, I hope there will only be very good, sincere practicing Catholics for lay leadership and various responsibilities, for the Tridentine Mass!! There is no such thing as a “Cantor,” for the old Latin Mass– just a Choir, and possibly, soloists, maybe for Offertory or Communion. In pre-Vatican II days, the Church had strict rules, and people were usually respectful, if hired from outside the Church, for example, in the area of sacred music. But today, there is a big worry, even among so-called “faithful Catholics!” Not all are truly sincere, in regards to our Church’s Faith and Morals– even laymen and clergy, in nearby Catholic universities, holding important positions! I feel heartsick, every time I seek involvement in traditional Church activities, because of this!! I also hurt greatly, giving to a Church collection, for salaries for people who are against our church’s Faith and Morals, who hold important positions!! Can the Archbishop do something about this?? In these situations in past years, when I have talked to previous Archbishops, the answer was always “NO, it is up to the laymen to deciode what they want! Remember, this is now the era of Vatican II, and the laymen now must lead the way, not the clergy!” This has greatly hurt me!! What can our current Archbishop DO?? Anything?? For example– who wants to sing in a fine choir, with gay/lesbian couples, or non-gays engaging in promiscuity, and other malicious activities, such as drugs, abortion, and every other horrible thing?? And many of these people getting paid for their services, Catholic or non-Catholic!! Want that?? How depressing!!

    • Anonymous says:

      They gave you permission to lead. Go for it!

    • Cathleen says:

      Prayers and reparations for our whole world will help your grieving Linda. The Lord’s seen everything so be not afraid and don’t ever feel alone. My heart finally opened to pray more for those who hate the church working for the church. My encouragement comes because they are with God – and the Lord will provide us the proper dispositions to evangelize to the fallen sheep. Oh yes it is frustrating and difficult and oppressive at times, and at these moments I run to our crucified Lord in thanksgiving for God’s mercy. You will be in my prayers and please keep me and the whole world in your prayers. We grown mighty in our virtues and talents while trusting in the Lord at all times! Peace of the Lord be with you!

  14. Kirk Kramer says:

    This is very happy news. Some of us remember with grateful affection the long-time pastor at Star of the Sea, Msgr Burns, who was a loyal friend to the St Ignatius Institute at USF. I am sure he rejoices in this development from Heaven.

  15. Abeca Christian says:

    I was just watching on the Classical channel a Movie called “San Francisco” with Clark Gable staring in it.

    It gave me a view that San Francisco was once a decent place…..I think to my self, after that old classical movie, which was in black and white, how wonderful it must have been back then, when there were still good decent people with common values. There were some bad but there were people still speaking good in that City. Much more than ever….even the good priests there at the movie admonishing Blackie (Clark Gable played that Character.) .

    Lord bring back San Francisco to the way it was once….if it be your holy will, that it will go back to worshiping you and honoring you more. It sure is nice that it begins with the Latin Mass growing there…..I plan to pass by this City soon, only if it be God’s will and i will sprinkle holy water there on a spot up high….It will be the Mass that may pacify our Lord now…His mercy is unending and the faithful there will continue praying….

    as the song goes “Nearer, My God, to Thee”

    • Michael says:

      If you lived and worshipped here, you would realize that there already ARE plenty of good solid Catholics here.
      As for passing by The City to sprinkle holy water on it, that’s very nice of you, but our priests do this all the time. Just take a look in the parking lot when our priests are blessing the cars of our dear and faithful Filipino parishioners, or doing house blessings, and so forth.
      In whatever city or town one lives, there is evil and good. San Francisco has its share of nuts and loonies, but so does Fresno…and Stockton…and Bakersfield.

      • Abeca Christian says:

        That is true Michael, I am sorry I meant not to offend. I guess I just commented because there are a lot of gay agenda laws that are pushed there (and started there too) and that actually are imposed more so throughout California. God bless you and I appreciate your comments.

        • Michael says:

          Abeca, thanks for being patient with my bad humor. I sometimes get tired of my home town getting bashed — especially when it’s places like IOWA that have gay “marriage,” for example, and NOT San Francisco.
          It’s not like we’re all weed-smoking, free-love, laissez-faire loonies in this city.

  16. R.B. Rodda says:

    Continuing to use the moniker “novus ordo” after Pope Benedict XVI gave us “Ordinary Form” and “Extraordinary Form” of the Mass is very much a FAITH INSPECTOR comment. Pure offensive rubbish at this point.

    • Abeca Christian says:

      Rodda I don’t know how old you are…but I use the NO and TLM verbiage because that is how I know how to describe…growing up I didn’t know that the OF or EF were words of existence…goes to show you how much we learned in Catechism classes. Whew… please have mercy and stop misusing the faith inspector bit, sounds to me that you are the one who is flaunting that more to your benefit and you sound like you are policing everyone. Don’t be the bad cop OK?

  17. St. Christopher says:

    Sorry “Michael” you are wrong again. Catholic literature is chock-full of articles on the differences in grace between the two masses. This does not mean that the N.O. is invalid, only less meritorious and efficacious from the perspective of graces received by the parishoner. See, e.g., “The Merits of a Mass,” by Fr. Chad Ripperger, F.S.S.P. Here is the conclusion (reprinted from the blog, Real Clear Religion):

    It is safe to say that, objectively speaking, with respect to the ritual itself the old rite of Mass has an ability to merit more than the new rite of Mass. While this merit is accidental, since the essential or intrinsic merit of the Mass, which is the Sacrifice of Christ, is the same in both rites, it is nevertheless something serious. Since the faithful are the beneficiaries of the fruits derived from this aspect of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, we have a grave obligation to consider the impact that this factor may be having on the life of the Church. While it is not our intention to denigrate the new rite, we must recognize that the ritual of Mass used in the old rite is more meritorious and therefore more beneficial for the people who assist at it and for the priests who offer it.

    Father Chad Ripperger, F.S.S.P., is a professor at St. Gregory’s diocesan minor seminary and Our Lady of Guadalupe seminary, both in Nebraska.”

    Unfortunately, almost no Catholic pastor, and certainly few bishops, speak of this. First, many simply do not know, as they have not been properly formed in seminary and in their training. Second, many do not care; they are company men and do not see the “medieval” concept of “saving souls” as meaning much (versus demanding money to build new churches, or in becoming a member of the so-called “American Catholic–Christian Faith Community”. Yes, going to a TLM is better than going to a N.O. This does not mean that the N.O. is invalid, only less valuable. You may not like this conclusion, but that simply does not matter. Try to attend and participate in a TLM; it is astonishing (particularly when you think that this is the way that the Church worshipped for hundreds of years, including portions of the Mass that hearken back to the time of the Apostles).

    • Michael says:

      I’m glad the Latin Mass is being promoted more in our Archdiocese of San Francisco, but the Popes themselves had made it crystal clear that it is WRONG to claim the TLM is “superior” to the Ordinary Form, or to engage in “liturgy wars” over which Mass is best.
      In the Catholic family, we have many forms of Mass (in the Latin Rite, we have the Ordinary Form AND the Extraordinary Form; and now of course the Anglican Rite; in the Eastern Catholic Churches we have NUMEROUS Rites; a faithful Catholic receives grace from God whether he attends Mass in English, Latin, or in the languages used by the Maronites, Syro-Malabars, etc.).

    • Jeff Dwyer says:

      The instrinsic value of the Mass (any rite) is infinite, and the extrinsic value is finite – Fr Ripperger FSSP acknowledges this. The total value of the Mass (any rite) must therefore be infinite as infinity plus a finite number still equals infinity. That’s inescapable logic and I’m astounded that someone of Fr Ripperberger’s excellent qualifications could make this mistake. Therefore the Novus Ordo (when celebrated properly) does have the same overall value. The problem is it is rarely celebrated properly which diminishes its extrinsic merit, but at least as far as comparing Missals (rather than examples of individual celebrations) the total value of the Mass is identical.

  18. Give me the dark ages anytime as well, I will take Gregorian chant, kneeling, Holy Communion on the tongue, communion rails, silence, organ, stunning vestments, proper attire, statues, and all that is Roman Catholic, and by the way the devil hates the LATIN language he fears it very very much that’s how powerful it is against demonic forces!!!!!!!

    • Your Fellow Catholic says:

      Janek I deeply get, and appreciate your sincere draw towards Gregorian chant, kneeling, reception on the tonuge, vestments etc. I do appreciate the depth of spirituality that it represent for you.

      What I don’t get is the leap to comments like “the devil hates the LATIN language”. I just don’t get that. That is not about your spirituality, it is a theological statement, and one which, quite frankly, has no defense in Catholic doctrine.

      So I thank you for sharing your intimate spiritual experience, and I consider myself edified at reading it. But the theological embrace of Latin…not so much.

      • Canisius says:

        ” But the theological embrace of Latin…not so much.” This is because you have no understanding of Catholicism

      • Anne T. says:

        YRC, I think one of the chief exorcists of Rome once made such a comment about the devil hating Latin if I am not mistaken. Perhaps that is where Janek got the idea. Anyone can Google it on line to see if that is so.

        • Anne T. says:

          I looked it up, and that comment was attributed to Fr. Gabriele Amorth and other priests who have performed exorcisms.

        • Matthew says:

          Wait just a minute!!!
          I read a post in here that claimed most demons who possess people speak LATIN also, so that doesn’t suggest that satan is very scared of that language?

    • Abeca Christian says:

      Janet keep it in your heart…no need to be angered by many who are ignorant. Its not good to stoop their level.

  19. Anton L. Seidl says:

    My sincere wish is for the diocese of San Jose to allow a siumilar venue to exist. I fear this is wishful thinking on my part.

  20. Gladstone says:

    Re: Thread b/t Michael and St. Christopher
    Michael has said, “Christopher, you are ridiculous in claiming that people “get more graces” by taking part in the Tridentine Mass. This is in DIRECT violation to the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church — and common sense.”

    St. Christopher has substantiated his claim quite deftly: the forms of the sacraments are equal in nature, but not equal in their accidental qualities.

    Please cite CCC, Code of Canon Law, or any relevant Church document that St. Christopher has directly violated. We await your answer with bated breath.

    • Anonymous says:

      Gladstone, St. Christopher only posted the conclusion, so he gave no reason for it. I have found the article. It is 12 pages long so I will read it as I have time. The first question that I have is: Why would the merits of the Mass only extend to those who attend the Mass?

      • Gladstone says:

        Anonymous, have you found a paragraph in the Catechism or relevant Church document directly violated by St. Christopher’s perspicacious observation?

        • Anonymous says:

          I haven’t looked but I will, after I finish the 12 page article and look up the word perspicacious.

          • Anne T. says:

            The one thing we do learn on these blogs is new words. I will have to look that one up too.

        • Anonymous says:

          This question is not directly addressed in any Church document that I have found. However, the CCC says that all the Rites (and remember that the EF and the OF are the same rite-which is a flaw in Fr. Ripperger’s paper that he calls them the old rite and the new rite) are of equal right and dignity. Fr. Ripperger’s 12 page paper seems to be based on a book written in 1902 before what is now called the Ordinary Form existed. It is well documented until he gets to the section on the “new rite vs. the old rite” where his documentation stops and it appears to be his own opinion. So it is not official church teaching. His reasons for thinking the “old rite” is superior is based on his opinion that is gives more glory to God, is more charitable, easier to pray, fosters greater humility and manifests the faith more clearly. None of these opinions is documented as being from the church. I would refer you to “Changes in Mass for Greater Apostolate” Pope Paul VI November 26, 1969 in which the Holy Father speaks of the regret of losing the things of the “old rite” and why the Church would give up Latin and chant. “Understanding of prayer is worth more than the silken garments in which it is royally dressed. Participation by the people is worth more-” He refers to 1Corinthians 14:19 He says that “the fundamental outline of the Mass is still the traditional one, not only theologically but also spiritually. “He also says “If the rite is carried out as it ought to be, the spiritual aspect will be found to have greater richness.” There is another essay similar to Father Ripperger’s (but without the explicit claim of the EF being superior to the OF). It is by Robyn L. Schamel and includes in the footnotes 77 graces and fruits that may be derived from the Mass to man’s benefit. It is on the White Lily blog if you are interested in finding it. I enjoyed studying Father Ripperger’s paper and appreciate St. Christopher bringing it to our attention and the question by Gladstone. I would like to see this topic addressed by Cardinal Burke or Cardinal Rigali both proponents of the Mass in the Extraordinary Form.

  21. Anonymous says:

    I would like to relay something else from the essay “The Merits of the Mass” from Fr. Chad Ripperger. It is a topic that comes up not infrequently on CCD. First, we understand that intrinsic value of all valid masses (EF and OF and other rites) is infinite since it is Christ, Who is infinite, Who is offered. Every Mass has infinite value. When we speak of difference in the extrinsic value or merit of the Mass we are talking about the effects other than the giving of infinite glory to God. I do not know the specific effects that are being referred to, but “the Mass derives fruit from the fact that it is offered on behalf of the Church.” He uses a quote ” when an excommunicated or suspended priest celebrates in defiance of the prohibition of the Church, this ecclesiastical merit is always lost, since such a priest no longer acts in the name and with the commission of the Church. His sacrifice is nevertheless valid, since, by virtue of his priestly ordination, he celebrates in the name of Christ, even though in opposition to His wishes, and, as the self-sacrifice of Christ, even such a Mass remains essentially a spotless and untarnished sacrifice before God.” Father Ripperger: “The priest must be part of the juridic person of the Church so the this ecclesiastical merit [the extrinsic value] is maintained. Those who offer Mass outside the Church displease Christ, since it is contrary to Christ’s wishes. for the juridic person who has been given the right to administer the sacraments is the Catholic Church alone” He seems to be saying that the priest must be in union with the Church for there to be any extrinsic merit. I cannot tell you what specifically you will not obtain, but this would be something to consider for those who attend independent parishes, SSPX Masses or Traditional Catholic Masses outside of the Church.

  22. Anonymous says:

    I second Michael’s rebuke of Christopher.
    In my late 60’s I have enjoyed both masses and see beauty in both ( ie WHEN SAID REVERENTLY. ) I believe that the Holy Spirit spoke in bringing in the Vernacular mass. It makes total sense. Those who favor the Latin mass do themselves no good in going on and on about the ‘superiority’ of the Latin mass.
    That is a form of disobedience to Church teachings , as Michael points out. It drives a wedge between educated devout catholics at a time when we are so few in number and need to be working together, by side, to right the Ship of Faith.
    Go to the mass that brings you closer to God – and leave it at that.
    Having said that, know that the Latin mass is NOT the mass of the future.

  23. Michael P. Mc Crory. says:

    Sorry, I forgot to include my name and email with my comment, just now. M Mc C.

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