About half of San Francisco’s Catholic parishes celebrated public Mass Sunday, June 21, a sign of the revival of parish life and worship after nearly 100 days of shelter-in-place orders.
Father Francis Garbo, pastor of Mission Dolores Basilica, told his spread-out congregation how happy he was to see them again. “Thanks for your time, thanks for your faith, thanks for your love for Jesus and Communion and this church,” he said to the 50 worshippers attending 9 a.m. Mass.
The parish began celebrating daily Mass on June 15, following California Department of Public Health guidelines for religious worship and archdiocesan safety protocols to protect its congregants. Outside the Dolores Street entrance, some volunteers ensured people kept their distance and wore masks as they entered the church, while others checked temperatures, dispensed sanitizer and handled reservations and consent forms. Strips of blue painter’s tape and markings on the pews made sure people sat at a distance from one another….
At St. Dominic Church, Deacon Dan Rosen stood in the church parking lot before Mass, directing parishioners to enter through the Steiner Street doors. The temporary rules in place for the liturgy have taken many of the things parishioners take for granted, like singing, responses and socializing afterward.
“It’s definitely a different worship experience but I think people are glad for the most part to be able to come to church. Everyone’s been pretty positive,” he said.
Outside St. Mary’s Cathedral, Fernando Cabrera said the new safety requirements were “a little headache” to manage with children, “but it’s good to be back….”
Father Moisés Agudo, pastor of the Mission parishes of St. Anthony of Padua, St. Peter and St. Charles Borromeo, told the congregation at St. Anthony during their first public Mass June 14 that “The priestly ministry makes sense if you (the parishioners) are present. It has been very difficult for me to celebrate the Eucharist in front of a camera….”
Father Agudo said the parishes under his care would continue to follow state guidance on attendance numbers. “They (the city) cannot force us not to open,” he said. “There are civil laws and moral authority. When the civil laws are not fair we do not have to submit them.”
Public liturgies resumed in San Francisco on June 14. On June 15, San Francisco officially entered Phase 2B of its reopening plan, which lifted some restrictions on indoor retail, domestic services, summer camps, religious services, outdoor gathering and manufacturing, among other activities. The reopening regulations adopted by San Francisco mandate that religious gatherings and ceremonies that are open to the public can only occur outside and can be attended by no more than 12 people….
The above comes from a June 22 story in Catholic San Francisco.