By Jim Fair
In his September 13 homily on the Cathedral Plaza, Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco invited the faithful to participate in a public call for reopening churches for worship at a level consistent with other activities in San Francisco and with stringent health and safety protocols in place: “I invite you all to participate in this public witness of our faith, and to invite your friends and fellow Catholics to join as well.”
On the morning of September 20, Eucharistic processions will begin at three parishes in San Francisco, meeting at UN Plaza by City Hall. From UN Plaza, the group will walk in Eucharistic procession up to the Cathedral and celebrate multiple Masses outdoors (with masks, and proper social distancing).
“I fear for our city, I fear for our nation. But we must not be ruled by fear. We walk by faith, not by sight. And so we must unite, pull together in a common witness of our faith and of the primacy of God. Plans are currently underway to make this happen,” the archbishop said in his homily. “Currently, faithful here in the Archdiocese have begun organizing public demonstrations of our faith for next Sunday, which will be expressed in the form of processions here to the Cathedral for our multiple Masses at 11:00. Yes, next week, our multiple simultaneous Masses on the Plaza will take place at 11:00, not 9:00. The public demonstrations will manifest the rich ethnic diversity of our people united in one Catholic faith. Many of the faithful will be Spanishspeaking, especially those coming from the Mission District, and so some Masses will be offered in Spanish, and others in English.
“All throughout her history, the Church has faced attempts by governing authorities to shut her down. She has prevailed when all of the members of the body of Christ joined together in solidarity, solidarity made possible only by a spirit of contrition and recognition of the primacy of God. I invite you all to participate in this public witness of our faith and to invite your friends and fellow Catholics to join as well.”
Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone sent a memorandum to priests of the Archdiocese of San Francisco. The memorandum is titled “Reopening for public Masses, Part 8.” The memorandum begins, “By now you are probably aware that after months of restricting the Mass to twelve people outdoors in the City and County of San Francisco, Mayor London Breed has indicated that, effective tomorrow, she is going to ease some restrictions and in the more distant future possibly make other adjustments. There are three problems with her public announcements that I see….” The Archbishop goes on to lay out in detail why the revised regulations are as defective as the prior ones: “Regulations . . . cannot be so restrictive as to effectively ban public worship.” “The numbers are totally arbitrary.” “Believers are being singled out for uniquely punitive treatment.” He goes on to share plans for Eucharistic processions on Sunday, September 20, in San Francisco that will walk from local parish churches to U.N. Plaza; from there the groups will process up to St. Mary’s Cathedral to celebrate multiple Masses outdoors.
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