The archdiocese of San Francisco held its second annual Mass for the Homeless Dead on Nov. 23 at Church of the Visitacion.

In 2018, the San Francisco medical examiner recorded the deaths of 135 homeless people. In 2019, San Francisco counted 8,011 homeless individuals on a single evening in shelters and on the streets. A different city database that records access to health care and other city services counted 17,595 homeless people in 2019.

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone celebrated the Mass at 11 a.m. In his homily, the archbishop said praying for the dead was a “spiritual work of mercy,” especially when praying for strangers.

Poverty and homelessness are so widespread that people die on the streets in the city, the archbishop said. Worse than the material poverty, though, is the “the loss of the sacred, the loss of human dignity,” treating the homeless “as if they didn’t exist,” he said….

Because of Christ’s death and resurrection, the archbishop continued, Christians understand their “true and lasting home” is with God, not on earth.

“For the true believer, this world is a foreign land. The true believer is homeless here,” he said….

The above comes from an article by Nicholas Wolfram Smith in
Catholic San Francisco. Photo by Debra Greenblat.