St. Anne Catholic Church, located in Logan Heights, minutes from downtown San Diego, will celebrate its decades-old annual fiesta Saturday and Sunday, July 21 and 22.  The fiesta is like typical church festivals with food, games and entertainment. But this fiesta revolves around the  Running of the Saints, a religious procession dating from the twelfth century in Gubbio, Italy.  The Running takes place at 3:00 pm Sunday, July 22.

The procession or running involves two 40-man teams that run the neighborhood streets carrying 300-pound biers bearing six-foot pedestals crowned with statues of St. Anne and St. Michael the Archangel.  The challenge of the Running is buttressing the weight of the bier evenly while rotating men in and out of position. No more than ten men are hoisting the platforms at any given time, so the pace the men keep requires coordination to keep the two saints securely upright.

Pastor Father Carl Gismondi, FSSP, is quick to point out that while the men run at a decent pace, the Running is not a race.  “There is no winner and there is no getting around it, the biers are heavy.  It’s a lot of fun, but there is penance involved – joyful penance.  Public processions are essential to our Catholic faith, because a procession not only wins grace for ourselves, but it is also a way to sanctify the neighborhood and the city.”

Visitors are invited to start their Sunday at St. Anne’s 11:00AM Solemn High Mass where the St. Anne Schola and guest choir will sing full Gregorian propers in the soaring Missa de Sancta Ana by Franco-Flemish Renaissance composer Pierre de la Rue (1452-1518).

Video of the Running can be seen here.

See St. Anne’s website for directions.