More than a thousand Catholics from around the Bay Area gathered Sunday morning in San Francisco for a eucharistic procession to protest the city’s restrictions on religious gatherings. Led by Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, the crowd walked from Civic Center Plaza across from City Hall to St. Mary’s Cathedral before spreading across the plaza and parking lots to attend one of 18 Masses being offered.
“We have been patiently putting up with unjust treatment long enough and now it is time to come together to witness to our faith and to the primacy of God and to tell City Hall, no more,” Archbishop Cordileone said.
The archbishop invited Catholics to join him for the procession Sept. 13, a few days after Mayor London Breed published a reopening plan that allowed for more indoor businesses to resume but restricted worship sites to one indoor visitor and up to 50 congregants for services outdoors. Indoor worship with up to 25 people could resume by October, according to her plan.
In a highly charged homily delivered in Spanish and then English, Archbishop Cordileone called the city’s restrictions on religious worship “unrealistic and suffocating,” and said Catholics in San Francisco have been discriminated against as the city loosens its restrictions on public activities. Indoor gyms, malls, nail salons, museums, aquariums and grades K-6 have all been approved to reopen, while an archdiocesan coronavirus safety plan submitted in May has not received an official response.
The archbishop said he has met with city and county officials to advocate for the ability to worship publicly without result. “For months, City Hall ignored us, City Hall ignored you,” he said. “It has become clear to me that they just don’t care about you. To them, you are nothing. To them, you don’t matter.”
The single visitor limit on a building like the 2,500-person capacity is “an insult” and “a mockery,” done out of a desire “to put Catholics at the back of the line,” he said.
“Our people are hurting because they cannot come to church, they cannot receive the sacraments, they cannot exercise their natural right, protected by the first amendment, to worship without suffering punishment from our city,” he said.
Archbishop Cordileone encouraged Catholics to continue to be strong in their faith and practice love for the poor, and requested the archdiocesan faithful to continue to live out the consecration to the Immaculate Heart by praying the rosary, adoring the Eucharist, fasting and going to confession.
In closing his homily, the archbishop called on Catholics “to continue to exercise responsible citizenship, to abide by reasonable public health rules and to continue to serve our community despite the mockery to which we are being subject in so many different ways.”
The day began with several hundred Catholics walking in a eucharistic procession from St. Anthony of Padua Church in the Mission District to Civic Center Plaza, where hundreds more Catholics from the archdiocese and Bay Area had gathered. A mix of printed and handmade signs dotted the crowd, along with large banners in English and Spanish that said “We are essential: free the Mass!”
…. Archbishop Cordileone has been arguing that religious groups should receive accommodations similar to other reopened activities in San Francisco, which tend to open with limited capacity rather than capped numbers.
San Francisco has reopened at a more conservative pace than many other counties in the state: until Sept. 14, outdoor religious gatherings were limited to 12 persons. Additional guidance from San Francisco’s Department of Public Health released Sept. 14 prohibits hosting simultaneous outdoor religious services, like those the cathedral has held since Aug. 15….
The above comes from a Sept. 21 story in Catholic San Francisco.