Name of Church Our Lady of Fatima Byzantine Catholic Church
Address 5920 Geary Blvd., San Francisco 94121 (in the Richmond district, four blocks north of the Golden Gate Park)
Phone number (415) 752-2052
Mass times Divine Liturgy of Our Father among the Saints, St. John Chrysostom, first Saturdays and Sundays, 10 a.m. (an agape meal follows in the parish center).
Confessions Ask the priest.
Names of clergy Father Vito Perrone, COSJ, pastor. Kyril (Bruce) Pagacz, deacon.
Special activities Reader’s Matins are read most Sundays at 8:30 a.m. Reader’s Vespers are read most Saturdays at 4 p.m.
Music The Byzantine liturgy is sung without musical accompaniment.
Fellow parishioners While primarily established to serve Russian expatriates, the center also serves a secondary purpose of introducing Latin-rite Catholics with the Byzantine rite and Russian spiritual heritage.
Parking Park in the lot behind the church, or there is metered parking on the street.
Additional observations The Our Lady of Fatima community of San Francisco was established in 1950. Its purpose was to serve Russian Byzantine Catholics fleeing Communism in the Soviet Union. Their first center, an old mansion on 20th and Lake Street, was purchased in 1955. The center was named for Our Lady of Fatima because of the Blessed Mother’s promise to the three children of Fatima that one day Russia would be converted.
Our Lady of Fatima recently relocated to a former convent of St. Monica’s Roman Catholic Church. The church is in union with Rome, and is a parish of the archdiocese of San Francisco. But, being a Byzantine church, Latin-rite Catholics will notice many differences in its liturgy. Byzantine worship follows its own liturgical calendar, has its own ritual and even uses leavened bread. Prayers are lengthy; when mentioning God’s name, for example, you’ll find it accompanied with multiple adjectives about His goodness, mercy, power and providence. The interior of the church, with its many icons, including an icon screen, stresses that worshipers are in God’s presence and the company of saints. Lots of incense is used; processions are part of the services. The faithful stand for most of the liturgy (but sit at the homily). Reception of the “precious gifts” is on a spoon.
California Catholic Daily’s eleventh commandment: Thou shalt not feature a “Church Worth Driving To” without a picture of its interior. I’ll bet the inside of this one is gloriously beautiful. One can tell immediately whether a Catholic Church is safe for Catholic worship simply by looking at its interior.
Well said William.
I’d like to see a picture of the interior also.
There are a number of pictures of the interior on the parish’s Facebook page. The move to the present location came right after Pascha last year. The iconostasis from the original location was too large to fit in the present location. Until a new iconostasis can be designed and commissioned for this space a temporary arrangement serves in its place.
Last time I drove by and looked into the local parish, through its large glass doors, the altar was hidden by a giant screen with a video playing. The people in the video were super size … guess it makes the viewers more impressed that way.
I attended a Byzantine liturgy recently and was much taken by it, even though it was in a post-Vatican II Roman church. I didn’t even mind standing for a long time.
A sigh of relief upon leaving knowing that this Rite is available to us…just in case.
For photos click on the “Community” link on the parish website.
Because the Byzantine heritage includes some of the most wonderful mosaics on God’s green earth, I sincerely hope that this church has been blessed at least a little by the artistic expression of devotion in the medium of mosaics. All serious study of the historical legacy of this form of art places the highest value on magnificent Byzantine mosaics, a great many of which still can be seen in their original settings.
According to their website, the ikon of Our Lady of Kazan that Pope John Paul II returned to the Moscow Patriarchiate in 2004 was purchased for $1 million by this parish’s founding pastor and was venerated at this parish for 10 years before the bishop ordered it to be sold to the Blue Army who built a chapel for it at Fatima. Pope John Paul II took it to his private chapel and venerated it there for 11 years before its return to Russia. It is not the original-but it is one of the “original copies” which have many miracles associated with it.
k, I think you’ve found your writing niche … museum tour guide.
… that is, religious artifact cyber museum guide.
Yes, that’s it, as Maguire excels at cyber guiding readers through countless shelves of often obscure writers, the cyber museum thing seems beneficial also.