Father Joseph Illo, pastor of Star of the Sea parish in San Francisco, gave a 16-minute homily on Sunday, Jan. 24. Father Illo welcomed those who marched in the Walk for Life the day before. He said he wanted to cite three priests – one German, Father Joseph Ratzinger, who wrote in 1969 on the future smaller Church “of faith”; one Mexican, Archbishop Jose Gomez (“we have prayed that our bishops would be bold and clear, and this statement [after the Biden inauguration] of a naturally patient, cautious, and timid archbishop is an answer to our prayers”); our third witness, answering Nancy Pelosi, who attacked pro-life Catholics, an American, our own archbishop, Salvatore Cordileone (“the right to choose is a smokescreen… our land is soaked with the blood of the innocent.”)

Father Illo concluded with the story of a young man he interviewed from the Philippines who works for Google in downtown San Francisco who wants to enter the seminary. Father Illo told him he would be entering a Church that is enfeebled, whose leaders are in disarray, whose laity have largely abandoned the sacraments.

The young man’s answer:

“You will serve in a parish whose pews will remain mostly empty. If you proclaim the Gospel you will be attacked by your own parishioners. He told me, ‘I know, but I want to follow Christ.’ ”