By Gibbons J. Cooney
On Trinity Sunday, May 26, Father Mark Mazza celebrated the first Traditional Latin Mass at San Francisco’s Star of the Sea parish in 50 years. The church was packed: ushers counted 270 of the faithful in the pews. Celebration of the Mass in the Extraordinary Form at Star of the Sea was requested by San Francisco’s Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone as part of an ongoing process of renewal of the liturgy in the archdiocese. The Mass will now be celebrated at Star every Sunday at 11:00 a.m.
Sunday’s Mass was Low Mass: Father Mazza said he does not yet have enough servers and choir members to celebrate High Mass. The cantor, Frances Peterson, did an excellent job with the hymns. Attendees at the Latin Mass know that no announcements are made after the Mass — the announcements are generally made before the homily. During the announcements Father Mazza expressed pleasure at seeing the church filled and told the faithful that High Mass would be celebrated in the future, but that it is the faithful who will make that happen. He told the people that following the Mass there would be refreshments in the school cafeteria and there would be sign-up forms for choir members, for men and boys to serve at the altar, and for membership in the newly formed Traditional Latin Mass Society of San Francisco. Father Mazza reminded people that at Mass in the Extraordinary Form, communion is only to be received on the tongue, kneeling at the altar rail, and he said kneeling is of course dispensed for those who through age or infirmity are unable to do so. But he again stressed communion only on the tongue and said, “Now is not the time to assert your individuality!”
At the homily, Father Mazza said that for Trinity Sunday, Archbishop Cordileone had asked all the priests of the archdiocese to preach on the sanctity and defense of marriage. Father Mazza did so. He recalled the book of Archbishop Fulton Sheen Three to Get Married and noted that the nature of marriage is rooted in the Holy Trinity itself. He also observed, essentially, how times had changed, that if a book with the same title came out today, we would expect it to be just the latest crackpot redefinition of marriage. Father Mazza spoke about the decline of marriage across the board, both civil marriages and Catholic marriages, and he reminded the congregation that marriage is the primary vocation of most people, and that married people are expressing what Jesus wants from us.
Following the Mass, many of the faithful accepted Father Mazza’s invitation to visit the school cafeteria. Refreshments were provided by the parish’s Chinese Ministry (Star of the Sea is in the Richmond District, a heavily Chinese area). The table with sign-up sheets was packed. There was a line of people who wanted to sign up for the Traditional Latin Mass Society. The cafeteria was noisy and joyful, and Father Mazza was beaming.
Archbishop Cordileone made a good choice in picking Star of the Sea. The church is centrally located, close to a number of bus lines, and, very importantly for San Francisco, it has a good-size parking lot. It also has a full altar rail.
For further information contact the pastor of Star of the Sea Parish, Father Mark Mazza, at 415-751-0450, extension 16.