Churches Worth Driving To

Name of Church Mission San Rafael Arcángel
Address 1104 Fifth Avenue, San Rafael CA 94901
Phone number (415) 454-8141
Mass times Monday – Saturday, 6:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. (no 6:30 a.m. Mass on Saturday); Sundays, 9 a.m. (Vietnamese), noon (Spanish) and 7 p.m. (Portuguese)
Confessions Saturday, 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. in the main church
Names of priests Father John Balleza, pastor. Father Ngoan Phan, Fr. Santos Rodriguez, parochial vicars.
School Yes, K-8th grade.
Special activities and groups Adoration, Tuesdays, 7:30 p.m., 1st Fridays, 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. and 3rd Sundays (Hora Santa), 9 a.m. – noon; Charismatic prayer, Fridays, 7 p.m. 
Music On Sundays
Fellow parishioners Anglo and a large Hispanic community
Parking Park next to the main church; on weekends, you can park in the school lot or in the bank parking lot.
Acoustics Fine.
Cry room Yes, on the right in the back as you enter.
Additional observations Mission San Rafael Arcángel was founded in 1817, the second to last of the Spanish missions in California. Its purpose was to teach the Catholic faith to the Coast Miwok Indians who once occupied the area. It was originally a helper orasistencia mission to Mission Dolores in San Francisco, but was raised to full mission status in 1822. Like all of the California missions, it was seized (“secularized”) by the Mexican government in 1834; in 1846, John Fremont and Kit Carson used it as a headquarters during the Mexican-American War. Unlike other missions where the chapels were preserved, at San Rafael the original chapel fell to ruins and was torn down. The current chapel, a replica of the original, was built in 1949. The mission is located next to St. Raphael parish, and is part of the archdiocese of San Francisco. The mission welcomes visitors, and has a museum containing artifacts and paintings. Museum and gift shop hours: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. daily, except Tuesday. It is free to visit.



Posted Friday, May 18, 2012 4:02 AM By Matthew
The original purpose of this California Mission was to serve as a hospital for Mission Dolores in San Francisco. Many of the indigenous people at Mission Dolores were dying of different diseases and it was felt that a dryer and warmer environment might quell the large number dying. It didn’t…

Posted Friday, May 18, 2012 5:55 AM By St. Christopher
A Church with a glorious past and promise of salvation, now saying mass in Vietnamese, Portuguese, Spanish, — What!! No Latin!! What a stark reminder of how captive the present Church is to modernity. The Miwok Indians heard and participated in a Mass of more value than the “Senor” Masses now said. And what an insult to the great men that faced the dangers of the time to bring the Faith to the pagans. Today, it would be — why bother, all faiths are essentially the same, Man searching for God, therefore all have equal value (and many pagan faiths may have elements of salvation in themselves — isn’t that how Vatican II said that we are now all to believe?).

Posted Friday, May 18, 2012 6:49 AM By Janek
A lovely Mission indeed, but the question AGAIN is where is the Traditional Latin Mass?? I see Spanish and Vietnamese and Portuguese, but not the Language of the Holy Roman Catholic Church “LATIN”!!

Posted Friday, May 18, 2012 9:06 AM By MJ
St. Christopher & Janek – your slurs against the Vietnamese and Latinos and Partuguese Faith Communities is anything but Catholic, and it gives a very biased and uncharitable opinion of this website: you post uncharitable comments like this everyday, on the day, what is the average passerby supposed to think? It does not lend credibility to CalCatholic. OH, and BTW, no less a person than HIS HOLINESS has said, time and again, the the OF (Vernacular) Mass is the ORDINARY MASS of the Church, not the EF or “TLM”. Have some charity!

Posted Friday, May 18, 2012 9:54 AM By goodcause
I went to elementary school at St. Raphael’s, so there were many Masses and choir practices in the old Mission church. That was back in the days when there were 50 kids in each grade, now it’s down to something like 18 or so.

Posted Friday, May 18, 2012 2:33 PM By St. Christopher
“MJ”: Sorry, the N.O. is a tolerated liturgy and bears no equivalence to the TLM. In fact, for those listening to Benedict XVI, he has effectively said that he favors something “in the middle” between the Mass of Pius V and the mass of msgr. Bugnini. It is likely that this will happen, as it seems, from the Vatican II histories and background now coming out, that the highjacking of the process cut off this very evolutionary process from happening. No, not every moment of Vatican II was the result of direction from the Holy Ghost (it was after all a “pastoral” conference, that is only now being given a higher purpose). Almost all things evolve, and that is what would have happened to the Mass. But, as with many things man-made, matters were rushed, oppostiion silenced, and the like. The N.O. as you learned it is already markedly moved toward Tradition: a simple, but important, step such as properly translating “pro multis” is one good example (and was and is a main sticking point with the German bishops as they take their own sweet time in translating the missal, requiring a personal letter from His Holiness to them explaining the need to make this change). And, you sense of outrage over criticism over the Babel-like profusion of languages used at Mass is both confusing, and objectionable. There should be no other language used for Mass than Latin (one of the three sacred languages, of which Spanish, etc. are not). Many commentators have noted the complete misuse of the word “charitable” as a liberal method for seeking to silence oppostion (of conservatives or traditionalists) to the destruction of the Church. In fact, the Liberal assault has been very effective, as much of the institutional Church is already destroyed. Of course, the Holy Ghost has the last at-bat, and we will ultimately survive and be victorious (yes, “Triumphalism”). CalCatholic is strong because it prints the truth. Your call for “charity” is really a demand for silence.

Posted Friday, May 18, 2012 2:59 PM By Kenneth M. Fisher
I attend both the Novus Ordo and the Tridenine, and almost every time I attend a Novus Ordo I am reminded of why I very much prefer the Mass of St. Pius V. No drums, no trumpets, no Kumbaya, just worship of the Most High God. God bless, yours in Their Hearts, Kenneth M. Fisher

Posted Friday, May 18, 2012 3:36 PM By OSCAR
Both the Ordinary Form (Novis Ordo in vernacular language), and the Extraordinary Form (Latin -TLM) are Holy. Anyone suggesting anything else is a heretic and schismatic. Both have the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ. No where in the Bible does it say what language the Mass must be said in – just “do this in Memory of Me”. The Extraordinary Form of the Mass (TLM-Latin) including ALL PRAYERS and RUBRICS was put forth by Pope Pius X in the early 1900’s. – It’s not all that old. In the earliest days Greek was used until the 2nd century, around the 400’s the Church chose Latin and the Mass consisted of readings of Scripture, the Consecration, and the Holy Meal. The TLM as we know it today is relatively new. The Ordinary Form of the Mass in the vernacular languages is about 50 years old.

Posted Friday, May 18, 2012 3:51 PM By JLS
What I read of then Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope, is that he favored the traditional Mass, but did not see it returning as the norm. What he said he saw in the future would be something leaning significantly toward the TLM … but I do not recall him saying he would favor a compromise.

Posted Friday, May 18, 2012 3:53 PM By JLS
I would think the need for Spanish language Masses is not so much the language of the liturgy but the language of the priest. The Hispanic culture is radically different from the northern European culture, and as such non-native speakers of Spanish do not likely fill the bill for countless hispanics.

Posted Friday, May 18, 2012 3:56 PM By OSCAR
Pope Pius V about 1570 (after Council of Trent) established the first Roman Missal. Prior to that time there was none. The exact prayers and rubrics that are used today at Extraordinary Form (TLM) were established in the early 1900’s by Pope Pius X. No approved form of the Mass is any better or any holier than another. However, different individuals prefer different forms – and there is no problem with this. All should attend the Masses that are best for their own Souls.

Posted Friday, May 18, 2012 5:42 PM By MacDonald
“A tolerated liturgy.” What nonsense! Mass in Vietnamese is just as much a praising of God as Mass in Latin, Aramaic or English.

Posted Friday, May 18, 2012 9:09 PM By Bob One
The language of the church is Latin, and only God knows why. It is a dead language. The Ordinary Mass is to be said in the language of the people, so that they understand better and participate more. In the United States, the language of the mass is in the language that is spoken by the parishioners. Go to Hawaii and hear the wonderful choirs from Tongo that sing in so many churches. Wonderful. Go to mass at Hispanic and Mexican parishes and listen to the Mariachi’s accompany the singing, or the Azted dancers before some special ocassion masses. Listen to the Gospel choirs in some of our African American parishes. We are a diverse community and we have diverse ways of worshiping our Lord. We are no longer a church of northern Europeans. We are African, Asian, Hispanic, Portuguese, etc. Very few of our parishioners speak Latin. I remember when everything was in Latin. No one participated or knew what was being said without a missal to read from. Now, if some people want the Latin mass and can find a priest that knows how to do it, go for it. But don’t try to force your extraordinary demands on the rest of us. Many will not tolerate it and may leave the church. We a trying to bring more in, aren’t we?

Posted Friday, May 18, 2012 9:57 PM By JLS
Theories, MacD, may impress you, but reality seems more impressive to me. Have you actually gone to each language of Mass that you mention? Let us know when you do if each one is identical in praise of God.