St. Francis Chapel, Marin Catholic High School, Kentfield

Name of Church St. Francis Chapel
Address 675 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Kentfield, CA 94904
Phone number (415) 464-3800
Mass times Monday – Friday, 7:30 a.m.
Confessions None regularly scheduled, but they are held on occasions such as Advent and Lent. 
Names of priests Msgr. Robert Sheeran. Msgr. Sheeran served as president of Seton Hall University in New Jersey for 15 years before retiring and coming to Marin Catholic. (He says Sunday Mass at St. Vincent’s Home for Boys in San Rafael on Sundays, a previous Churches Worth Driving To profile.) The priest, who is in his mid-60s, left his heavily administrative duties at Seton Hall because he wanted to perform the duties of a priest; Marin Catholic welcomed him in an effort to foster a Catholic environment at the school.
Music Sr. Miriam of the Dominican Sisters of Mother Mary of the Eucharist and the school’s chemistry teacher plays piano. The congregation also sings.
Fellow parishioners Students, parents, staff and friends of Marin Catholic.
Parking Plenty at 7:30 a.m., although when the students arrive, parking can be a challenge.
Acoustics Good.
Additional observations Marin Catholic is one of four high schools of the Archdiocese of San Francisco. It is in the wealthy and beautiful community of Kentfield, north of San Francisco. It was founded in 1949, and today serves 720 students, grades 9-12. The school works hard to maintain its Catholic identity despite being located near the notoriously secular San Francisco. Three sisters of the orthodox Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist are teachers, for example, with more on the way next year. The chapel was built in 2003, under the direction of the then-school president, Msgr. Steven Otellini. It features beautiful stained glass windows and statues, a marble altar and backs to the wide-open expanse of a marsh area.


Posted Friday, February 17, 2012 8:31 AM By Dante
Worth driving to? You have got to be kidding. I live in the locale and have seen it often due to school events. It is one of the ugliest teeny-tiny chapels I have ever seen. Size-wise it cannot even hold the 1/3 of the student body. And the huge mostly clear glass window behind the altar (backing the “wide expanse of march area) was designed to make Mt Tamalpais the focus of attention…imagine that. Someone going through the huge hassle of parking and expecting to see a beautiful chapel is going to be extreemely disappointed.

Posted Friday, February 17, 2012 8:42 AM By JT
Msgr. Sheeran gives a great short homily during the 30 minute Mass. No mass on Wednesday mornings. The Sisters are a joyful blessing. Also, Msgr. Sheeran’s mass at St. Vincent’s is at 9:30 and the public is welcome. Come hear a great homily.

Posted Friday, February 17, 2012 9:18 AM By Jean-Pierre Chacon
I think you need to rephrase because if Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist in each tabernacle then all Catholic Churches are worth driving to.

Posted Friday, February 17, 2012 10:07 AM By Ray
“The priest, who is in his mid-60s, left his heavily administrative duties at Seton Hall because he wanted to perform the duties of a priest; …” and “Confessions None regularly scheduled, but they are held on occasions such as Advent and Lent.” What a better opportunity for a priest to “perform the duties of a priest” than to provide Confession for the students of the school all the time. +AMDG+

Posted Friday, February 17, 2012 10:17 AM By B Kandt
No scheduled confessions but they are held on occasions such as Advent and Lent. I would run from that church. What are nuns of the Eucharist doing there or why have they not made sure confessions are available. If you have to make an appt. for confessions you are not able to confess anonymously which is against church rulings.

Posted Friday, February 17, 2012 10:52 AM By sam
As I wrote priorly a “chapel” is NOT a church – it is a Chapel. And Chapel was only for use for specific purposes such as w/in a convent, monastery, etc. They are NOT Churches. Check out the reality by looking up the word. Just as all “sisters” are NOT “nuns”. Nuns are female monks, ie., attached to a monastery. Teachings sisters are not nuns. Yet all have the title of sister, there is a distinct difference.

Posted Friday, February 17, 2012 11:42 AM By Janek
You are kidding right?? And what are the Sisters doing there? They may be”conservitive” but not “Traditional”, there lies the differance between we Traditonalists and Conservitives. And that so called altar? Come on get real please!!!

Posted Friday, February 17, 2012 7:11 PM By Carol
I’m really surprised by some of the mean and critical comments here. Sam, you really should relax. I’m sure you know a lot of things and that’s great. But I think your comments as well as some of the others are overreactions. I for one have benefited from finding out there was a chapel close to where I worked. It was small and pretty in its own way (just as this place strikes me as being) and for years I was able to receive communion on a daily basis and my spiritual life grew tremendously from this. I was right next door to this chapel for years before I even knew it was there. You don’t know the good it is doing to highlight a place like this. And I think the courtyard looks very beautiful and peaceful.

Posted Friday, February 17, 2012 7:21 PM By Georgia
Janek: The Dominican Sisters Of Mary Mother of The Eucharist are Traditional. Whenever possible The Priestly Fraternity of St Peter attempts to get these sisters when they have a school associated with their parish.

Posted Friday, February 17, 2012 8:08 PM By MacDonald
@ Ray — Very astute observation about no regular confessions being scheduled. I can’t imagine a chapel for a large high school NOT having a regular time when the students and teachers can expect to have a priest present for confessions!!!

Posted Sunday, February 19, 2012 4:47 AM By Faith
The “no confessions” turned me off, also. What would St. John Vianney say–patron of parish priests?

Posted Sunday, February 19, 2012 4:56 AM By ANGEL
Church worth driving to? There is one in Santa Clara, California called “Our Lady of Peace”. It is one of the churches in the US that still have railing at the altar.

Posted Sunday, February 19, 2012 5:36 AM By Kate C.
No confessions? This sounds like a “show” place to me. And a priest that doesn’t offer confessions regularly? Misplaced priorities there and seems to me he needs prayers from the rest of us!!

Posted Sunday, February 19, 2012 4:11 PM By k
It’s a high school chapel. I do not know of any of my son’s Catholic schools that offered opportunity for confession-they were attached to churches that did though. We do not have a Catholic high school so I do not know about those.

Posted Sunday, February 19, 2012 7:53 PM By Cheryl
I wonder…do just cranky, cynical people make negatively critical commentaries and the people who like what they read (mostly) just not comment? Too bad if that’s true because there are so many positive things one could comment on. (sigh) More prayers for the cranky needed because only God can untie their knots.

Posted Monday, February 20, 2012 10:52 AM By RM
As a teacher at Marin Catholic, I am deeply saddened by the negative comments to this article. Mass and confession are celebrated frequently on campus and in this chapel, despite the fact that it is not a parish church (those two rooms in the back of the chapel…confessionals). Monsignor Sheeran is an orthodox priest and a powerful homilist. There is nothing “wrong” wih the altar, even if, aesthetically speaking, it may not appeal to everyone’s taste. It is an immovable stone altar (distinctly not a “table”) that highlights the paschal mystery in the front image (you know, the cornerstone of our Christian faith). The tabernacle is front and center. I’ve noticed that the negative comments also seem to be marked by a similar thread…lack of knowledge about the MC chapel and what goes on in it. Marin Catholic is making amazing strides in living and teaching our Catholic Faith. How bout a little support from our Catholic brothers and sisters? Here’s my email if you have any questions about MC, our chapel, the theology curriculum, or any of the other good things happening at MC (including the frequent celebration of sacraments!):

Posted Monday, February 20, 2012 4:51 PM By MacDonald
@ RM — don’t be discouraged: this is a rough crowd! Your post helped educate us about what IS going on at M.C. and that’s a good thing. As for criticisms, I’m afraid we’d probably chide Jesus for allowing crumbs when he took, blessed, broke the bread and passed it to his disciples…

Posted Tuesday, February 21, 2012 9:50 PM By JLS
After reading RM’s post, I scrolled up to see if I had posted any wanton diatribes, as I am oft wont to do … but, dumbfounded, I discovered, nay, I did not. I’m a bit puzzled by the appearance of the altar, because I cannot make out what it looks like. Other than that, nothing struck me to criticize it. Sort of like the reverse of a sin of omission … a virtue of omission?

Posted Wednesday, February 22, 2012 7:55 PM By MacDonald
Peering closely at the altar, it looks like Christ crucified. I can see the cross and the corpus. That’s about all I can make out.

Posted Wednesday, February 22, 2012 8:15 PM By RM
@JLS- My defense of the altar (which does not appeal to me aesthetically, though there is nothing wrong with it) was made in response to Janek, who referred to it as a “so-called altar”. The photo of the altar is not a good one. The criticisms of Msgr. Sheeran are uncalled for.

Posted Sunday, February 26, 2012 7:31 AM By Carol
RM – I am with you and I hope some of the gracious comments can lighten your heart a bit. I think what seems nice about this place to me, is that it looks great for having been built in 2003. Most places built recently don’t always look this nice. As I said in my previous post many years ago, I found out about a chapel very close to my work and it was such a huge benifit to me in many ways. I’m glad you wrote in so people can see their comments are directed at real people trying to do all they can for the Lord