Churches Worth Driving To

Name of Church: St. Paul Church
Address: Church and Valley streets, San Francisco, CA 94131
Phone number: (415) 648-7538
Mass times: Saturday vigil, 4:30 p.m. Sundays, 8 a.m., 9:15 a.m., 10:45 a.m. (Spanish), 12:15 p.m. & 5 p.m. Weekdays, 8:30 a.m. in the chapel.
Confessions: Saturdays, 3:30-4:30 p.m.
Names of priests: Fr. Mario Farana, pastor. Fr. Michael Kotlanger, Sunday assistance. Jim Myers, deacon.
Special groups/activities: Legion of Mary, Martin de Porres House of Hospitality (opened in 1971 as a soup kitchen to serve free food to the hungry, part of the Catholic Worker movement founded by Dorothy Day), Men of St. Paul, Women of St. Paul, Young at Heart.
Music: Weekend masses have choirs and cantors.
School: Yes, pre-K and K-8th grade.
Fellow parishioners: A nicer, middle class neighborhood. Mostly Anglo, some Hispanics.
Parking: No problem; on the weekend, park in the parish school or on the street.
Acoustics: Fine.
Additional observations: St. Paul’s is a beautiful, historic church in the Noe Valley region of San Francisco. The parish was founded in the late 1800s; its English Gothic church was built 1897-1911 (it took 14 years because it was built as funds were raised). It has great architecture and art; prominent twin towers, beautiful stained glass windows and impressive woodwork. And, ask any parishioner about the church and they’ll tell you it was the principle location for the 1992 move Sister Act. The church was nearly closed in the 1990s over concerns it might collapse in an earthquake, but parishioners persuaded the archdiocese to keep it open. Vast amounts of funds had to be raised, including through the sale of some parish property, to do an expensive seismic retrofit.