The doors were locked.
Rows of pews were taped off.
The guests were arriving, as instructed, from an underground parking garage through a back door that led to the church interior.
Then a city official crashed the wedding, which took place in early July in SS Peter and Paul’s Church, with its picturesque edifice overlooking Washington Square Park in North Beach.
The pastor did not seem surprised by the official’s order to stop the proceedings, according to a city report, and the wedding party moved outdoors to a basketball court where the ceremony — minus the nearly 100 guests who had assembled — continued on Zoom.
San Francisco’s city attorney had warned Catholic leaders to stop holding illegal indoor events only days earlier. Yet the leadership of SS Peter and Paul’s helped organize the wedding ceremony, the city said. The celebration included a rehearsal dinner and reception with invitations extended to large groups from multiple households, at a time when such gatherings remain heavily restricted in much of the Bay Area.
In the days following, the newlywed couple and at least eight attendees tested positive for the coronavirus, two guests told The Chronicle.
The potentially exposed guests flew back to Nashville, Arizona and San Diego, hot spots of the pandemic, potentially spreading the virus and providing a textbook example of health officials’ biggest fears about such large gatherings. The event showed the challenges authorities face in enforcing health orders.
SS Peter and Paul’s Pastor Gael Sullivan said the city’s stop order came so close to the wedding that he tried to work with the couple and their families to provide them “a service of some kind.”
“I had said to them they had to comply with the minimum number for the service and when they showed up with more people, they agreed with sending them away,” Sullivan said….
The above comes from a July 26 story in the San Francisco Chronicle.