On Saturday, May 9, San Francisco’s Star of the Sea Church hosted a “thank you” dinner for the parish’s “1% club”—those parishioners who had pledged or donated 1% of Star of the Sea’s Archbishop’s Annual Appeal assessment. Following the dinner, Fr. Joseph Illo, the parish’s fighting pastor thanked parishioners, noting that the parish had fulfilled its assessment on the first weekend of the appeal, and that the parish is more than $10,000 over its goal.
Faithful Catholic readers can guess what followed: Fr. Illo told those in attendance that he was going to ask their help again, this time in the creation of a Chapel at Star of the Sea devoted to Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. He said it was a sad thing that there is no Perpetual Adoration within the city of San Francisco. He acknowledged that while there is indeed Perpetual Adoration within the boundaries of the archdiocese– at the Church of the Nativity in Menlo Park, and at St. Bruno’s in San Bruno—there is no parish with Perpetual Adoration within the City of San Francisco itself. The cost of the Chapel is anticipated to be between $60,000 and 70,000. His vision is to initially have Perpetual Adoration as the church’s St. Joseph side Chapel, but eventually to have it in the main church, once it is made more secure and with improved lighting.
Fr. Illo described to parishioners the effects Perpetual Adoration had at his former parish, St. Joseph’s in Modesto. “We organized Perpetual Adoration, and it transformed the parish. Within 5 years, the attendance at Mass doubled (we had to add three more Masses, from 5 to 8 weekend Masses), the weekly income doubled (from $14K to $28K), the apostolates increased by a factor of five. Our St. Vincent de Paul program expanded so that we had our own building, open twice a week for food distribution, rental assistance, housing, etc. We had five different ministries to the poor of Stanislaus County. Last but not least, we began sending men to the seminary and women to the convents (the parish currently has 3 men studying for the priesthood).”
Fr. Illo told parishioners that he thinks Star of the Sea has that kind of potential, even if the demographics are more challenging. “Of course, it all depends on God’s grace, and our prayerful submission to that grace. But an Adoration program can transform any parish. We have begun with a weekly holy hour on Tuesdays, and a monthly holy hour on Thursdays. We want to keep extending times of Adoration, encouraging our community to go deeper and longer in prayer. Our next step is to expose the Blessed Sacrament every Saturday, not just on first Saturdays. Last Saturday (first Saturday) a woman thanked me for having Adoration—she was from another part of town, but we came up on the internet as the only parish with Saturday Adoration. That’s a service we can and want to provide.”
He then shared his vision of the effects Perpetual Adoration will have on the larger community: “It is our goal to one day provide a Chapel for our city that is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with the Blessed Sacrament exposed. A few parishes have Perpetual Adoration, such as St. Brunos in San Bruno and Nativity in Menlo Park, but no such Chapel exists in the City of SF. We aspire, with the grace of God, to be the first, but hopefully not the last. Imagine one day if a dozen parishes offered Perpetual Adoration in the city of San Francisco, what a blessing it would be to everyone!”
If you give God an hour a week, I guarantee he will bless you in ways you cannot imagine. My goal is to have everyone, or at least most of us, making a holy hour, and if so, Star will be do just fine. It will become a model parish, a prayerful parish, a dynamic parish. Join us priests, who do a holy hour every day, in putting yourselves in a place where God can speak to your heart and bless you. If you spend that hour with him once a week, he will not only bless you, but bless your family, your neighborhood, and this country.”
He finished his talk with an invitation to the active parishioners there assembled to sign up for at least one hour with the Blessed Sacrament every Saturday as the next step towards the eventual creation of Perpetual Adoration. Many responded, and the Saturday Adoration has begun.
To learn more or to find out about donating to the cost of the Chapel, visit: https://staroftheseachurchsf.com/