At an outdoor rosary rally and Mass held October 3, San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone encouraged Catholics to renew their respect for and devotion to the Eucharist as indoor Masses resume across the city.
“Have we accepted this fast from the Eucharist as an opportunity God has given us to renew our devotion and love for the sacrament?” Archbishop Cordileone asked during his homily at the rally outside the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption.
The office of San Francisco’s mayor announced September 29 that places of worship will be permitted to hold services indoors at 25% capacity, up to 100 people, beginning September 30.
The city had been allowing only one worshiper at a time in places of worship, regardless of the building’s size, while allowing multiple patrons in other indoor establishments. Parishes in San Francisco had been adapting to the restrictions by holding multiple, concurrent outdoor Masses each Sunday.
The October 3 annual rosary rally began at St. Anthony of Padua Church in the city’s mission district with a procession to the cathedral.
Reflecting on the city’s namesake, St. Francis of Assisi, Archbishop Cordileone held up St. Francis’ devotion to the Eucharist as an example, and noted that in times of scandal, corruption and division within the Church, the temptation can arise to criticize and “do things our own way.”
“Instead, let us take our lead from the poor man of Assisi, and tend to the inner work: prayer, fasting, love and respect for the Blessed Sacrament, embracing and serving the poor,” he said.
“The real work of reform begins within each soul and within the heart of the Church.”
Archbishop Cordileone urged Catholics to prepare for receiving Communion by frequently going to confession, praying and attending Eucharistic adoration, CatholicSF reported. Worshipers should be prayerfully silent whenever they are in the presence of the Eucharist and should dress properly for Mass, Archbishop Cordileone said.
At the rosary rally, five families were selected to pray each decade in a different language: English, Spanish, Tagalog, Vietnamese, and Latin.
At the end of the rosary, Archbishop Cordileone renewed the archdiocese’s consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which was first done in 2017, CatholicSF reported.
Archbishop Cordileone also encouraged Catholics to participate in a national virtual rosary, led by Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles October 7, on the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.
Beginning September 30, outdoor worship services in San Francisco may host up to 200 people. Singing or chanting indoors will be prohibited, and “the place of worship must conduct a health check of patrons before they enter the facility.”
An estimated 1,500 Catholics in San Francisco had marched in Eucharistic processions across the city September 20 to protest the city’s continued restrictions on public worship.
“One person at a time in this great Cathedral to pray? What an insult. This is a mockery. They are mocking you, and even worse, they are mocking God,” Archbishop Cordileone said at the Mass following the processions September 20.
The U.S. Department of Justice had on September 25 warned San Francisco officials that its restrictions on public worship in the city may have been unconstitutional.
The DOJ on September 25 sent a letter to Mayor London Breed, warning that the city’s rule allowing only “one worshipper” in places of worship at a time regardless of their size—while allowing multiple patrons in other indoor establishments—is “draconian” and “contrary to the Constitution and the nation’s best tradition of religious freedom.”
Archbishop Cordileone said that “respect for each other’s rights and compassion for each other’s needs are core San Francisco values. God bless Mayor Breed for responding to her constituents’ call.”
He added, however, that “California’s limit of no more than 100 people inside of a house of worship regardless of the size of the building is still unjust. We want and we intend to worship God safely: with masks, social distancing, sanitation, ventilation, and other such safety protocols. But we will not accept believers being treated more severely than other, comparable secular activities.”