Friday, April 22, 2011

My First and Only Visita Iglesia in San Francisco

Dear insansapinas,
I came to the United States, three weeks before Lent. I knew only one church, St. Patrick's Cathedral, a church near the parking garage and several blocks away from our office in Union Square. Dumadaan ba, parang Quiapo.

I do not even know where St. Paul's Catholic Church is located. It was the  church in which Whoopi Goldberg sought refuge in the movie Sister Act. 

When I checked, the parish is located in the city of San Francisco, California, at Church and Valley Street in the city's Noe Valley neighborhood.

And I was surprised that San Francisco has so many Catholic churches for such a small city and county.

I said first and last. When my kumpadre learned that I landed in SFO, it took him only hours to find me. Working as a journalist in the Bay Area, (he used to be a radio personality in the Philippines before he decided to migrate to the US)he had a network of friends and informers (in short, tsismosos y tsismosas) to track someone's whereabouts.

As a welcome, he brought me to Chinatown and treated me with a big plate of chow mien. Since that was Lenten week, he invited me to make visita Iglesia. Excited, I asked my boss to allow me a few hour break to visit the churches. Talagang kalbaryo mga tita. San Francisco is dotted by hilly and steep streets. Think of roller coaster and a nightmare of a manual transmission car. Besides, you can not use your car to move from one church to another. Hello, parking meters. So the only way really was to sweat it out (although, it is no sweat because of the of the balmy weather) by walking and riding the bus. 

That was the  last visita Iglesia I made because my friend got busy with his jealous girl friend and some projects. 
Besides, the churches here are close when there are no services. There are homeless people who might
make the church their refuge. When I say homeless, I am not talking about one or a few; it could be a big group who might want an environment different from the temporary shelter provided by some churches in their basements during worse weather.

Here are the churches that we visited. 

1. St. Mary's Cathedral

-It is one of the most beautiful churches, I visited. It is located in 1111 Gough Street, San Francisco. I used to work at Geary Street so whenever I had the chance, I went to their Room of Adoration to meditate. A friend told me that every thing that he wished for was granted in that Meditation Room. So was mine.

2.Old Saint Mary's Cathedral

Located at 660 California Street, this is the old  Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception is a proto-cathedral. The cathedral is located on the corner of Grant Avenue and California Street. The church is named for Mary, the Mother of Jesus, under the title of the Immaculate Conception
3.St Patricks Church

Located at 756 Mission Street, I consider this as Quiapo Church of San Francisco because of the so many Filipinos going to this church. It is a walking distance from homes of retired and old Filipinos who often congregate in Powell and Market Street. So far, this is the only church in San Francisco that has a Tagalog mass during Sundays. I do not know if they still serve free breakfast.
4. St. Ignatius Church

Located at 650 Parker Avenue, it has been the center of Jesuit pastoral ministry since 1855. ‎ ‎
5.St. Peter & Paul Church

Located at 666 Filbert Street,it is directly across from Washington Square, San Francisco and is administered by the Salesians of Don Bosco. It is known as "La cattedrale d'Italia ovest or the cathedral of the west.
6.St. Dominic

Located at 2390 Bush Street, San Francisco, the parish was established by the Dominican order in 1873, and the current church, built in the Gothic style, was finished in 1928.
7.St. Agnes

Saint Agnes Parish is a 117 year old Roman Catholic Jesuit parish community in the historic and socially conscious Haight Ashbury district of San Francisco, California.
The Haight-Ashbury district is noted for its role as a center of the 1960s hippie movement, a post-runner and closely associated offshoot of the Beat generation or beat movement, members of which swarmed San Francisco's "in"North Beach neighborhood two to eight years before the "Summer of Love" in 1967.  
source: wikipedia
When I settled down in San Francisco, I found a Catholic church where only less than 50 attended the Sunday mass. The Korean priest delivered short homilies and the basket of donation was only passed once during the mass. Heaven!
I found another Catholic Church which was dominated by Filipinos and Hispanics. Once, you're inside, the door is locked. Parang feeling, palabasin ninyo ako. It is opened after the second basket of donation has been passed around. 
The teeners stay mostly at the back, chatting, flirting and texting during mass. Hell!
The small children have their own place, an enclosure where noise is minimized, that is when the infants have pacifiers or feeding bottles in their mouths. It is a good practice to bring an ear plug if one happens to sit near the aquarium-like temporary nursery room. 
 The parking is coordinated by a religious organization, otherwise, shouting matches and spews of invictives are heard in all corners of the parking area. Whew. Sarap, wisikan ng holy water.

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