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San Francisco, California: The National Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi


About the Catholic history of San Francisco:

Here, in the city that bears his name, is the National Shrine of Saint Francis of Assisi. The city that is now San Francisco had only a few hundred inhabitants until gold was discovered in 1849. Almost overnight, it seemed the city grew to several thousand. Many of these newcomers were Catholics and up until then there was no church for them to attend except for the Franciscan mission located several miles from the docks where most of the immigrants arrived.

The mission had been built to minister to the local residents of Spanish and Mexican origin. The pastoral ministries were all in Spanish, with the exception of the Mass which was naturally in Latin. In addition, Mass was not offered on a regular basis.

To overcome these obstacles a new parish was established and the first church consecrated in 1849. This building was later heavily damaged by fire in the devastating earthquake of 1906; however, the brick walls housing the structure remained intact.

An interesting note about the earthquake: at the time San Francisco had one of the most modern fire departments in the country, yet they were unable to be of much help since most of the water mains were broken in the earthquake.


About the National Shrine of St. Francis in San Francisco:

It was decided to rebuild the church within the original walls and in 1919 the new building was completed using steel beams for support. The church is no longer a parish church, but a national Shrine.

It contains relics of both Saint Francis and Saint Clare, as well as relics of Saint Anthony of Padua. It also houses many beautiful works of art and well worth a visit to view the Shrine and a time to pray and reflect.

Fr. Gregory Coiro, O.F.M. (Capucin) is rector of the shrine and pointed out to us that the Shrine contains a replica of the Porziuncola, a replica of Saint Francis’s Porziuncola (Little Portion) in Assisi, Italy. The replica was dedicated by Cardinal William J. Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The Porziuncola Indulgence–the “Pardon of Assisi”– is available to pilgrims who come to the National Shrine of St. Francis.

Sunday Mass is at 10:00 a.m. while weekday Mass schedule is Monday through Saturday at 12:15 p.m. preceded by the Sacrament of Penance at 11:30 a.m. in the church. One may also come to office in the rectory for confessions as well.


Traveling to the National Shrine of Saint Francis in San Francisco:

Address: 610 Vallejo Street, San Francisco, CA 94133, USA

GPS coordinates: 37° 47′ 56.4144” N, 122° 24′ 27.9000” W

Tel: +1 (415) 986-4557

Click here for the official website of the National Shrine of Saint Francis of Assisi in San Francisco.

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