Brick By Brick: Another parish goes ‘ad orientem’!

Ad-Orientem-Cartoon-Meme-640x578I had a note from a reader about excellent news from Star Of The Sea parish in San Francisco.

Firstly, as always, thank you for your blog! You are my first bookmark under my Catholic folder, immediately followed by ChurchMilitant.  [HA!  Take that Michael!   o{]:¬Þ  ] A couple of websites have nearly dethroned you on occasion, but WDTPRS always prevails and remains king of the bookmarks.

I am writing to let you know that our parish, Star of the Sea in San Francisco (who you likely heard about when we made the switch to male-only altar servers), [I do indeed.  And I recall that libs had a spittle-flecked nutty!] will be moving to Ad Orientem worship for all Masses starting on Ash Wednesday! Our parish produced a video featuring our pastor Fr Joseph Illo explain why we are making this change and I thought I would share it with you:

Please say a prayer for our dear pastor when you can. He is a true man of God and we are so blessed to have him here in San Francisco.


In the video I really like the point Fr. Illo makes about the priest “going away” during Mass, even to the point that people might not recall which priest had the Mass!

Fr. Z kudos.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. JackG says:

    This is my parish, also. In fact, I just came home from attending the 11:30am TLM. The number attendees keeps growing at that Mass (we also have a 5:00pm TLM on Sunday plus weekday mornings). Attendance at Holy Hour and 24-hour adoration also continues to grow.

    Regarding the “spittle-flecked nutty” crowd, they are still out there and continue their attacks on Fr. Illo. Please keep Fr. Illo (and Arch-Bishop Cordileone) in your prayers.

  2. visigrad says:

    Is there some way to see that video ?

  3. Father G says:

    Here’s the video link from the parish FB page:

  4. visigrad says:

    Thank you ever so much Fr. G This is beautifully done. I will be sharing widely. Praying fervently more bishops and priests will come to see what Father Illo has seen…..especially in my own diocese. And for sure will keep him and Archbishop Cordileone in prayer as well.

  5. SanSan says:

    Father Illo is the real deal. Holy, energetic, available, interested…….I could go on and on. Just had a beautiful weekend in Monterey at the Latin Mass Conference. Fr. Illo was guest speaker and celebrant of TLM on Saturday and a wonderful FSSP Fr. Buckley celebrated the TLM on Sunday.

    Look for the video on Star of the Sea FB

  6. AnnTherese says:

    The video is well done. The question I am left with is– what value does a homily bring to the Mass? If the focus is meant to be on God (wholehearted Amen!), and if it’s good that we “might not recall which priest had the Mass,” then a homily doesn’t seem to fit. The homily very much brings the priest front and center– his personality, stories, reflections, biases, agendas, ego, etc., in the mix of the message he’s trying to deliver. Since the homily is not meant to be catechetical, then what does it add? Given the explanation presented here, the homily would be a distraction from our focus on God.

    I welcome your thoughts on this.

  7. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    His last comment is ringing in my ears. Am I extrapolating too far to say this: an age in which the people gaze at each other (or themselves) is one which does not know how to love God, neighbor or self?

  8. 1173justin says:

    My parish started doing mass ad orientem during advent, and thankfully has not stopped, even the daily masses.

  9. stuartal79 says:

    I’m going to go out on a limb and say Mass attendance will increase at Star Of The Sea. I’d bet it!

  10. Kathleen10 says:

    It’s the end of days. I’m envying San Francisco.

  11. Michael says:

    Fr. Joseph Illo was my pastor for eleven years at my home parish of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Modesto, California. I am now a seminarian studying for the priesthood with a little over two years left before ordination (God Willing). I honestly attribute my priestly vocation to him and his example in following the Will of God. Our Lord Jesus Christ has blest us with many holy men in the history of the Church….Fr. Joseph Illo is most certainly one of those.

  12. Nan says:

    Michael, thank you for your discernment! I’ll pray for you.

  13. abasham says:

    Such a beautiful parish & Church. I went to college in California and one time found myself walking down the street one evening in SF on the way somewhere else. I passed the church and noticed mass was about to start so I ducked in. A very edifying experience – quite a bit different than ducking into that laundry machine of a Cathedral they were cursed with out there.

  14. Just Some Guy says:

    What great news. I wonder if there is any Web site keeping track of parishes who offer ad orientem Mass. None that I know of where I live in upstate NY.

  15. visigrad says:

    Hey Just Some Guy…..that is a neat idea….how about all Fr/ Z’s readers send in the names of those parishes in their diocese. I am feel strongly that the laity needs to push hard for this as well as the EF. I pray that is a push from The Holy Spirit….

  16. Sandy says:

    It is not surprising that this happens under the guidance of wonderful Archbishop Cordileone, a holy man that we lost here in SoCal. (We sure need him here now more than ever, considering what our bishop has been saying!) Mother Mary, cover all these sons of yours with your mantle.

  17. pannw says:

    My family spent our vacation in California a few years ago, right around the time Father Illo was making news for all that ‘hagan lio’ he was creating. We were only spending a couple days in San Francisco, and my husband, the non-Catholic (pray for him), wannabe travel agent packs so much into our trips that sometimes he forgets to make time for Mass, and gets annoyed with me when I throw the kink into his plans by saying, “Where are we going to Mass?” You’d think after all these years he’d know it was a must, but he isn’t thinking what day of the week it is, I think. Anyway, we usually go to the parish closest to us at the time, but I told him about the good Father and that if at all possible I wanted us to go to Mass at Star of the Sea so we could offer him our support and I knew it wouldn’t be a source of penance as so many traveling experiences have been. It was a little bit of a drive from where we were, but my dear husband worked our plans so that we could make the Saturday vigil Mass, and it was so worth it. After Mass, I had the opportunity to speak to Father Illo briefly, and told him how wonderful it was that he was going to altar BOYS, and that my priest had recently done the same and had also gone ad orientem and how it was really doing good things in the parish. I don’t remember his exact words, but it was to the effect that some things work better or more easily in some places than others. I knew he didn’t want to complain but he was clearly taking a beating. I thought to myself, here is a holy priest right in the lion’s den. I told him I would pray for him, and he thanked me but said to pray for his bishop, Archbishop Cordileone. These two wonderful men, true priests of Jesus, have been in my morning prayers everyday since. Father Illo was so kind, and soft spoken, I can see where people might think they could bully him into giving up, but clearly he is a man with a chest.

  18. Lori says:

    Fr. Glen Naguit of St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church in Oakland has been praying all Masses Ad Orientum since Cardinal Sarah asked all Bishops to begin/renew this practice last year.

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