Archbishop celebrates Mass with 60 while still obeying 12-person COVID limit
SAN FRANCISCO, California, August 17, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — With severe lockdown measures still in place in San Francisco that limit worship services to a dozen people, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone found a creative way to allow dozens of faithful to simultaneously attend Mass on the Aug. 15 Feast of the Assumption.
The Archdiocese of San Francisco is under a severe lockdown since it was placed on a “watchlist.” Although churches opened for indoor masses in mid-June with restrictions, they have since closed. With the new lockdown measures, only outdoor Masses of 12 people or fewer are permitted.
However, Cordileone, the archbishop of San Francisco, recognized the importance in allowing the faithful to physically participate at the Mass. Therefore, on the Feast of the Assumption, he and four other priests celebrated five different Masses, all said at the same time, on the plaza of the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption.
In a video released on the same day, Abp. Cordileone said, “As Catholics, we have a sacramental vision of the world, and we see the church building as not just a practical matter of convenience, to be able to be inside and protected from the elements. The Church has a sacramental significance.”
“It symbolizes the Church that is the people of God,” he continued. “As St. Peter says, ‘Built up of living stones.’ It is the essence of the Church that we gather for worship.”
“There’s plenty of room [on the plaza] to have multiple Masses at the same time. The thought came to my mind because I envisioned many people on the plaza. Even if they cannot be at the same Mass worshiping together, they can worship together in smaller groups.”
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Given the pandemic and lockdown, Abp. Cordileone explained that it is more crucial than ever to witness to the Faith. “This is a way we can publicly manifest our faith and give expression to our faith in greater numbers so the world can be reminded of the importance of the centrality of God to our society.”
“Whenever a society or a nation turns its back on God or denies God, it always begins to corrupt and eventually fall apart. So we need to reclaim God at the center of our society.”
EWTN reporter Raymond Arroyo tweeted his encouragement of Abp. Cordileone while also pointing out the severity of the restrictions.
“How sad and outrageous that Sunday worship is restricted to 12 participants in San Francisco. With an outdoor plaza like the Cathedral in SF, hundreds could attend,” he wrote. “Good on Arch. Cordileone for getting creative.”
Abp. Cordileone likewise addressed the treatment of churches in the lockdown: “... the health orders in certain parts of the state including here in San Francisco are being unequally applied — certain types of activities, especially religious activities, being more greatly restricted than other types of secular activities.”
“We’ve seen this elsewhere as well,” he continued. “We’ve seen it in Nevada, where casinos are allowed to operate and churches cannot still have indoor services. ... This is just one example of what happens when we remove God from the center of our society.”