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Archbishop dedicates adoration chapel at Star of the Sea

new 03 4.6.17_star.procession.IMG_2979 - CopyA eucharistic procession March 25 from Star of the Sea Church in San Francisco traveled along nearby streets, with Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone carrying the Eucharist in a monstrance under a canopy and saying the rosary. Photos by Valerie Schmalz/Catholic San Francisco)

April 6, 2017
Valerie Schmalz

Calling the establishment of the St. Joseph Perpetual Adoration Chapel “a holy endeavor,” Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone dedicated the eucharistic adoration chapel at Star of the Sea Church March 25, the solemnity of the Annunciation, and led a procession of several hundred people through the surrounding San Francisco neighborhood.

The dedication of the chapel is “a pivotal moment in the history of the parish and of the archdiocese,” Archbishop Cordileone said in a short talk after blessing the chapel, speaking to the many gathered in the church who could not crowd into the chapel for the blessing. “I thank you and I pray that this devotion, this holy devotion, may bring forth many graces on the parish and on the archdiocese.”

Parents pushing strollers, young adults praying the rosary, longtime parishioners and religious sisters were among the varied crowd of 400-500 people singing hymns and praying the Joyful Mysteries of the rosary, led by their megaphone-armed pastor Father Joseph Illo and then by a Missionary of Charity in her blue trimmed white sari.

The archbishop carried the Eucharist in a monstrance before him under a canopy held by four men. Going before him were 14 altar servers and men carrying a statue of St. Joseph. The procession crossed the busy street of Clement, and went along Eighth Avenue, along California, and back along Ninth Avenue in the Inner Richmond neighborhood.

The chapel cost $250,000 to renovate, said Father Illo. Its genesis was in 1958, when an earlier pastor, Msgr. Walter Fleming, began raising money to transform the area, which had been a first grade classroom, into a day chapel. Archbishop Joseph McGucken dedicated it in 1970 as the St. Joseph Chapel.

The previous pastor, Father Mark Mazza, planned to put in new lighting, but deferred when he knew Father Illo was succeeding him. “The project became much more than new lighting, of course, and we decided we had better do a top to bottom renovation.” Father Illo said.

A major benefactor was Father Benedict Chang, who resided at the parish for many years, and left a bequest two years ago of about $300,000 divided evenly between Star of the Sea and the archdiocese. Sixty thousand dollars were allocated to the chapel. About $40,000 in birthday gifts and gifts for his 25th jubilee of ordination last year went to the chapel, Father Illo said. The balance of the $220,000 raised so far was made up of individual contributions as well as approximately $30,000 in donations received toward the Oratory of St. Philip Neri., which has been put on hold indefinitely. The chapel renovation was designed by Liz Machado.

“The Catholic Church is a eucharistic family, and the more we center our parishes and families around the Eucharist – both the Mass as public worship and quiet, personal prayer in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament – the more we will be who we are,” said Father Illo. “There is no single apostolate that does more for a parish than Eucharistic adoration. Mass attendance increases, men enter the seminary and women religious life, income increases, ministries multiply, the community is built up, people begin serving the poor and caring for each other. Everything good comes from contact with the holy Eucharist. “

Leslie Low, who is overseeing the parish’s adoration project, said volunteers are signed up from all day Thursday through Saturday afternoon. Low, whose father helped initiate Saturday adoration at the parish 20 years ago, said more than 100 people have committed to make at least one Holy Hour a week, so adoration will likely expand to Wednesdays as well soon.

“This latest work of your parish is just one, but a great sign of your great love for the church,” said Archbishop Cordileone, who makes a daily Holy Hour and urges all his priests to do the same. “It is a sign of your love of God which flows over… as we see in the corporal and spiritual works of mercy abounding at Star of the Sea.”

“I thank you and pray that this devotion, this holy devotion may bring forth many graces on the parish and on the archdiocese,” Archbishop Cordileone said.

To sign up for a Holy Hour slot, visit staradoration.com.

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