Organized Religion in San Francisco


To me it seems like something so traditional in such a nontraditional city – or alternatively-traditional city – is, in fact, the most cult-like and underground thing you could do. In this case: going to mass felt a little edgy.

That’s a foolish, stereotyped based generalization, of course. But it’s there, nonetheless. Like a pro-life protest in Justin Herman Plaza, attending Palm Sunday services seems a little dangerous.

I’m Catholic (as a Mexican/Irish/Italian-American, there really wasn’t anyway to avoid it) and since I moved to the city several years ago, I’ve yet to find a church to which I really felt I could connect. In Sacramento, I was head over heels for my parish, it was the right size, the right mix of old-school and new times sensibilities, it was pretty, and I had Catholic friends who’d attend services with me. Living in the ‘loin when I moved here – Sunday mornings were always a little iffy on the street (the only people out where those too high or ill or drunk to crawl home/to a shelter/etc). The Sunset has several churches within walking distance – but one is much too vast and the other is much, much too progressive for my tastes.

The Cathedral is alright – but sometimes a girl needs architectural tradition over a monolithic, modernistic, architectural oppressive washing machine agitator.

So when my friend invited me to St. Dominic’s (2390 Bush Street, at Steiner), I jumped at the chance.

It’s possible I also jumped at the chance because it’s the start of Holy Week and I’ve got plenty of Catholic, I’ve-been-missing-mass-too-often guilt to work off.

The church is lovely. It’s like someone took an east coast cathedral and shrunk it down to neighborhood proportions. I especially like that it has flying buttresses. Perhaps just because I like saying “flying buttresses.” (Interestingly enough, by the way, those flying buttresses – ding! – were added in 1991 as part of the structure

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