When the Catholic Church announced it would shut down San Francisco’s landmark St. Brigid’s Church in 1993, local parishioners launched a fight to save it. We hear their story from San Francisco Chronicle reporter Julian Guthrie, author of “The Grace of Everyday Saints: How a Band of Believers Lost Their Church and Found Their Faith.”

‘The Grace of Everyday Saints’ 23 August,2011forum

Julian Guthrie, staff writer for The San Francisco Chronicle and author of "The Grace of Everyday Saints"

  • guest

    I find that being a person of faith in the heart of the Silicon Valley requires a delicate dance–always feels like a gradual “coming out” that I need to perform with colleagues and acquaintances, most of whom are somewhere between agnostic and atheist. Science and religion are not, as I see them, in opposition, but pertain to different ontological spheres.   Yet I feel that many people in the region worry those who are religious as pitiable and untrustworthy on some level.  Tis a terrible shame.

  • james o. clifford

    I am a retired reporter who lost his faith over the scandal – my faith in the news media. Can the author comment on such books as “Philip’s Code: No News is  Good News to a Killer” and David Pierre’s “Double Standard.” Both point to the media’s lack of coverage of similar sex abuse cases. The AP did a series in 2007 on abuse by school teachers. Many say it came decades late.

  • Will

    My church was closed as part of this same created crisis. I attended Sacred Heart Church on Fillmore Street. As a child I was very active in the church. Even before coming out of the closet, I always had a struggle with the hypocrisy of the Catholic Church. Albeit I was not a practicing Catholic, it hurt that one of tge largest African American Catholic congregations in the City was merged with another. Sacred Heart was built in the 1880s just as St. Brigid was but has always been overshadowed by St. Brigid.

  • Ann

    I am part of a faith community in Berkeley.  While the building where we meet is special to me, I got married in that church, it is the people that make it a church for me.  We rent the building, and it is never a given that our lease will be renewed.  While it is stressful to think we may lose our place to meet, and certainly I hope and pray it never comes to that, I am comforted by Jesus’ words that his kingdom is not of this world.  His kingdom is not an earthly kingdom or territory.

  • Pwesterhouse

    When Catholics wake up to the fact that physical assets need to be owned by the parishioners who contribute the resources to sustaining their community, then the Bishops and priests might be more willing to dialogue and come to consensus decisions about utilization of resources. It is all about ownership, and those who own it can determine the fate of the asset. The hierarchy needs to hear the unmistakable noise of closing wallets to bring them to the table to renegotiate who owns what!

    • Joe

      Independent thought?!  Heresy!

      It’s that kind of thinking that is counter productive to the Catholic Church.

      • Christienne

        Since when is this heresy.  Money and property have nothing to do with what Jesus or the Church he established, that is a them..

  • John

    As a non-Catholic I am constantly amazed and angry that media still gives any quarter to an institution that is absolutely corrupt. The Catholic Church is the oldest form of a global corporation which has much more in common with Monsanto than with the true spirit of Jesus Christ. The only people who care at all anymore are the good Catholics who have invested their lives in their church. For them, I’m sad and suggest starting over with another variety of Christianity. For the rest of us, please spare us any more programs on this morally bankrupt institution.

    • from St. Brigid

      Dear John, I agree Catholic Church has to deal with a lot of issues, just like any other organizations in the world. However, we don’t (and the media seldom) advertise when the Catholic Church does good – hospitals, schools, soup kitchen, missionary work overseas, helping the poor, feeding the hungry, comforting the lonely, educating the next generations, offering senior services, defending family values, respect life, respect human dignity… The fight to save St. Brigid has been painful and sad in the last 17 years. However, it never lessens my faith. I still respect my Church (bad leaders are just too human), and I am proud to be Catholic.  Sincerely, _ 

      • John

        Dear St. Brigid,

        Thank you for your response and I apologize if my comment implied (or at least didn’t specifically speak to) all of the wonderful work done by the rank and file members of the Catholic Church. Thank you for all of that. My issue is that the leadership of the church is absolutely corrupt and  cares first and foremost about maintaining power and “what Jesus would have done” be damned. The real people of the Catholic church should excommunicate the leadership!

        Peace and Love,


        • Christienne

          OK I agree.  Quinn, Levada, Niederauer are all friends and extremely flawed.  I’m Catholic. I know.

    • Christienne

      Which of the 30,000 demoninations do you recommend?  Tell me what on this earth works better or has had more devotees?

  • Moe braun

    Enjoyed Julian this morning and can relate to being Irish
    and also strangely to how the characters became more fervent after *The Troubles.* Thank you .

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