Archbishop Cordileone celebrates Mass and Rite of Renewal of Blessing at St. Augustine Church

By Mary Powers

On Sunday, March 10, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone celebrated Mass at St. Augustine Catholic Church where he renewed the blessing of the Church. The Mass of blessing follows a shooting that occurred at the parish on January 30. Fortunately, there were no injuries.

The Mass began with the altar bare. The choir led the congregation in singing Psalm 130 and the Litany of Saints, in reparation for the desecration of the church. During the Litany of Saints, the altar servers prepared the altar, putting on its cloth, candles, and a small crucifix.

Following Mass, Archbishop Cordileone said a healing prayer for the St. Augustine community and those suffering from mental health disorders.

“We pray for our clergy, staff, ministers, parishioners, neighbors, law enforcement officers and their families, asking for Your healing touch to mend the physical and emotional wounds caused by this senseless act,” said Archbishop Cordileone. “Bless and guide our community, and guide us in the ways of justice, peace, and love.

The Archbishop also offered a prayer of blessing for St. Augustine Church and blessed the sanctuary with holy water.

He processed to the back of the church and said a second renewal of blessing prayer at the main entrance doors, praying that “those who enter this church with confident faith in Him may persevere in the teaching of the apostles, in the breaking of the bread, and in unceasing prayer, and so be built into the heavenly Jerusalem.”

Attending the Mass were members of the law enforcement community include Chief Scott Campbell, Chief of Police for South San Francisco; Captain Adam Plank, Lieutenant Marty Mahon, Lieutenant Chris Devan, and Lieutenant Matt O’Connor. Sharon Ranals, South San Francisco City Manager; and City Councilman Mark Nagales also attended.

 “Thank you, thank you, thank you for being with us today,” said Archbishop Cordileone in his homily, referring to the police officers and city leaders. “On behalf of all of us, I cannot tell you how much this means to us. When we can so easily feel abandoned and ignored in times of distress such as this, knowing that we have the support of our civil leaders bolsters our spirits and confirms us in our desire to work together for the common good of our community.”

The Archbishop also encouraged the faithful with the message of hope from the second reading, God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish but might have eternal life.

“Let us, then, choose the path of belief, not just with our lips but with our whole lives,” he said.  “Let us dwell in the light and spread that light to the world by lives of virtue and good works.”

Pastor of St. Augustine Church Fr. Ray Reyes also thanked the many civic leaders who had joined the Mass.

“As we offer our gratitude to our city officials, we are truly grateful for their collaboration, their response, and their caring,” said Fr. Reyes. “We commend their care and dedication to protect the citizens of this city.”

Chief Campbell also addressed the congregation after Mass and expressed his solidarity with the parishioners, assuring them that “the city of South San Francisco stands with you,” He said. “I want to be clear about one thing. Violent crime will not be tolerated in South San Francisco, especially in a place of worship. I’m confident that the feelings of anger, of sadness, and fear will diminish over time with the support of each other.”  

Also following Mass was a celebration with parishioners, city leaders, and law enforcement officers enjoying traditional Filipino food.