As a little kid, I accompanied my grandmother many times as she crossed through Howard Street and made the sign of the cross in front of the abandoned Saint Joseph’s Parish. She told me stories of the days she sang in the choir at that parish and how beautiful the sacred space was long ago. Because of a decline of members and lack of resources, the parish closed and the parish priest processed his people to Saint Patrick’s Parish on Mission Street across from the Yerba Buena Garden.
It has always been an abandon church with its doors locked to the public…..UNTIL YESTERDAY! Showing my friend the neighborhood, I shockingly saw that the fences were unlocked and the doors of this church building were open….. and one parking spot remained right in front. This was an opportunity I could not pass up. I now had the opportunity to see the parish my grandmother once loved, but was moved to a tear to what I saw.
Supposedly, someone got permission to hold an estate sale in this once vibrant and beautiful parish. I was moved to tears to see how some of the instruments, especially the pipe organ, were still intact.
This experience was a reminder to me that we are the living stones of Christ’s Church in the modern world. We are the light of Christ that must radiate his love through works of charity. At the same time, we must work diligently to maintain the sacred space where Eucharist and liturgy is celebrated. We must work tirelessly, as the Body of Christ, to maintain a sacred place in the world where God’s people may encounter him and raise their thoughts and minds to him alone. These are the places where the faithful gather and it is our duty, as the baptized, to be sure the young church of today will have these sacred spaces tomorrow.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.