The Beginning of the End?

May 2015

There’s a shake-up happening in San Francisco — and we’re not talking earthquakes.

The epicenter is the City by the Bay’s Star of the Sea parish. A November 2014 decision by recently installed pastor Fr. Joseph Illo and associate pastor Fr. Patrick Driscoll to allow only boys to serve at the altar has sent shockwaves through the region and across the nation, even rating a write-up in the New York Daily News (Jan. 28). It’s been called “discriminatory,” “disturbing,” and “a step in the wrong direction.” At a parish meeting this March, a group of attendees called for the priests to be removed, prompting a wave of clapping and cheering.

When the two priests arrived at Star of the Sea in August 2014, they took over what Fr. Illo has called a “dying parish.” In an interview with reporter Jim Graves (CatholicWorldReport.com, Jan. 29), Fr. Illo said the 1,000-seat church typically draws only 100-130 people for Sunday Mass — a measly one-tenth of its capacity. It is “a big, empty city parish,” he said, but one the two priests “hope to revive.”

At the time of their arrival, the parish had “hardly any servers,” Fr. Illo said. “So we decided to only have a boys’ program. We’re the new administration, we’re building from zero, so we thought we’d start by implementing our vision.”

According to the San Francisco Chronicle (Jan. 26), adults had been serving at the Church’s regular Masses. Altar boys and altar girls both served at Masses held for the parish school. Those girls will continue to be allowed to serve, but their use will be phased out over time, and no new girls will be admitted. Fr. Illo envisions the boys-only policy as part of a larger father-and-son program at the parish — the only parish in the archdiocese that restricts altar service to boys.


You have two options:

  1. Online subscription: Subscribe now to New Oxford Review for access to all web content at newoxfordreview.org AND the monthly print edition for as low as $38 per year.
  2. Single article purchase: Purchase this article for $1.95, for viewing and printing for 48 hours.

If you're already a subscriber log-in here.



New Oxford Notes: May 2015

Read our posting policy Add a comment
as i understand the issue,a priest doesn't need the permission of the pastor or his Ordinary to use boy servers Posted by: Pocket Debris
June 12, 2015 11:04 AM EDT
Sounds suspicious for a couple of reasons: 1)the clergy at the church making statements such as "... girls generally do a better job" and "boys lose interest and drop out due to the superior performance or mere presence of girls"; and 2) the church being located in the heart of Communist Amerika.

I might conclude these enthused generalizations about girls and the national press coverage spawned by a "dying parish" is just another misleading lunge at allowing women to become priests. After all, even as young girls, females universally do a better job than those comparably-less-competent males.

In reality, socialists have undermined many institutions by using women, especially since the 1950s, and many of these women have emotional, not intellectual, attractions and loyalty to Marxist subversion -- and too many unwittingly so.

Is today's world more moral and respectful? Is society more diplomatic and well-mannered? Do we have more integrity and humility? Or are we, on the whole, more crass, less considerate, lazy and ignorant, even proudly so?

Along with the acceptance of women in spheres from media to military, we see the seven vices having been transformed in to the seven virtues, and, yet, women are seldom held accountable to the degree of they should be.
Posted by: j17ghs
May 07, 2015 03:59 PM EDT
A good move by the pastor.
The parish is dying what can happen?
More of the luke warm stop going to mass?
Boys at that age really don't want to do what girls do. They don't drop out because they are "out done" by the girls; they drop out because they don't want to do girlish things. By focusing on making this a "man's activity" the pastor might start to bring in more Fathers and then more families. Let the whiners leave, it was only a matter of time for them anyway.
Posted by: altgraubart
May 08, 2015 12:06 PM EDT
Add a comment


©