Old St. Mary’s Church and Cathedral at California Street and Grant Avenue is asking the public for donations. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>

Old St. Mary’s Church and Cathedral at California Street and Grant Avenue is asking the public for donations. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Historic San Francisco church says doors could close if it can’t raise money through donations

Old St. Mary’s has lost revenue, laid off staff due to shut down of services

A 167-year-old San Francisco church is reaching out to the community for financial support following a drop in its income due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Old St. Mary’s Church, California’s oldest Cathedral, has set up a GoFundMe in hopes that the community will help make up some of the income it has lost, Old St. Mary’s priest Father John Ardis said.

“We’re hoping that the GoFundMe will reach out to people and that they will share it with their friends and family and hopefully people who have a love for the ministry or the historical aspects of Old St. Mary’s Cathedral, which has served the community since 1854,” Ardis said.

The church used to receive about $3,500 each weekend in collections during services, around half of which was from tourists, according to Ardis. That amount has dropped to about $1,000 for each of the eight weekends during the pandemic it has been able to open for reduced services, he said.

The church “faces the very real possibility of having to close its doors to the community, and to the world,” the GoFundMe description states.

The church also has lost income brought in by its preschool program, which it had to shut down due to a drop in enrollment, and its bookstore.

As a result of the lost funds, the church had to lay off two priests and terminate 20 staff members.

The church will use money raised by the GoFundMe to pay for insurance costs and the Archdiocesan’s Annual Appeal, Ardis said. According to the GoFundMe, the church owes $250,000 in insurance payments.

Ardis said the church was built in 1854, but was rebuilt and reopened following the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire. Because of the age of the building and the cost of insurance, the church hasn’t been able to attend to needed maintenance issues, Ardis said.

During a majority of the pandemic, the church has been livestreaming mass via YouTube with readings in English, Mandarin and Cantonese, Ardis said. The weekend of Feb. 20 was the second weekend it was able to host in-person, limited capacity masses with required masks and social distancing.

“Ultimately, we’re looking forward to the day when we can welcome back multitudes of people,” Ardis said.

Bay Area NewsCoronavirussan francisco news

Just Posted

A collaborative workspace for a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) in Coordinape is pictured at a recent blockchain meet up at Atlas Cafe. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)</ins>
Business without bosses: San Francisco innovators battle bureaucracy with blockchain

‘The next generation will work for three DAOs at the same time’

Plan Bay Area 2050 is an expansive plan guiding the region’s growth and development over the next three decades. The regional plan addresses progressive policy priorities like a universal basic income and a region-wide rent cap, alongside massive new spending on affordable housing and transportation infrastructure. (Shutterstock)
Plan Bay Area 2050: Analyzing an extensive regional plan that covers the next 30 years

Here are the big ticket proposals in the $1.4 trillion proposal

Pregnant women are in the high-risk category currently prioritized for booster shots in San Francisco. (Unai Huizi/Shutterstock)
What pregnant women need to know about COVID and booster shots

Inoculations for immunosuppressed individuals are recommended in the second trimester

Examiner reporter Ben Schneider drives an Arcimoto Fun Utility Vehicle along Beach Street in Fisherman’s Wharf on Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Could San Francisco’s tiny tourist cruisers become the cars of the future?

‘Fun Utility Vehicles’ have arrived in The City

Most Read