Gaudete: celebrating welcoming parishes, schools and communities

Most Holy Redeemer

The Castro, San Franciso, Calif.

Fr. Matt Link, C.PP.S / May 26, 2022
Sunday Mass at Most Holy Redeemer.
Located in the historic Castro District of San Francisco, Most Holy Redeemer (MHR) is an inclusive community that welcomes all people regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, background, or faith tradition. Our parish strives to bring people out of isolation and into community, from indifference into concern, from selfishness into service, and from fear in the midst of adversity, to faith and hope in God. Founded in 1900, the parish has always tried to be present, a community actively loving God and loving our neighbor. In the early 1980s the community and the neighborhood began to change. The mission and life of the parish was experiencing significant change as well. The parish school and convent closed.

A New Era

The history of MHR’s relationship with the LGBTQ+ community of San Francisco found its origins during the HIV/AIDS crisis, when the parish opened its doors and ministered to this community. The story of MHR has been chronicled in the Donal Godfrey, SJ book, The Gays and the Greys: The Story of the Gay Community at Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Parish and more recently in Michael O’Loughlin’s Hidden Mercy: AIDS, Catholics, and the Untold Stories of Compassion in the Face of Fear. In fact, it was this welcome of all people into the life of the parish that helped revitalize our community into a vibrant place of love and devotion, a place where all could feel safe and welcome, a place where all could experience God’s inclusive love. Since that time, we have been proud to offer a welcoming, diverse, inter-generational community at MHR where LGBTQ+ people and all people, can engage in prayer, fellowship, and service. Placed under the pastoral care of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood in 2014, MHR continues to offer many significant ministries for its parishioners, including an HIV/AIDS support group, a young adults group, RCIA, centering prayer, women’s spirituality, Wednesday Night Suppers and other ministries of outreach to our friends and neighbors experiencing challenges with housing and food insecurity, as well as other opportunities to engage in liturgy, service, and outreach. We engage in our local community through the San Francisco Pride march, the Castro Street fair, and other opportunities to reach out and be a good neighbor. At a time when division and strife seem to be everywhere, we do the work, all of us, as people of faith, to be instruments of unity and peace. If you are a member of the LGBTQ+ community, friend or ally, if you are seeking a spiritual home, if you are living in or visiting San Francisco, stop by Most Holy Redeemer! Most Holy Redeemer is truly a home for all. God’s inclusive love is proclaimed here and truly all are welcome!

Fr. Matt Link, C.PP.S

Fr. Matt Link, C.PP.S was ordained in 2007.

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