On October 4, San Francisco's iconic St. Ignatius Church celebrates its 100th anniversary at its current site adjacent to the University of San Francisco campus at the corner of Parker Avenue and Fulton Street. Festivities will include the burial of a time capsule, Mass, and a gala dinner.
The impressive church, the fifth St. Ignatius Church in San Francisco, is deeply woven into the community through the daily celebration of Mass, sacramental activities such as weddings, baptisms, confirmations, and first communions, as well as the site of concerts, lectures, and graduations for USF and St. Ignatius College Preparatory.
Led by its Pastor Fr. Greg Bonfiglio, SJ, St. Ignatius, also celebrating 20 years as a parish, is comprised of more than 1,200 households including families, single professionals, empty nesters, retirees, and others from all over the Bay Area. The parish supports the community through outreach ministries and social justice programs including an extensive Shelter Meals program in partnership with five different SF homeless shelters, Catholic Faith Formation education for children and adults, The Gubbio Project in the Tenderloin in partnership with St. Boniface Church that provides a safe space for homeless, and Las Vecinas de El Salvador, a ministry that supports the sister parish of San Antonio in Soyapango, El Salvador.
To read more about the parish, please see Mission magazine.
St. Ignatius Parish will celebrate the centennial of St. Ignatius Church on Saturday, October 4 with a trio of commemorative activities:
|4:00 pm||Burial of a time capsule containing historic and contemporary objects commemorating the Centennial of the Church. (open to the public)|
|5:00 pm||Centennial Mass celebrated in the Church (open to the public))|
|6:00 pm||Gala dinner in the University of San Francisco's War Memorial Gymnasium (by ticket for parishioners and honored guests))|
On Saturday, December 13, St. Ignatius Parish will hold a day of service in the Bay Area, sending out teams of volunteers to support projects in the community. “We live in a lovely city that nonetheless has many people in need—mothers, children, whole families, veterans, the lonely, elderly—and we as a parish are especially able to share our blessings with them,” says Mary Burns, a parishioner and member of the Parish Outreach Commission, who is heading up the Day of Service effort. “We hope that this first day of service will become not only an annual event for our community, but will lead parishioners to give their gifts of time and service all during the year to the hard-working agencies who are participating in our event.”
St. Ignatius parishioners will partner with the following organizations to provide volunteers for day of service projects:
The magnificent St. Ignatius Church is the legacy of a dynamic and continuous Jesuit presence in San Francisco from the city's earliest days. The first St. Ignatius Church was a simple, wooden structure on Market Street between 4th and 5th streets. It was dedicated in July 1855, only six years after the first Jesuit priests arrived in San Francisco from Italy.
The first church grew to accommodate the needs of the growing city. A three story, brick school building was built adjacent to it in 1862, into which the St Ignatius Church worshipping community moved its services.
The first grand St. Ignatius Church was built at Hayes Street and Van Ness Avenue. It was dedicated in 1880 and stood on the site now occupied by Davies Symphony Hall. After its destruction by fire following the 1906 earthquake, the Jesuits moved to the western edge of the city near Golden Gate Park where a small, stucco building served as their church.
Engineer John E. Pope convinced the Jesuits to acquire the piece of land atop the hill at the corner of Parker Avenue and Fulton Street. He envisioned this as a perfect site to construct a building “with towering outlines visible from all parts of the City,” and “stately towers piercing the air above the breakers.”
Taking Pope's vision of a landmark church to heart, architect Charles J. I. Devlin began drawing plans for the church in 1909. Built between 1910 and 1914, and dedicated on August 2, 1914, the fifth St. Ignatius Church is, indeed, a San Francisco landmark.