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A Eucharistic parish grows at speed

The Catholic News Service told the story of a San Francisco parish which has transformed itself.

Three years after Fr Joseph Illo was appointed at Star of the Sea, Mass attendance and parish membership have both risen by 10 per cent each year. Eva Muntean, who organises the parish’s street evangelisation, says: “For the first time in my life, I feel I belong to a parish, I mean really belong.” Another parishioner says: “I was fading from the faith and now I am back … I know so many people in the parish and it makes me so joyful.”

So what is the secret? Fr Illo says: “We want to base the renewal of our parish around the Holy Eucharist.” He has done this by paying special attention to beautiful music (Gregorian chant), and by reception of the Eucharist kneeling at the Communion rail. There is a focus on the priesthood: altar service is seen as a preparation for priesthood, so it is boys-only. Many Masses are celebrated ad orientem (facing east).

There is also “a new Knights of Columbus chapter, revitalised homeless outreach, Gabriel Project for pregnant women in need, a young adults group, and a speaker and a film series as well as Filipino and Chinese parish groups,” the report said.

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