St. Cecilia Church in San Francisco
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St. Cecilia Church in San Francisco is a parish of the Archdiocese of San Francisco in San Francisco, California. The parish primarily serves the Sunset District and neighboring Parkside, West Portal, St. Francis Wood, and Forest Hill. It is one of five parishes serving the Sunset District, along with Holy Name, St. Anne, St. Gabriel, and the smaller St. John of God. St. Cecilia Parish was established in 1917, with the first Masses held in a two-story house on Taraval Street. Mayor James Rolph donated to the parish an unused wooden school building, the former Parkside School, which became the first permanent church building, located at 15th and Taraval. The parish celebrated its Centennial on January 7, 2017, with additional events planned throughout the 2016-17 school year.
The parish grew slowly under two pastors, but in 1946, Rev. Harold Collins was named pastor of St. Cecilia's, and under his leadership, the parish grew rapidly in the post-World War II years, necessitating the expansion of parish facilities. The new church, begun in 1954 and completed in 1956, is of a Spanish Colonial design and features a red-tile roof, a bell tower topped with a gold leaf cross, and a reinforced concrete structure. The neighboring school building, originally constructed in the 1930s, and doubled in size in 1948, is now home to approximately 600 students, down from the high of 800+ in the 1960s.
The parish has a variety of programs serving its community, including outreach to the elderly and/or homebound, various activities serving its multi-ethnic parishioners, and volunteer groups that support the school, both financially and in terms of maintenance/upkeep.
The community continues to grow and develop and continues to welcome newcomers at the same time that it loses many of its 50+ year members, thus re-affirming its vibrancy and relevance in the 21st century.
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