Saints Peter and Paul Church, San Francisco
|Saints Peter and Paul Church|
Saints Peter and Paul Church
|District||Archdiocese of San Francisco|
|Province||Archdiocese of San Francisco|
|Ecclesiastical or organizational status||Parish|
|Leadership||Archbishop of San Francisco|
|Direction of façade||South|
Saints Peter and Paul Church (Italian: Ss. Pietro e Paolo, Chinese: 官話圣伯多禄圣保禄教堂; pinyin: Guānhuà Shèngbǎoluó Shèngbǐde Jiàotáng) is a Roman Catholic Church in San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood. Located at 666 Filbert Street, it is directly across from Washington Square and is administered by the Salesians of Don Bosco. It is known as "la cattedrale italiana dell'Ovest", or "the Italian Cathedral of the West", and has served as the home church and cultural center for San Francisco's Italian-American community since its consecration.
During 1926-1927, the church was the target of radical anti-catholic anarchists, who instituted five separate bomb attacks against the building in the space of one year. On March 6, 1927, police shot and killed one man and seriously wounded another, Celsten Eklund, a radical anarchist and local soapbox orator, as the two men attempted to light the fuse of a large dynamite bomb in front of the church. The dead man, known only as 'Ricca', was never fully identified; Eklund died of his wounds some time later without giving any information about his co-conspirators.
In recent years, Saints Peter and Paul has also become the home church for the city's Chinese-American Roman Catholic population, offering weekly masses in Italian, Cantonese, and English. Mass in Latin is offered monthly as well. 
Saints Peter and Paul serves the Archdiocese of San Francisco.
In popular culture
The church is prominently featured in the Clint Eastwood movies Dirty Harry (the Church, and nearby Dante Building, are the scene of sniper attacks by the "Scorpio Killer") and The Dead Pool. Scenes from Cecil B. DeMille's 1923 version of The Ten Commandments was filmed at the church while it was under construction. Parts of Sister Act 2 were also filmed here. 
After their civil ceremony in 1954, Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio returned for photographs on the steps of this church. DiMaggio was married to Dorothy Arnold in the church on November 19, 1939, but later divorced. Still married as far as the Church was concerned (having not obtained an annullment), he could not be married in the Catholic Church. In a side entrance, Sts. Peter and Paul Church still showcases a photo in a book displaying proudly DiMaggio's marriage day photo-but with Arnold, not Monroe. DiMaggio's funeral was held here on March 11, 1999, officiated by lifelong family friend and confidant, Armand Oliveri, S.D.B., who politely refuses all interviews or requests to discuss any intimate details of Monroe's or DiMaggio's life.
In the 2015 disaster film San Andreas, the church and Washington Square was seen being hit by a tsunami as it reaches North Beach.
- Issel, William, For Both Cross and Flag: Catholic Action, Anti-Catholicism, and National Security Politics in World War II San Francisco, Philadelphia PA: Temple University Press, ISBN 978-1-4399-0028-4 (2010) pp. 24-27
- "Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit (1993) - Filming locations". IMDB.
- Prior to the Second Vatican Council, an annulment, or "Catholic divorce," was not as readily available as it is today. See http://www.mostholyfamilymonastery.com/28_Annulments.pdf and it is unlikely that DiMaggio could have obtained one even if he had asked for one.
- "North Beach festival highlights parallels between homeless, Holy Family". 15 December 2010.
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