California is more than wine, stunning beaches, and technology. The Golden State is also famous for its majestic Catholic Churches, monasteries, and other holy sites. San Francisco as one of its cities is home to these Catholic treasures. In this blog post, we will deep dive into the Catholic Churches in San Francisco, touring around these holy gems for your travel reference.
When you hear San Francisco, the first thing that you would probably think of is Cable Cars, the Golden Gate Bridge, or Fisherman’s Wharf. But other than these, the city also offers historic Catholic Churches in the state, reminding people of its past.
Here are the Catholic Churches in San Francisco that you should visit.
St. Ignatius Church
Let’s start our virtual tour with St. Ignatius Church. Located inside the University of San Francisco in San Francisco California, it serves as the Parish of the Archdiocese of San Francisco and is also a Chapel of the University. This is under the care of Jesuits. Completed on August 2, 1914, its architectural style is Italian Renaissance and Baroque. The exterior is just as good as the interior. The Parish has a tall ceiling with arches with the Altar that is really impressive. It also has stained glass windows depicting Saints who guide the values of Jesuits. There are Stations of the Cross paintings on both sides of the Church. To add, the acoustics are outstanding. This is a must-see in San Francisco.
Old St. Mary’s Cathedral
Our next stop is the Old Cathedral of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception. Built in 1854, it is a Proto-Cathedral and a Parish located at California Street, San Francisco in the middle of China Town. It is under the leadership of Paulist Fathers. With its Gothic Revival style, it is on the list of California Historical Landmarks and San Francisco Designated Landmarks. Its traditional look on the outside will catch your attention. The Altar is simple and elegant with paintings. It also has gorgeous stained glass windows and statues. The place is quiet and serene. When you visit, don’t forget to also drop by their gift shop where you can buy various religious items. The first Cathedral in San Francisco, this is truly historic!
St. Dominic’s Catholic Church
St. Dominic’s Catholic Church is a Parish located at the corner of Bush and Steiner Streets in San Francisco California. It was established by the Dominican Order in 1873. With its Gothic style, it easily belongs to the one of most beautiful Catholic Churches in San Francisco. Inside, the High Altar that is breathtaking will welcome you. The Church is filled with remarkable stained glass windows bringing hues inside. There is also a St. Jude Shrine inside. Mesmerizing statues and paintings are also present. To add, it has an organ that is actively used. The music in services is just reverent. Overall, this Church is one of a kind! If you visit, make sure to bring additional phone memory because the place is just worthy of photography.
Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption
Next on our list is the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption. Also known as Saint Mary’s Cathedral, it is located in Cathedral Hill and is the principal Church of the Archdiocese of San Francisco. It was founded in 1891 but the completion of the new Cathedral was in 1971. This is in a Structural Expressionist Modern style. Although controversial, it still made it to the list of San Francisco’s top 25 buildings. On the inside, you would witness its high ceiling and ornate statues of Christ’s life. It also has bronze statues on the walls. There are stained glass windows that are colorful. You would also witness the powerful organ playing. Whether you are into traditional style Churches, this is still worth your visit with its uniqueness.
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St. Boniface Catholic Church
Saint Boniface Catholic Church is the oldest German Catholic Church in San Francisco. Established in 1860, it is run by the Franciscans since 1887. Located on Golden Gate Ave. in San Francisco, it is home to the early German community. The architectural style is Romanesque Revival making the exterior marvelous. Inside, the notable Altar will catch your attention. The tan scagliola columns with a ceiling that has murals of Saints are gazing down over you. There are also stained glass windows on the walls and a magnificent pipe organ. The Church is known for being a home for the homeless. They shelter the homeless, giving them the back seats and a place to sleep and providing for them. Indeed, a Sanctuary!
Sts. Peter and Paul Church
Let’s continue our tour with Sts. Peter and Paul Church. Built in 1824, this Parish was rebuilt because of the great quake of 1906. It was completed in 1924. Situated in San Francisco California, Sts. Peter and Paul Church are taken care of by the Salesian. It is home to San Francisco’s Italian-American community. Its twin spires make this Church a landmark. It has a striking facade is striking showcasing four (4) animals representing the evangelists: Mark, Matthew, John, and Luke. The interior is composed of stained glass and rose windows, ceiling, and wall artwork. A marble Altar with frescos in the background is eye-catching. A San Francisco gem that is a must-see!
Star of the Sea Catholic Church
Built in 1894, Star of the Sea Catholic Church is located 10 minutes away from the Golden Gate Bridge. The structure is in Romanesque Revival style showcasing an elegant quaint look. The facade boasts two (2) towers with a cupola and a rose window. The interior has adornments such as stained glass windows, an organ, and a choir loft above the entrance. There are also frescos. One, in particular, is on the nave’s ceiling, the Our Lady Star of the Sea. They also have a lot of Marian statues and icons which are perfect for Marian devotees. Lastly, the Parish offers Traditional Latin Mass so expect reverent liturgies. A traditional looking Church with traditional Services. A true spiritual oasis in Richmond District of San Francisco.
St. Patrick’s Catholic Church
Another must-visit Catholic Church in San Francisco is St. Patrick’s. Founded in 1851, it is located on Mission Street. In 1968, it became a San Francisco Designated Landmark. The Church features a Gothic Revival architectural style. It has pointed arches and ribbed vaults. The Altar is just picturesque. There are Tiffany-style stained glass windows presenting the Patron Saints of Ireland’s 32 Countries. Statues, paintings, and candle lighting places are also everywhere. Currently, Filipinos are the majority of parishioners. Despite being in the middle of a crowded city, this Church remains calm and peaceful. A historical landmark in the heart of San Francisco.
National Shrine of St Francis of Assisi
Our trip is incomplete without including the National Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi. In a city named after St. Francis, a visit to this Shrine is a must. Situated in the heart of San Francisco’s Italian neighborhood, this former Parish became a Shrine in 1999. With its Norman Gothic structure, It is a historical landmark. The Shrine has colorful murals and attractive statues. Unique radiant stained glass windows depicting the Gospel events are installed throughout the Church’s length. It also houses the relics of St. Francis, St. Clare of Assisi, and St. Anthony of Padua. Additionally, it has a pipe organ from Schoenstein Organ Company. Another divine place not to miss when in San Francisco.
There you have the must-visit Catholic Churches in San Francisco!
San Francisco has the most beautiful Catholic Churches in the state of California. The Holy Sites above are just some of these. If you travel to the city, don’t forget to drop by to these Churches in give honor to the Lord.
Pray, travel, and enjoy!