Archbishop Cordileone Offers 12 Concurrent Masses with the Missionaries of Charity

As California continues with a 12-person limit on outdoor Mass attendance due to the coronavirus, the Archbishop of San Francisco expands his reach, marking a very special day for Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity.

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone surrounded by the Missionaries of Charity in San Francisco on August 22, 2020.
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone surrounded by the Missionaries of Charity in San Francisco on August 22, 2020. (photo: Dennis Callahan/Archdiocese of San Francisco )

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — Over the weekend on the Queenship of Mary, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco maximized the very restrictive 12-person limit on religious gatherings by utilizing the expansive plaza at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption by offering 12 concurrent Masses. With the Archdiocese on a watchlist, the Archbishop is working steadfastly to bring the sacraments to the faithful all while following the strict guidelines fleshed out in a new health directive enforced by the city due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Saturday was a special day as the Archbishop concelebrated a special votive Mass for the Immaculate Heart of Mary with the Missionaries of Charity, marking the community's feast day, at the Cathedral. Many sisters were able to attend and share in the special occasion with the help of 11 priests who came to concelebrate the Mass with Archbishop Cordileone, multiplying space so more than 12 could take part in the outdoor Mass. 

Saint Mother Teresa, who founded the order, had a very special devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In his homily Aug. 22, Archbishop Cordileone said this devotion was her inspiration in founding the Missionaries of Charity. 

“When she was still Mother Mary Teresa of the Sisters of Our Lady of Loreto, she had taken a basic nursing course with medical mission sisters of Patna, India. Her spiritual director at that time, a Jesuit priest wrote in his diary: Today 19 August 1949, Mother Mary Teresa is leaving St. Mary’s to work in the slums of Calcutta for the poor. For this very difficult task, she places all of her confidence in the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”

Pondering how one woman could have the fortitude to leave all she knew and go into the unknown working with those most in need, the Archbishop said it was Mother Teresa's confidence and understanding of the Immaculate Heart that spurned her forward. 

“She had the confidence because this is the case of Mother imitating Mother. Like our Blessed Mother, Mother Teresa, when she prayed, went into the depths of her being, pondering all in her heart, not in her head.”

And this is the true essence of Mary's Immaculate Heart, Archbishop Cordileone said tremendous depth and fullness.

“We have to understand what we mean when we refer to Mary’s Immaculate Heart. In the Biblical sense, the heart means the whole person—what is the most intimate part of the person—therefore we are referring to Mary’s most intimate and unique being, center and source of her interior life, of her mind, of her memory, of her will, and love.”

Archbishop Cordileone reminded the Sisters and those in attendance of some very wise words from Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta: “In the silence of the heart, God speaks.”

Reflecting on the time Pope Pius XII consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary at the height of the second World War, Archbishop Cordileone said today, we are in a similar moment in history where the need for consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is great.

“We see so many lost souls, so many lives cut down especially morally, and again dragged down materially… Cut down especially in the flower of youth with all the deceptions and deceits of the evil one in our time. We need then to turn once again to Our Lady, to follow the example of the mother who follows the example of our Mother. Going into the depths of prayer in the silence of our hearts.”

It was only three years ago that San Francisco was consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Archbishop Cordileone says consecration requires ongoing action and devotion from the Faithful especially if it is to have any impact on our lives and the world. 

“We focus on continuing to live the consecration. We need to live it out in our lives if the consecration is really going to make a difference, obeying our Blessed Mother what she always asks us to do… With prayer, Adoration, and penance. Praying especially the Rosary. Our living out the Consecration means praying the Rosary every day.”

As the Archbishop has spoken out about the stringent demands placed on churches across the Bay Area and much of California due to the pandemic, during his homily, he noted how fortunate some are to have churches open and time to spend with Jesus and in prayer. 

“I am grateful to the pastors who have been able to continue Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in their churches and other pastors who have been able to keep their church doors open for people to go in and pray before the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle. Avail yourselves of this great grace.”

Speaking directly to the many Missionaries of Charity still carrying on the invaluable work laid out by Mother Teresa, Archbishop Cordileone said the gifts offered by the Sisters do so much more than meet the many temporal needs of the poor. 

“My dear sisters, this is what continues to give you the grace to serve. I will not say to serve the poor, to give the poor something they need. But as you know, better than I, to serve Christ in the poor. And to give the poor the greatest gift that you and all of us have to give to them: the love and saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

And as much of the country is grappling with church restrictions and school closures, some searching for work in cities with many businesses still shuttered, thousands feeling anxious and alone, while some cities may be experiencing civil unrest, the Archbishop says we must prepare for this current battle. 

“Yes we do find ourselves in a spiritual battle in our time. The end-victory in this battle may seem daunting. It may seem overwhelming. At times, it might even seem impossible. But so it was for Mother Teresa when she began to pursue her mission of a community dedicated to serving the poorest of the poor. But she did so with full confidence in the Immaculate Heart of Mary because she lived without compromise…”

The Archbishop concluded with the ever resounding words of Pope Pius XII in 1942 when he consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary during a very dark time in history, amid genocide and tyranny. And these words offer us the same solace and protection today given the current temper of our time: 

"Just as Pope Pius XII prayed in the closing words of that act of consecration of the world to her immaculate heart on October 31, 1942: May her love and patronage hasten the victory of the Kingdom of God. May all nations have peace with each other and with God, proclaim you blessed, and sing with you from one end of the earth to the other. The eternal Magnificat of glory, love and gratitude... To the heart of Jesus in which alone we can find truth, light, and peace." 

Let us pray that we soon will see an end to this pandemic and living a life measured by restrictions and masks, and let us also pray for our shepherds, like Archbishop Cordileone, doing all they can to reach the Faithful during these uncertain times.