Today Fr. Frank Filice will lie in state at the San Francisco Cathedral while the Archbishop offers Mass for his soul. He grew up in this city (attending St. Anne’s School), married a local girl, never went farther than the other side of the Bay for his doctorate, taught at the University of San Francisco, suffered the death of his wife, got ordained for the Archdiocese of San Francisco, and served the local people for 35 years as their priest. Like St. Philip, and under his patronage, he stayed the course, and stayed put, establishing an Oratory in San Francisco, which lasted a good few years but eventually relocated to Mexico.
On this day, the day after the 500th anniversary of St. Philip’s birth, we can only hope that, with God’s grace, a second attempt to establish an Oratory in San Francisco will take root. This beautiful city provides an ideal setting for the urban and cultural milieu in which Oratories flourish. It’s been a rocky start, in part because the Oratorian way of life is unfamiliar to many and, I must admit, Fr. Driscoll and I have made some well-intentioned but imprudent decisions in the first year. Last month, at the Oxford Oratory, I witnessed the joy that a stable community of priests has brought to a local church. The Oxford Oratory also faced certain difficulties in the first few years, but they stayed the course, and stayed put. We hope to give a birthday gift to St. Philip here in San Francisco: that if it please God, we be permitted the grace to establish the great blessing of an Oratory in San Francisco. We are so grateful to the support we have received from so many priests and laity alike. May God reward you all!