is nothing like a cold snap to keep a San Franciscan's feet
on the ground. The chill reminds us that life is not lived completely
in the carefree moments of adult ease and sophistication characterized
by the warm glances of a best friend and something like Vince Guaraldi's
"Mr. Lucky" playing in our minds as we linger over cappuccino at Citizen
Cake. Rather, life is lived in the grind, between the offices, schools,
churches, shopping streets and parks where we may indeed find a breathtaking
view but we'd settle for a parking space.
The Sacred Heart Church at 546 Fillmore Street is the last predominantly
African American Catholic church in the Western Addition. It will
close for good on New Year's Eve. Though members of the congregation
have been aware that the closure was likely for several months, they
hadn't lost hope that the archdiocese would rally behind their efforts
to save their church, which needs $3 - $8 million in repairs.
The day before Thanksgiving, in a chilling
letter to Sandra Finegan of the Committee to Save Sacred Heart, Monsignor
Harry Schlitt said, "The Archbishop and his advisors do not wish to
entertain any plan to retrofit Sacred Heart Church." He added, "although
we have no immediate plans for demolition, I would presume this to
be the course that will be taken."
Opened on Fillmore Street in 1897, Sacred Heart has been recognized
by some historical groups including the Friends of 1800, but the church
is without protected landmark status.
At Sunday morning mass on Thanksgiving weekend, the sadness in the
hearts of parishioners here was obvious. Some have been worshiping
at Sacred Heart since the 1950s. Many lingered long after the service,
taking time for remembrance under the church's crumbling ceiling.
Some took photos.
When I observe Sacred Heart from points afar, such as Alta Plaza in
Pacific Heights, I find a jewel of San Francisco. It sits majestically
on the hill like our own San Gimignano, out of time, now nearly out
The Sacred Heart Gospel Choir invites one and all to its final Christmas
Praise Extravaganza on December 12. The choir's musical review starts
at 3 p.m. A buffet dinner gets underway at 5. Admission is free.
Also in time for the holidays, the frost between Supervisors Chris
Daly and Michela Alioto-Pier
culminated in a historic group-encounter Board of Supervisors meeting.
Alioto-Pier unsuccessfully sought to censure Daly for aggressive behavior
including Daly's telling a lobbyist to "f-off" at a public meeting.
The result was an hours-long infomercial for Daly by his supports,
who testified that the supervisor's language may have been obscene
but evicting the seniors and the disabled for whom Daly advocates
is more obscene. Joe O'Donohue,
head of the Residential Builder's Association said he would give anyone
"the Belfast kiss" in defense of tenants. (Only-in-SF moment:
Being asked to explain the meaning of "punk-ass bitch" to
the writers from the Sing Tao Daily. - HD)
Daly apologized to Alioto-Pier but ultimately reserved the right to
be uncivil in defense of the downtrodden. I asked Daly what he thought
a person's responsibility is for the way he shows up to others. This
is a basic tenant of anger management. "My responsibility," said Daly,
"is to come in here and do the best job possible for the people I
represent." I've been told, and so now have you.
Glide on by: If hadn't I hadn't seen it with my own eyes, I wouldn't
have believed the aplomb with which Kris Johnson and Tod Dunbar Thorpe
managed the hundreds of volunteers at Glide Memorial on Thanksgiving
At one point in the afternoon, with the sound of Mayor Gavin Newsom
drumming with the Kings of Cali in Boedeker Park reaching the second
floor of the Glide building, Thorpe and Johnson received the last
of more than 800 volunteers and dispatched them to serve meals, bag
lunches, and gather donated toys.
For the most part, people volunteered as families and groups, arriving
in threes and fives throughout the day. One little boy named Charles
was so excited about carving turkeys that his squeals of joy were
heard trailing him through the halls.
I have written here that I was a terrible waiter in my youth. Now
I have proof that this reputation precedes me. When I volunteer to
work at Glide's Thanksgiving dinner, they put me on the phones.
You've got mail: A typical day in San Francisco started last week
with a letter from Mabel Teng, informing me that my Valentine's Day
marriage was null and void. My efforts to convince even some progressives
and gay people that our same-sex marriages are not to blame for the
Bush reelection have mostly fallen on deaf ears. What happened between
now and last February, when many of these finger-pointers were so
happy for us?
Heard everything yet? A SoMA-based designer I know phoned asking me
if I could kindly be sure to send a horizontal greeting card this
year rather than a vertical one in order to better fit his holiday
And how was your week?
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