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Catholicism in the Castro: Parish Life in Context

The National Catholic Reporter published a five-part series on San Francisco’s Most Holy Redeemer Church, focusing on its open and inclusive relationship with the community. Up to eighty percent of its population is LGBT.

Most Holy Redeemer draws broadly from across the San Francisco area, and because it is well known for its accepting attitude, visitors regularly come from across the nation.

The five-part series walks through some theological issues surrounding LGBT ministries, the history of the parish and its relationship with its social justice stance, marketing the parish to a skeptical community, and its place in the broader Castro district.

This piece is an interesting case study of a congregational study. It’s clear that this parish has been shaped by the ecology surrounding the community. It also struggles with the outside perceptions of its culture (strongly LGBT) versus its own culture of being inclusive to all people, including those struggling with homelessness and disease. It uses interviews and observations to flesh out an interesting analysis of the multiple levels of parish life.

Check out the series, and let us know what you think.

Ellen Childs
About the Author
Dr. Ellen Childs holds a Ph.D. in sociology from University of Notre Dame. She is Website Director at StudyingCongregations.org