Priest Dies of Coronavirus After Church Forced to Close Amid In-Person Services

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A San Francisco priest lost his life to the coronavirus infection just one week after his church was forced to temporarily shut down when officials reported at least three priests and clergy members positive for the COVID-19 virus.

The victim, Father Bob Stein of Saints Peter and Paul Church, died on Tuesday due to the COVID-19 virus. “We are deeply touched and grateful for the prayers and support so many of you have sent for those of use (clergy and staff) who tested positive for Covid. Please pray for the repose of his soul,” the church said on its website.

COVID-19 in Churches

Saints Peter and Paul will also announced it would delay its opening to next Tuesday, which was previously scheduled for last Sunday. The church is going to continue to keep live-streamed services available to the public.

During the pandemic, the church has repeatedly ignored COVID-19 health ordinances. This lead San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera to file a cease-and-desist order to the city’s Archdiocese.

At least ten individuals tested positive for the coronavirus after the church held a wedding with approximately 100 guests.

In California, the U.S. Supreme Court has once again approved indoor worship services, reversing a statewide restriction set by California State Governor Gavin Newsom of California and a ruling last year.

Chief Justice John Roberts said the ban had showed “insufficient appreciation or consideration of the interests at stake.”

On Monday, a district judge allowed Santa Clara County, which continued to implement the band, to host indoor facilities but with a maximum capacity of 20%. The county also prohibits singing and chanting during services, which was sterner than the existing restrictions in San Francisco, the San Francisco Gate reported.

The Archdiocese of San Francisco does not require Catholics to attend service in person, and if held, it recommends shorter, less regular sessions. They also encourage parishioners who are older and at risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus to stay home.

“We were very sad to learn of the death of one of the Salesian priests at Saints Peter and Paul church. We have been praying for him and his fellow priests and religious brother in the parish, and now pray for the eternal repose of his soul,” a spokeswoman with the Archdiocese, Jan Potts, said.

Danielle Joyce Ong

Danielle is a local journalist with a passion for exploring stories related to crime and politics. When Danielle isn't busy writing or reading, she is usually exploring the great outdoors and all the hiking trails in the Bay.