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  • Writer's pictureFr. Daniel S.J. Scheid SCP

What is Father Dan Thinking? 7-23-23

Dead Heads and hippies, old and young, made pilgrimage back to where it all began – the Haight-Ashbury – as the final concerts of The Dead & Company, the successor band to the Grateful Dead, took place at Oracle Field last Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Our parish neighborhood was busy, busy, busy all weekend – the sidewalks were jammed; the shops, pubs, and restaurants ran at capacity; amateur jam-bands played on the streetcorners; pilgrims trekked up Ashbury to pay their respects to the Dead House; and there was a general feeling of good will – a fantastic vibe, as many people put it. This was Kate and my first experience, and likely our last (as the band claims they’re hanging it up), of seeing such a showcase of Haight Street heritage. We had a ball, even though we didn’t make it to any of the shows. Somebody had to stay behind to keep an eye on the neighborhood, I said to many street parishioners who asked if we were going.

Much more sporadically and unpredictably, people connected long ago with All Saints’ make pilgrimage back to our campus. They, or a family member, had been married here, or baptized here, or one of their beloved dead’s ashes are interred here. Sometimes these pilgrims show up unannounced. Other times they call or send an email asking when would be a good time to drop by. I’m always delighted to open our doors, turn on the lights, and listen to them reminisce about how All Saints’ made a difference.

Popular culture and overwhelming secularism make is unlikely that people will flock to come to church the way that people commit so much time, energy, and expense to travel to concerts or ball games or far-flung vacation destinations. Maybe the Beatles had it right when John Lennon said they were more popular than Jesus. It seems most everything is more popular than Jesus. But Jesus, of course, has staying power, and the Church rolls on. Let’s commit what it takes to make sure this local branch, if it is God’s will and yours, has the staying power to welcome both pilgrims and locals who want to connect with God and each other in this sacred space.

God’s blessings and peace,



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