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Wednesday, Mar 13 1996
Don't Come All Ye Faithful
It seemed like an answered prayer: The Committee to Save St. Brigid Church, a group of Catholic parishioners formed when the archdiocese shuttered their place of worship in 1994, thought it would get to meet with newly appointed Archbishop William J. Levada after Mass on Ash Wednesday at St. Mary's Cathedral. The group quickly got the word out to its members and supporters.

But then, according to committee spokesman Joe Dignan, the meeting was canceled. Apparently, the archbishop intended to meet only with the staff and children of St. Brigid School -- which remains open -- even though, according to Dignan, the words "St. Brigid community" were used in the invitation.

"It was a lot of wishful thinking on our part," Dignan remarks. "We were hoping for some sign" -- particularly after Levada's interview on KCBS radio early this year in which he acknowledged that a lot of the closed churches have compelling arguments he'd like to hear.

As it turns out, Levada didn't make the Mass or the meeting afterward; his spokesman, Deacon Bill Mitchell, blamed the archbishop's "packed schedule" for the cancellation, noting that he had to attend ex-Gov. Pat Brown's funeral that day as well.

Meanwhile, the committee is "aggressively pursuing" its appeal to the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura in Rome -- the Vatican's highest court -- according to Chairman Robert R. Bryan. (The parish's battle with the archdiocese was detailed in an SF Weekly cover story, "Passion Play," published Feb. 8, 1995.)

The Signatura could issue a ruling forcing the archdiocese to reopen St. Brigid's; it recently suspended the sale of St. Thomas More for secular use, overruling former Archbishop John R. Quinn's decision. Committee members continue to meet weekly (at Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Cathedral, near St. Brigid's on Van Ness) and strategize. Their next profile-raising: the St. Patrick's Day Parade March 17, when the group will ride a motorized cable car, accompanied by an equestrian team from Golden Gate Park Stables.

The Politically Undead
They're baaaa-aaack.
Call it deja vu, but there's something eerily familiar about the city's various new commission members appointed by incoming Mayor Willie Brown.

Indeed, 23 of the 71 commissioners appointed by Brown served as commissioners under former Mayor Art Agnos and then were booted by Frank Jordan. Now it's out with the new and in with the old.

Among the newly returned is Police Commission President John Keker, best known as the man who prosecuted Oliver North.

On-again-off-again Library Commission Chairman Steve Coulter is back on again. And labor boss James Herman is back for a return engagement on the Port Commission.

The rest of the list includes names as recognizable as a cable car, like Gretchen Belli, who's landed on the Film and Video Commission, and Jane Morrison, who will preside over the Social Services Commission.

Agnos himself feigned modesty on the similarities in taste in commissioners between he and the new mayor.

"What it reflects is the talent and quality of the people themselves, not me," he says. "I take great pride in working very hard when [I was] mayor in choosing people who reflected the talent and diversity that San Francisco has ... and clearly the mayor has found, when searching the San Francisco talent bank, the same talent."

Make that the same plus one. Brown appointed Agnos' wife, Sherry, to the Library Commission.

By John Sullivan, Lisa Davis

About The Authors

Lisa Davis


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