SAN FRANCISCO—Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, wrote a letter to Mayor London Breed on Monday, August 31 to throw out ‘excessive limits’ on outdoor activity. A local ordinance banned indoor worship services, where the SF Archdiocese has been holding mass outdoors. The city ordinance limits outdoor worship services to no more than 12 people. The letter criticizes the cities priorities that label worship as non-essential.

“San Francisco is the only government in the entire Bay Area that restricts public gatherings to 12 people out of doors. Ours and others’ faith is being treated as less important than a trip to the hardware store, or a nice dinner out on the patio,” Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone told the Catholic News Agency.

The letter written by Archbishop Cordileone to the mayor asked that at a minimum, the city remove the 12 person limit on outdoor services calling it “a serious deprivation of our rights as Americans under the First Amendment and our spiritual needs as people of faith.”

Since August 15, the San Francisco Archdiocese has been holding numerous masses outside the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption, limiting each mass to only 12 people. Masks have been required unless actively partaking in communion. While the SF Archdiocese has been under strict watch by health officials, the community has held mass and abided by health ordinances.

“Particularly for us as Catholics, attending the Mass and receiving the Body and Blood of Christ in person is the source and the summit of our faith, and we have shown we can celebrate the Mass safely,” Cordileone wrote in the letter.