One of several clergy members at San Francisco’s Saints Peter & Paul Church has died of COVID-19 as others continue to battle the virus.
The church, located in North Beach, defied the city’s public health orders barring in-person worship during the pandemic. With much of the clergy ill from COVID-19 and in-person mass canceled indefinitely, the announcement of Father Bob Stein’s death was made during an online mass early Tuesday.
"We are deeply touched and grateful for the prayers and support so many of you have sent for those of us (clergy and staff) who tested positive for COVID," the parish website said. "Please pray for the repose of his soul."
The landmark church reported the 72-year-old Father Stein died Tuesday at Saint Mary’s of heart failure as a result of the coronavirus.
It had been cited by the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office for holding indoor worship against state and local health orders, including a wedding where a number of people contracted the virus in July - the bride and groom among them.
Parishioners of Saints Peter and Paul have been referred to the nearby National Shrine of Saint Francis of Assisi for Ash Wednesday services.
A spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of San Francisco called Stein‘s death "a very sad development," saying the Catholic community is praying for the well-being of the other sick priests.
There’s no word on the condition of the other priests, reportedly two.