National Shrine of
Saint Francis of Assisi


"During this time of concern and precaution, the National Shrine is a place to find a little sanctuary of solitude for individual prayer and comforting quiet. (*Preserving 6-ft. "social distancing" separation).

Thank You.

The National Shrine is always grateful for the donations that support its life and its ministries.


we appeal to you to donate generously to the support of the Shrine in this most challenging time."

A PATH well worn:
Pilgrims walking in the footsteps of St. Francis

Message from the Shrine Rector

Years ago, while on pilgrimage to various parts of Europe, I had the opportunity to visit a large Basilica in Burgos, Spain. This huge edifice was almost overwhelming in its scope of size and grandeur of art and architecture. However, in the midst of great religious paintings, statuary and gold covered Altars, I came away most impressed and edified by a well-worn path of ancient stone steps leading to a crypt chapel dedicated to Our Lady. What impressed me was not so much the massive scale nor the engineering of the steps but the pronounce slope worn into the center of each step leading to the Marian chapel. A Docent would note that the worn slope in the steps was caused by the endless flow of Pilgrims who throughout the centuries made their way to the shrine from various parts of Spain and greater Europe.

Along our California coast it is common to see great boulders of rocky cliff that have been reshaped and worn smooth by constant flow of water. The stone steps of the Basilica, were not worn down by a mighty rush of water but by the steady stream of Pilgrims, guided and inspired by faith and devotion. Christians, undeterred by the plight of life, but spurred on by a lively hope and a firm faith in God - they kept coming, persevering, one step at a time.

Today, at the National Shrine of Saint Francis of Assisi, I can attest to the lively "stream" of pilgrims and searchers who make their way increasingly to the Shrine of the humble poor man of Assisi. Like the pilgrims of centuries past, those who cross the threshold of the Shrine's mighty wooden doors come for many varied reasons. Many times, I witness the seemingly "happen chance" of some who "stumble" upon the Shrine on their walk, or those who come in, perhaps, "only to admire the stained glass windows". Yet soon enough, it becomes evident that a stirring of the Spirit has occurred to reveal a moment of providential design and grace that touches the life and faith of the visitor with the love and mercy of God. My personal encounters and observations of those who come to the Shrine attest to the rich qualities of faith, hope, charity, and humble devotion that draw the pilgrims to the Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi.

It is common to encounter those who seek out the sanctuary of the church for expressing gratitude and thankful praise to God for what is good and secure in their lives. Some come humbled and tired with the weight of sorrow or trial yet spurred on by hope in a compassionate Christ and a merciful God. There are those who come searching for peace or direction in their lives amidst a sometimes impersonal world. Others come seeking and searching for any reason for hope when so much else in their lives weighs heavy with anxiety or even despair. My sisters and brothers, there is a very evident spiritual hunger in our world for what heals and enriches. There is a yearning for greater peace, and relief from what burdens. The Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi seeks to be a safe harbor - a sanctuary, of personal encounter and sincere welcome for all who come. We joyfully commit to embrace, support, and sojourn along the pilgrim way of those drawn by the humble witness of St. Francis - as a "channel of God's peace".

Increasingly, many come, to the National Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi, from not only our city and state but also from across our country and many parts of the world. As the path to our Shrine becomes ever more popular and well-trod, there arises new demands and challenges as we seek to welcome, serve, and accommodate the Pilgrim groups coming to be spiritually fed.

We are in need of your support to continue our ministry to the growing stream faithful. The Shrine is graced by the beauty and historicity of its St. Francis church *(built in 1849) and its stunning Porziuncola Nuova chapel, but as a consequence, proper maintenance and repair are on-going and improvements are essential to their preservation. Your financial support is also the "life blood" of our capacity to offer new programs in our ministry to pilgrims and to broaden the scope of our outreach to the poor and needy.

It is my hope that you may be generous in your financial support of our endeavors, and to appreciate how your support creates a bond of collaboration between you and all the work we do, at the Shrine, in the spirit of St. Francis and in the love of God.

The Capuchin Franciscan friars and the staff of the National Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi include our supporters in our daily prayers and Masses. Please, if you would keep the Shrine in your prayers. May our Easter celebrations of Jesus' victory over sin and death, deepen your knowledge and confidence of His love poured out for us, and enkindle a mighty flame of love in your heart for your neighbor and the greater world.

May our Lord Jesus Christ, who is our resurrection and our life, continue to bless you with His peace. Peace and good,

Fr. John De La Riva, O.F.M. Cap., Shrine Rector


(Devin Watkins, Vatican News) ROME - The Pope offered a prayer to the Virgin Mary on March 11, in a video message to mark the Diocese of Rome's day of prayer and fasting for the coronavirus emergency. Matteo Bruni, the Director of the Holy See Press Office, said Tuesday that the Pope wanted to entrust the city of Rome, all of Italy, and "the entire world to the protection of the Mother of God, as a sign of salvation and hope" during the ongoing coronavirus emergency.

O Mary, you shine continuously on our journey as a sign of salvation and hope. We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick. At the foot of the Cross you participated in Jesus' pain, with steadfast faith. You, Salvation of the Roman People, know what we need. We are certain that you will provide, so that, as you did at Cana of Galilee, joy and feasting might return after this moment of trial. Help us, Mother of Divine Love, to conform ourselves to the Father's will and to do what Jesus tells us: He who took our sufferings upon Himself, and bore our sorrows to bring us, through the Cross, to the joy of the Resurrection. Amen. We seek refuge under your protection, O Holy Mother of God. Do not despise our pleas — we who are put to the test — and deliver us from every danger, O glorious and blessed Virgin.

Welcome to the National Shrine of Saint Francis of Assisi and the namesake of our city, San Francisco. The National Shrine is the property of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, and it consists of our historic Church built in 1849 and our beautiful Chapel (La Porziuncola Nuova, or Little Portion) built in 2008.

The National Shrine is not only located in the heart of San Francisco where Italian North Beach and Chinatown meet, it is "The Heart of San Francisco" in a singular way where Heaven and Earth meet like no other place in our city.

One of the reasons this Shrine is unique is its very urban location in the second most densely populated city in the country. But in the midst of an often rowdy, noisy, bawdy, and chaotic neighborhood (a bronze marker in the sidewalk reminds us that this was once "The Barbary Coast"), the Shrine's Church and the Porziuncola offer an oasis of peace, quiet, serenity, and refreshment to the thirsty spirit.

Saint Francis was very aware that all of God's creation is holy and that it reflects his beauty, truth, and goodness. But Francis appreciated churches, especially, because he knew that in these sacred spaces people could find and recognize the presence of God's spirit more easily than "in the world." That is why the Little Poor Man of Assisi dedicated a good portion of his life to rebuilding old abandoned churches, like San Damiano (where he had heard the voice of Jesus Christ) and Saint Mary of the Angels Porziuncola (or Little Portion).

We hope during your online visit to The National Shrine of Saint Francis of Assisi you will experience something of the reverence, tranquility, and blessings people find when they enter our actual doors. Thus, we invite you to take the virtual tours, light a candle, ask for our prayers, and to return to this site as often as you like, while allowing "The Heart of San Francisco" to become a place where your own heart can find a haven of rest. Yes, leave your heart in San Francisco!

We also invite you to take the opportunity to participate in the mission of The National Shrine of Saint Francis of Assisi by sharing with us your financial support, either by making a donation or by shopping at our online store. But even if you're unable to give anything at this time, please know that you are always welcome to visit us and to support our work with your prayers. We sincerely appreciate and thank you for your generosity of spirit.

St. Francis of Assisi Mission

The National Shrine of Saint Francis of Assisi, as with The Archdiocese of San Francisco, has a mission that is rooted in the Gospels and the social teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. Central to that teaching is the inherent dignity and sacredness of each human being.

We educate and advocate on this dignity in relation to the unborn child, the prisoner on death row, the homeless and hungry person on our streets, the elderly, the ill and disabled faced with the threat of assisted suicide, the stranger in our midst, and the poor and marginalized in our society and throughout the world. We are neither right nor left, Republican nor Democrat, but we formulate our agenda by the standard of human dignity that is reflected in our faith tradition.

  1. It is the purpose of the National Shrine of Saint Francis of Assisi to provide more abundant means of salvation, through the rich liturgical and devotional life of the Roman Catholic Church for the Christian faithful, including those who come as pilgrims from around the world to the City of San Francisco and the greater San Francisco Bay Area, who seek to encounter the living God through religious worship and special devotion to St. Francis of Assisi and the Franciscan saints.
  2. It is the further purpose of the National Shrine to welcome, share and extend this same spiritual experience and devotion to St. Francis of Assisi and the Franciscan saints to pilgrims and visitors of all faiths, religions, denominations, and nationalities.
  3. The Capuchin Franciscan Friars (OFM Cap.) and Staff of the National Shrine, therefore, provide a pastoral (i.e., welcoming and prayerful) environment with the hope that in the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi, spiritual nourishment healing and reconciliation will be found by all who visit the Shrine.