Church turmoil. Historic Star of the Sea grammar school in San Francisco to close

“Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?” Henry II speaking of Archbishop Thomas Becket. 1170. Becket was assassinated a short time later.

Excerpted from The San Francisco Chronicle 4.4.2019

Star of the Sea school, which has served generations of San Franciscans in the Richmond District, abruptly announced Wednesday that it is closing its doors in June amid declining enrollment, just weeks after parents asked the Archdiocese of San Francisco to investigate the pastor of the Catholic grammar school.

Most recently, parents sent a three-page, unsigned complaint to the diocese, alleging that Rev. Joseph Illo “attempted to instigate a fight” at a March 7 “State of the School” meeting after a mother accused him of being “responsible for the decimation of the school.”

Star of the Sea III 4.4.2019

The letter says Rev. Illo stood up from his seat, walked toward the woman’s husband and “aggressively stared at him in a manner that can only be described as attempting to challenge the husband to a fight.” He allegedly went on to demand the woman’s husband to “order” his wife to apologize for any disparaging remarks she made about him

The Archdiocese said in a statement Wednesday that the grammar school is being “suspended” so that it could further develop a new teaching program that was supposed to start in the fall. The school’s fully enrolled preschool classes will continue as normal, the archdiocese said. Its statement did not acknowledge the parents’ complaint about school pastor Illo.

The Archdiocese appointed Rev. Illo to the parish in August 2014. In 2015, he was criticized for banning girls from serving at the altar at Mass. That same year,he also denied non-Catholic students from receiving blessings during Communion, and apologized for providing pamphlets to children before confession that included questions about masturbation, sodomy, abortion and vasectomies.

Photo atop. I have owned this RCA Victor album since 1964. It features dialogue from the motion picture Becket starring Richard Burton and Peter O’Toole.

Photo in middle. Star of the Sea Church.


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