St. Paul of the Shipwreck, a Catholic Faith community, is called to be disciples of Jesus Christ. We are a welcoming
Church, loving and embracing all people. We aspire to live and preach the Gospel through our words and actions.
We stand on a foundation of Spirit filled Eucharistic celebrations, shaped especially by our Black Catholic
and Hispanic spiritualities. Anchored in prayer and guided by the Holy Spirit, we give ourselves in service
to God's Kingdom. We are working and growing together to build a community that embodies the following values:
We strive to build a one faith community through multicultural liturgies, shared values,
diverse leadership, and parish wide activities.
We encourage all our ministries and members to reach out and invite others to join us, especially youth and
young adults, so that all may encounter Jesus and deepen their relationship with Him. We evangelize through
our liturgies, retreats, revivals, small prayer groups, study of scripture, and our gospel choir.
Grateful to God for all He has done for us, we respond by offering our best to Him.
We freely give our time, talent and treasure as responsible stewards of God’s gifts.
Inspired by God, we reach beyond ourselves to care for our families, neighbors, the poor and the marginalized.
Our outreach includes programs and services focusing on spiritual, emotional, physical well-being, and social justice.
Who We Are
St. Paul of the Shipwreck Catholic Church has served the Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood of San Francisco since 1915. The Conventual Franciscans of California are the Western United States Province of the Catholic Religious order founded in 1229 in Italy by St. Francis of Assisi. The Franciscans, especially known to serve the poor, pledged to minister to California’s diverse ethnic communities. In accord with this mission and history, the Conventual Franciscans accepted the ministry to serve our parish until June 2015. We provide a Gospel/African American Liturgy, a Spanish Liturgy and other programs to serve our diverse congregation that is predominantly African American, Hispanic, and Filipino. In addition to our Church ministries, we have been active members of the greater community working for systemic change and reaching out to those in need. Some of our activities included: our Catholic Elementary School education (1950s through 2003), community organizing with the San Francisco Organizing Project to bring $2.5 million to the Bayview Hope House project (housing and job training for homeless), weekly street vigils for peace on the corners of Sunnydale & Hahn in Visitation Valley and on 3rd and Palou, neighborhood Health Fairs, our food pantry that served over 275 families every week, and our Sports and Arts Academy after school program that provided a safe haven, positive role models and character development programs through arts and sports to over 150 families.
How We Got Our Name
"Once we had reached safety we learned that the island was called Malta. The natives showed us extraordinary hospitality; they lit a fire and welcomed all of us because it had begun to rain and was cold." -from the Acts of the Apostles
It is no wonder that our Church provides a sense of hospitality to all who enter our diverse and multicultural parish community! We only need to look back at our extraordinarily rich history of humble beginnings, as told in the Book of Acts, to understand this impression, when the imprisoned apostle Paul and his colleagues found themselves shipwrecked on the island of Malta, and were surprisingly welcomed by its inhabitants who lit a fire to warm their feet. In 1913, some 300 immigrants from that same island of Malta settled in the Bayview Hunters Point area of San Francisco. Encompassing a strong sense of family and faith, they teamed up with the Italian community, petitioned the Archbishop to establish a Maltese National Church, and named it St. Paul of the Shipwreck.