The Grace of Everyday Saints: How a Band of Believers Lost Their Church and Found Their Faith

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9780547133041: The Grace of Everyday Saints: How a Band of Believers Lost Their Church and Found Their Faith

St. Brigid Church was one of San Francisco’s great landmarks in the early 1990s. The church itself had weathered depressions and natural disasters, epic earthquakes and a massive fire. Its loyal congregation was active, vibrant, and growing. But in 1993, without warning, the Catholic archdiocese mysteriously ordered its doors to be closed. 

The Grace of Everyday Saints is the story of how a ragtag group of believers came together in a crusade to save their church. What they discovered would be devastating: that around the country, parishes like theirs were threatened by the higher echelons of the Church, all to hide a terrible secret. Soon there were near-daily headlines that shocked the world. But still this unlikely group of heroes—led by a renegade lawyer, a reformed Catholic, and an antiestablishment priest—continued to meet weekly, to fight, to prove that their beloved St. Brigid was worth saving. 

A dramatic narrative that takes readers from the streets of San Francisco to the halls of the Vatican, The Grace of Everyday Saints is about injustice and betrayal, redemption and grace.

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From the Inside Flap:

“A vivid, compassionate account of the battle waged by the men and women of a historic San Francisco parish against orders to close their church.”—T. J. Stiles, author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt

The century-old St. Brigid Church was one of San Francisco’s great landmarks, a Romanesque work of art that had weathered world wars, great depressions, and two epic earthquakes. It had a vibrant and active congregation, with young leadership, and more than sufficient funds. But suddenly, without warning, Catholic officials decreed that the parish—built by immigrants and revered by generations of San Franciscans—would be shuttered.
     The Grace of Everyday Saints is the remarkable true story of a band of believers who came together in a crusade to save their beloved church and unravel the mystery of why it was closed. This unlikely group of heroes—led by a renegade lawyer from the South, a questioning Catholic, and an anti-establishment priest—would wage the longest parish protest in Catholic America. What they discovered along the way would be both devastating and affirming. They would learn that the men they revered the most—men who were supposed to represent God—were far from infallible. They would learn, too, that their faith was more resilient than anyone could have imagined.
      A dramatic narrative that takes us from the streets of San Francisco to the halls of the Vatican, The Grace of Everyday Saints is about injustice and betrayal, redemption and grace. This portrait of parishioners without a parish struggling to keep faith alive sheds light on the real, everyday consequences of the greatest scandal to have rocked the Roman Catholic Church. But ultimately, this story is about the power of belief, the comfort of community, and finding faith on your own terms.

“This beautiful book about the resilience of a small group of Catholic parishioners against the shutdown of their church is a parable of larger convulsions caused by unjust bishops.”—Jason Berry, author of Render Unto Rome: The Secret Life of Money in the Catholic Church

From the Back Cover:

Advance Praise for THE GRACE OF EVERYDAY SAINTS:

“A gem of a book, which I swallowed in a day. With the gift of an accomplished storyteller, Guthrie tells of an amazing community, and at the same time introduces readers to individuals we’d welcome as our shepherds.”—Ken Auletta, author of Googled

“Must a religious community depend on a physical structure for its reality? Or do the people themselves make sacred ground wherever they gather? The exiled congregation of St. Brigid have not given up their church. Their story will reverberate long after this amazing book ends.”—Maxine Hong Kingston, author of I Love A Broad Margin to My Life

“Julian Guthrie’s moving and eloquent book offers a parable of authentic faith, how resistance and reverence open to one another. A new image of belief—and just in time.”—James Carroll, author of Jerusalem, Jerusalem

“Must reading for anyone who struggles with the meaning of faith in these turbulent modern times. Julian Guthrie has written both a hymn of praise for a community of believers as well as a heartfelt prayer for a better world.”—Madeleine Blais, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of the family memoir Uphill Walkers

“This is the story of a candle that burned on the steps of a fabled, shuttered church and of the people who kept that flame—and their own faith—alive. What is sacred? Who can be trusted? Can communities save us when hierarchies cannot? This brave and engrossing book seeks answers. It sanctifies a truly moving quest.”—Beth Kephart, author of Dangerous Neighbors

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