Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church, San Francisco

From the day I took my “relocation tour” and learned about this beautiful church, I wanted to come back and sit in the church; to feel it, experience it, – and photograph it.
It has so much history – and the beauty is hard to describe – and even harder to capture in a photograph.

Saints Peter and Paul Church is a Roman Catholic Church that sits in a part of San Francisco known as “Little Italy” Located (somewhat oddly) at 666 Filbert Street, in the North Beach neighborhood (Italiano: Ss. Pietro e Paolo), (Chinese: 官話 圣伯多禄圣保禄教堂).

The church is administered by the Salesians of Don Bosco; it is known as “La cattedrale d’Italia ovest,” or “The Italian Cathedral of the West,” and has served as the home church and cultural center for San Francisco’s Italian-American community since its consecration. In recent years, Saints Peter and Paul has also become the home church for the city’s Chinese-American Roman Catholic population, offering weekly masses in Italian, Mandarin, and English.

Contrary to popular belief, Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe were not officially married at this church but returned for pictures on the church steps immediately after their civil ceremony in 1954. In true Catholic tradition, DiMaggio had been married in the church in 1939 to Dorothy Arnold and was therefore considered “still married” when he wed Monroe.

The church has also been featured in Clint Eastwood Movies, scenes from Cecil B. DeMille’s “The Ten Commandments” were filmed at the church while it was under construction, and parts of “Sister Act 2” were also filmed at the church.

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