Streetwise – when I’m 64 is one of the best essays from Frank Dunnigan and captures the flavor of the Parkside /Sunset District in the era when I was growing up. Even though I was not Catholic and did not live in the St. Cecilia parish, St. Cecilia was still a part of my community and Monsignor Collins was an important figure in the community. I remember that many people gave him credit, and were thankful to him, for stopping the freeway that was planned to connect San Mateo County with the Golden Gate Bridge. And then there was the story or rumor that he would not allow the new partially completed church sanctuary to be used until all of the money had been raised to complete it. We knew he was a strong pastor that knew how to run his church.
When I was in confirmation class at our church, Grace Lutheran, our pastor in an effort to expand our horizons, took us a field trip to visit St. Cecilia. I think one of the priests, maybe even Monsignor Collins, showed us around so that we could gain an understanding of Catholics and find that the Catholic Church was not much different than ours, just a lot larger.