Saints Peter and Paul Church

Saints Peter and Paul Church, known as “The Italian National Church,” was founded in 1884 as a separate parish for the City’s Italians on a site previously occupied by the Third Baptist Church. Staffed since 1897 by the Salesians, an order serving Italians all over the world, it has been regarded as “the most important agency and social center for the entire Italian Colony of San Francisco.” (Gumina 1978: 183) Originally on the corner of Filbert Street and Dupont Street (now Grant Avenue), it was rebuilt at 650 Filbert Street on Washington Square following the 1906 earthquake and fire starting in 1912. Work stopped during World War I and resumed in 1922. The new church was dedicated in 1924. It continues to serve the community with a parochial school, active boys’ and girl’s club, the annual blessing of the fishing fleet, and various adult organizations. The church has also become the home church for the Chinese American Roman Catholic population. Today it provides masses in English, Italian and Cantonese. Located prominently on the principal open space in North Beach, Washington Square, its physical presence and character support its social and cultural role as a center of the community.



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