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Beloved Franciscan retires

02 10.12.17_ImmaculateConception.Fr.Lauriola.Dcn.Sandoval PAGEDeacon R. Christoph Sandoval is blessed by Franciscan Father Guglielmo Lauriola, Oct. 1. (Courtesy photo)

Immaculate Conception Chapel closes as Father Lauriola departs

October 12, 2017
Valerie Schmalz

On Oct. 1, Franciscan Father Guglielmo Lauriola, 90, celebrated his last public Mass at Immaculate Conception Chapel and with his retirement the Franciscans relinquished their presence at the chapel on Folsom Street in San Francisco.

“We have been blessed by Father Lauriola’s presence in this archdiocese since 1974 – an astounding 41 years,” Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone said in a letter announcing the closing of the chapel with the loss of the Franciscan Friars of the Province of Santa Barbara.

“He has been present to your families for decades, selflessly giving his time to serve you at many of the most important moments in your lives,” the archbishop wrote. “His departure is a great loss for the archdiocese and he will be deeply missed.”

Father Lauriola is moving to the Franciscan Friary in Oakland, and the Franciscans do not have enough priests to continue to staff the chapel, wrote Father David Gaa, OFM, provincial minister of the Province of Santa Barbara.

Father Lauriola grew up in the small Italian town of Monte Sant’ Angelo where his parents brought him to see the Capuchin Franciscan St. Padre Pio in his monastery nearby and Father Lauriola continued with a close relationship through ordination and his early years as a priest, until the saint died in 1968.

Before coming to the U.S., Father Lauriola and three priests were sent as missionaries to Korea where they founded the Sacred Heart Leper Colony which became home to 400 lepers, according to an account in a 2012 edition of the Padre Pio Newsletter. When he left for Korea, Padre Pio gave Father Lauriola the advice, which the Franciscan repeated for the newsletter, “It is the grace of God that brings success to all our efforts. Never attribute anything to yourself.”

Father Lauriola was an exorcist for the archdiocese for years and a spiritual director for many. In a Facebook post, Deacon R. Christoph Sandoval wrote, “A sad day for me, the parishioners of Immaculate Conception Chapel and the Archdiocese of San Francisco as Father Guglielmo (William or Guillermo) Lauriola, OFM (90 years old) retires … He has been a mentor, a friend and a spiritual father for my ministries.”

“On the day of my ordination he offered a Mass in the morning and blessed me before going to the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption to be ordained. He will remain a giant for those of us in the healing ministries and for his profound love for the holy people of God,” Deacon Sandoval wrote.

Immaculate Conception Chapel is canonically connected to St. Anthony of Padua Parish, and the parish will welcome all those from the church up the street, as well as be the place to access baptismal, marriage and other church records, the archbishop wrote.

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