Chris Roberts recently paid a visit to the tiny little Chapel of the Immaculate Conception at 3255 Folsom in North Bernal, where encounters with the supernatural are considered perfectly normal. Writing for SF Weekly, he reports:
Near the tail end of services on Sunday at the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception, the well-dressed middle-aged woman sitting in the pew in front of me handed me a business card.
On one side was printed the question: “Do you have Supernatural FAITH?” On the other, written in black ink in her hand, was a direction: “ASK THE FATHER ABOUT THE MYSTERIOUS GREEN CROSS THAT APPEARED IN THE KITCHEN WINDOW.”
There is a certain amount of mysticism — what many might call “hocus pocus” — in any Catholic Mass. With the wave of a priest’s hand, bread and wine become the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ.
At this tiny, colorful, and low-ceilinged chapel on the north slope of Bernal Heights, odd phenomenon even church theologians cannot explain are normal.
It was here, 20 years ago, that a parishioner first observed a Marian apparition. One day after services, someone noticed something on the copper-topped gables of the church roof — an image of the Virgin Mary. Frequent scrubbings could not remove it. Word spread, and eventually, so many people came up Folsom Street to see the “miracle” that police had to close the street.
At the center of this house of the unexplained is a quiet man in his 80s who is so small in stature that, when celebrating Mass, he barely peeks above the altar. Mystery and coincidence have followed Immaculate Conception’s Father Guglielmo “William” Lauriola his entire life.