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San Francisco priest dies after testing positive for COVID-19

The Rev. Bob Stein, who served at Saints Peter & Paul Church, died early Tuesday (Feb. 16) after testing positive for COVID-19, the church said on its website.

Saints Peter & Paul Church in San Francisco. Photo courtesy of Google Maps

(RNS) — A priest at a San Francisco church, which has been been temporarily closed in the midst of a coronavirus outbreak, died after he and two other priests contracted the virus.

The Rev. Bob Stein, who served at Saints Peter & Paul Church, died early Tuesday (Feb. 16) after testing positive for COVID-19, the church said on its website. He was 72, according to news reports.

“We are deeply touched and grateful for the prayers and support so many of you have sent for those of us (clergy and staff) who tested positive for Covid … Please pray for the repose of his soul,” the church said, adding it will remain closed through at least Feb. 23. Online services are available.

Saints Peter & Paul Church had been accused of defying previous public health orders that barred churches from holding indoor worship. Late last June, San Francisco City Attorney Dennis J. Herrera sent a cease-and-desist letter to the Archdiocese of San Francisco, urging it to stop holding indoor worship.

Herrera, in the June 29 letter, said the city had received multiple complaints that Saints Peter & Paul Church had held a number of public Mass services where “people were coming in and out of the church, cars were coming in and out of the parking lot, and the main doors were open to the public.”

Later that summer, the church made headlines when at least 10 people, including the bride and groom, got COVID-19 after their wedding was held at the parish, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

In California, houses of worship are currently allowed to have indoor worship at 25% capacity.