In a decision reminiscent of the Catholic Church’s refusal to hold a funeral mass in 2005 for openly gay businessman John McCusker, Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Little Italy has canceled a funeral mass scheduled this Thursday morning for openly gay businessman John Sanfilippo, owner of the SRO Lounge, a popular gay cocktail bar.
Sanfilippo died on Friday, June 24.
City Commissioner Nicole Murray Ramirez, a friend of the Sanfilippo family, talked to his partner of 30 years, Brian Galvin.
“The Sanfilippo family and Brian are, of course, devastated and are trying to get the mass in another church,” Murray Ramirez said.
When the parish priests found out about the gay relationship of Sanfilippo and Galvin, the priests said they were uncomfortable with Sanfilippo and Galvin’s relationship, according to Murray Ramirez, adding the church notified the family on Sunday that the Thursday funeral mass was canceled.
Our Lady of the Rosary Church is part of the Roman Catholic Diocese in San Diego, led by Bishop Robert Brom.
Murray Ramirez contacted the Catholic Diocese for a clarification of its policy of funeral masses for LGBT Catholics and is planning to press for a policy statement from Bishop Brom.
McCusker, owner of Club Montage (now Spin Nightclub), died in 2005 due to heart failure.
Bishop Brom said McCusker could not receive a Catholic funeral at any parish in the diocese’s jurisdiction.
His funeral was originally scheduled at the University of San Diego’s Immaculata Catholic Church.