FSSP San Diego Hosts Annual Running of the Saints

St. Anne Parish, our apostolate in San Diego, California, celebrated their annual Fiesta in honor of St. Anne on Sunday, July 22nd, 2018. The Fiesta is held every year near the July 26th feast day of their patroness and includes that most famous of all FSSP San Diego events – the Running of the Saints.

A tradition with origins in the town of Gubbio, Italy, the Running is a spectacular event. The inhabitants of Gubbio honor St. Ubaldo as the patron of their city, and each May they hold La Festa dei Ceri on the eve of his feast day. Teams of men representing St. Ubaldo, St. George and St. Anthony, wearing yellow, blue and black, respectively, race through the streets of the town bearing statues of their saints on tall wooden structures. The tradition was imported to the United States via immigrants to Jessup, Pennsylvania (incidentally, only a stone’s throw from FSSP Headquarters in Scranton), where a similar run is now held every Memorial Day weekend. Fr. Gismondi brought the tradition to St. Anne’s, and it is now a fixture at the Southern California parish and the only Running in existence in San Diego. The parish’s version of the race involves two teams, one representing St. Anne and the other St. Michael, wearing blue and red, respectively. The teams run through the streets of San Diego, each bearing a mighty pillar crowned with a statue of their saint. Mysteriously, the team of St. Anne always wins…just like that of St. Ubaldo in Jessup and Gubbio.

The day began with Solemn High Mass at 9am, with the Fiesta commencing afterwards and the Running of the Saints taking place at 3pm. Other highlights of the grand occasion included traditional Mexican music and dancing, a delightful array of food offerings and ice cream, water gun fights, games that included “Dart the Devil” and an excellent group of young musicians who played Celtic music and were joined on fiddle by Deacon John Killackey, FSSP.

If you are in the area next summer, we highly recommend joining St. Anne’s for the joyful festivities in honor of their great patroness – and if you are a fellow with a mind for a challenge, join a side and run with the saints!

Our thanks to Ms. Claire Zeunges and the Cruz family for the photos used in this article.


August 8, 2018