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Landmark San Francisco cathedral forced to cut back with declining attendance

Landmark S.F. cathedral forced to cut back with declining attendance
Landmark S.F. cathedral forced to cut back with declining attendance 03:05

SAN FRANCISCO -- Places of worship continue to feel the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic with a new Pew Research poll showing that the number of adults attending in-person services have declined.

Old St. Mary's Cathedral says nearly half of their parishioners have yet to return to in-person worship.

Fr. John Ardis, who is a priest at Old St. Mary's Cathedral, shares they had to make the difficult decision to cut back on services and employees.

Declining attendance at Old St. Mary's Cathedral
Declining attendance at Old St. Mary's Cathedral. CBS

"We ended up having to close our preschool because of the number of students," Ardis said. "Almost two years ago, we had to close our bookstore that has been operating for over 82 years."

On top of cutting back, Ardis says the cathedral too needs repairs.

"People often say to me, 'Oh, your church is so beautiful,'" said Ardis. "And I think to myself, 'Yes it is.' But it could be really beautiful if we were able to restore it to -- in a sense -- its original luster."

According to Pew Research's latest poll, "How the Pandemic Has Affected Attendance at U.S. Religious Services," one in five U.S. adults are attending in-person worship less than before the pandemic.

Bernardino Gallano is one of the cathedral's regular parishioners. He says he can't imagine not attending if he can.

"I cannot stop going to church or stop praying. It's how I am," said Gallano.

Ardis says he hopes to see more people walking through the cathedral's doors throughout the holy week and beyond.

Anyone interested in donating to help restore Old St. Mary's Cathedral can do so at the church's website.

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