Fr. Zachary Shore was born Joseph Michael Shore in 1937 to William and Birdie Shore, along with his two brothers in an observant Catholic household. His involvement with the church began early on in attendance to Catholic schools in San Francisco. Upon graduating from high school, he joined the Novitiate of the Brothers of the Christian Schools in 1955, changing his name to Brother Zachary. After joining the brotherhood, he attended Saint Mary's College in Moraga, graduating in 1960. He taught at Sacred Heart High school from 1960 until 1965. After teaching at Cathedral High School in Los Angeles from 1965-1967, he was hired as the principle of Garces High School in Bakersfield until 1970.
While he continued his religious affiliation, teaching novitiates from 1973-1977, he would withdraw from the brotherhood in order to seek ordination in the Catholic Church. He graduated from St. Patrick Seminary and was ordained in 1981, upon which he immediately began parish duties at Our Lady of Mercy Church in Daly City. He moved from there in 1986 to Saint Cecilia Church In San Francisco, working as the parish priest there until 1990. It was Fr. Shore's next call that would be his longest, and would define his ministry among LGBT people. He was called to be the priest of the Most Holy Redeemer Church, a parish located in the center of the Castro in San Francisco. He would remain the priest of the parish for twelve years, from 1990-2002.
His tenure as priest at Most Holy Redeemer revealed the complicated relationship between the hierarchy of the Church and Most Holy Redeemer's primarily (in Shore's words: over 90%) LGBT congregation. Fr. Shore criticized the Church's use of discretionary funds for political purposes that harmed the rights of his congregation, and more traditionalist Catholics accused Shore of abetting a sinful congregation. He worked not only with New Ways Ministry, which showed a moderate version of LGBT activism within the Catholic Church. He also worked side by side with another church in the area, MCC San Francisco. Fr. Shore's style of parish direction allowed for many LGBT Catholics to come to grips with their frustration with the larger Church. It was also under his tenure that Most Holy Redeemer began participating in the San Francisco Pride Parade, unofficially in 1998 and officially in 2000.
Fr. Shore moved from Most Holy Redeemer to the Church of the Visitacion for four years before retiring in 2006. He passed away in July of 2011.
(This biographical profile written and edited by Joel Layton)
Biography Date: March, 2012
Catholic (Roman) | New Ways Ministry | Ally | Clergy Activist | California | San Francisco