SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A group of Catholics is showing its support for the embattled Archbishop of San Francisco with a fundraiser and planned family picnic this Saturday, publicized by a newspaper ad.

The group San Francisco Catholics was formed in response to a open letter published in the San Francisco Chronicle by another group of prominent Catholics calling on Pope Francis to replace Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone.

On its website, the group characterizes itself as “a grass-roots organization of Catholics in the San Francisco Archdiocese who appreciate the efforts of Archbishop Cordileone to keep our Catholic schools Catholic.”

The group is organizing a ‘Family Picnic Day’ at Sue Bierman Park just west of The Embarcadero on the 200 block of Drumm St., publicized by a sixth-page advertisement in Thursday’s Chronicle, as well as on Facebook and Twitter. The group also said a special Mass would be held at 9:30 a.m. at the nearby National Shrine of Saint Francis of Assisi (Columbus Ave & Vallejo St.) before the 11:00 a.m. event.

The newspaper ad states:

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone is working hard to ensure that our Catholic schools remain excellent, affordable, and fully Catholic, representing the values and teachings of our faith.”

Advertisement in the San Francisco Chronicle publicizing the 'Family Picnic Day' in support of Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone. (CBS)

Advertisement in the San Francisco Chronicle publicizing the ‘Family Picnic Day’ in support of Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone. (CB

Cordileone has generated controversy for his outspoken support of a ban on same-sex marriage and most recently prompted protests among Catholic school teachers and students for his plan for morality clauses in high school teacher contracts.

The archbishop said he was surprised by the degree of backlash over the detailed morality statements warning of ‘gravely evil’ behaviors such as gay sex, masturbation, and adultery. He said the guideline language was a reiteration of existing Catholic morality doctrines concerning behavior.

The Archdiocese has also come under fire recently for a ban on altar girls at one parish, sexual behavior pamphlets at an elementary school, and discovery of a sprinkler system at the Saint Mary’s Cathedral designed to keep homeless from sleeping in its alcoves.

The San Francisco Catholics group has raised 18,000 out of a targeted $40,000 on GoFundMe.com to help pay for publicizing its support for the archbishop and to cover costs associated with Saturday’s picnic.

Picnic-goers are asked to bring their own food to the event. Organizers said beverages would be provided along with organized games and a Mariachi band.

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