He only celebrates Mass for himself now.
The makeshift altar in Bishop Francis Quinn's cozy Mercy McMahon Terrace apartment is a TV table made of pale wood and set with a tiny crucifix, a gold chalice, a small bowl to cleanse his fingers and a paten to hold the host.
At dawn this Easter morning, the holiest of days for Roman Catholics, he will pull the altar up to his favorite chair by the window and sit while performing the blessing. He does the same every morning. His doctors have warned that anything else might be too strenuous for him.
"In church, the Mass and homily can take an hour," said Quinn, and he smiled. "But mine takes less than 25 minutes. I don't preach to myself."
At age 90, in the twilight of his more than 65 years as a priest, including serving as bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento from 1980 to 1994, Quinn remains a man of faith and hope, dedicated to serving others.
But his calling, like his faith, has evolved and deepened in these final, quiet years.
When he moved to the Mercy McMahon Terrace seniors residence in east Sacramento in 2007, he found that its 80 residents were a built-in parish of sorts. Always a man with a sense of humor, Quinn liked to tell people that the priest and his parishioners lived in the rectory together.
He regularly performed public Mass for residents in the facility's second-floor chapel, and he ministered to the needs of his in-house flock, hearing their confessions, providing counsel and performing the anointing of the sick. Residents asked him to preside over their funerals, and when the time came, he did.
Retired and in his late 80s, he stayed busier than ever.
But last September, Quinn who has long had angina and carries with him a small spray bottle of nitroglycerine to halt bouts of chest pain spent a week in the hospital with congestive heart failure.
His doctors advised him to cut back on his activities. At their urging, he stopped performing public Mass, and he stopped driving.
"I'm grounded," he said.
His heart simply can't handle the stress.
"My ministry is curtailed somewhat because of my health," he said. "I've sort of slowed up. But it can be more effective now, because I live what my parishioners are feeling, too. I'm able to identify with them, because I suffer the same things they do, the ailments and the disabilities.
"I don't want to give the impression it's a sad life. It's a good life. I'm really enjoying it. It's a good spirit here."
'With him comes warmth'
A small, stooped man with thinning white hair, he uses a walker to make his way slowly down the seniors residence's wide hallways, quiet on an afternoon midway through Holy Week.
On a table outside his door, someone had left a small basket of pink silk roses and foil-wrapped chocolate Easter eggs. There were Easter bunny decorations on the walls of the center and a box of See's candy waiting for Quinn at the front desk.
"We're blessed to have him here," said the center's assistant administrator, Nicki Bagley. "With him comes warmth and love. He is our gift."
During his years as bishop, Quinn was known as a gentle spiritual leader with a strong social conscience.
Almost two decades after he resigned the bishop's post and five years after he returned to Sacramento from volunteering as a priest on a reservation in Arizona he remains beloved in the diocese.
"His personality and his way of dealing with people are such that he stayed in the minds and hearts of people here," said William Weigand, Quinn's fellow bishop emeritus, who dropped in for a visit. "People stop in. People call. I think the setting here lends itself to that. He's not alone in his apartment. He's still very independent and accessible, but he doesn't come and go so much any more."
The aging of the Roman Catholic priesthood is one of the church's most noticeable trends, with more than 40 percent of American priests already age 65 or older, according to a recent Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate study.
Despite his age and infirmities, Quinn maintains a full calendar a lunchtime meeting with Mercy McMahon Terrace's four other resident priests on one day; a visit from a Presbyterian minister, a longtime friend, on another and he tries to make time for the facility's weekly discussion group on current events.
"He still stays busier than I do," said Weigand. "He's sharp, but he's very weak."
Hopeful in faith
As a result, these are also Quinn's years of reflection and contemplation, a time of deepened understanding of the faith he embraced as a young boy growing up in Napa, the son of a widowed mother.
He began studying at the seminary in 1935, when he was 14, and he spent the next 11 years at St. Patrick's in Menlo Park before receiving his master's degree in education from Catholic University in Washington, D.C. He taught in San Mateo, then served in the Archdiocese of San Francisco during the turbulent 1960s and 1970s.
"I had the feelings the generation of the '60s had," Quinn said. "The idealism and the good thoughts. Quite a few people in those years began to question and doubt a good deal of things, but I never really doubted my faith. I didn't get to that point."
But it's only now, in what he called his more mellow and patient years, that he has time to find new meaning in the words of the Scripture he has read and spoken so many times.
"I'm afraid that at Mass and prayers, I was guilty of not reflecting on the meaning," he said. "Now I find myself not just reading mechanically but actually concentrating and contemplating sentences of the Scripture, which has tremendous impact on you.
"I'm better at it now. Not perfect. But better."
Of the 23 priests ordained from his seminary class so long ago, only four remain alive. Like anyone who has lived many decades, Quinn has weathered an accumulated lifetime of grief and loss, as family members, colleagues and friends have dropped away through time.
Not surprisingly, in his ministry at Mercy McMahon Terrace, he frequently counsels his fellow residents on illness and death. AARP research shows that only 15 percent of people 75 and older say they fear death but even in advancing age, facing the inevitable still takes courage, Quinn said.
"That's what I'm called upon to do, to keep them hopeful and without fear," he said. "I would like God to take me when I'm sound asleep at night. I try to look on death as a friend.
"I certainly don't look at belief in the afterlife as a crutch to give me courage. You're brought up to spontaneously believe in the afterlife. It's as factual to me as nuclear science. I'm very hopeful in faith."
And so Holy Week at the outset of Quinn's 10th decade a week that in church tradition encompasses the sadness of Jesus' crucifixion and the celebration of the resurrection passed with reflection and optimism for him.
He planned to attend the Mass of the Easter Vigil on Saturday evening at Sacred Heart Church, just across J Street from the seniors residence, and to spend today with his 94-year-old brother and large extended family in Fairfield.
"Easter Sunday," he said, "is the joyful feast."