Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In this season of Advent, we journey together to seek the presence of God anew in our lives.  Often times because of our frail humanity we know sin and brokenness in our lives.  I invite you to share in the Sacrament of Reconciliation / Penance as an important and meaningful way to celebrate God’s mercy, forgiveness and love.  This week there are several opportunities here at St. Francis of Assisi:

 Sunday (tonight) at 7:00 pm is geared particularly for the middle and high school youth and their families.

Monday at 7:00 pm is for the entire parish community.

Wednesday at 11:00 am for those in their wisdom years who are able to come during the day.  A luncheon follows (please call the parish office to RSVP for lunch).

Last month we were fortunate to have a visit from Katie Sullivan, the Director of Franciscan Volunteer Ministry (FVM) of Holy Name Province.  FVM is a year-long volunteer program placing young (men and women) adults in communities to work in an array of ministries with the Friars in Camden, NJ, Philadelphia, PA, and Wilmington, DE.  For young adults including recent college graduates who may be discerning a one year commitment I would encourage you to look at our web site: www.franciscanvolunteerministry.org.

Here are some excerpts from Katie’s talk:

When I first came to FVM, it was with the intention of giving back — for I had been so richly blessed.  Upon arriving to St. Francis Inn, the Franciscan soup kitchen in Philadelphia, I learned quickly that I was going to receive far more than I could ever give.  Living with my fellow Franciscan Volunteer Ministers, we learned to communicate.  We learned of our own strengths and limitations.  We learned to push each other’s buttons.  We laughed.  We prayed.  We became a family.  God nurtured us in our home and carried us beyond into our ministries.  Our work was a living out of our Faith.  It was easy to see the effects of our ministry: serving ten meals a week to three or four hundred Guests, coordinating parties and outings for the children, helping someone get into a treatment program.  As important as those acts were, those were not the most significant missions.  The greatest was Love.

Our program, the spiritual and personal growth, the ministries we do are all possible because of God’s grace.  We are a ministry of Holy Name Province.  Today, I invite you to share in our ministry.  If you are a young adult, please consider spending a year with us.  If you know a young adult who might consider a year with us, please share our information with them.  If you feel called to be a steward of our ministry financially, wonderful.  Most importantly, I humbly ask you to hold us in prayer.  That is strength and nourishment for our souls.  You and your community are held in our prayers.  Thank you for welcoming me to St. Francis and for this honor of being with you.  It would be great to meet you directly.  May God continue to bless you, your loved ones, and all the Good you do.  Thank you.

In the peace of Christ,

Fr. Mark