Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Welcome to the many family members and friends of the children who celebrate First Eucharist this weekend.  What a great pleasure it is to celebrate the faith of these children and the example of their parents who are good shepherds and their first teachers in the ways of faith.

The past two weeks Fr. Bill and I had the good fortune to travel with 45 parishioners to  Franciscan Italy, in which we went as pilgrims to not simply see the beauty of the land  of Assisi and the many places Francis wandered, but also to experience and pray and  celebrate the risen Christ by walking the hills and valleys where Francis walked.  Among the joys of the trips were the many meals we shared together.  As you can imagine there’s no such thing as a bad meal in Italy.  We celebrated the Eucharist in many beautiful churches  in Florence, Assisi and Rome.  As one of our guides described it we were on an ABC tour – another beautiful church – or by the end of our trip, as he said we’d come to say – another bloody church. 

We toasted our parish as we anticipated our 30th birthday as a church this past week. And despite all the magnificent churches we saw in Florence, Siena, Assisi, LaVerna, Greccio and throughout Rome – there’s no place like the simple beauty of this church where the jewels are not the ornamentation or artwork, but rather the jewels of this place are the faces of each of you, created in love and beauty by our God.  No more beautiful are the children who celebrate First Eucharist this weekend and next.  Congratulations and thank you to our founding members and to each of you who have joined together since April 25 1982 to build up the Body of Christ here at the Catholic Community of St. Francis of Assisi. May the risen Christ continue to bless us to be faithful to his mission in proclaiming the reign of God.

In the peace of Christ,

Fr. Mark