Greetings to all on this long holiday weekend and on Monday this week we remember the witness of Martin Luther King Jr. There is a new movie “Selma” about which I am hearing good things and would like to see and it brings us back to the difficult and courageous years of the Civil Rights era in this country. In Greensboro, North Carolina, a little more than an hour’s drive to the west of here, I recently visited the International Civil Rights Museum which is located in the old Woolworth’s Department Store and is the site of the famous lunch counter sit-in in 1960, in which four young black college students sat at a counter, asked for a cup of coffee, were refused service because they were black, and yet remained in their places in silent, peaceful protest, even as they were surrounded by taunts and threats. All of this not so long ago and right in our midst. The Civil Rights movement in this country gained much of its strength from the churches and the churches’ witness to the gospel of Christ with its call to be peacemakers, even when that seemed difficult. That era remains a powerful moment in our nation’s history.

We are now in Liturgical Year “B” which began with the First Sunday of Advent and continues through the Feast of Christ the King in November. In Year B, the Sunday gospel during Ordinary Time will for the most part be taken from the gospel of Mark, with gospels from other writers used during the seasons of Lent and Easter. Mark’s gospel is considered to be the first of the four gospels to be written and it was probably written down forty years or so after the death and resurrection of Christ. Matthew and Luke probably wrote their gospels ten years or so after Mark’s gospel, and John’s gospel was the last to be written, sometime between the years 90-100 AD.

If you’re looking for a good way to follow along on our journey through Mark’s gospel this year, you might want to consider an easy-to-read and easy-to-follow book called “Mark for Everyone,” written by Tom Wright. He also has other books in his “for everyone” series which introduce the other three gospels along with the rest of the New Testament books. “Mark for Everyone” takes you through Mark’s gospel, gives you a passage from that gospel, and then follows the passage with a commentary on what it means and how it might apply to our own lives. You could use the book among a small group of friends, read it together, and use it as a way for sharing faith. We friars have our own copies and often find them helpful in preparing homilies or simply for our own learning. Highly recommended from us, and a good way to follow along as we go through the year.

We are introducing a new electronic giving option here at St. Francis which will begin this weekend. Please check the bulletin or website or call either Rob Neppel, Pat Kowite, or Sue Mathys in our office for more information. Blessings to all on your week!

Fr. Steve