IMG_5539-001Many thanks to all who helped to make our FrancisFest celebration last weekend a big success. Even with the clouds and rain, the “Rain Plan” for FrancisFest worked perfectly. After the 11:30 mass, I walked around and found all kinds of things going on: I had a platter of pork kebab, chicken, and spring rolls from the Our Lady of La Vang Vietnamese community which is moving into the Bethany Hills Baptist Church building next  year; I tried some fair trade chocolate, coffee, and salsa; visited the Tasting room to sample some wine and beer and watch a little football; went into Fellowship Hall which was packed with big crowds trying out the inflatable slides and other games; tried my hand at taking some shots with the hockey stick and pucks that were lined up in there which brought me back to being eleven years old and playing street hockey on Sumner Street in Burlington, MA growing up; and then later circled back for another walk by the food trucks where I had a lemon-lime slush, and then one more pass by the Tasting Room where I sampled a pale ale. Even with the grey, rainy skies, it was a beautiful day to be here, and many, many thanks to all who helped to make the day a big success!

Congratulations to the nearly 180 teenagers who received the sacrament of confirmation last weekend with Bishop Burbidge, and thank you as well to the many people who helped to organize the day and help make it run so smoothly.

Another success for us has been the generous response of the people here to the food drive for Catholic Parish Outreach. I watched again last weekend as people drove up and unloaded bags of groceries which were loaded into the CPO truck in our parking lot. The needs continue to be great, as many people continue to be hungry in our city, and the people of St. Francis are among the major supporters of keeping the shelves at CPO stocked. Thanks to all who helped to make this food drive a success.

This past summer Pope Francis released his encyclical Laudato (in English Praised Be) and it’s become known for its call for care of the environment. All of this of course is very Franciscan. Watch the bulletin over the next several weeks for excerpts from that encyclical and also an invitation to join a discussion group around it at the end of October. Click here to read Laudato sí.

This weekend and next The Justice Theater Project is presenting, here on our campus, “A Lesson Before Dying,” a play based on the novel by Ernest Gaines. This begins JTP’s new season. The theme of this season is “Let Justice Roll Like a River.” This year’s shows will focus on the issues of racism, the death penalty, immigration reform, fair wages, equality, and health care. Fr. Steve Kluge and Trevor Thompson will be leading a book discussion on the Gaines novel on Tuesday, October 13.

All are invited.

Blessings on your week!