Both this weekend and next weekend, I will be away on a Habitat for Humanity build in El Salvador. In our time there, we will be working with a family helping to build a house and  we will also spend some time visiting some of the sites associated with Archbishop Oscar Romero, who was canonized last October by Pope Francis. On our last day there, we will also be climbing a volcano, dormant I presume. Thanks to the various people who have lent me work gloves, safety glasses, and advice on sun screen and insect repellent. I will have stories to share for sure. 

Last Saturday, our parish hosted a morning conference called “Francis and the Robbers: A Path to Nonviolence.” It was based on an event from the life of St. Francis of Assisi, who, when confronted by robbers, did not respond in kind. One of the presenters on Saturday spoke about how Francis used to go off and pray in the caves which are located high above the town of Assisi – going to the caves as the way that Francis confronted, literally, the darkness within his own soul. It was only by honestly facing his own darkness, his own inner violence and “dark side,” that Francis was able to go freely into the world and proclaim the good news of the gospel, because he had come to know the mercy of God in his own life and amid his own darkness. “Nonviolence” is a hard term, as we are surrounded by so much violence in our own lives and in the world and yet it remains an integral part of our Franciscan identity.

Last weekend, we spoke at all the Masses about the 2019 Bishop’s Annual Appeal. After a banner year last year, this year we are lagging behind our goal. We realize there are many possible reasons for this, one of which is most certainly the clerical abuse scandal which re-emerged in the news last summer. Please note that no funds from the BAA are used to pay settlements; all of the funds from the BAA are used to support important diocesan programs such as Catholic Charities and for the support of smaller, rural parishes. If you have already made your pledge, we thank you. If not, please consider making a donation.

Happy Memorial Day weekend to all and blessings on your week!


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