This coming Friday, October 4, we celebrate the feast of our patron saint Francis of Assisi. A group of pilgrims from the parish returned last Friday from Italy, and we had four days in Assisi. Assisi is built on the side of a mountain, as you approach it from the road coming from the south, it shines in the late afternoon sunlight. We had Mass at the tomb of Francis. We visited the Basilica of St. Clare where we saw the crucifix that “spoke” to Francis. We looked out over the Spoleto Valley at olive trees, fields, distant hills, and saw what Francis saw – the beauty of God’s created world. We spent time at LaVerna, a mountain in Tuscany to the north of Assisi, where Francis received the stigmata, the wounds of Christ. We had time to gaze out over the valley below, time to wander the cobblestone streets of Assisi at night, when it seems that Francis himself might emerge from just around the corner, and remind us to carry a sense of the wonder of God’s creation with us through our days. At night, we gathered for food and drink and fellowship, and we continued our journey with stops in Siena, Florence, and Venice. Many thanks to our fellow pilgrims as, for a time, we drew close to our Franciscan homeland and came back with stories and memories about our humble and good St. Francis.