Next Sunday, October 4, is the feast of the patron of our parish, St. Francis of Assisi. One anxiety that has been conveyed to me by both the friars and some parishioners has focused on the status of the Franciscan charism of the parish once the friars departed and diocesan clergy assumed leadership of the parish. This is a very understandable anxiety. I will be addressing this in my homily at the 9:30 Mass on October 4. I want to assure you that the spirit and influence of St. Francis will remain alive and well in the parish albeit with some differences in emphasis.
The feast day of a parish’s patron saint raises the festivity level of the Mass to a solemnity, the highest level of festivity in the Church (think Easter Sunday, Christmas). While all our neighboring parishes will be celebrating the 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time, we will be celebrating the Solemnity of St. Francis of Assisi at both Masses. There will be brass and other instruments adding to the joyfulness of this day. I will sing the entire Eucharistic Prayer to the Mass of Creation setting at the 9:30am Mass. We’ll likely throw in a little incense too.
On Saturday evening, October 3, at 7:00pm, Fr. Jim Sabak will lead the beautiful Transitus Service in the Memorial Garden next to the church. This liturgy commemorates the passage of St. Francis to eternal life which occurred on the evening of October 3.
We are placing a lot of emphasis on these liturgies since COVID-19 will put a serious damper on our usual FrancisFest. This year we need to modify the annual festival. We’re calling it Francis Bless Fest, a drive-thru opportunity for pets to be blessed and greetings exchanged between parishioners in their cars and Frs. Jairo, Jim, and me. We will have a small gift to offer you as you depart. Please see the bulletin and website for further details. We fully expect FrancisFest will return in full in 2021 but felt we needed to be realistic about what we could do in 2020 with the limitations we face to maintain everyone’s safety. It is my hope that next year we will have all former Francis-cans who have served the parish come and celebrate an appropriate thank you for their ministry which was truncated because of COVID-19.