Feast of St. Francis Approaches, Varied Events Planned

Maria Hayes Around the Province


Holy Name Province’s members and ministries are celebrating the Oct. 4 feast of St. Francis with festivities both solemn and social. This year’s commemorations of the man who founded the Franciscan Order in 1209 are emphasizing the saint’s devotion to the environment.

In Pompton Lakes, N.J., St. Mary’s Parish will mark with a Care for Creation fair the feast of St. Francis and the 35th anniversary of St. Francis being declared the patron of ecology. The event will educate attendees on ways to save water and on water bills, as well as how to do a home energy audit and how to prepare compost for gardens. Jacek Orzechowski, OFM, of Silver Spring, Md., will preach at all the weekend Masses for the feast.

St. Francis Parish in New York City is also using the feast day to provide education about the importance of the environment and the 35th anniversary. On Monday, Sept. 29, Daniel Riley, OFM, of Mt. Irenaeus, will give a talk titled “The Paper Cup Lifestyle: Are We Living in a Throw-Away World?” in San Damiano Hall on West 31st Street. Daniel’s presentation will “take a look at how we can care for both our sister, Mother Earth, and each other.”

The talk is part of a nine-day series of events at the West 31st Street church. The community will hold a week of prayer, as well as the traditional Transitus ceremony on Oct. 3. To begin the series, the annual fundraiser concert is being held on Sept. 26. Viva Francesco Cabaret: Show Stoppers is scheduled for 7:30 in San Damiano Hall.

On Oct. 1, Robert Lentz, OFM, world-renowned icon painter, will unveil and discuss a full-length icon of St. Anthony, recently commissioned by St. Anthony’s Guild. The week of events will conclude with a feast day Mass celebrated by Provincial Minister Kevin Mullen, OFM.

In Boston, Daniel Horan, OFM, will give a talk and sign his newest book, “The Franciscan Heart of Thomas Merton,” at St. Anthony Shrine. The book describes how Merton’s life “was shaped by his love for St. Francis and the Franciscan spiritual and intellectual tradition.” The Oct. 2 event is being sponsored by the Franciscan Adult School and the 20s/30s Boston Young Adults.

Two parishes named for the saint — St. Francis in Raleigh, N.C., and St. Francis in Triangle, Va. — are holding their own “Francis Fest,” complete with carnival rides, food, entertainment and other activities. From Sept. 29 to Oct. 7, the Raleigh parish will also welcome Mayan villagers from Las Margaritas, II, the sister parish in Guatemala.

Immaculate Conception Parish in Durham, N.C., will join in the fun with a multicultural festival on Oct. 4. The gathering begins after a bilingual Mass at 5:30 p.m. Also on Oct. 4, St. Patrick-St. Anthony Church in Hartford, Conn., will begin a yearlong celebration of the Franciscan presence in the community by holding a street festival.

Both Province-sponsored colleges have assorted programs and prayer services planned.

At St. Bonaventure University in Western New York, a week of Francis-related activities begins with Mass during Family Weekend, Sept. 26 to 28, when students are on campus with their parents. Opportunities for contemplation will be provided on Sept. 30 during a prayer session for faculty and staff, and an evening away at Mt. Irenaeus.

Speaker Jonathan Montaldo will speak with St. Bonaventure faculty and staff about the relationship of St. Francis and Thomas Merton on Oct. 2 before giving this year’s Fr. Jerome Kelly Lecture on Oct. 3. His presentation, “Learning Wisdom in the School of Your Own Life: Lessons in Praying, Loving and Living from St. Francis and Thomas Merton,” will explore Francis and Merton’s life events and personal relationships, according to a news release.

Dominic Monti, OFM, will be the main homilist at the Transitus service, with a candlelight reception following. The feast day Mass will be dedicated to the Francis Week Day of Service, giving the SBU community the opportunity to help those in need of St. Francis’s spirit.

Siena College, in Loudonville, N.Y., has scheduled for Sept. 29 “a reflection on the San Damiano Cross,” by F. Edward Coughlin, OFM, interim president.

The next day, students are invited to a Friars Appreciation Evening, arranged by Lawrence Anderson, OFM, college chaplain, in the Sarazan Student Union. On Oct. 1, Catherine Mooney of Boston College will give a presentation on “The Franciscan Tradition and the Liberation of the Laity Today.”

As per tradition, pet blessings will be held at many ministries around the Province, including St. Bonaventure in Allegany, St. Francis in New York City, Immaculate Conception in Durham, and St. Francis in Raleigh. More information about feast day celebrations can be found on the websites of HNP ministries.

Maria Hayes is communications coordinator for Holy Name Province.