The selection of Pope Francis had ministries in Holy Name Province celebrating and marking the momentous occasion in a variety of ways. Friars and their partners-in-ministry at schools, parishes and Provincial offices acknowledged the new leader of the Catholic Church through education and prayer.
Sending Messages to the Pope
Students at The Franciscan School at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Raleigh, N.C., celebrated the election of Pope Francis at a recent morning praise service. Students shared their prayers for the pope which will be sent to the pontiff at the Vatican, according to pastor Mark Reamer, OFM.
In Connecticut, parishioners at St. Patrick-St. Anthony Church in Hartford, Conn., where Thomas Gallagher, OFM,is the pastor, were invited to watch the installation live via the Internet at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Hartford. The invitation called the installation an event of “firsts”… the first pope from the Americas, the first Jesuit, and the first to take St. Francis’s name. Connecticut’s Archbishop Henry Mansell, leader of the Archdiocese of Hartford, participated.
The HNP Development Office, under the direction of David Convertino, OFM, distributed an email with the St. Francis prayer. It read, “On this special occasion, please join the Franciscan friars in praying for our new Pope Francis.” David posted the entire St. Francis prayer, beginning with, “Lord, make him an instrument of your peace and presence in the world.”
St. Francis of Assisi Parish in New York City, where Andrew Reitz, OFM, is the pastor, held special Masses on March 19 for the pope and joined with Catholics all over the world in welcoming and praying for the pontiff. “We pray that the Holy Father, like St. Francis whose name he chose, will hear the Lord’s call to ‘rebuild my house,’” said the parish website. “May the Spirit inspire him to lead the Church in our common mission to build the Reign of God.”
St. Bonaventure University in Allegany, N.Y., held a special Mass on March 19 to honor the pope and to celebrate the fact that he chose the name of Francis. The Mass was offered by John C. Coughlin, OFM. The school also held a lunchtime discussion on how the pope was selected through the conclave process.
John said “Francis Di Spigno, OFM, made the decision to celebrate the Mass on that day in honor of the newly elected pope. Julianne Wallace, campus liturgist and music minister, was very instrumental in planning the liturgy. Our Mass coincided with the new pope’s installation, as well as the solemnity of St. Joseph.”
Approximately 50 people, including students, faculty and staff, attended the Mass, according to John.
“After the Mass, the videographers taped a message that the gathered assembly gave in front of the altar,” said John. “The message in Spanish, the native language of Pope Francis, was ‘Viva el papa Francisco, viva.’ Also, large pieces of paper were provided for anyone wanting to leave a written message for the new pope. As I understand, both the video and written messages were then sent out to the Vatican.”
— Wendy Healy is a Connecticut-based freelance writer and frequent contributor to HNP Today.