As the Oct. 4 feast of St. Francis approaches, ministries arond the Province are beginning their celebrations of the patron saint , many extending the commemoration to more than a week.
In addition to the Transitus and the popular blessing of the animals, this year’s events include festivals, movies and a panel discussion about friar life.
Lectures and Discussions
In New York City, St. Francis of Assisi Parish is beginning its commemoration this weekend with Viva Francesco Cabaret concerts on Sept. 28 and 29 to raise money for the parish’s music ministry.
On Oct. 1, Provincial Vicar Dominic Monti, OFM, is giving a lecture at the Midtown Manhattan church. “Francis and Church Renewal: Then and Now,” will take place at noon and at 6 p.m.
Dominic, a well-known historian, will discuss how Francis and his new Order of lesser brothers were rapidly transformed by the far-reaching reform measures of the great Fourth Lateran Council of 1215. A parish promotion for the lecture said: “As we mark the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, it is time to consider how Franciscan men and women have taken up its call to renew the Church in our own time.”
The West 31st Street parish is also offering the popular “What Makes a Friar Tick” on Sept. 30, following the 6:15 p.m. Mass. The panel presentation will provide an insight into the lives of the friars who reside at St. Francis Friary. The program takes place in San Damiano Hall next door to the church.
St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Butler, N.J., is offering a novena to St. Francis from Sept. 25 through Oct. 3. It is being recited after all the Masses for nine days, according to a flyer. The parish is concluding its commemoration of the saint Oct. 7 with a presentation of the HNP Francis Medal at the 7:30 a.m. Mass.
Many parishes, including St. Francis of Assisi in Brant Beach, N.J., have scheduled blessings of animals. The Long Beach Island parish is holding its annual event at 10 a.m. on Sept. 29. In addition to a blessing, all animals will receive a Francis medal to wear on their collars. The parish, like many, is holding Transitus and feast day Masses. Details are available through the parish.
In addition to the blessing of the animals, some minstries are honoring St. Francis’s connection with nature further by celebrating Mass outdoors. St. Francis of Assisi Church in Raleigh, N.C., will celebrate an outdoor Mass on Oct. 7 at 11:30 a.m. The parish will also hold its annual Francis Fest, which includes an interactive ministry fair, have a “Mainstreet Fun Zone,” and a barbecue served by the Knights of Columbus.
In Virginia, St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Triangle is holding its annual Francis Fest, a day “filled with fun, food and fellowship,” on Oct. 7.
St. Anthony Shrine in Boston has been holding events related to St. Francis since mid-September. Its special “Franciscan Intermezzo Calendar” started Sept. 17, the feast of the Stigmata, and will conclude Oct. 4 with a feast day Mass. The calendar includes lectures on topics such as “In the Spirit of St. Francis and the Sultan,” and “St. Clare – Her Life Through Pictures,” and much more.
What does it mean to say we are Franciscans? Reflect on that question during a mini-retreat led by Daniel Riley, OFM, of the Mt. Irenaeus Franciscan Mountain Retreat, on Oct. 1 at St. Mary’s Church in Pompton Lakes, N.J. The event kicks off the parish’s Francis Week, which includes a video pilgrimage to Assisi on Oct. 9 and Oct. 16, and an Oct. 21 talk by Daniel Horan, OFM, about his book, “Dating God.”
In Washington, D.C., three days after the feast, the Franciscan Mission Service is offering a lecture by Dominic titled “The Passing of St. Francis.” It is scheduled for Oct. 7 as part of the FMS Sunday Souposium series.
— Wendy Healy is a freelance writer based in Connecticut. Maria Hayes and Jocelyn Thomas provided research for this story.
Editor’s note: The HNP Communications Office welcomes photos and information about commemorations of the feast of St. Francis. These reports will be published in an October issue of this newsletter.