NEW YORK — The many ministries of Holy Name Province celebrated their patron saint last week with traditional services, animal blessings, and in some locations, special events.
The photo at right shows the animal blessing held by Manhattan’s St. Francis of Assisi Church on Oct. 4, the Feast of St. Francis. Like many parishes, the friars and parish staff honored St. Francis by inviting community members to bring their pets to church to be blessed. The church sent a special invitation to area firehouses.
Shown in the photo are St. Francis of Assisi Pastor Jerome Massimino, OFM, with community members who came with pets of all kinds.
At St. Anthony’s Prish in Butler, N.J., John Alderson, OFM, John Leonard, OFM, and Jude Murphy, OFM, led a pet blessing that included parishioner Kay Conroy distributing personalized blessing certificates to pet owners.
On Oct. 3, Holy Name ministries celebrated the Transitus, the commemoration of the death and new life of St. Francis of Assisi, when he listened to the Gospel account of Jesus’ farewell to his disciples, broke bread, and welcomed Sister Death in 1226.
After the celebration, Franciscan communities held receptions to provide fellowship in a spirit of gratitude.
An invitation from St. Patrick-St. Anthony in Hartford read: “In memory of the blessing of Francis … we give thanks, we simply give thanks, for gratitude is the memory of the heart.” The invitation continued, “We thank those in all our ministries who have supported us and worked with us to help people (the poor, the missions, local works), and to pray that love will continue to live on in our lives and in our ministries as we fill our hearts with beautiful memories of Christ, of Francis, of Franciscan men and women whose work we continue into the next century.”
Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, celebrated Mass on Oct. 4 at St. Bonaventure University in Allegany, N.Y. The Eucharist was part of an assortment of events held to commemorate the school’s 150th anniversary, culminating in a fireworks display.
Siena College in Loudonville, N.Y., also included in its observance of St. Francis a fireworks display on Saturday night.
As at many communities, the commemoration of the feast of St. Francis was a week long at the Province’s midtown church. It concluded Oct. 5 with an organ receital commemorating the 30th anniversary of the installation and dedicaion of the pipe organ. Jared Lamenzo was the performer.
Stephen Lynch, OFM, mentions St. Francis of Assisi in a recent essay he wrote titled, “Encountering the Divine Presence.” He says that St. Francis of Assisi, like Franny in S.D. Salinger’s novel Franny and Zooey, found the Jesus he was looking for when he reached out in compassion to the leper he had originally experienced as loathsome and repulsive.
Information about the commemorations of the feast held by Holy Name Province ministries can be found by visiting their Web sites. Photos of teh transitus held at St. Francis of Assisi Parish on West 31st Street can be found by clicking on the photo above.