Province Prepares for Feast of St. Francis

HNP Communications Around the Province

NEW YORK — With the feast day of St. Francis coming up on Oct. 4, HNP Today reports on some observances throughout Province. These are some of the many programs and services taking place at ministries and parishes. Details can be found on Web sites and in parish bulletins. 

New York City

At St. Francis of Assisi, on West 31st Street, New York, the church will begin the week with “Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace,” Sept. 28, 3 p.m., a program of prayer, reflection and musical celebration of the “Peace Prayer of St. Francis.” 

On Sept. 29, a panel of friars will present, “What Makes the Friars Tick,” 7 p.m., in a lighthearted look at the vocation, life and ministry of friars.  Jerome Massimino, OFM, said the friars participating, in addition to himself, are  Michael Carnevale, OFM, Anthony LoGalbo, OFM, Felix MCGrath, OFM, Brian Smail, OFM, Kevin Tortorelli, OFM.

From Sept. 30 to Oct. 2, the church presents a Spirituality Series. Anthony LoGalbo, OFM, director of the Franciscan Center for Spirituality and Spiritual Direction, and Stephen Mimnaugh, OFM, will present on “The Legacy of St. Francis and his Writings,” and “Francis: A Medieval Saint for a Post-Modern World.”

A Franciscan film festival takes place Sept. 30 to Oct. 2, 6:30 p.m., with three films — “Brother Sun, Sister Moon,” “The Assisi Underground,” and “Francesco.” Other programs at the midtown church include:

Oct. 3 — Transitus, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 4 — Blessing of the Animals, 3 p.m., Festive Mass, 5:15 p.m. 

At St. Stephen of Hungary Church on East 82nd Street, “Frank: The Musical” is being performed on Sept. 28 to a sold-out audience.

At the Parishes
At St. Mary’s Parish in Pompton Lakes, N.J., Francis Week celebrations begin Sept. 27. Masses focus on the theme, “Lord, Make Us Instruments of Evangelization.” Russell Becker, OFM, director of the Province’s Franciscan Missionary Union (FMU), will give the homilies. The FMU supports and promotes the Franciscan missions in Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, East Africa, Japan, Taiwan and Vietnam. 

On Sept. 30, 7:30 p.m., Provincial Vicar Dominic Monti, OFM, presents “Other Great Franciscan Saints,” at the Carnevale Center. He discusses Saints Anthony of Padua, Elizabeth of Hungary, Bonaventure, Bernardine of Siena, Colette of Corbie, Francisco Solano, Marianne Cope, Maximilian Kolbe, and others. Dominic has a doctorate in the History of Christianity from Washington Theological Union where he taught for 25 years.
On Oct. 1, 7:30 p.m., the music ministry presents “Songs in the Key of Francis,” with Francis Gunn, OFM. A $5 donation is suggested.
On Oct. 5, David Haack, OFM, displays four commissioned pieces of art on St. Francis and St. Clare. The pieces, painted for the Carnevale Center, will be blessed. The event takes place, 1 to 3 p.m. at the center.  

At St. Francis of Assisi on Long Beach Island, N.J., a variety of programs are scheduled: 

Oct. 3  — Celebration of Francis — The Transitus, led by the Secular Franciscans, at the Brant Beach Church, 7 p.m.
Oct. 4  — Solemnity of St. Francis at 9 a.m. and blessing of animals at 10 a.m.      
Oct. 4/5 — Weekend Celebration of the Feast of Francis at  all Masses

Oct. 6  — Employee Luncheon to Celebrate the Feast of St. Francis.  

The St. Francis Community Center is decorated with a special display to remind people that it is Francis week, said Juli Rosengarth, parish public relations coordinator.

At. Holy Cross Church in Callicoon, N.Y., the praying of the vestpers of the feast of St. Francis will be held  on Oct. 3. It will be followed by a visit to Holy Cross Cemetery when 10 friars are buried, said  Ignatius Smith, OFM, pastor.

At St. Francis of Assisi Church in Raleigh, N.C., celebrations will include a visit by Bishop Michael Burbidge who will spend the day with the friars.  In the morning, he will meet with 165 youth for a discussion about their faith.  A blessing of animals is planned for the afternoon.  In the evening, the Raleigh friars will host a festive evening with Bishop Burbidge and Franciscan friars from the diocese (Atonement friars, Conventuals and the Holy Name friars from the nearby Durham parish).

Celebrating the Transitus
Other churches that are celebrating the Transitus, the commemoration of Francis’ embrace of death on Oct. 3, 1226, as told by his early biographers, are:

• St. Anthony Shrine, Boston, Mass.
• St. Bonaventure Church, Paterson, N.J.
• St. Clare Church in Buffalo, N.Y.    
• St. Camillus Church in Silver Spring, Md. 
• St. Mary’s Church in Providence, R.I.
• St. Patrick-St. Anthony Church, Hartford, Conn.

At St. Francis Church, Triangle, Va., a blessing of the animals is planned for will be held Oct. 4. All weekend Masses take place at noon. On Oct. 5, a special bilingual Mass will be celebrated, and also an outdoor FrancisFest, a fall festival with games, food, music and multi-cultural events.  

On Campuses

Siena College, in Loudonville, N.Y., will commemorate the feast with “The Transitus: A Candlelight Service Commemorating the Passing of St. Francis into Eternal Life,” Oct. 3 at 7:30 p.m., St. Mary of the Angels Chapel, followed by a reception in the chaplain’s office lobby.

On Oct. 4, Siena celebrates its Franciscan heritage during the family weekend. At 4 p.m., there is a Family Weekend Mass in the Alumni Recreation Center. At 8:30 p.m., a celebration of fireworks, with cookies and hot cocoa, is planned.

The friars at nearby St. Francis Chapel in Colonie, N.Y., will be collaborating with the Siena programs to commemorate the feast. In addition, on Oct. 4 they will celebrate two Masses at the chapel and will hold a blessing of  animals.

St. Bonaventure University in Allegany, N.Y., will celebrate its 150th anniversary during Francis Week. Celebrations of the feast of St. Francis, beginning Sept. 28 and culminating with a daylong celebration on Oct. 4, include many events.

On Oct. 4, a book about the history of St. Bonaventure University by Edward Eckert will be previewed, and a liturgy will be celebrated by Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, who ministered at SBU from 1973 to 1982. 

Michael Crosby, OFM Cap., a world-renowned priest and author, will begin Francis Week events  on Sept. 28 with the Eucharist titled “Francis of Assisi: The Story of a Young Adult Finding His Voice” at 7 p.m. on Sept. 28 at the University Chapel in Doyle Hall.   

Nearby Mt. Irenaeus offers on its Web site a reflection about the Feast of the Stigmata by Joseph Kotula, OFM, and a member of the Franciscan Sojourners.

Fair, Classes, and Retreat in New England and Long Island
In Boston, St. Anthony Shrine is holding its semi-annual street fair on Arch Street on Sept. 30. Visitors will enjoy music, free refreshments, and health programs from the shrine’s wellness center. The Franciscan Adult School is offering presentations about Saints Francis and Clare on Oct. 1 and 2.

Friars of Holy Name Province will be commemorating the feast of St. Francis in a variety of other location.  Kevin Cronin, OFM, of the Province’s ministry of the word, for example, is conducting a  Francis Week on the road, he said, that will include a Franciscan retreat in Our Lady of the Snows in North Floral Park, Queens, N.Y., and the Transitus and blessing of the animals.