A Look Back at Francis Week: great talks, celebrations and fun

Francis Week 2021 was full of amazing talks, celebrations, remembrances and fun!  Despite our continuing struggles with the pandemic, life feels more and more like it’s getting back almost to normal at St. Francis of Assisi.  Here is a look back at the events that made our celebration of our patron saint so special this year:

Two authors came to present their work.  On Thursday, September 30th we opened Francis Week with Love in the time of Coronavirus.  Dr. Angela Alaimo O’Donnell from Fordham University, came to share some of her poetry from her book of the same name.  The poems were written in first year of lockdown right here in New York and they beautifully capture many of the experiences we all shared during this difficult time.  Even people who don’t normally attend poetry events were moved by the feelings and memories that Angela’s poems evoked.

Then on Saturday, October 2nd, Maureen O’Brien read from her latest book, What was Lost: Seeking Refuge in the Psalms.  Maureen shared how her personal struggles with cancer and divorce led her to discover the power of the psalms to express the full range of human emotions and experiences, and she found the freedom to feel all of those emotions.  It was a powerful and moving witness to life’s journey through peaks of joy and happiness, and troughs of difficulty and sadness.  Maureen’s book is available for purchase in the St. Francis bookstore in the lobby and is worth reading.

The celebrations continued on Sunday with one of the most fun and beloved events of the year: the Blessing of Animals.  This year over one hundred dogs, cats, birds and a turtle were accompanied by their loving humans to bring them into God’s house to have them blessed.  There is a great joy in welcoming into the church these other creatures whose creator loves them too.  Even the animals seem to enjoy being welcomed into the church to be blessed.

The festivities culminated with our liturgical celebrations in honor of St. Francis of Assisi.  On Sunday evening we celebrated the Transitus of St. Francis of Assisi.  Friars around the world gather on the evening of October 3rd to remember the passing of St. Francis.  Our Transitus this year was opened with a talk by Sr. Marie Puleo, MFIC who talked about the legacy of St. Francis and the challenge to work for peace and justice inspired by his example and life.  Click the video below to watch this beautiful and moving prayer.

Then finally on October 4th we celebrated the feast itself.  We celebrated the Mass in honor of St. Francis at all of our daily Masses and in the evening we had two special celebrations.  At 5 PM Fr. Kevin Mullen, OFM, Provincial Minister of Holy Name Provice presided at the Mass.  Then at 6 PM we had a special festive Mass presided over by our pastor Fr. Tom Gallagher, OFM.  Below are some photos and the video of the 6 PM Mass.  Photos were taken by Keith Kemp, a parishioner at St. Francis of Assisi and member of our RCIA ministry team.

Thank You for joining the festivities!