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Christmas welcome from St. Francis of Assisi Church, New York
Blessed Christmas, everyone. During this holy Christmas season, we celebrate the Birth of Jesus. Thank you for joining us. At this blessed time and every day, St. Francis of Assisi Church welcomes the Christ who comes among us in you.
Come all ye faithful, joining us with family and friends come all who are alone. Come you have recently lost someone close to you. Come you who are with someone special. No matter where your life journey has led you, come to this celebration. Come… Christ is here, and you are welcome.
Come you who are treasured parishioners. Come most welcome guest. Come, you for whom it has been some time since you have entered a church. Come you who are of another faith tradition. Come you who are you seeking a faith tradition. Come… Christ is here, and you are welcome.
Come, all ye faithful, Single, Married, Divorced, or Widowed. Come you who are Gay or Straight. Young and old, rich or poor come, do not delay. Come… Christ is here, and you are welcome.
Come you who have experienced abuse or violence or natural disaster. Come all who have been hurt in the past and feel unable to move on. Come you who are struggling in life, financially, emotionally, or spiritually. Come you who have been away. Come you who have been living in darkness, be light with us. All are welcome to come in Christ. Come with shepherds, magi, angels, saints, and sinners. Together we walk in the joyful hope of our God’s welcome! Come… Christ is here, and you are welcome.
2020 has been a difficult journey for many of us. Yet, we are truly blessed and humbled to be sharing in this joyous moment together. We celebrate the birth of Christ, the Son of God, who was born long ago in Bethlehem and is still among us today. Let us, in the silence of our hearts, wish our family and friends those near or far away, the living and the deceased, a Blessed Christmas. (allow for some silence)
In a manger, in a town far away, among shepherds, and in the dark of night, Jesus was born. Our salvation dawned. We celebrate this great feast of God’s love: a love so great that God sent his Son to dwell among us. Let us again hear the song of the angels. Come… let us adore him together.
During the final weeks of Advent, we have listened to John the Baptist. Like some of those hearing him for the first time, perhaps we found ourselves asking a genuine listener’s question: “What must we do to prepare the way for the coming of the Lord?” On a personal level, we may find a way to pour oil on the troubled waters of a tense and fractured relationship; to ask pardon from someone hurt by a broken promise; to soften the hardheartedness that makes it so difficult for us to offer or receive forgiveness after a quarrel. Perhaps there are injustices on a larger scale, at home or further afield, on which we should take some action. Would now be a good time to take a stand for what is right? We live in an age of increasing ecological awareness, and we recognize that our planet has suffered serious damage, caused by human exploitation of the good things of Creation. Do we need to extend our concern for the oppressed and the vulnerable and include the Earth itself? In addition, what of the pandemic? Do we realize our obligation to stay safe by following protocols recommended by the CDC and the NIH? We are not alone during this crisis. These are thoughts for listening to the Word of the Lord through the prophetic voice of John the Baptist.
by David McBriar, O.F.M.
For Christmas this year, we have added doves to our Christmas trees in the sanctuary. Each dove is a symbol of our prayer, our hope, and our remembering.
Some doves bear the names of people who are suffering from this pandemic: Those who have died from the virus, those struggling with the virus right now, and those who are out of work due to the economic impact of the pandemic.
Other doves bear the names of the humble heroes who continue to put themselves in harms way to make sure the rest of us are OK during this difficult time: medical personnel, first responders and essential workers.
Here are the names submitted by members of our community to be remembered:
George W Hunkele
Teresa E Frees
Nurses of The Cleveland Clinic
Diane Deverau Long
Cherie La Pelusa
The Christmas flowers and wreaths which adorn our church at Christmas are offered to honor the birth of Christ and to glorify God. Thank you to everyone who donated toward our Christmas decorations.
In Memory of:
Carlina Apolinaris Acevedo
Francisco Castro Astacio
Dennis and Kathy Borecki
Bertha and Charles Degnan
Deceased members of the Diaz family
Thomas and Theresa Dolan
Michael Dunleavy, Sr.
Caroline M. Fagan
Deceased members of the Fisco Family
Deceased members of the Foley Byrne and Quirke Walsh Families & Poor Souls of all times
Thomas Aquinas Gilbride
Joan Dorothy Gilbride
Ruth Anne Gilbride
Peter and Ferdynand Hanusek
Edward and Cecila Harlan
Jane R. and Charles Janiak
Lizurej and Kolej Family
Padre Santiago Mallen, CSSR
May Kathleen Mark
Rt. Rev. Paul Moore, Jr.
Bill and Morgan
George Lee Rexing
Victoria, Owen and Donovan Robertson
Charles Wildes, Sr.
And for the Special Intentions of:
Providencia Castro Apolinaris Gilbride
Michael Thomas Gilbride
The Bread and Wine for the Christmas Masses was donated in memory of:
This is our season of prayerful hope and our time of remembering.
Yet, the pandemic is very much with us. Our solemn recall of Jesus’ birth during this time invites us to remember our sisters and brothers whose lives are touched by COVID-19.
For Christmas this year, we will add doves to our Christmas trees. Each dove is a symbol of our prayer, our hope, and our remembering.
We would like each dove to bear the name of a person who has died from the virus, those struggling with the virus, medical personnel, and essential workers. We will include one dove in each group for those who have no one to remember them.
We invite you to send names that you would like included on our tree this year. (We only have 150 doves.) The dove is a sign of peace.
Please submit names by December 21st.
May the peace Christ, whose birth we recall, be with you.
Fr. Tom, ofm
Even in a pandemic, we can celebrate the birth of Christ.
We might not be able to be with all of our loved ones in person this year, but we can be together in the spirit. And whether you come to visit the church in person, or you join us on our livestream, we will still prepare the sanctuary to celebrate Christ’s birth. The Christmas trees, the wreaths and the poinsettias will again adorn our sanctuary this Christmas. We offer them to honor the birth of Christ and to glorify God.
It is also a way to remember your loved ones and share the beauty of the season with the whole community. We invite you to memorialize members of your family, friends or other loved ones with a donation for our Christmas decorations. Donations and the names of those received by December 18th will posted on our parish website for Christmas.
The Church of St. Francis of Assisi was temporarily closed to protect everyone after we discovered a potential exposure to Covid-19. We have good news to report: all the friars have tested negative and we are free to re-open our doors.
Confessions will begin again at 11:00 AM on Monday December 14th in the lower church and in person Mass will resume also on Monday, December 14th at 12:00 PM in the upper church.
See our special schedule due to the Coronavirus at the links below:
Original Post of 12/9/2020:
Dear Parishioners and Friends of St. Francis of Assisi Church,
May the Lord give you peace.
One of our staff members has tested positive for the Coronavirus. The friars are going to quarantine until after all of us have been tested. At this point, the friars are all healthy.
For the safety of all, we will suspend public services.
I will update you on Monday, 12/14.
- The upper church is closed.
- The daily 12:00 PM and 5:00 PM masses and the Saturday 4:00 PM, Sunday 11:00 AM, and 5:00 PM will be live-streamed only. They will not be open for congregations.
- We will live stream Vespers for Monday 12/14 at 5:45 PM.
- Confessions are suspended as well.
- The Lower Church will be open for private prayer from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Monday through Friday.
I regret the inconvenience and hope to be back on schedule soon. Please continue to pray for all who are sick with the virus, for those who have died, those who mourn, for caregivers, medical personnel, and all essential workers.
-Fr. Tom, ofm
Dear Parishioners and Friends of St. Francis of Assisi Church,
BLESSING FOR THANKSGIVING DAY
Leader: Gracious God, in the beginning your Word summoned the light and by a pillar of fire you led your people through the dark night from slavery to freedom. Then, when the times had at last grown full and our eyes accustomed to our chosen darkness you sent your Son as Light of the World.
We pray you, bless these candles. May the radiance of their light reflect for us the brilliance of your light. May we see each other in their light as you see us, in love, in kindness, in goodness. We ask this in the power of your Spirit and the name of Jesus our Lord.
Leader: Gracious God, when your people’s journey became overwhelming and they had lost their way, you led them to new life and fed them with manna. Then, when they had grown accustomed to their hunger and their deafness, you spoke your Word, Jesus, into their hearts and fed them with the Bread of Life. We pray you, bless this bread. May the bread that is broken at our tables this Thanksgiving Day feed our hunger for communion, for peace, for wonder at your constant presence among us. We ask this in the power of your Spirit and the name of Jesus our Lord.
Leader: Gracious God, in the beginning your Word separated the waters and called forth from the earth the grapes that provide the wine to cheer our hearts. Then, when our covenant with you had been forgotten, you sent your Beloved to offer a new covenant in the cup, his life, that was poured out for us. We pray you bless this wine. May the wine we share at our tables bring us closer together in your love and with one another. May it be for us the wine of compassion, of healing, of reconciliation. We ask this in the power of your Spirit and the name of Jesus our Lord.
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