A resurrection is occurring at St. Francis of Assisi – our community is coming back to life after the long pause caused by the pandemic. While we are not totally out of the woods with the virus, vaccines have made it possible for us to return to gathering in person and many, many people have returned to attending events in person again.

According to Edward Trochimczuk, our Director of Volunteer Ministries, during Holy Week we had over 300 people in attendance at every service . We had many of our regular parishioners return in person and we were joined by many visitors. Many people said they missed the services and the sense of community they feel at St. Francis and some people reflected that the Easter Vigil brought a sense of new beginnings for them. The robust fire, the baptismal water and the music drew them into new beginnings.

Our fall adult education semester was attended by over 200 women and men from all over New York City and beyond who were drawn to study the scriptures, the Mass, ways to pray, literature and poetry.  Many of these classes are back in person but we will also continue to offer them by zoom because we now draw people from as far as California to attend these courses.

Scripture sharing groups, like Tea with Jesus, our Thursday night lector’s group and Tuesdays with Fr. Tom continue to connect people to each other and to the Word of God.

In Acts of the Apostles the early converts to Christianity dedicated themselves to four things: “They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers.” (Acts 2:42). While we can preach and we can pray together on livestream and zoom, we cannot share the Eucharist together nor can we attend to our communal life.  The fullness of the Christian experience requires people be present together in person. We had to go through a painful time of separation – and rightfully so – to get through the danger the virus posed before vaccines were available.  But now it is time to gather again and many people have heard that call and are returning.

We are committed to rebuilding this community and exploring new ways to be Church in our city. The pause of the pandemic caused many of us realize how important our St. Francis community is, and it gave us the space and time away from what we “normally do” to explore other avenues to bring the Gospel out into the world.

If we allow the Spirit to move us, hopefully we will not emerge from the tomb like Lazarus – bound and tied up, but like Jesus, filled with the Spirit of God, transformed and empowered to go beyond what we were before.

We are glad for everyone who has returned and for all of the new people who have joined us.

It’s good to be back!

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful and kindle in us the fire of Your love. Send forth Your Spirit and we shall be created. And You will renew the face of the earth.