Dear Community and Friends of the Church of St. Francis of Assisi,

May the Lord give you peace.

Happy Easter! Our celebration of the Lord’s resurrection continues!

As you gaze around the church, you will see the Stations of the Cross, and below the traditional Stations, we have the Easter Stations. Each one reflects the experience of the Lord’s resurrection. We pray these stations together each Friday at the noon and 5:30 PM masses. You can join with the Livestream at noon if you like. It is also possible to pray these stations privately. We are all invited to prayerful reflection on the mystery of God’s incredible love for us in Jesus. You will also find banners at the 32nd street entrance to the church noting a
phrase from the Gospel for each of the Sundays of Easter.

We are invited to reflect on the disciples’ journey to and from Emmaus this Sunday. This beautiful text from the Lucan gospel invites us to consider our own journey. Many people are disappointed in their experience of church, as Cleopas and his companion were disappointed in the seeming failure of Jesus’ mission. They had hoped that he was the one who would fulfill the promise of God for them. They debate and struggle with their disillusionment. Jesus comes to meet them in their struggle. They are so preoccupied with their thoughts that they do not recognize him. He asks them to tell him about their struggles. When he has heard them, he retells the story for them. He tells them of God’s faithfulness and the hope in God that has been a constant theme of the scriptures. Still, they do not recognize the love of God in their midst. Finally, they recognize him in the shared meal, in the breaking of the bread. Enlightened, they return to Jerusalem.

Many people are disillusioned in their experience of Church. Many have walked away. We are blessed that Jesus comes to meet us even as we have thrown our hands up in despair. He walks among us. In our realization of the failures of discipleship, he lives. The Spirit given to us calls us to newness of life. Cleopas and companion return to Jerusalem transformed. They are not the same as they were when they left. So, it is with our sisters and brothers who are journeying away. They call us to transformation and renewal of life. The hope of return is always there, but not a return to former ways of knowing and being. Their journey and encounter are liberating. Jesus expanded the imagination and the understanding of God’s presence for the disciples. This Easter celebration is our opportunity to remember our encounters with God’s presence and to be set free from limited ways of knowing, a faith that constrains, and the infantilization of just following the rules.

Finally, I get regular letters from the Cardinal’s Stewardship Appeal. We are well short of our $71,000 goal. Please do what you can do. I do not ask that you pledge beyond your means. While there is a financial goal, there is also a participatory goal. We would like to have a greater number of donors, even giving small amounts, to reach that goal.

Thank you for sharing your journey in discipleship with the Church of St. Francis of Assisi.


Fr. Tom, ofm