Dear Community and Friends of the Church of St. Francis of Assisi, May the Lord give you peace.

Months ago, as we reflected on our conversations regarding the Synod and then read the report, we noticed that concern for the LGBTQ community was clearly expressed. Our community raised the concern and was affirmed to see it in the Report from Pope Francis.

This Saturday at 4:00 PM, we host our annual Pre-Pride Mass. This inclusive celebration precedes the Pride celebrations in the city. We are blessed to be home to many LGBTQ members. Last week’s New York Times noted that we, together with the Jesuits of St. Francis Xavier and the Paulist Fathers at St. Paul’s, recognize the grace of the Body of Christ that is welcoming and affirming of God’s many gifts. Please join us in this celebration. We are indeed blessed by all who pass through our doors.

It is always interesting to consider the Gospels after we have been immersed in the Easter/Pentecost experience. In Matthew’s Gospel today, we hear Jesus proclaim that he will deny anyone who denies him. And then we remember Peter, who denied Jesus on the eve of his death, and then Peter is charged to continue the mission. Paul’s letter this weekend says, “But the gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one, the many died, how much more did the grace of God and the gracious gift of the one man Jesus Christ overflow for the many.”

God’s grace transforms us all. The gift of Jesus is reconciliation and healing for all. In his resurrection, Jesus affirms God’s love. There is no condemnation. He offers healing and a charge to continue the mission of proclaiming the Gospel. It is all the more pressing that having been reconciled or, as Paul noted last week, justified, we deepen our commitment to discipleship.

As I write this, I am in Florida getting acquainted with the ministry here and the many people who help to support our senior friars. It is hot! I will keep you posted on the timeline for the arrival of Fr. Joe and my departure. It has been a privilege to have had this short time with you. I thank you.

Blessings and peace,

Fr. Tom, ofm