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

May the Lord give you peace.

Our solemn celebration of Holy Week has begun. We have prepared for five weeks. Our time of transformation continues. I invite you to listen to the passion through the ears of love. We began our season with Jesus in the desert. Having been named son, beloved, and favored at his baptism, his time of fasting is a time of faithfulness to this core identity and relationship with Father, lover, and giver of favor. The temptations to deny his identity fail. We go from the desert to the mountaintop, where this title is repeated in the presence of Peter, James, and John. Moses and Elijah are there. Moses, the instrument of the covenant on the desert, which was ratified by the blood of a sacrificed animal, encounters the giver of the new covenant, which will be ratified in his own blood.

Elijah, the great prophet, encounters the prophet who will give himself unreservedly in love for all people. We go to Samaria, where Jesus encounters a Samaritan woman at the Well of Jacob. He offers living water. The water of his grace flow without bounds through the Samaritan town calling the citizens to faith. At Bethesda, he opens the eyes of a man born blind and is grieved by leadership’s lack of vision. They have eyes but do not see. They name others sinners while they attempt to limit the experience of God’s grace. Then it is off to Bethany and his encounter with Martha, Mary, and those who with them grieve the death of Lazarus. He received a message noting, “the one you love is ill.” He embodies what it is to be the “resurrection and the life” as he calls Lazarus forth from the place of death and restores him to life in the community.

With this journey, we have been asked to realize that we, too, are daughters and sons, beloved, and favored. Despite many temptations to forego this identity, we are called to faithfulness. Like Peter, James, and John, we are encouraged to realize the glory of God, ever-present among us, and to affirm our commitment to the new covenant in him. With the woman at the well, we are swept up by the living water of grace. The new vision of man born blind is our call to wash the mud paste of cultural attitudes and bias from our eyes so that we might see the Son of Man. Jesus, the Lord of the living and the dead, calls us forth from our places of death and hiding. He invites our communities to liberate us from what binds us so that we can fully live as beloved daughters/sons and favored ones. From this space, we walk the way of the cross with him realizing the depth of his love and faithfulness to identity.

Please join us for as many of the Triduum celebrations as you are able. This will be a blessed time for our community and friends. The schedule is available on our website and also on the cards at the doors of the church. This year we invite any member of the congregation to come forward to have their feet washed. We will also restore the cup at mass as of Holy Thursday. You can choose to receive from the cup if you like. We have been through a lot in the last few years. We are blessed to be able to come together this year and delight in the love of God ever present among us.

Finally, on a sad note, another school shooting calls us to pray for the community of Nashville, TN. We pray for the healing of our nation and the care for all who grieve.

Thank you for all you bring to our community.


Fr. Tom, ofm