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

May the Lord give you peace.

We have begun our journey and are blessed to make this journey together. Please join us for Mass, soup and scripture, reconciliation, time of reflection with James Martin, SJ, and quiet prayer time in the lower church. Your presence is a gift for everyone.

As I noted last week, I see Lent, not as an isolated time but as a segment of the transformative experience we are offered each year. We begin with Lent preparing ourselves for the mystery of the Cross and the Resurrection of the Lord. We celebrate our Easter liberation through the days leading to Pentecost. Ideally, this is a time to begin again, to deepen our reception of God’s love for us and for all. For too long, Lent has been presented as a time of penance. We have been told to reflect on our sinfulness. We give up what we enjoy making up for our failures in discipleship. I seriously doubt that God wants us to act like children who fear discipline. The fasting God seeks is the liberating of all who are bound, the welcoming of the stranger, and the binding of the wounds of all who have been broken under the slavery of oppression/abuse. It is time to move from focusing on ourselves to the vision of God’s love for us and all. This shift calls us to ministry, service simply because it is natural to us. Realizing how greatly we are loved and the call to maturity in grace, we give ourselves generously in response to the needs that we see all around us. Christ has liberated us from the weight of sin. He has called us to live by the Word that comes from the mouth of God. He chides us not to put God to the test (God’s love will always win.). He calls us to awe and wonder at the goodness of God, who is compassion.

The first phase of our 2023 journey has begun. Can we make lifetime changes incrementally, responding to the communion we already enjoy with God? Let us take time to listen, watch, and pray. We are blessed as a Franciscan community of grace. St. Francis’ life was shaped by his encounters with the Lord in people with leprosy, the friars, and his time among the Muslim community and in times of prayer. He learned to surrender to love. What God did for the poor man of Assisi; God does for us.

Sadly, our bulletin publishing company will no longer be able to publish any bulletins. They are one more business that did not survive the pandemic. We are looking to find another publisher. However, other companies are inundated with the many parishes affected by this loss.

Next week we will have cards and pens available for the Cardinal’s Annual Stewardship Appeal. We have $10,000.00 of the $73,000.00 requested of us.

As always, I thank you for your generosity and your presence.

-Fr. Tom, ofm