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

May the Lord give you peace.

Our journey continues. In the last two weeks, we have been in the desert and on the mountaintop with Jesus. This weekend we are going to a village in Samaria. The Samaritan people were outcasts to many Jewish people. Yet, Jesus enters into conversation and asks a favor of a Samaritan woman. Our journey with Jesus continues to invite us to go deeper and wider in our ways of knowing and relationships. Jesus engages someone who is both a woman and a Samaritan. This was unheard of and shocking to the disciples. How can we follow this example? Paul offers some insight, “…the love of God has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Jesus embodies the love of God and the grace of the Spirit. Similarly, we are invited to do the same.

There are many outcasts in our society. Many people experience being marginalized not only in the larger community but also in the Church. Pope Francis, with the Synodal Way, asks us to be open to gracefully receive one another. Like the woman at the well, many women have been dismissed, and their gifts have not been respected. Jesus did not hesitate to have a difficult but respectful conversation with the woman. She becomes the apostle to the others of her village. Through her encounter with the Lord, she enables many to believe in him. She is transformed by her encounter and others are blessed by her courage. We give thanks for the many women who call us to encounter the Lord for ourselves.

Unfortunately, Fr. James Martin, SJ is unable to join us on March 18th. Please keep his family in your prayers. He is a great blessing for the Church and has a significant message for all of us. He will reschedule for a later date. We are still planning to meet on the 18th and will spend our time contemplating the Passion from Matthew’s Gospel. We do not often get a chance to sit together with the text. This is an opportunity to listen to the Word of God, to listen to others reflect on that Word, and to be heard as you allow the Spirit to speak from your heart. I will be facilitating the conversation.

Please note that author Maureen O’Brien has a new book. Maureen spoke with us last year, sharing her reflections on the psalms. Her new book is: Gather the Fragments: My Year of Finding God’s Love. If you enjoyed her presentation last year, I am sure you will be taken with this new work.

Thank you for your response to the Cardinal’s request for support in the Annual Stewardship Appeal. I know that times are tight for many of us. I jokingly suggested someone pledge the outstanding $59,000.00. However, if 1000 people pledged just $59.00, we would meet our goal. Please do what you can to stop the mailings! Thank you.

Peace and all good,

Fr. Tom, ofm