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

May the Lord give you peace.

Thank you for your generous response to the Cardinal’s Annual Stewardship Appeal. We are at $17,000 of our $73,000 goal; please give as your means allow to help sustain the mission of the Archdiocese. We particularly want to support the work of Catholic Charities.

This weekend we spend some time with the experience of the man born blind as told in the Gospel according to John. He gradually comes to realize that it is Jesus who has opened his eyes. Many were disbelieving, and many who would have preferred that he remain blind. Some see “sin” as the cause of his blindness. As we are on our pilgrimage of transformation, we also realize that there are limits to our vision. With the man born blind, we seek the healing that comes from the encounter with Jesus to open our eyes so that we might see ever more clearly. Perhaps we have limited vision due to culture, tradition, church, or experiences of abuse. We seek to see the presence of the Lord in our life experiences. As we share in his vision, we are liberated for the mission of the Gospel. I invite you to pray with this text considering how we might see things through the lens of compassion and inclusion.

As we celebrate Pope Francis’ ten years as the Bishop of Rome, we see in him a man who continues to invite us to a new vision of the Reign of God. His concern for our participation in creation, his love of the Gospel, and his engaging all of us in a synodal process are blessings for the life of the church and the world. He desires to hear all people’s dreams, hopes, and brokenness. He calls us to be shepherds with him in seeking the broken and the lost. He imagines the church as a field hospital where we triage the many people who have experienced the struggles of life. He calls us to a new way of knowing ourselves as church, and through listening to one another, wash away the mud from our eyes that we might see the graced person who walks with us. With God’s grace, we may see greater equity of ministry by women in the church, the realization of the gifts that people who have suffered fractured relationships of divorce bring to the community, and the talents of our LGBTQ+ members. We need everyone around the table and everyone on the journey. Perhaps our task this week is to open our eyes to recognize the gifts of the people in our lives and our community. With the newly sighted man of the Gospel, we give thanks.

Finally, I invite you to check out the banners at the 32nd Street entrance. The banners have text from the Gospels of the Sundays of Lent. The lengthy scaffolding time was disastrous for our plants, and we will begin planting as the weather changes.

Thank you for all you are for the Church and community!

Blessings and peace,
Fr. Tom, ofm