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

May the Lord give you peace.

Ash Wednesday saw hundreds of people streaming through the church. Some came for ashes, some for Confession, some for mass, and many for a time of prayer. We are blessed to be able to welcome everyone who comes. Our many ministers were present to assist all who came.

Thank you to the ministers and the faithful folks who came to be with us for even a few moments of the day. Many told stories of their long association with St. Francis and spoke of parents and grandparents who brought them here.

We go from the desert with Jesus to the mountaintop. We go from fasting to feasting. We experience the awesomeness of God’s glory reflected in Jesus with the disciples. Sometimes life is like that, filled with highs and lows. What is consistent in the Gospel is the love of God. Jesus in his baptism, is named son, beloved, and favored. His responses to temptation in the desert are responses born of the reality of that love. His transfiguration on the mountaintop reveals God’s love for him. That the disciples witness this is a sharing in the grace of God. With Jesus, we are named beloved of God, we are in a familial relationship with God, and by God’s grace, we are favored by God. May our journey, with all its ups and downs, radiate the gift of God already present among us.

This weekend the Cardinal’s Annual Stewardship Appeal has made pens and commitment forms available for us. I know I just asked you to increase what you give each week, and I am grateful to everyone who responded. Some folks have made a single donation, and others are increasing what they give weekly. I do not like to ask but feel that I must ask you to consider both our needs and the needs of the Archdiocese of New York. The forms for the CASA will be ready for you to make your commitment before you leave, or you may take them home to add to the ones you got in the mail. I thank you for your generosity and your constant prayers.

Blessings and peace,

Fr. Tom, ofm