Dear Parishioners and Friends of St. Francis of Assisi Church,

May the Lord give you peace.

This has been a tumultuous week. We need to pray for the healing of our nation. The divisions are extreme. In Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians, he reminds us that we are “no longer in the darkness, we are children of the light and of the day.” With that in mind, we look at Matthew’s Gospel and are reminded of our talents/gifts. The wise servants invested the talents, and the talents/gifts increased. We are no longer to hide our gifts, our often-invisible capital, in the dark, but to invest them in one another. We are each remarkably gifted by God and are bearers of the Spirit of God. God’s manifestation is realized in experiences of compassion, forgiveness, courage, wonder, goodness, strength, wisdom, and, most assuredly, love. We have everything we need to build bridges that ease anger, frustration, bitterness, and fear. I encourage you to pray and to invest your gifts in one another. Please try to join us each day for the mass at noon. It is live-streamed and available at home or at work.

The report on former Cardinal McCarrick was made public this week. For many survivors of clergy abuse, this is yet another moment of reliving their experiences of abuse.  This is yet another call to pray for healing and for listening to the cries of the survivors. Let us also pray for the Church; experiences of abuse tear the very fabric of our relationships and challenge us to create new ways of living the Gospel. We are called to a covenantal bond rooted in love. Pope Francis encyclical Fratelli Tutti invokes the Franciscan model of fraternity/sorority as a shift from the hierarchical model that puts one person or group of persons over others. Pope Francis invites us to consider the ways of exercising leadership and power in the Church.

Thanksgiving is almost here. This will be a very different Thanksgiving for many of us. Please stay safe. If you travel, be attentive to the recommended precautions. Take some time to give thanks for God’s presence with us throughout this pandemic and election-year politics. We will live-stream the Thanksgiving Day mass and hope that you can join us from wherever you are.

We are looking forward to Advent. Please check the Church’s website for updates on the many opportunities to pray for healing and peace during Advent. Join us for:

    1. Scripture sharing Zoom sessions planned for each week,
    2. creating your own advent wreath,
    3. weekly advent wreath blessing and candle lighting  (Please be careful with candles and fire.),
    4. the Advent retreat,
    5. weekly vespers,
    6. our annual “Carols with the Choir,” which will be live-streamed for everyone’s health and safety.

There are many opportunities to connect with one another and to share our gifts.

Good News! We will re-open the Lower Church for confessions and private prayer on Monday. We will offer exposition of the Blessed Sacrament very soon.

Finally, thank you to all for your commitment to St. Francis of Assisi Church. Together, we are the Church. Your participation enriches the lives of the friars and one another. Your shared talents foster peace, healing, and love in our world. Thank you for your faithfulness.

Peace and all good,
Fr. Tom, ofm