Dear Parishioners and Friends of St. Francis of Assisi Church,
May the Lord give you peace.
This weekend we celebrate the feast of Christ the King. This great feast invites us to consider the king, who reigns from the cross. In the judgment scene in Matthew’s Gospel, the criterion is simply compassion. We are presented with a king upon the glorious throne who gathers the nations and the people. Though unaware of their encounters with Christ, they are blessed. They fed, clothed, gave drink, and visited the ill or imprisoned. There is no question of their keeping the law, their religious observance, or their religious tradition. They are judged on the evidence of a life of compassion. They are not asked how they voted, prayed, or were respected by others. They lived the love of the one who sat upon the throne. This is a text that frees us to do the good, to make adult decisions, and to live in a broken world with a mission. Happy Feast to all! You are those who are blessed and sharers on God’s reign. You are the people blessed with compassion. Blessed, are you!
Happy Thanksgiving to all!
Amid the pandemic, with rising numbers of cases being reported, we are invited to give thanks. We give thanks for God’s constant presence among us, in sickness and in health.
We give thanks for the vast number of medical professionals who continue to care for the sick, nurture the worried, and embody Jesus’ compassion.
We give thanks for the first responders and the many who work to ensure that health care facilities provide food, clean spaces, and often unseen yet essential tasks.
We give thanks for workers who go to their jobs, day after day.
We give thanks for parents and children, for teachers, their aids, and school workers.
We give thanks for all who check up on those who live alone and the elderly.
We are blessed in caregivers who selflessly tend our aged, lonely, and homebound sisters and brothers.
We give thanks for all who stay at home.
For whom do you give thanks?…….
In all of you and so many more, the love of God is realized for all of us.
We are also aware that we are on a mission this Thanksgiving. Our mission is to slow the number of infections from this pandemic. This makes our Thanksgiving celebration different from what we might usually have done. Like anyone on a mission, we are separated from some with whom we would typically gather. We can communicate in many ways but being physically present is not an option. When I was in Bolivia on 9/11/01, I was not able to return to the states. I wanted to pray with my brother friars at the death of our brother Mychal Judge. I also wanted to connect with family and friends, some of whom had lost loved ones. My mission was to be with the novices in Cochabamba. Let our mission this Thanksgiving slow the virus enabling future gatherings. Let us choose to gather via the internet, telephone, e-mail, and texts.
Next weekend, we will begin our season of Advent. This is our time to reflect on what it is to wait in hope. It is a time for our community to gather virtually and to pray with one another. Please join us for one of the many scripture sessions, for our retreat, for our Carols with the Choir. All of these will be available on-line so that we may be together and also be safe. While we may not come together as in years past, we are called to join with one another to watch and pray. All of the details are available on our homepage.
Finally, I hope to get another camera for the church and create a link to stream 24/7 from the Lower Church. This would make a portal for anyone who wanted to pray in the church space at any time. Just click on the link, and through the internet, you are in the church. If you can help with this project, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will soon resume Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament during the day. The camera will allow you to reflect on God’s goodness from your home, yet in St. Francis of Assisi Church.
Blessings and peace,
Fr. Tom, ofm