Dear Parishioners and Friends of St. Francis of Assisi,
May the Lord give you peace.
I thank you for your participation and support of the ministry of St. Francis of Assisi. It is good to see so many of you who are able to join us for the public masses and to know that many of you are choosing to participate via the live stream. We want to stay connected. It is also good to know that many of our parishioners, who no longer live nearby, are joining us on the live stream. Given the current technology, we are able to continue many parts of our mission.
Within the next few weeks, we will offer some new chances for reflection on the scripture via Zoom. Please keep an eye out for the registration and Zoom link.
We will also begin a week of prayer for our nation as we consider the upcoming elections. From Monday-Friday, October 26-30, we will host a Vesper service in the Church and live stream at 6:00 PM. This service will include psalms, readings, and time for quiet reflection. The readings will come from the scripture and from Pope Francis’ recent encyclical, Fratelli Tutti. This is an invitation to prayerfully consider how we will vote and the challenges to our nation. I hope you will be able to join us. For those who are not able to participate at the scheduled time, the live stream will be archived on our website and the service may be downloaded for private prayer. I would ask that you set aside a space for your prayer, perhaps a table with a cloth, cross, and candle. It might also be something for a family or small group to pray together.
In this weekend’s Gospel, Jesus is quizzed on paying taxes to Caesar. He enjoins his hearers to “render to Caesar the things that are Caesars and to God the things that are God’s”. Our participation in our government through voting is our joining of these two dimensions of our lives. Voting is our rendering to the civil government what is due. Voting is also rooted in the Gospel, that speaks of care for the poor, of servant leadership, of the welcoming of the stranger, (cf. Matthew 25:31-40 “Whatever you did for the least one, you did for me.”) renders to God what is God’s. Our voting is not a single issue, nor based on what someone in authority has said. It is the act of an adult conscience that looks at the broad picture of human life and development. Our voting is participation in the compassion of God. Please vote wisely and compassionately.
We are also planning for our Mass of Remembrance on All Souls Day. Please check the website for more information. This will be a public mass as well as available on the live stream. Too many of us were unable to gather with family and friends at the passing of loved ones during this pandemic. The mass of remembrance is a chance to pray for that person and for all who grieve. As we remember, I invite you to call to mind the gifts of the person. Their shared gifts are a grace from God that continues to speak to our hearts. As Schillebeeckx wrote, “we cannot believe that all that they have meant for us will be lost forever; You are their life, now and always.” We remember. We celebrate. We believe.
Peace and all good,
-Fr. Tom Gallagher, O.F.M