Dear Parishioners and Friends of St. Francis of Assisi,

May the Lord give you peace.

I thank you for your generosity and your many ways of caring for one another. While I have only been here a short time, I have come to see the many gifts of this community. We are indeed blessed. I am delighted by the number of folks who watch our live stream services. I am hoping that we can increase the options for your participation from home or office. We have been training folks to work the cameras.

I invite you to join us in person or on-line for a week of prayer for our nation. We will gather for Evening Prayer, Vespers each night Monday – Friday at 6. This is an opportunity to reflect on our call as disciples during this election cycle. We will listen to texts from the Sacred Scripture and from Pope Francis’ recent encyclical, Fratelli Tutti (We are all Sisters and Brothers). I hope you will find time to join us for the entire week or often as you are able.

With attention to the upcoming election, I offer you this talk given by Bishop McElroy of San Diego in February for your reflection:  I find it particularly helpful that Bishop McElroy’s presentation offers a broad view and calls us to prudent decision-making rooted in our conscience. The bishop invites us to incorporate all aspects of life in our considerations as we elect those we entrust with leadership. Please read this talk, reflect, consider other sources of Catholic Social Teaching documents, pray and vote. Your wisdom is a great gift.

We will host a celebration of all the deceased on November 2nd. This annual time of prayer engages us in remembering our loved ones who have gone before us. At 5 and 7 PM, the services will be live-streamed for your participation at home or office.  We also welcome those who are able to join us in person. Remembering that we can only accommodate 100 participants in church, please register here if you are able to be here in person.

Later in November, we will offer an opportunity to pray as we consider the struggles of Suicide. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, AFSP, designates the Saturday before Thanksgiving, this year, November 21st, as a day of prayer and education. Many of us have had our lives touched by suicide. There are those who mourn the loss of friends or family members, those who live with constant thoughts of suicide, those who fear the phone call that confirms the loss of a loved one, and those who have survived attempts at suicide. At this service, all are welcome. We will share in the scripture, reflect on God’s faithful love, and share in the Eucharist. Please invite others to join us. AFSP sponsors annual walks to raise money for suicide awareness and prevention. I have participated in 8 of the overnight walks, two here in NYC. There is strength in our coming together in the grace of God to give peace, healing, and life.

Peace and all good,
-Fr. Tom Gallagher, O.F.M