Until I attended a church staffed by Franciscan Friars, I had never heard of the term transitus. Simply put, it means,”the time of passage through death to life.” Last night our beloved senior Friar, Father Andrew, passed from this life into the next. He was celebrated a few weeks ago with a street party to honor his 60 years of service in his order.

Occasionally, one meets a person who lives out St. Francis’ words to “Preach Jesus, and if necessary use words.” Fr. Andrew was such a one. To be with him, or to watch him focus completely on the person in front of him, was to get a glimpse of how we are meant to be one to another. He gave full attention, as if there was all the time in the world, to the child wanting a stuffed animal blessed or to the elderly parishioner sharing her ills.

Tomorrow we observe the 800th anniversary of St. Francis receiving a special permission from the Pope to use his Chapel for pardon and healing. Today, all Franciscan Churches provide a yearly opportunity to come together for the same purpose. May all of us, whatever religion or none, seek pardon for our failings as a nation and healing for the divisions so blatant among us today.

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