My church is staffed with Franciscan Friars, men who have dedicated their lives to living as priests or brothers in a religious order. As such, they bring a particular veneration of St. Francis to our parish. Despite some misconceptions, Catholics don’t worship saints. We venerate–honor–them and try to take what inspiration we might from contemplating their lives and service to others.
Our calendar is full this week with events around St. Francis. Tonight we observe his Transitus–passing from this world into the next. St. Francis was not afraid of dying, but called it Sister Death, an integral part of life. We will have a quiet service to honor that way of facing death with joy and hope not despair.
Tomorrow is his feast day and Mass will highlight his life in the homily. Clearly a feast day is more light than an observance of his death, and I look forward to celebrating Mass with others in my parish.
Saturday we are invited to bring our animals to the church courtyard for a blessing. St. Francis is particularly remembered for his love of all animals. My grandchildren look forward to dressing up their little rescue dogs and taking them to be blessed. Last year there were no cats, only dogs. In the past there have been birds, pigs and a ferret. We will see who shows up Saturday morning. For those who prefer the toy kind of animal, the priests bless all stuffed animals that come to Mass on the weekends, recognizing what comfort they are to children(and some adults, too.)
The weekend is finished with a flourish as we have an outdoor party to celebrate 60 years of an Italian parish joining with an Irish one. One parishioner owns a fire truck converted into a pizza oven and will supply endless slices of various pizzas. There will be dessert tables full of items baked by many of us. My grandson associates church with dessert. Not a bad connection I think. For me both provide me deep satisfaction!