Friday, October 5, 2012

In the footsteps of Francis

     Yesterday the Church honored a man named Francis from the town of Assisi in Italy.  Francis lived from the late 1100's until October 3, 1226.  The Entrance Antiphon from Mass says "Francis, the man of God, left his home behind, abandoned his inheritance and became poor and penniless, but the Lord raised him up."  His story is well known and extremely inspiring.  He gave up all for the sake of Christ, and embraced what he called "Lady Poverty".  He was noted for his charismatic personality, his deep compassion for everyone, and for his love of all of God's creation.

     In that spirit we shared in the Blessing of Animals last evening on the church grounds.  On a beautiful Fall evening, about twenty to twenty-five dogs of all shapes and sizes, and three hermit crabs (along with those who love and care for them) gathered to be reminded of Francis and in his spirit and through his intercession to seek the Lord's blessing upon those gathered.  Some brought their pets because of health or old age, some simply for a blessing, some with the need for a "double dose" for various needs.  I always enjoy these gatherings.  My successor in Scottdale, Father George Saletrik, even offers to "go to the farm" and bless the animals.  I don't go quite that far.  To those who joined us last evening, I am grateful, for I find blessing in sharing this blessing.

In the absence of pictures from last evening,
I have included a picture of my sister's dog
"Sammy" - Samuel Leonard Stoviak -
who will receive his blessing on his next visit

    Francis, who was a deacon, had many followers who formed the Franciscan Family - made up today of the Friars Minor (Capuchins), the Conventual Franciscans, those of the Leonine Union, the Poor Clares, the Third Order Religious and the Secular Franciscans.  In his life, Francis witnessed to the Gospels through a life of poverty, through missionary travels (he sought to bring the message of Christ to the Arab world), sharing in the wounds of Christ (the stigmata) which he received on September 14, 1224, and through a life of joy.  He was canonized two years after his death.  The tomb of Saint Francis in Assisi (located in the crypt of the Basilica bearing his name and shown below) is a place of pilgrimage for people of many faiths, for he was a many of all nations.

The picture below is of the entrance to the house that Francis lived
in as he was growing up ... I'm sure the Pizzeria was a later addition.

No comments:

Post a Comment