Friday, October 3, 2008

Happy St. Francis Day!

Franciscans all over the world are preparing to celebrate tomorrow, 4 October 2008, the Solemnity of our Holy Father, Francis of Assisi. For the rest of the Roman Rite Church it is a memorial, but for us Franciscans -- friars (Friars Minor, Capuchins, Conventuals, Third Order Regular), Sisters (Poor Clare nuns and the numerous Third Order Sisters communities) and the Secular Franciscans (formerly called Third Order -- lay people and diocesan clergy who have embraced the Gospel life envisioned by our holy founder) it is a solemnity!

Please see below for a contact information -- a Franciscan-themed song!

The San Damiano Cross in Assisi through which the Lord Jesus spoke to Francis and said, "Francis, go and repair my Church, which you see is falling into ruins."

This evening we commemorate the passing, or Transitus of St. Francis on the eve of 3 October 1226, for he died just as the sun was setting! And he died in a small building adjacent to the womb of the entire Franciscan movement, the Portiuncula ("little portion"), one of the chapels which the Poverello repaired at the beginning of his Gospel adventure.

The chapel of St. Mary of the Angels, the Portiuncula (Little Portion) housed since the 17th century within the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels, outside of Assisi. The womb of the Franciscan movement.

The Transitus service is actually quite simple. It can begin with a hymn composed by St. Francis (e.g. Canticle of the Creatures [All Creatures of Our God and King], a narration from one of the lives of St. Francis (e.g. Thomas of Celano 2nd Life of St. Francis or St. Bonaventure's Major Life), the proclamation of John 13:1-17, Psalm 142, Intercessions with the Lord's Prayer, a Concluding Prayer and a blessing (with a priest or deacon, the Aaronic blessing from Number 6:24-26, which St. Francis favored). Perhaps another hymn from the Prayers of St. Francis could be sung (or conclude the Canticle of the Creatures).

The tomb of St. Francis of Assisi located in the crypt of the Basilica of St. Francis in the city of Assisi, staffed by the Conventual Franciscan Friars.

From Sr. Julie Ann Sheahan, OSF of the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity (Manitowoc, WI):
Just thought I'd send you a possible blog post starter. Our song of the month is a great tribute to Francis, drifter and dreamer. You may want to send your blogspot viewers to us for a free download of a great song:

Enjoy -- and Happy St. Francis Day!

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