stfrancisofassisiToday is the feast of St. Francis of Assisi. Francis was born in 1182 in Assisi, Italy. His father was a wealthy cloth merchant. After trying his hand at being a knight and living a life of partying and irresponsibility, Francis had a conversion. He renounced his inheritance and began to live a life of poverty. Soon others joined him in what became the Franciscan movement. The love of Christ crucified permeated the entire life of Francis, and he tried to imitate Christ as much as possible. Francis had a love for the poor and for all creation. The Order of Friars Minor, the Poor Clares and the Third Order Regular and Secular all trace their roots to Francis of Assisi.

Our theme for this last day of Heritage Week is the charism of witness. During the French Revolution, 16 Carmelite nuns were condemned to for the crime of being in love with Jesus Christ. Upon hearing their sentence, one of the nuns exclaimed, “For us, this is an honor!” The Franciscan Rule states that sent into the whole world, followers of Francis should “give witness by word and work.” He told his followers, “Go and preach the gospel; and if necessary use words.”

Today we pray: “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace, who bring good news.” It’s not always easy to be people of “good news” or to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. People may laugh at us for being so naïve, for going to Church, or for taking part in religious activities. But “good news” is so needed in our world today! And we have “good news” to share; the good news of Jesus Christ. How can we be the good news today? God, help us to be messengers of peace and good news. Fill us with the energy we need to be messengers, and bless us as we strive to bring the Good News to others in word, as well as in our deed. Amen.

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, pray for us!

St. Francis of Assisi, pray for us!

Heritage Week Activity: Our celebration of Heritage Week culminates today with our Liturgy. We will be joined by Bishop Conlon and several members of the Carmelite and Franciscan Orders.

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