Tag Archives: Franciscan saints and blesseds

Saint Francis of Assisi

St Francis FZurbaran.jpgSaint Francis seems to be a model of holiness for many, many people. Protestants of all flavors, the Muslims and Jews honor dear Francis for a variety of reasons. They’ve met Francis in as many ways as I have.

This morning I am pondering why I love Francis. Preparing for my reception of the sacrament of Confirmation I chose as my “confirmation name” Francis of Assisi because he not only seemed to reasonable guide for life, especially the spiritual life, but I was drawn to him through the stained glass in the parish church, the secular Franciscans were present but more important, the narrative of Saint Francis’ life was verifiably compelling.

Over time I’ve come to know Francis as not only poor, humble, loving, faithful, guru of the human condition but also that he preached what he received from the Lord Himself: the mercy of Christ crucified is real, the truth of faith, hope and love in Christ is the path to salvation, that he preached the reality of knowing who in fact God is (that is, Father, Son, Holy Spirit) and not what he thought, guessed about God. Saint Francis emblematic of the Catholic second chance, that is, one can be given another chance for happiness. So, the real Saint Francis is not the personage hijacked by the lefty-looines who use him to justify all sort of liberalities of theology, Liturgy, social concern and life in the public order. Francis is not the stereotypical garden statue nor is he a man unconcerned with true conversion of life. He’s quite the opposite: he life was a life in Christ firmly rooted in the Mystical Body of Christ –the Church– nourished by the sacraments, most especially the Holy Eucharist.

Friar Charles, OFMCap had this to say about Saint Francis

The Transitus of Saint Francis of Assisi


Death of St Francis Giotto.jpg

Saint Francis died during the evening of October 3/4. The Church observes the death of Saint Francis on October 4.

As he lay dying, Francis prayed Psalm 142 and during the closing verse he died. This human and liturgical event is solemnly remembered each year by Franciscans to honor their holy
Father’s entrance into the joy of being the Most Blessed Trinity be prayerfully remembering the passage –a transitus– of Francis from life to Life today, October 3.

Alleluia, Alleluia, Francis, poor and humble, enters
heaven rich and is welcomed with celestial hymns. Alleluia.

Psalm 142

I cried to the Lord with my voice; with my voice to the Lord did I make my supplication.

I poured out my complaint before him; I showed before him trouble.

When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then he knew my path.

In the way where I walked have they secretly laid a snare for me.

I looked on right hand, and held, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul.

I cried to You, O Lord: I said, You are my refuge and my portion in the land of the living.

Attend to my cry; for I am brought very low: deliver me from my persecutors; for they are stronger than I.

Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise Your name: the righteous shall compass me about; for You shall deal bountifully with me.

Glory to the Father
and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and
will be forever. Amen.

Alleluia, Alleluia, Francis, poor and humble, enters
heaven rich and is welcomed with celestial hymns. Alleluia.

O God, you granted
our blessed Father Francis the reward of everlasting joy: grant that we, who
celebrate the memory of his death, may at last come to the same eternal joy;
through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Saint Pio of Pietrelcina’s relics to be at the Attleboro Shrine

St Padre Pio Pietrelcina.jpg

An email friend, Patty in CT, just told me that Saint Pio’s relics will be at the National Shrine of Our Lady of LaSalette, Attleboro, MA.
St Padre Pio Pilgrimage Day
Saturday, September 25
the day begins at 10:00 am, there are 2 talks, lunch, confessions, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. The day concludes with a 4:30 pm Mass & veneration of Saint Pio’s relics.
register by calling 508-222-5410
Thanks Patty!

Saint Pio of Pietrelcina

St Pio detail.jpg

The Church honors the life and ministry of Saint “Padre” Pio today. Immediate memories of the saint bring me back to my youth when Clara and Joe Tomaso, the backbone of the morning Mass community at Our Lady of Pompeii Church (East Haven, CT), would passionately speak of Pio and gifts. These many years later a devotion to Saint Pio has grown in my heart, and perhaps you can relate. He’s been a true spiritual father.
Earlier this spring I was taken by the recent film on Padre Pio because of the spiritual battle against evil, personally and for the Church. Plus, I’ve always been wonderfully (and sometime fearfully) surprised by his ability to read souls. Imagine going to confession to Padre Pio thinking you’ve made a good examination of conscience and being told that there are even more sins on your soul than you are aware of or even you’ve dismissed as inconsequential. Padre Pio as a servant of the Lord as a priest is keenly aware of how hard our hearts are hardened by sin. NOTHING beats a good and holy confession of sins. Confession of sin is a matter of true humanity and the healthy heart. The mere thought of Padre Pio makes me want to run to confession.
All saints have spiritual fathers who form the heart and mind. Padre Pio was no exception. His spiritual father Father Benedict said this to Pio on the desire for sanctity:
“It is one thing to say ‘I am a saint’ and another to say ‘I want to become a saint.’ You can tell everyone that you want to become a saint without fear of pride because, after all, holiness is nothing else but divine love and the love of God is a sacred, absolute and essential duty ordered to everyone and required from all. Where is pride when protesting to observe a principal and elementary duty? Humility consists in being persuaded that one does not have this love to an eminent degree or even sufficiently, but humility does not prevent one from aspiring to it.”
How much do you think Pio took these words to heart? Probably he lived them with all his strength. What you and me?
Last year’s post –with the Mass prayer– on Saint Pio is still helpful, see it here.
Visit the Padre Pio Foundation of America and the official site for Saint Pio here.

Saint Francis received the stigmata

While the rest of the Church honors the memory of the great Jesuit theologian, bishop and cardinal, Saint Robert Bellarmine, the Franciscans remember Saint Francis of Assisi receiving the gift of the holy stigmata, the 5 visible wounds of Our Lord. The following text is a piece of chant done by the Monks of New Skete (Cambridge, NY):

St Francis receiving the stigmata Fra Angelico.jpg

What gift could you possible offer the Trinity, O holy Father, when you possessed but a tunic, breech and cord? What else could you offer the Lord but the triune gift of yourself: the gold of evangelical poverty, the incense of perfect of obedience, and the sweet-smelling myrrh of chastity. In return, out of love for all mankind, the Lord Christ granted you the grace to know His saving Passion in your own flesh. Beg Him to save our souls!
What a terrific piece of liturgical theology to meditate on today. The sentiment is not left to those who live the Franciscan charism but for all of us baptized Christians who take faith in the Word made flesh as salvific.
I am leaving today for Washington and Baltimore to attend the first vow profession of a friend of mine, Gabriel Scasino, as a Conventual Franciscan. Gabriel is from New Haven, went to Notre Dame High School (West Haven, CT) and is now following the Franciscan charism for his salvation in Christ. He will, as the hymn-writer said above, offer himself to God by giving his whole life to the Lord in “the gold of evangelical poverty, the incense of perfect obedience, and the sweet-smelling myrrh of chastity.” Pray for Gabriel and the Conventual Franciscans to follow Christ more closely today and in the years to come.

The Mass prayer for today’s liturgical memorial may be found here.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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