September 27, 2020

ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI

Next Sunday, October 4 we will celebrate the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. Francis showed care and concern for all, especially the poor. He reverenced God’s hand in all creation. He lived his life so faithful to that of Christ that he is called alter Christus, another Christ. As we honor this saint known throughout the world, I urge everyone to pray and work hard for a deeper respect for all of God’s creation, all of life. Francis began life in a small Italian town that saw war and destruction constantly. He lived in a time of scandal in the Church and in society. Francis' approach to the many problems and issues of medieval Italy can also teach us much about being faithful to the Gospel in our own turbulent times.

 

Francis heard God's call in the small church of San Damiano on the outskirts of Assisi. Gazing upon the large cross in the church he heard God, Francis, go and repair my house which, as you see, is falling completely into ruin. Initially Francis thought God wanted him to repair the physical church where he was praying. However, under the guidance of God's Holy Spirit, Francis realized his real task was to bring healing and repair to a broken Church. Under God’s inspiration he brought peace and respect between all classes of people. God continues to call us to do no less…..respecting all of life in the world, in our country and right here in the Chicago area.

 

In an ordinary year Franciscans and many faithful followers of St. Francis of Assisi throughout the world would gather to remember in prayer the passing of St. Francis to eternal life on the evening of October 3rd. Unfortunately, this year of 2020 has been far from an ordinary year as we have been confronted with the deadly coronavirus and the need to drastically change our ordinary way of doing things, including many of our annual prayer times. The friars here at St. Peter's regret that this year we will NOT be able to gather together and to celebrate the Transitus prayer service in church.

 

Though we will not be able to come together in prayer for the Transitus, I encourage you to remember in prayer the passing of St. Francis to eternal life by celebrating a private Transitus prayer in your home on Saturday, October 3. A sample format will be found at the end of this article in today's bulletin. Be creative in your own home as you remember the passing to eternal life of St. Francis.

 

Next Sunday, we celebrate the Solemnity of St. Francis of Assisi at the 9:00am and 11:00am Masses. Though we cannot celebrate with special music and extra festivities we still honor this great saint who since his 13th century lifetime has continued to inspire all people of good will to follow Our Lord Jesus Christ's call to be people of peace. Sunday, October 4, we will have our annual blessing of animals at 2:00pm in the front of the church. All pets and their owners are invited to attend.

 

You will find below a suggested format for praying the Transitus commemorating the death of St. Francis in your home. Please pray that hopefully by next year at this time we will be able to gather in church and pray together the Transitus. St. Francis said, I have done my part; may Christ teach you yours. (2Cel.214) May this feast of St. Francis remind us all to do our part to bring Christ to others and to allow Christ to dwell within our hearts.

Fr. Michael

 

A SAMPLE TRANSITUS PRAYER SERVICE FOR USE IN YOUR HOME ON OCTOBER 3

 

Everyone: Sign of the Cross +

 

LEADER: This evening we commemorate the death of St. Francis of Assisi. Surrounded by his brothers and mourned by the townspeople of Assisi, Francis left this earth enveloped in prayer on the evening of October 3, 1226. We honor his memory and pray that his example of faithfulness to the Gospel way of life might guide us to follow Jesus all the days of our life. Amen.

 

Those present pray the Fourth decade of the Rosary (The Carrying of the Cross) and the Fifth decade (The Crucifixion). In between the two decades pause for quiet reflection. After the rosary pray the following prayer of St. Francis, The Canticle of the Creatures.

 

The Canticle of the Creatures....St. Francis of Assisi

 

LEADER: Most High, all-powerful, good Lord, all praise, glory, honor and blessing are yours.

ALL Most High, all-powerful, good Lord, all praise, glory, honor and blessing are yours.

 

Most high, all powerful, all good Lord! 
All praise is yours, all glory, all honor, and all blessing.

To you, alone, Most High, do they belong.
No mortal lips are worthy to pronounce your name.

ALL Most High, all-powerful, good Lord, all praise, glory, honor and blessing are yours.

 

Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures,
especially through my lord Brother Sun,
who brings the day; and you give light through him.
And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor! 
Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.

ALL Most High, all-powerful, good Lord, all praise, glory, honor and blessing are yours.

 

Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars; 
in the heavens you have made them bright, precious and beautiful.

Be praised, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air,
and clouds and storms, and all the weather,
 through which you give your creatures sustenance.

ALL Most High, all-powerful, good Lord, all praise, glory, honor and blessing are yours.

 

Be praised, My Lord, through Sister Water;
 she is very useful, and humble, and precious, and pure.

Be praised, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
 through whom you brighten the night.
He is beautiful and cheerful, and powerful and strong. Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Mother Earth,
who feeds us and rules us,
and produces various fruits with colored flowers and herbs.

ALL Most High, all-powerful, good Lord, all praise, glory, honor and blessing are yours.

 

L. Be praised, my Lord, through those who forgive for love of you;
through those who endure sickness and trial. Happy those who endure in peace,
for by you, Most High, they will be crowned.

ALL Most High, all-powerful, good Lord, all praise, glory, honor and blessing are yours.

 

L. Be praised, my Lord, through our Sister Bodily Death,
from whose embrace no living person can escape. Happy those she finds doing your most holy will.
The second death can do no harm to them. Praise and bless my Lord, and give thanks,
and serve him with great humility.

ALL Most High, all-powerful, good Lord, all praise, glory, honor and blessing are yours.

 

LEADER: Blessed are you Lord. We give you thanks this evening for the shining example of the life of St. Francis of Assisi. May your grace enable us to follow the Gospel and grow in love and peace in the Lord Jesus Christ who lives and reigns forever and ever. AMEN

 

LEADER: May God bless each of us and allow us to be at peace this evening, in the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit. AMEN

 

(optional) Extend a sign of peace to one another.