Celebrating St. Francis

How can this be such a happy time? Instead of being somber, the days surrounding the anniversary of the death of St. Francis are celebrated with joy.

Photo by Friar Tony Martinez: Franciscans from the three branches of the First Order celebrated the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi.
Photo by Friar Tony Martinez: Franciscans from the three branches of the First Order celebrated the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi in San Antonio, Texas.

Why is that?

During the Transitus celebration at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Br. Nicholas Wolfla reads Br. Elias' letter to the Brothers on the death of St. Francis.
During the Transitus celebration at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Br. Nicholas Wolfla reads Br. Elias' letter to the Brothers on the death of St. Francis.

Because as much as anyone could, St. Francis followed the example of Jesus in the New Testament, truly living a Gospel life. And we are certain God was there to embrace him at the moment of his death.

PA031686That’s why we begin the celebration on October 3rd, the night of his death, with a service we call the Transitus – his transition from earthly to eternal life.

Then on October 4th, the Feast Day, we have a special Mass in his honor. We also have a tradition of blessing the animals, reflecting St. Francis’ love of and connection with all of God’s creation.

Friars Florian Tiell, John Bamman, and Jim Kent greet people after mass (at St. Anthony of Padua in Clarksville, IN)
Friars Florian Tiell, John Bamman, and Jim Kent greet people after mass (at St. Anthony of Padua in Clarksville, IN)

Here are some of the pictures from this year’s festivities around the Province.

 

 

 

 

 

Friars and friends enjoyed a reception following the Transitus Celebration at Mount St. Francis, Indiana.
Friars and friends enjoyed a reception following the Transitus Celebration at Mount St. Francis, Indiana.
Fr. Tony Vattaparambil blesses the animals at Holy Family Parish in Louisville, KY.
Fr. Tony Vattaparambil blesses the animals at Holy Family Parish in Louisville, KY.
Fr. Maurice Hayes blesses the animals at Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Louisville, KY.
Fr. Maurice Hayes blesses the animals at Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Louisville, KY.