Friar Jack Muses About His Visit to San Francisco
At 10:30 a.m., Father Floyd Lotito, O.F.M., and I, wearing our
Franciscan habits, began walking the three of four blocks from
St. Boniface Church indowntown San Franciso to San Francisco
It was a bright, sunny day, and the beautiful towering dome
with its gold trimmings gleaned in the distance. The sight made
both of us friars conscious of our mission: to take the gentle
message of St. Francis to the seat of power of the great American
city named after Francis of Assisi.
In a friendly ceremony in the mayor's office, Father Floyd presented
to Mayor Willie L. Brown, Jr., a copy of my children's book,
"St. Francis in San Francisco." The mayor received
the book graciously. Father Floyd, who has worked for 33 years
among the poor and homeless of San Francisco's"Tenderloin"
district, encouraged the mayor to be mindful of the city's poor.
The mayor opened the book and read the inscription with care
and attention: "For Mayor Willie L. Brown, Jr., and the
people of San Francisco--May the gracious and congenial spirit
of St. Francis of Assisi, your patron and protector, always
hover over your city!"
The mayor paged through the book with a smile and said, "I
will read this to the children."
I expressed to the mayor the wish that the "book encourage
the people of San Francisco to learn more about their patron
saint." I also gave the mayor a plaque of the Peace Prayer
of St. Francis, commenting that Francis' peacemaking spirit
is much needed at this time of national crisis.
The mayor, who had intended to be in Assisi, Italy, on October
4 to celebrate the feast of St. Francis with the citizens of
that city (San Francisco and Assisi are sister cities), said
he unfortunately had to cancel because of the tragic terrorist
events of September 11. (The U.S. government had advised him
it might not be good to travel at this time and risk being stranded
FORWARD FRIAR JACK TO A FRIEND!
St. Francis and St. Anthony are spiritual brothers who share
numerous similarities. Find out how Francis, the apostle and
poet, and Anthony, the preacher and teacher, inspired editor
Carol Ann Morrow to conclude that Francis planted, Anthony watered
but God gives the increase. http://www.AmericanCatholic.org/Messenger/Oct2001/Feature2.asp
CELEBRATE ST. FRANCIS ALL MONTH LONG
Don't forget to tell others about our yearly St.
Francis of Assisi feature. Discover stories, audio and video
clips about Francis, a lover of creation and peace. We had over
300 pet blessing ceremonies listed in our annual national listing
for St. Francis Day! Take some time and fill out a peace pledge
in honor of St. Francis.
A NEW BEGINNING: FAITH-FILLED FAMILIES
St. Anthony Messenger Online has a new monthly feature, Faith-Filled
Families. Written by Susan Hines-Brigger, mom of two-year-old
daughter Madison, the feature's main purpose is to help reinforce
Catholic culture at home. Every family should find something
here each month with topics such as kids' questions about Catholicism,
family activities, current event discussions, a teen section
and ways to take back family time. Susan hopes you will share
your questions, experiences, concerns and suggestions with her.
E-mail her at mailto:email@example.com. Check out
this month's feature about Halloween:
THE QUEST FOR HOLY WISDOM
Father Richard Rohr has spoken to international audiences about
the journey of men and women reaching wisdom. In this new audiocassette,
Rohr explores the German myth Parsifal, and unravels the symbols
of each encounter in the journey. He also reveals for a contemporary
audience the patterns of initiation, growth, temptation and
transformation. By discovering, "What is the grail for?"
(What is religion for?), one finds the joy of serving others
and losing one's life. Buy a copy today and begin your quest.
Quest for Holy Wisdom
CATHOLIC GREETINGS ADDS NEW CATEGORIES
"Friendship and Sympathy" category offers new inspiring
e-greetings for encouragement, friendship, love and sympathy
at the time of illness and death. "Life Events" category
offers lovely e-greetings for a wedding anniversary, birthday
or marriage. http://www.CatholicGreetings.org/Friendship_Sympathy/
PET BLESSING E-GREETING
Don't forget to send the new Franciscan Pet Blessing e-greeting:
WITCHES, GHOSTS AND MAGIC: CATHOLIC BELIEFS FOR TEENS
It's natural for teens to explore the supernatural. Listening
to psychics, experimenting with witchcraft, the devil, ESP,
magic and Halloween are explored and explained in this month's
Youth Update by Page Zyromski. http://www.AmericanCatholic.org/Newsletters/YU/ay1001.asp
"ASK A FRANCISCAN"
This month, questions concerning what St. Francis said, stem-cell
research, the Franciscan Tau cross, apostle versus disciple,
and a daily prayer written by Father Pat:
Do you have questions about the faith? As always, please continue to submit your questions about the Catholic faith to "Ask a Franciscan."
FRIAR JACK'S CHOSEN SITE:
The Contemporary Catholic Artist Network offers a "Catholic
Jukebox" on the Web. Hear clips and download MP3 music
files from various new Catholic musicians. Stop by, listen and
CONCLUSION OF FRIAR JACK'S MUSINGS:
Because San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown had to cancel his plans
to be in Assisi for the feast of St. Francis, he was able to
make an appearance at Father Floyd Lotito, O.F.M.'s, Blessing
of the Animals on October 6 in front of St. Boniface Church
in downtown San Francisco. The Franciscans at St. Boniface and
their many co-workers at nearby St. Anthony Foundation offer
many services for the poor and homeless in that area, known
as the"Tenderloin." Mayor Brown ascended the platform
just as the ceremony was beginning. A good number of dogs, large
and small (some yelping, some quiet), birds, cats and other
pets, as well as a horse with a policeman mounted atop it, were
already gathered before the platform.
The mayor had words of praise for St. Francis, the patron of
San Francisco. St. Francis, he said, had great respect for the
preciousness of all life--a respect that extended even to animals
and all other creatures. He also expressed appreciation for
the children's book, St. Francis in San Francisco, which he
had received from the hands of Father Floyd a few days earlier.
After the mayor left the platform, Father Floyd started the
blessing ceremony. With his hands extended, he prayed a general
blessing over the animals gathered before him with their owners,
followed by a prayer for any pets that were sick and in need
of healing. You can find these prayers at http://www.AmericanCatholic.org/Features/Francis/animal.asp.
Finally, Father Floyd descended the platform and began blessing
the petsindividually and calling them each by name after the
title of "Brother" or"Sister." Father Louie
Vitale, O.F.M., pastor of St. Boniface, and Deacon Jim Meyer
also mingled with the crowd, gently touching and blessing the
animals. Witnessing the prayers and the animal-blessing ritual
helped bring home to me the truth what we all form one blessed
family with the rest of the created world.
You can find pictures of this year's San Francisco pet blessing
Jack (center) and Floyd present Friar Jack's new book
to San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown.
You'll find all of my back issues at my new Web address,
Peace and all good!
Friar Jack Wintz, O.F.M.
As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions via e-mail:
Jack Wintz, O.F.M.
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