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 City Hall.

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 in Europe.)

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FORWARD FRIAR JACK TO A FRIEND!
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SPIRITUAL BROTHERS
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:family@franciscanmedia.org. Check out this month's feature about Halloween:
http://www.AmericanCatholic.org/Messenger/Oct2001/Family.asp

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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. The Quest for Holy Wisdom

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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/
http://www.CatholicGreetings.org/LifeEvents/

PET BLESSING E-GREETING
Don't forget to send the new Franciscan Pet Blessing e-greeting:
http://www.CatholicGreetings.org/Create.asp?card=587

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:
http://www.AmericanCatholic.org/Messenger/Oct2001/Wiseman.asp

Do you have questions about the faith? As always, please continue to submit your questions about the Catholic faith to "Ask a Franciscan."
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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 reflect. http://www.apostlemusic.com/jukebox/
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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 at
http://community.webshots.com/album/22700121aySftRzQdn

Friars 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,
www.FriarJack.org.

Peace and all good!

Friar Jack Wintz, O.F.M.
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As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions via e-mail:
friarjack@franciscanmedia.org.


—Jack Wintz, O.F.M.


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