Translated from Ecclesiastical Latin, the word “transitus” means “the time of passage through death to new life.” Tradition teaches that in accordance with his final wishes, Francis (unable to walk due to illness and the effects of the stigmata) was carried back to Assisi shortly before his death. As the entourage passed by the ancient walled city, Francis asked them to stop so that he could offer a final blessing and prayer for his hometown. The following poem, written by Emile Ripert (1882-1948) artfully commemorates this beautiful moment in the life and death of the Poor Man of Assisi. Now more than ever, let us beg Saint Francis to pray for our divided country, our wounded church, and our troubled world. Saint Francis of Assisi, pray for us!
The Dying Francis Blesses Assisi
By Emile Ripert
O town, it was in you I knew life,
first as a kiss,
when my mother felt my lips
rest upon her exulting face.
It was in you that later I ran,
from dawn to warm, lovely eve,
when along your walls,
my loud sonorous laugh
flowed like a bounding stream.
It was in you that,
not yet knowing the Divine Master,
I used to sing of that love,
that is to the love I was to know,
no more than dawn is to day:
In you that bit by bit I understand
that my soul was to know God,
that it knew him, that all base things
faded into the blue daylight.
In you that I heard,
one evening, in the gray shadow,
the voice of Jesus Christ.
Now, sweet town,
it is in you that I am dying,
and for eternity,
you are to be, after so many days,
the refuge where I stopped.
It is not rest that my wishes ask of you,
as before, ever weary.
In the spring, you will have flowers, then almonds,
and I will not see them.
You have lilies and roses;
I hope for a more radiant tomorrow.
If only, o town, I could lead you with me,
by the hand, toward the Father!
I am leaving you,
but I also leave you the graces that pain brings.
Souls will blossom on your high terraces
as tall flowers.
Your beautiful bells will drive sadness
from sad and empty hearts,
and many will find in you, o good hostess,
water, bread, and wine.
Be blessed, o exquisitely flowering town,
by the Father and the Son and the Spirit.
In the rose and white eve,
your towers are roses and lilies.
The road climbing toward you,
white and dotted, already with many lights;
for it is dark now; it seems like a Milky Way.
You are so heavenward.
Ah, already. Now I am slipping, going.
Are the angels there?
Do you think that to find Paradise
we must go still higher?
Do I not already here, through the stone,
chaste and sweetest singing?
That poor old man, standing by the Porto San Pietro:
Is it not you, Peter? Father?
Fall Day of Prayer & Reflection 2018
Joy & Suffering with Padre Pio
Saturday, October 6th
Earlier this year, Pope Francis visited the House for the Relief of Suffering, a hospital founded by Saint Padre Pio. Afterwards, Pope Francis celebrated Mass at the Shrine of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina, Italy. In his homily, the Holy Father preached about the call to suffer and the three words that summarize the life of a saint: humility, prayer, and wisdom. The pope said: “All of theology is contained here! If you have a problem, if you are sad, if you are sick, abandon yourself into the arms of Jesus!”
The Roman Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina on September 23rd and the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi on October 4th. In commemoration of these two great saints, all are invited to join our spiritual directors, Father Jim and Cliff Garvey, for a Fall Day of Prayer & Reflection: “Joy & Suffering with Padre Pio” on Saturday, October 6th at Saint Anthony Chapel, which is located at 21 Farrington Avenue in Gloucester, Massachusetts.
During this four-hour mini-retreat, we will explore the life, ministry, and patronage of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina and his special meaning for those who are called to suffer. This special morning of prayer and reflection will proceed according to the following schedule: Celebration of Holy Mass at 8:00am; First Reflection & Faith Sharing at 9:00am; Eucharistic Adoration & Rosary at 10:00am; Second Reflection & Faith Sharing at 11:00am; Angelus & Closing Prayers at 12:00pm.
Throughout the morning, there will be scheduled breaks and time for faith sharing, fellowship, and refreshments. Coffee, tea, and bottled water will be available throughout the morning. After our closing prayers, all are invited to remain for picnic lunch. During Mass, a collection will be taken in support of our adult faith formation ministry. If you would like to join us for our Fall Day of Prayer & Reflection in honor of Saint Pio and Saint Francis, please contact Cliff at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please join us! Bring a friend! Bring your family! All are invited! All are welcome!
Founded in 2007, the Assisi Project is a Fellowship of Franciscans in Spirit with members, friends, and followers in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Africa. We are dedicated to helping Christian believers of all ages to more faithfully live the Gospel of Christ in the spirit of Saints Francis and Clare of Assisi. For more information about the Assisi Project and upcoming opportunities for faith formation, prayer, and pilgrimage in the Franciscan spiritual tradition, please contact Cliff Garvey at email@example.com. May the Lord give you peace!
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