A big week in the Church and the world: too big to get my blog around, somehow. Here are some Friday bits to think about through the weekend.
Francis Goes Home to Assisi
Today, the Feast of St Francis of Assisi, was the day Pope Francis made a pilgrimage to venerate the holy places associated with his namesake. This most Franciscan of Jesuits (or most Jesuitical of Franciscans?—it’s a tossup) got to spend the day in one of the holiest places on earth. I wasn’t able to watch more than a few minutes of the live feed, so I’m looking forward to seeing the videos this weekend. It was in Assisi, as I’ve noted before, that I felt most strongly the call to return to the Church; the fresco of the dove that I use for my blog header tops the entrance to the Lower Basilica of St Francis in Assisi. Pope Francis visited many of the Franciscan sites, including the Convent of San Damiano, where Giovanni nicknamed Francesco (“Frenchy”) Bernardone first heard Christ’s call from the cross to rebuild His Church. San Damiano is where Francis’s follower Chiara Offreducchio founded the first monastery of Franciscan nuns, who came to be called Poor Clares, and where Francis himself returned in a time of great spiritual and physical darkness, out of which poured forth his glorious Canticle of the Creatures.From the few moments of Francis’s greeting at the Basilica of St Clare that I saw, papal occasions don’t differ much from the spectators’ point-of-view. In the live feed I saw as much of Pope Francis as we had seen of Pope Benedict on two liturgical occasions in Rome in 2010—which is to say, a glimpse or two of white (plus red, in Benedict’s case) in motion between a forest of backs and heads and waving arms holding up flashing cellphones, with religious women of all descriptions elbowing their way to the front of the barricades in best Vatican Ninja Nun fashion.
I do know that Pope Francis got one opportunity our pilgrim group did not have in Assisi