Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Seven hundred and ninety years ago today a man lay dying outside the city walls of Assisi in central Italy. Surrounded by his brothers and his dear friend Jacoba of Settesoli, Francis Bernardone handed his soul back to the God whom he had sought to serve. Today and tomorrow Franciscan women and men around the world will pause to thank God for calling them to live the Gospel in the spirit of St. Francis.

What is the spirit of St. Francis? It trusts in God, the source of all that is good. It reverences God’s goodness in everything that is. It celebrates Jesus as our brother and God made flesh, the crown and summit of all creation. Francis called God his father and Jesus his brother. Accepting his connection with the rest of creation, he could call the elements of fire, wind, and water his brothers and sisters, and he could seek to live in peace with all people. Such a way of life is not a wishful dream; it was and is a radical commitment.

This evening, Franciscans around the world will remember St. Francis’ meeting with Sister Death and his new life in heaven.

For a list of Transitus services click here.

Fr. Loren Connell, OFM St. Aloysius Parish, Detroit, Mich.