St. Francis of Assisi Weekend

Franciscans from around the world celebrate both the Transitus of St. Francis of Assisi (on October 3rd) and his Feast Day (on October 4th). The definition of “transitus” is the “transit of a person or property en route from one place to another.” For Franciscans, Transitus marks the night Francis left his earthly life, to move onto a life in heaven with Our Lord Jesus. He died, on the evening of October 3, 1226, a small man in his forties who had wanted to live a simple life in service to God. Traditionally Saints’ Feast Days mark the date of death and are remembered with special mention, prayers, and scripture readings.  For us the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi on October 4th is so much more. It is a day filled with celebration and joy; blessing animals, gathering for meals and enjoying the fellowship of our brothers and those we serve. Just as with all of the saints, it is the day Francis obtained Eternal Life.
In his time the message of St. Francis of Assisi attracted many followers across Europe.  Francis could have led a life of luxury and earthly power. He was born into a wealthy cloth merchant family in Assisi, Italy around 1181 or 1182. As a young man he spent his days admiring Troubadours who traveled across Europe and performed their poetic songs to audiences. He also partook in raucous celebrations and planned on becoming a knight. His forays as a warrior against nearby Perugia ended in capture and imprisonment. The time in isolation allowed Francis to reflect on what God really wanted him to do in life.
Today, in the 21st century, there are three Franciscan First Orders (Friars Minor aka O.F.M with brown habits and short hoods, Capuchin Franciscans aka O.F.M. Cap. with dark brown habits and long hoods, and the Conventual Franciscans aka O.F.M Conv. with grey/black habits). The Conventual Franciscans, the Order to which our friars belong, span the globe. We are recognized by our grey (often almost black) habits, the three knotted cord representing the Vows of Poverty, Chastity & Obedience, and with “O.F.M. Conv.” following printed names of the members. The friars of Our Lady of the Angels Province serve up and down the East Coast of North America, as well as in several other countries and many celebrations took place in our friaries, shrines & ministries throughout our province commemorating these days; so important to all Franciscans.

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The Transitus was celebrated at St. Francis of Assisi Parish at the conclusion of the 4:00 p.m. Mass on Saturday, October 3rd. Students and alumni from Bishop McCort Catholic High School who portrayed the grieving friars and St. Francis. These “friars” bore their “Holy Father St. Francis” during the ceremony, in a solemn procession accompanied with prayers and music. They are pictured here, along with Fr. Anthony Francis Spilka, OFM Conv., Pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Church.


St. Francis of Assisi Feast Day Dinner in Raleigh NC. From Blessed Sacrament Friary in Burlington NC: Friar Briant, Friar Paul, Friar Gerald and Friar Vincent. From Our Lady of Guadalupe Friary in Pittsboro NC: Friar Ramond, Friar Joseph, Friar Jacek and Friar Michael. From Our Lady of the Angels Friary in Winston-Salem, NC: Friar Joseph and Friar Carl. From St. Anthony of Padua Friary in Durham NC: Friar Brad, Friar Bill, Friar Michael, Friar Andrew, Friar Michael and friar Emanuel.


Blessing of the Animals: The friars of St. Francis Friary (Syracuse NY), including Fr. Brennan-Joseph Farleo, OFM Conv. bless the animals of the community surrounding the many ministries located in Syracuse, including The Franciscan Church of the Assumption.