Father Dunstan Epaalat Speaking on “Preferential Option for the Poor”
Thursday, Sept. 30th, 7 P.M.
You will have two great opportunities over the coming week to hear Fr. Dunstan, a faculty member from the national seminary in Kenya. His training and background in a developing country has made him a dynamic powerhouse for God. The first chance to hear him is this Thursday as advertised in the bulletin. The second chance will be Saturday, October 2nd, when he will preach at the 5pm Mass before our Mission Oktoberfest. This is a rare opportunity to hear the inspirational message of an African priest. As some of you know, Africa has become a ‘missioning’ country. It is sending missionaries back to the countries that initially evangelized Africa. Thank God for African priests who have been saving our own Archdioceses in many places where there are no American priests. Please come and enjoy the gifts that God has given Fr. Dunstan.
In the Footsteps of Francis & Clare
“But I came to learn that God never shows us something we aren’t ready to understand. Instead, he lets us see what we need to see, when we need to see it. He’ll wait until our eyes and hearts are open to Him, and then when we are ready, He will plant our feet on the path that’s best for us…but it’s up to us to do the walking.” Immaculee Ilibagiza
I will have already left on pilgrimage (Sept 20 – Oct 1) by the time you read this, but since God is outside of time I thought I’d share this itinerary with you if you would like to catch up with us in spirit and join in praying with Sts. Francis and Clare.
21 Sept – Arrive in Rome; travel to Greccio for Mass. Greccio is where St. Francis instituted the first Christmas crèche using real animals from this village. We’ll proceed from here to Poccio Bustone (Mountain of Forgiveness) where Francis experienced a revelation that all his sins were forgiven. We are trying to allow for at least 3 miles of hiking each day in these beautiful hills that Francis would have walked with his brothers.
22 Sept – Travel up the Spoleto Valley to Assisi (Mountain of Peace), stopping for Mass with a hermit outside of Assisi. I was able to join Fr. Giovanni last year in his hermitage (a church built in 1100 AD!) for Mass. We hope to hear a few words of eremitical wisdom from him as well.
23 Sept – Morning Prayer at St. Clare’s Basilica. This is perhaps my favorite place in Italy so far. One can attend morning and evening prayer in the chapel which contains the Cross of San Damiano which spoke to Francis saying, “Go rebuild my temple.” The cloistered nuns chant in Italian as the notes echo throughout this 14th century church. We’ll have Mass at St. Francis’ Basilica today.
24 Sept – We’ll have Mass at the Portiuncola, a small chapel that Francis repaired and was the first community house for his friars. It is now surrounded by the Basilica of Our Lady of the Angels. Later in the day we will hike to the Hermitage above Assisi where Francis spent time in solitude.
25 Sept – Travel to Sansepolcro and LaVerna. We’ll visit another hermitage monastery given to St. Francis on the way to La Verna. La Verna was perhaps Francis’ favorite place. He would say that no one goes to La Verna and remains unchanged. It is here while on a 40 day retreat in honor of St. Michael that St. Francis received the stigmata.
26 Sept – Rest and prayer in La Verna. La Verna is called the mountain of Joy, deep in the heart of the Tuscan Apennine mountains. It is here that Francis experienced the joy of complete surrender to the love of God. Why does it come with suffering? This is a mystery of human life that is difficult to understand, especially when one is suffering. The saints were able to see the value of suffering. One thing it surely did with Francis is that it identified him with his Beloved Lord. He literally took on the wounds of Christ, which express how much God the Father loved us.
27 Sept – Since we are so close to the Camaldoli where the Hermits of Camaldoli were founded, we are going to find our way through the mountains to this extraordinary retreat. It was founded in 1023 by St. Romuald. We’ll have Mass in the Sacro Eremo, the Sacred Hermitage.
28 Sept – Today we travel back to Rome, stopping at Lake Trasimeno, another one of Francis’ retreats. We also hope to say Mass at St. John Lateran, where Francis met the Pope and had his Rule of Life approved by him. Providence intervened on behalf of Francis when the Pope, at first not disposed to help Francis, had a dream about a poor little man holding up the Church on his shoulders. He recognized Francis and gave him his Rule.
29 Sept – At this point we have Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica in Latin! Trouble is I don’t know how to concelebrate in Latin. May the Lord infuse some special grace between now and then. We may seek the option to say it in English early in the morning, but then what about adventure? We also hope to attend the Wednesday audience with Pope Benedict if he is in town.
30 Sept – Today is a free day, but we will have Mass at St. Mary Majors. I’ll encourage a few of my favorite spots in Rome: Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, St. Egidio Community, and Santa Maria Trastevere.
1 October – Travel to the States. Arriva derci Roma!
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