Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Feast of St Francis of Assisi.

I've been reading on Ship of Fools a discussion on what to do on or near the Feast of St Francis.  So many churches, particularly in the States, seem to be filled with pets to be blessed!

This is what an Episcopalian in New York City has to say:

St. Francis day is the most well-attended service of the year at my place. Bigger than Easter or Christmas (sadly!), with nearly 3,000 in attendance. Almost all have pets with them (dogs mainly, but the odd ferret, parrot and fish) and there is a procession of animals up the aisle, including a baby elephant, yak, a tortoise, baby swans, and a macaw. There is also a liturgical dance troupe with giant flags, which I feel is a bit overkill, and is just a nightmare for the ushers, as they have to keep the dogs out of the aisles so the dancers don't trip. There is an Ecology Fair after the service where animal blessing stations are set up. I do find it very frustrating though, since it is so well-attended and we do nothing for membership or fundraising. The Dean doesn't even ask people to come back. Ugh! It is such a lost opportunity.

Poor St Francis!  The encounter with the leper, the embracing of poverty, his rejection by many, including his own father, the hard physical labour, the establishment of the OFM, the attempt to stop the crusade and his meeting with the Sultan, the stigmata....the list is endless and all reduced to blessing goldfish!

From The Testament of St. Francis:
“…the Lord gave me, and gives me still, such faith in priests who live according to the rite of the holy Roman Church because of their orders that, were they to persecute me, I would still want to have recourse to them…..And I act in this way because, in this world, I see nothing physically of the most high Son of God except His most holy Body and Blood which they receive and they alone administer to others. I want to have these most holy mysteries honored and venerated above all things and I want to reserve them in precious places.”

The new Missal is coming our way at the beginning of Advent but as we have been using the not completely revised version for the people's parts for a couple of years now hardly anyone will notice.  The Altar Missals are here and there is a little booklet for the laity, if they feel they need one, with the all the new words.  I think it'll be a bit of a damp squib as not many really listen to what the priest is saying anyway.  Not for us complaints about the translation of "calix" in the Canon!

Apparently the new lectionary is out at the end of the first quarter of next year and readings are from the Revised Standard Version rather than the Jerusalem Bible....I wonder why?

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