Youth continue to be fascinated with St. Francis of Assisi, a man born around 1181 who was called by God to live the Gospel and to dedicate himself to the poor.
The Easter Exultet becomes a pilgrimage song for about 1, 800 Franciscan Friars traveling to the Umbrian town of Assisi, Italy, to celebrate the 800th anniversary of papal approval of the Franciscan rule on April 15-18, 2009. Representatives from the four main Franciscan branches- Order of Friars Minor, Capuchins, Conventual Franciscans and Third Order Regular Franciscans-are to take part in the first International Chapter of Mats.
As St. Francis’ joined the angels with all the heavenly host, the earth and all creatures, and the Church in praising God, Franciscans everywhere are exhorted to “rejoice” in thanksgiving for the goodness of the Lord present in the friars’ lives throughout the centuries and in all his followers.
Father Jose Rodriguez Carballo, minister general of the Order of Friars Minor underlined the spiritual nature of the gathering and said organizers hope it will be an occasion for ‘coming together as family, offering the Church and the world our witness of brotherhood and celebrating our beginnings.’
With days dedicated to testimonials, penance, fasting, prayer and pilgrimage, the gathering will also be a call to conversion and to live the Gospel as St. Francis asked his disciples… men and women religious will have an occasion to profess their continued fidelity to the pope when they meet with Pope Benedict XVI April 18 during a special audience at Castel Gandolfo.” (CNS)
What are your thoughts about this Franciscan Easter Commemoration?