St. Francis Celebrations in the AZ Desert

Sister JulieAnn Sheahan

October 17, 2016

Franciscan Sister Mary Ann Spanjers recaps AZ St. Francis Celebrations.

St. Francis Celebrations in the Tucson desert began Sat. Oct. 2nd  with 16 Sisters gathering for a Franciscan picnic in the patio of San Xavier Convent! Sisters from Yuma, Sierra Vista, Casa Grande and Bapchule joined in a time of prayer, great food and lots of sharing!franciscan-sisters-in-the-desert-missions

The evening of the Transitus began in the patio of the Church. The Friars and Sisters enjoyed a meal, followed by a candle light procession into the Juan Diego Chapel, they prayed together a beautiful remembrance of Father Francis  passing from this life into the new life of Jesus!st-francis transitus of st. francis

The procession of the Friars and Sisters then went into San Xavier Church to join hundreds of pilgrims of the Tohono O’odham celebrating the Vigil of St. Francis with singing, music, carrying the image of St. Francis in procession around the plaza and fireworks, followed by a live band dance and of course food until 1:00a.m. This beautiful celebration was repeated on the night of Oct. 4th! Bishop Kicanas and Father Max at St. Francis Feast

On the Feastday itself Sister Carla had the opportunity to join the reservation folks at Topawa for their grand celebration of the Feast. Bishop Kicanas celebrated the Mass having the huge crowd of Tohono O’odham from all corners of the reservation shouting GOOD! GREAT! FANTASTIC! throughout his homily. WHY? because God has called us to be his children through Baptism; because we have St. Francis, all the saints and our ancestors walking with us on our pilgrimage through life;  because we come together to celebrate with Mass and feasting and fun!staffs-of-all-the-pilgrims-at-topawaSister Carla was awed at how the celebration has grown since she lived in Topawa. She enjoyed visiting with acquaintances from the reservation and updating people on the whereabouts of our sisters who have served there. God provided perfect weather for each celebration!

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