Sunday, May 25, 2008

Pilgrims with Francis

Our pilgrims today have had a busy day. They had Eucharist at the Tomb of Francis. This is a very sober place and yet above it in the upper church the place is ablaze in color. This seems appropriate. Brother Francis cherished creation and we cherish him. Still, he would not understand how a man who chose a simple, humble life ends up entombed in a basilica that could pass for a fortress!

They also visited the Porziuncola. Again, Francis would not recognize this place. This is where the brothers lived in huts. This is the tiny, tiny church. This is also the site of the birth place of the Seculars and the Clares. All of this is now inside an enormous church that can be seen from the city. This is the site of Pope John Paul II’s three world interfaith peace services. They had to be moved by this visit.

Finally, they had the evening off. After learning, worshipping, reflecting, it is time to just spend time with fellow pilgrims. We would sit at the piazza eating gelato, sipping wine or coffees and talking. One night a group of teenagers sat at the top of the stairs of the Roman Temple and played guitars and sang. Friars and sisters from around the world walked the cobblestone streets. There is time to be by yourself. I am sure my fellow pilgrims had a great day.

St Francis of Assisi - Mickey Rourke – Porziuncola

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