The Feast of the Stigmata of St Francis

Torch of The Faith News on Wednesday 17 September 2008 - 10:42:33 | by admin

san_francisco.jpgIn the wider Church, today is the feast of that great Italian, cardinal and theologian, St. Robert Bellarmine. My mum and dad's parish in Bootle is named for him and today is a special feast for them (which is celebrated by the singing of a hymn specially written by one of the parishioners).

With our parish being the Franciscan friary at Pantasaph we are keeping the alternative feast of the Stigmata of  St. Francis. The above stained glass window is found in the friary church of St. David of Wales.

The first time I encountered the stigmata of St. Francis was in a Catholic bookshop that I had wandered into when I was a teenager. I was not a Catholic back then (indeed I was very anti-Catholic), but I was squeemish.I angrily fled the shop thinking Catholics were sick and wierd!

All of which shows the effects of Grace on a poor sinner! Today I love the Church and I think that little St. Francis must be one of the greatest saints in history. He has also profoundly effected the direction of my life at key moments. I now understand the stigmata as a rare gift given to chosen souls to be so intimate with Jesus that they become so like Him as to share even the sufferings which He bore out of love to redeem us from sin. 

This weekend I am giving the talk at Pantasaph at the St. Pio Day of Prayer on Sunday at 2pm. St. Pio is a faithful son of St. Francis who also bore these miraculous wounds of Christ to suffer souls into the Kingdom with the Lord. A few coaches are coming along and we will have the Rosary in the morning, followed by Mass, Lunch, the talk and then a Eucharistic Holy Hour in the Church. You are warmly invited to come along. 

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