Feast of St Francis of Assisi

Today is the Feast of St Francis of Assisi, founder of the Franciscan Order. It is the Franciscan Order that has pastored the parish of Medjugorje since it was founded in the late 19th Century.

St Francis, who was never a priest, came from a privileged background before turning his life over to God. His conversion was hastened after praying in front of a crucifix and hearing Christ speak the words: “Francis, repair my Church!” At the time he thought Jesus was speaking of a ruined building in San Damiano. He later realised that the words he heard from the crucifix spoke of the Church as a whole, which at the time was much troubled by scandal and heresy.

I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Carry no purse, no haversack, no sandals… Luke 10 : 3-4

The Medjugorje parish recently acquired a new statue of St Francis which was put on show earlier this week during the evening prayer programme. It was blessed afterwards by Fr Miljenko Šteko in the presence of the other friars of the parish. The statue will be on display again today when the Feast of St Francis is celebrated.

• The Blessed Virgin Mary is Patroness of the Franciscan Order. In 1910 Pope S Pius X permitted the members of the three orders of St Francis to add to the Litany of Loreto the invocation: “Queen of the Franciscan Order, pray for us!” And in 1950 Pope Pius XII granted them a special feast, with a proper office and Mass, honouring Our Lady as Queen of the Franciscan Order. The day chosen for this feast is December 15, formerly the octave day of the Immaculate Conception.

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