Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is an integral part of the spiritual life of St. Francis Parish. A eucharistic procession winds through the streets of Staunton on the feast of Corpus Christi. An active adult education program in the parish offers speakers on liturgical, spiritual, and theological topics. Every year in January a substantial number of St. Francis parishioners travel to Washington to witness for life. Icons located in the Blessed Sacrament chapel remind visitors of the company of heaven surrounding them. On the left, the steeple of the church undergoing renovation in 2015-2016; on the right, the completed project Each January members of Youth for Life travel to Washington to witness in the March for Life. The St. Francis Choir leads the congregation in praise at the Saturday vigil Mass and the Sunday liturgies. CCD catechists offer their time and talents to educate the children of the parish in the Catholic faith. In 2007 the Respect Life Committee built a prayer garden in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the unborn. At left, a view of St. Francis sometime between the 1920s and the 1960s; at right, the church since the 1988-89 renovation Each summer vacation church school offers St. Francis youngsters opportunities to learn about the faith, pray, and play together. Monsignor Mark Lane administers the sacrament of confirmation for youth of St. Francis and neighboring parishes. St. Francis Church decorated for the celebration of Christmas Msgr. Andrew Cassin and Fr. Joseph Wamala greet parishioners at the front door of St. Francis Church. The choir and musicians offer special music on the occasion of the completion of church renovation in 2016. The Catholic Daughters (with Fr. Joseph Wamala) celebrate the 80th anniversary of the chapter's founding. Francis DiLorenzo, former Bishop of Richmond, reconsecrates St. Francis church after the exterior renovation in 2015-2016. The convocation of diocesan deacons was held in Staunton in 2014, with a special Mass and reception at St. Francis. Members of the Haiti Outreach greet parishioners of Our Lady of Pointe-à-Raquette, the twin parish of St. Francis in Staunton. Pilgrims from the Diocese of Richmond join a vigil before the closing Mass of World Youth Day 2016 in Poland. Music Director Chris Bono oversaw the repainting of the organ pipes in 2017. The Most Rev. Barry Knestout, named Bishop of Richmond in 2017, visited St. Francis in 2014 to celebrate Monsignor Cassin’s ordination anniversary. Members of St. Francis Youth for Life participated in 2017 in the 40 Days for Life witness outside an abortion clinic.
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EASTER

Lent and Easter are times when many Catholics who have not been active in the Church think of “returning home,” to the practice of their Catholic faith. The website Catholics Come Home, dedicated to those people, includes many short and useful videos on the topic. Below we feature one of those videos; use the link above to watch more. To check the schedule for Masses and confession at St. Francis, click on “Liturgy & Sacraments” in the menu at top of the page. The pastor and people of St. Francis Parish in Staunton welcome any inquiries into what “coming home” may mean in your specific circumstances.



Resurrection

The cross is the unique sacrifice of Christ, the “one mediator between God and men.” But because in his incarnate divine person he has in some way united himself to every man, “the possibility of being made partners, in a way known to God, in the paschal mystery” is offered to all men. He calls his disciples to “take up [their] cross and follow [him],” for “Christ also suffered for [us], leaving [us] an example so that [we] should follow in his steps.” In fact Jesus desires to associate with his redeeming sacrifice those who were to be its first beneficiaries. This is achieved supremely in the case of his mother, who was associated more intimately than any other person in the mystery of his redemptive suffering.

Apart from the cross there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven.

O truly blessed Night, sings the Exsultet of the Easter Vigil, which alone deserved to know the time and the hour when Christ rose from the realm of the Dead! But no one was an eyewitness to Christ’s Resurrection and no evangelist describes it. No one can say how it came about physically. Still less was its innermost essence, his passing over to another life, perceptible to the senses. Although the Resurrection was an historical event that could be verified by the sign of the empty tomb and by the reality of the apostles’ encounters with the risen Christ, still it remains at the very heart of the mystery of faith as something that transcends and surpasses history.

Catechism of the Catholic Church

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The Easter season continues for 50 days, beginning with Easter Sunday, then including the solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord (observed this year on Sunday, June 2), and concluding with the solemnity of Pentecost (observed this year on Sunday, June 9). The season is marked by the wearing of white vestments at Mass and by abundant singing of the Alleluia, as the Church overflows with joy at the resurrection of the Lord—and the profound implications of that event for every human being and for all of history.

A somewhat recent addition to the Easter season is the observance of Divine Mercy Sunday, which is always the first Sunday following Easter. This commemoration brings home the mercy of Christ shown to all his faithful followers. It will be observed at St. Francis Church by a Holy Hour, with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, at 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 28, and all are invited. A potluck dinner will follow in Assisi Hall.