Happy feast of St. Francis in advance, especially since it’s on Sunday, and therefore not celebrated. I wrote/reprinted a longish post about St. Francis earlier this week. It’s here. Let’s just say that reading Fr. Augustine Thompson’s biography of the saint has made me passionate about encouraging people to try to get to know and understand St. Francis as he was – (the best we can establish) – not as we would have him to be. It is not a simple story, and looking at it with fresh eyes, free from preconceptions, can be bracing. Even to answer the seemingly simple question of what, to St. Francis, did it mean to be “poor?” can bring out some challenging possibilities.
We were in Assisi three years ago next month. It’s odd to think that trip was that long ago. It doesn’t seem like it. Here are a few photos.
(The first is an image that Ann made comparing photographs of Assisi with the paintings she did for the book.)
This past Wednesday, this is what happened:
First part of the morning: schoolish things. Copywork, writing, Latin, Math.
Late morning – early afternoon, the ten-year old served Mass at Casa Maria. The Mass was the celebration of the 75th anniversary of ordination of Fr. Lambert Greenan, O.P. Fr. Lambert, age 98 now, has been in residence at Casa Maria for 18 years. Born in Ireland, he was the first editor of the English-language edition of L’Osservatore Romano. You can read more about his vocation story here.
(I was not able to go to the Mass – the chapel is small, and with all the sisters, the clergy and friends, there just wasn’t going to be room for Moms-of-Servers.)
(He served as the vimp – for the first time.)
Then afterwards, speed up to northish Alabama to pick up chickens. I’m part of a group here in Birmingham that makes a once-a-month purchase of free-range chickens from this farm, and it was my turn to drive up there and get them.
So, a Catholic Alabama Homeschool kind of day.
Earlier in the week, we helped out at the reading center – here’s an article in the local paper about it and here’s the pastor’s blog post on the dedication. It’s a great ministry and we really enjoy helping out.
(Although I will say that this week while listening to the I do not like green eggs and ham litany, I realized that my relief of about, say, 8 years ago that I would never have to read another Dr. Seuss book again…did not last a lifetime. Oh, well. It’s all for the cause!)
The Salesian religious order for decades ran an urban ministry program out of the church, but the Salesians pulled out of Birmingham on Feb. 1, 2014.
“They were no longer able to staff Holy Rosary,” Jerabek said. “We’re moving back in the direction of being able to offer more programs.”
Now run by the diocese, the opening of the learning center signals a commitment to continue serving the needy, Jerabek said.
“We recognized there was a need for literacy program to help the students in the area improve their reading,” Jerabek said. “We had 3rd and 4th graders who had trouble reading.”
The new learning center is in an updated office building. “It’s a remodeled building with two rooms and bathroom, where children can do homework and receive tutoring assistance,” Jerabek said.
It opened Sept. 8, with after-school tutoring on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. “It’s a very beautiful, welcoming environment,” Jerabek said.
Holy Rosary also hosts a soccer program on its athletic field with 34 youth from Gate City and Woodlawn playing on three teams, and youth also play on the church’s basketball court.
The church also hosts a food bank for residents of Woodlawn and Gate City. The food pantry is open on
Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to noon. It helps feed 350 families a month.
Holy Rosary has a Mass every Sunday at 8:30 a.m. that draws about 40 people, which is about all Holy Rosary can comfortably seat.
I have seen so many Catholic parishes in neighborhoods that have transitioned away from its original largely Catholic population, and it is rare to see one actually doing this kind of outreach – it’s a model, if you ask me!
Do you run an adult education program in a parish? You might want to gear up for the release of Silence, Scorcese’s take on Endo’s novel. Here’s a column on it and the first still I’ve seen. It also links to a new book of essays on the novel, which is complex and controversial – and challenging.
A parish reading group might take on Silence, The Samurai and Wonderful Fool in three successive months, coordinated with the release of the film (and I don’t know when that will be. Since it’s “serious” – I’m presuming it might be next fall).
What do you read on the InterWebs? Aside from the usual time-suckers, I try to do a daily read of at least one article from whatever academic religious history journal I can find online for free and grabs my fancy. Right now, I’m reading through some articles from Catholic Southwest – you can dig into yourself here. Last night, for example, I read about 20th century artist Jean Charlot, and ended up adding several more out-of-print children’s books to my wish list – he illustrated a version of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a biography of St. Martin de Porres, and some others. Charlot did the original art for And Now, Miguel. And a lot of other work over a long career. You can read a bit more about him here at this GREAT site I discovered during last night’s rabbit hole journey (which is why I can’t read more than one article in an evening…rabbit holes.) about sacred art.
Charlot was a muralist, and painted several for the University of Georgia back in the 40’s – I don’t know if they are still extant – anyone know? Anyway, via archive.org, you can peruse a book published about the murals by the UGA press. Very interesting!
For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t the Lyceum!