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Our Seraphic Father St Francis

Sunday, October 06, 2019

By Br John Bernard Church | As tradition dictates, several Dominican friars attended the celebration of the feast of St Francis on 4th of October at the local Franciscan church of St Edmund and St Frideswide (Greyfriars).

On this year’s Feast of St Francis, five members of the community made their way to Greyfriars, to celebrate the great saint with our Franciscan brethren. We were hosted by the Capuchins at their church, St Edmund and St Frideswide, together with the Conventual Franciscans and members of the Secular Franciscan Order.

The tradition of Dominicans and Franciscans inviting each other to preach for their respective patronal feast goes back a long way. As Fr Andrew Hofer OP reminded us at the start of his homily, in the Paradiso Dante has St Bonaventure sing the praises of St Dominic and St Thomas Aquinas of St Francis.

The words of the Seraphic Father punctuated a beautiful Mass, which began with the hymn based on his Canticle of the Sun, All Creatures of Our God and King. Fr Andrew preached on St Francis’ great zeal for the Eucharist, and the ardour with which he encouraged his brethren to show “all honour possible to the most Holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ… in whom the things that are in heaven and the things that are on earth are pacified and reconciled to Almighty God.” Fr Paul, parish priest at Greyfriars, echoed the words of the homily before the final blessing, as he encouraged us to give ourselves totally as St Francis gave himself totally.

Following Mass, the Capuchin community invited everyone for a wonderful buffet in the friary, where great effort was made to give fitting celebration for the more edible parts of creation. It was an opportunity for fellowship and the newly arrived students of both communities to meet, as well as a renewal of the strong fraternal bond that exists between our Orders.

St Francis and St Dominic, pray for us!

Br John Bernard Church O.P.

Br John Bernard, raised a Catholic by an English father and Dutch mother, first encountered the Dominicans at Blackfriars while studying Classics at the University of Oxford, and entered the noviciate in 2018. An attraction to religious life initially grew out of time spent working with the Missionaries of Charity, which then crystallised into a Dominican vocation through a desire to integrate the contemplative life with preaching and study. Based on his recent reading, he looks forward to delving further into St John of the Cross and the Carmelite mystics, as well as combining his preaching vocation with a love of the outdoors. | john.church@english.op.org



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