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. With the Director of Religious Education guiding them, the first communicants process into church. The crucifer leads the procession from the church at the end of Mass on the feast of Pentecost. 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 an enthusiastic group of volunteers organizes the vacation church school for St. Francis youngsters. Deacon James Kledzik, Msgr. Mark Lane, and Father Joseph Wamala enter the church for the diocesan deacon convocation. 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. A concert held to commemorate the 31 years of service of Don Roe as Director of Music drew an appreciative audience. The Catholic Daughters (with Fr. Joseph Wamala) celebrate the 80th anniversary of the chapter's founding.
Move cursor over image to pause slideshow, click on image to move to next slide immediately.

HOLY WEEK AND EASTER

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 noe vangelist 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

______________

Schedule for Holy Week and Easter

Palm Sunday, April 12-13

  • Mass on Saturday at 5 p.m.
  • Mass on Sunday at 7:00 (note change in time), 8:30, and 11:30 a.m. Preceding the 11:30 Mass, the annual Palm Sunday procession for downtown churches begins at Trinity Church.

Monday in Holy Week, April 14

Tuesday in Holy Week, April 15

  • Mass at 5:30 p.m.

Wednesday in Holy Week, April 16

  • Mass at 12:05 p.m.

Holy Thursday, April 17

  • Mass of the Lord's Supper at 7:30 p.m.

Good Friday, April 18

  • Stations of the Cross at 3 p.m.
  • Liturgy of the Lord's Passion at 7 p.m.

Holy Saturday, April 19

  • Easter Vigil at 8 p.m.

Easter Sunday, April 20

  • Mass at 7:15, 8:30, and 11:30 a.m.
 

DIOCESAN PASTORAL PLAN

Pentecost

On January 12, the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, the Diocese of Richmond released a new pastoral plan. The paragraphs below are from the introductory section of the plan; more details will follow.:

Encounter the Joy of the Gospel and Set the World Ablaze is the Diocese of Richmond’s pastoral plan for announcing Jesus’ joyful Good News far and wide. It is a five-year plan that is more about becoming vibrant witnesses to His amazing love story than it is about time or programs. The plan calls for individuals and parishes alive in the Spirit, sharing the Gospel in both word and deed. Both are necessary in this skeptical age. The plan is about unleashing the Spirit promised by Jesus, about unbinding rigid ways as Jesus unbound His beloved friend Lazarus, and about unlocking the doors so that this joyful message can flow freely into hearts and homes, counties and countries. This pastoral plan is our way of encountering the Risen Christ anew. This is a pastoral plan which enfleshes Christ’s vision of a people set apart, different from others because they have met Him, been healed, and then sent forth to tell their stories. The plan hopes to inspire a rethinking of “business as usual” in favor of individuals and whole parishes finding new ways to unleash the stories of justice, mercy, compassion, and of a kingdom coming now, even as we wait for it to come in fullness. Let us dare to suffer through the kind of self-examination that precedes transformation, just as Jesus showed us. Let us trust the Spirit’s white-hot fire to burn away that which is not fruitful, and thus leave our parishes ready for this new life in Christ to flower.

This five year plan is both unique and challenging. What is unique about this pastoral plan is that to implement it is to first stop, to pray and reflect on our personal relationship with the Lord Jesus. Then it calls for a time of honest individual and communal discernment with regard to the degree to which our relationship with Jesus is transforming how we relate to others. Jesus told us the measure of our love for God is how well we love our neighbors, and Pope Francis is making it abundantly clear that we must have particularly tender hearts for the most vulnerable and the poor. Once we have honestly assessed our personal and communal practices using the Great Commandment, we then begin to listen to the Spirit’s call to change. This is a conversion journey, not a program to be implemented.

What is challenging about this pastoral plan is tha t the Lord is calling everyone affiliated with a parish to this work. Pastors, lay ecclesial ministers, parish leaders, and all those who call our parishes “their” parishes have a role, a call, a vocation to share the joy of the Gospel and set the world ablaze. This is not the work of a few, nor can it be carried out with the implementation of a program. It is a way of life; it is Jesus’ Way. Its transformative power will rest in the degree to which each baptized believer’s heart is touched by the Lord Jesus, and they are then given methods, opportunities, and encouragement through the work of the parish so that they share the joy of the Gospel in word and work.