April 3, 2020

Good morning, Good morning,

Attached is the monthly update, from the diocese to the pastors, on the Annual Diocesan Bishops Lenten Appeal. Please click here for report. It also includes an insight on how our parish is doing in the appeal. God bless the many folks that have given to the appeal thus far and many prayers for others to join them that we may reach our expected goal.  If you do not have a diocesan appeal card you can simply place check the money of check in an envelope and the office secretary will submit it for you.

Again, please allow my begging for the needs of the parish.  Thus far in our yearly financial reports of the parish we are down two hundred thousand dollars from last year’s collections.  That is due in part because one individual last year added one hundred thousand dollars from his own pocket for the parish.  Absent that generosity we would now be one hundred thousand dollars down from last year.  Please know, I am grateful for all you are doing but we need everyone on board to safeguard the needs of both parish and staff of the parish. I appreciate your mailing in your envelopes and sliding envelopes under the sacristy door.  And many thanks for signing up for the electronic giving.  For those who would like to join the electronic giving program: saintfrancisparish.org/parish-giving/  God love you… and so do I.

Please know, even though we are locked in our homes it doesn’t mean we need to be locked out from the ”Easter Basket” celebration.  Enclosed below is the recommended format for foods in the basket.  I suggest you swing by the church and bring a bottle to fill with holy water so you can bless your basket at home.  And when you have your great family feasts you might send a picture to either Fr. Heisler or myself so we can enjoy a smile from a distance.  (frgould@gmail.com) (jfheisler@gmail.com).  Yes, I think it will be nice to see the great festivities around the parish. God bless one and all.


The Parish Letter today honors of the many cooks/bakers of the parish.  As a point of trivia there are three culinary delights commonly consumed, if not celebrated, in America that have been impacted by the historical life of the Church.  None of them are Irish or German… I am sorry.  Ha! Ha! Ha!  Enclosed are the tasty treats.


First, Hot Cross Buns.  The hot cross bun, common to the end of Lent, marks the crucifixion of Christ. And, since the bun is spiced, it reminds us of the myrrh, used in the burial of Christ.  Historically, the hot cross bun dates to the 14th century at St. Alban’s Monastery in England.  It was thought to have medicinal benefits and was ruled by the crown to only be used at Christmas, Good Friday, and Funerals.  Why the restriction?  The crown had its own superstition that if the mystery of the hot cross bun was abused bad luck would befall the community where the abuse took place.  It was also a source of blessing for sailors that helped prevent both illness and ship wreck.


Second, The Croissant.  It represented the Christian victory in the defense of the Austrian City, Vienna, in 1683.  The Polish leader John Sobieski, under the Holy Roman Emperor, defeated the encroaching Ottomans, who were Islamic.  The croissant was designed around the Crescent Moon, as featured on the Islamic flag.


Third.  The pretzel.  Legend has it that the pretzel was invented by an Italian monk in the year 610 A.D. to reward young children for learning their prayers.  He supposedly folded strips of bread dough to resemble the crossed arms of praying children. He called his creation pretiola, which meant “little rewards.”


Now, let’s be serious, the pretzel in Italy was most likely a cultural and culinary failure in a land that loves it’s… wine.  It took the Goths, who inundated the Italian peninsula at the time to take the pretzel home for the complimentary… beer.  In the Germanic countries the cultural and culinary facets were thus wed both permanently… and happily.

Now, departing the business of food, I want to focus on one of the greatest icons to affect the spiritual life of Catholics in America.  It involves a painting titled, “Madonna of the Streets.” No other art piece has been the object of such expanding urban legends.  The title itself was initiated at Ellis Island in New York when the multiple immigrants attached to it a Marian Theme.  There are several constants in the many stories on the painting.  The identity of the Artist:  Roberto Ferruzzi.  Original title of the painting, “Madonnina,” (Little Mother).  Time of the painting, circa 1895. Location of the scene: Venice, Italy.  Tragedy: Father and Mother move to America.  Early Death of the Father, Mother’s Nervous Breakdown. Ten children sent to orphanages. One daughter becomes a religious and ultimately meets her maternal aunts in Venice. The mystery is explained.  (Allow two options in the story)

In the first version the parents escape a revolution in Italy and move to New York.  They have a large family, with ten children.  The father dies in an accident while working in a trolley car barn in New York.  The mother is sent to a sanitarium and children to orphanages.  One child become a “Dominican Nun.”  On her seventy-fifth birthday the order sends her home to Venice, Italy to see the home of her parents.  She met her aunt and the aunt brought her in for tea.  She admired the painting of the “Madonna of the Street” located on the living room wall.  Her aunt indicated that her mother was the young girl carrying her brother through the cold street one evening.  The scene inspired the artist.  And the rest is history.

In the second version the family simply leaves Italy, without impetus.  There was no apparent threat from which to flee.  The couple moved to Oakland, California in 1906 and sets up both family and home.  They had ten children.  In 1927 the husband died of influenza.  Mother suffers a nervous breakdown and is institutionalized while children are sent to the orphanages.  The sixth daughter influenced by the Josephine order of religious who taught her in early grammar school.  With that influence she entered the convent using her mother’s name for her religious name.  She would eventually return to Venice, Italy and meet her two aunts and hear of the “Madonna of the Streets.”  The aunts presumed the parents had died young as no one bothered to write home and speak of the family. The aunts did not necessarily like the title “Madonna of the Streets” because it implied prostitution.  And currently, the family is still trying to find the original painting, lost to the world of secret art collectors.  Please read the fully story below, printed by the Franciscan Media.  It is a good story.


Let us pray for one another.

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