Wednesday, April 8
It is the last day of Lent. With the Church’s formal Evening Prayer we step into the Liturgical time recognized as the Triduum. The formal season Lent will end… but not before I offer the old Irish ditty on “Whiskey on Sunday.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cd8I1PNV9io
Thursday Liturgy: 7:00 PM (No Adoration) (No 6:30 and 8:00 AM Masses)
Good Friday. Stations 3:00 PM (No Adoration) (No 6:30 and 8:00 AM Masses)
Good Friday Evening Liturgy: 7:00 PM
Easter Vigil: 8:30 PM (No Adoration)
Easter Sunday: 8:30 and 10:30 AM (No Adoration)
Thursday 12:00 PM
Friday 10:30, For Senior Citizens on Back Patio. 12:00 PM
Saturday: 12:00 PM
Morning Prayer: 7:30 AM
Evening Prayer: 5:00 PM
Rosary. 8:30 PM
Night Prayer: 9:00 PM
For all services please visit the parish website. saintfrancisparish.org/changes-to-church-calendar-and-events-during-covid-19/
For video contact please join us for Mass, Liturgy of the Hours, and rosary. Click on Live Streaming and you’re in.
Allow me a moment to finish the story of the Italian Monk who introduced the delicious Pretzel to the children around the Italian monastery for learning their prayers. The pretzel was shaped like a child with folded arms. The Italians, in South Philadelphia’s Federal Pretzel Factory, still make the best pretzels in the world. But there was a German modification associated with pretzels. I enclose a note from one of my good friends who loves the research that follows a great discovery.
If you want to embellish your story about German appropriation of Italian pretzels, you might want to toss this in:
“ By 1450, Germans ate pretzels and hard-boiled eggs for dinner on Good Friday – the day of fasting. The large puffy pretzel symbolized everlasting life, and the two hard-boiled eggs, nestled in each of the large round curves of the pretzel, represented Easter’s rebirth.
Originally German children looked for hidden pretzels and hard-boiled eggs throughout their parent’s farms. Hiding places such as the straw lofts and barns eventually introduced the tradition of egg hunts.”
And now you know the rest of the story.
Again, one of my great concerns for the area we live deals with nature of the shut-down, Lock-in-place. For some the confinement is becoming more and more stressful. Hence, let us remove ourselves to the kitchen where all stress is relieved if only for a short while. A few weeks ago I offered my recipe for Peppermint Ice Cream. This week we look to the ever delicious… Lemon Bar. There must be a poem someplace for the “Lemon Bar.” https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/10294/the-best-lemon-bars/ Have a good time and enjoy yourselves. May the angels watch over you.
The other day I mentioned the story of the Spanish Jesuit Martyrs in 1570. I leave you with a short review and much longer and more in-depth on the English Jesuits of Maryland who would sneak into Virginia to serve the needs of an underground church that we now call home.
Spanish settlements in Virginia preceded the Jamestown colony. “The Ajacán Mission (Spanish pronunciation: [axaˈkan]) (also Axaca, Axacam, Iacan, Jacán, Xacan) was a Spanish attempt in 1570 to establish a Jesuit mission in the vicinity of the Virginia Peninsula to bring Christianity to the Virginia Indians. The effort to found St. Mary’s Mission predated the founding of the English settlement at Jamestown, Virginia, by about 36 years. In February 1571, the entire party was massacred by Indians except Alonso de Olmos. The following year, a Spanish party from Florida went to the area, rescued Alonso… https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ajac%C3%A1n_Mission
And now to the English Jesuits.
If you ever find yourself wandering around Southern Maryland, not too far South from the Beltway, just off Rt. 3, you may stumble on to St. Ignatius Church, on the Potomac shoreline. It is the location of the famed Jesuit home, “St. Thomas Manor,” It is the sacred space that served the venue for the earliest Jesuit ordination and Society of Jesus professions in the New World. The site has been maintained as a chapel attached to the larger, quite modest church. I discovered the church many years ago while bicycling through the area. Yes, little Virginia… that was many years ago. An eighty five year old Jesuit caught me in the church offering my three Hail Mary’s, a devotional practice offered when visiting a church for the first time. Finding me to be a foreigner from a strange land, and cleric to boot, he brought me into the rectory for lunch… that lasted the better part of two hours. I was introduced to the famed chapel and the church cemetery with the marker for the Jesuits who secretly crossed into Virginia in those early times when it was illegal to be a Catholic priest in the Anglican Colony.
The good priest brought me to the stone which listed the earliest Jesuit confreres assigned to the church. The cemetery hosted some of the earliest Catholics. Ancestors of Dr. Samuel Mudd, of John Wilkes Booth fame. (More on that for another time.) And finally, he showed me the well where ten feet below the surface of the ground on which we stood was a secret door used to hide slaves when the church served as a staging point for the Underground Railroad in the Mid-19th century. During the Civil War they would use the same room to hide the gold and silver chalices and candelabra.
And now the rest of the story. The original house now used as the parish rectory was identified as St. Thomas Manor. The entire site today is recognized as St. Ignatius Parish Church. It is the location where Bishop John Carroll accepted his episcopal assignment as first Catholic Bishop in the New World thus making St. Thomas Manor in the late 1780’s the first Episcopal See in America. It is also the oldest standing, staffed Jesuit House in the entire world. At one time, during the world wide suppression of the Jesuits in 1777 St. Thomas Manor enjoyed the support of the Russian Queen, Catherine the Great to maintain the Jesuit identity.
In its early history, Jesuits would sneak across the Potomac River to serve in the underground church of America. Some of them are buried in the church cemetery while others never returned and lie in places known only to God. Understandably, all would use fake names to protect their families in England should they be caught across the river.
There is a secondary feature to the hallowed grounds of the early Jesuits. They had slaves. And they, at one point sold many of the slaves to secure funds to support Georgetown University and other Jesuit missions scattered throughout the colonies. This time period was supplanted by the age where the Jesuits supported the Underground Railroad. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1838_Jesuit_slave_sale This is a very interesting read for the contemporary response of the collegiate community of Georgetown University to their best example in the early colony and … their worst. I highly recommend it. God bless one and all. Let us pray for one another.
Earlier tonight we had our first meeting with the newly founded parish Guardian Angels. Eighteen people joined in the webinar hosted by Fr. Heisler. They are an energetic bunch. When I suggest reaching out in three weeks’ time they insisted it can be done in a shorter time frame and they would help to make it happen. You just have to love these guys. The task at hand during the pandemic involves reaching out to the parishioners in need. In the coming week we will try to identify all the parishioners above the age of 75 who may live alone and/or who have some health challenges and needs. Each should receive a call from the guardian angels. They will offer to assist them: in getting groceries and/or assist them in transportation for their medical needs. And if neither is needed than maybe just a nice call from a friendly voice from the parish. Please contact me if you know of someone who could use the contact/phone call. firstname.lastname@example.org We are now in our third week of lock-in. It has been hard on the younger parishioners but much more so for the elderly and those with health challenges. Yes, thank you angels. Let us pray for one another. Fr. G