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of Ordinary time that led us to the close of our liturgi-
cal year with the celebration of Christ the King [Nov.
26, 2017]. The Christ who was born among us, lived
among us, died among us, and rose from the dead,
among us, is now the King of all creation. Then we
start all over again and welcome Advent.
Perhaps one of the reasons we don't get bored with
the cycle, although it is exactly the same year after
year, is because we are not the same, year after year.
We change, we grow, we learn, we thrive, we begin
to slow down, we enter the "autumn of our years,"
as Frank Sinatra once sang. As the seasons come and
go, they remain constant. We change.
This past liturgical year, Pope Francis called for an
extraordinary "Jubilee Year of Mercy." He challenged
us to change: to recognize the mercy God has for us,
and to be conduits of God's mercy to one another.
Pope Francis continues to call us to be aware of those
who live on the margins of life, the poor, the vulnera-
ble and the outcast, and to "confront the poverty of
our brothers and sisters, to touch it, to make it our
own and to take practical steps to alleviate it."
When closing the extraordinary Jubilee Year of
Mercy, this past Solemnity of Christ the King, Nov. 20,
2016, he also reminded us that the doors to mercy
are never closed. It is always a part of our life with
God and should always be a part of our life with each
As the darkness of winter begins to overtake the
colors of the fall, we pray with St. Francis:
"Most high, glorious God, enlighten the
darkness of my heart and give me Lord, a
correct faith, a certain hope, a perfect
charity, sense and knowledge, so that I
may carry out your holy and true will."
We pray that our entire St. Bonaventure University
community continues to be blessed in this year to
come. We pray in thanksgiving for Dr. Andrew Roth
as he leads us through this year of transition and we
pray for President-elect Dr. Dennis DePerro, that God
will inspire him to lead us into a special time of grace
and gratitude. We pray for our nation, and our world,
that we may be enlivened by the spirits of Sts. Francis
and Clare and hold dearly their profound sense of re-
spect for everyone and everything.
(Fr. Francis Di Spigno, O.F.M., is executive director of
University Ministries and guardian of St. Bonaventure
By Fr. Francis J. Di Spigno, O.F.M.
here are moments in our life that
sometimes take our breath away.
There are also moments that we
might not realize are significant until we
look back, such as our birthdays, or the
anniversaries that mark how long we are
married, when we graduated from col-
lege, or, in my case, professed vows as a
Franciscan friar.
This year I celebrate my 25th anniver-
sary as a professed Franciscan friar. I'm
honored to share this jubilee year with Fr.
Dan Riley, O.F.M., who is celebrating 50
years of Franciscan life. I have found myself thinking, "How did that
happen? It seems like it was yesterday that I entered the friars." How it
happened, as we all know, is one year at a time.
Not unlike the other patterns of our life, birthdays celebrated, anniver-
saries marked, and new years ushered in, the Church offers us a liturgi-
cal calendar to mark moments in our lives as people of faith.
The cycle begins with Advent to help us enter into the great mystery
of the Incarnation on Dec. 25. The Christmas season, for Roman
Catholics, ends with the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord [Jan. 9, 2017].
Then after a brief snap of Ordinary time we begin Lent, which leads us
to Easter, the pinnacle of our Christian life. After coming out of the dark
days of winter, Easter is a time when we remember that the Light of
Christ will overpower any darkness that we may encounter. The season
of Easter ends on the Feast of Pentecost [June 4, 2017] with hopes re-
newed in the Holy Spirit of God's promise. We revisit those ordered days
WINTER 2016-17
Franciscan Minute
The cycle continues
We change, we grow, we learn, we thrive
Pope Francis closes the Holy Door of Mercy at the Vatican Sunday, Nov. 20.
Pope Francis Lenten Message, Feb. 4, 2014
St. Francis of Assisi, "Prayer before the Crucifix"