Parish News - Lenten Mission Summary - March 1, 2018


Our Parish Lenten Mission

Beginning Saturday, February 17 until Wednesday February 21, Saint Francis of Assisi Parishioners immersed themselves in listening, praying, and reflecting on the theme of the MYSTERY OF EVIL and DIVINE TRANSFORMATION.   Dominican Friar, Father Gabriel Gillen, O.P. from New York was our Director.

In his teaching, Father stated that Jesus’ main opponent is EVIL and His Mission was to conquer evil. He shared that the number ONE reason people are leaving the Catholic Church and leaving religion is the failure to ANSWER this question: Why does God allow evil to exist?   He states that this question of the Existence of Evil has not been answered satisfactorily.

This question pushes people away from God and the Church and we need to address evil in our world and help others to understand God’s response to evil. We are responsible to take the time to read, to learn, and to study Sacred Scripture.  With this discipline, we can build our response to this question.

Always, we are to listen with respect to other’s concerns and fears.  We do not need to be afraid that we do not know all the answers.  The Holy Spirit will help us to articulate our belief that authentic love requires “choice” and God continues to bless us with free will.  Father reminded us that we have a responsibility to ask ourselves “what am I personally going to do about this presence of evil around us?”

During the five days, Father spoke of the wisdom of the sciences, saints, philosophers, theologians and the life experiences of others to help us understand the answer to that question.   His message is “God created Good and God did NOT create evil.”  Evil is the absence of light, love and good.  Father Gabriel compared it to a “black hole” totally consuming all of the light of good.

Because God’s love for us is AUTHENTIC, He has not “programmed” us as robots to love, but gave us “free will” to make choices. Love cannot be authentic if God takes “choice” away.  As a result, we do not always make the right choices and the consequence is evil, sin, and suffering.

God hates suffering but through the suffering of Jesus Christ, He stands shoulder to shoulder with us to fight evil and to transform evil in this world.

Questioned by the audience on the recent high school shooting why God would allow violence, pain and suffering, he reminded all that because God gave us free will, evil and suffering will happen. Although God does not initiate or desire it, God can transform evil, over time, to bring about a greater good.  

God hears us - the power of prayer, especially the power of people praying together especially praying the Rosary together. The lives of the Saints give witness to help even one hungry person. We take to heart the Prayer of Saint Francis that we recite each day as our Parish Prayer.

We were encouraged to become familiar with the REDEMPTIVE Suffering. As Jesus suffered for our redemption, we too can “offer up” our suffering for the healing of others. That is what Jesus did for us by the Cross. “God stands side by side with us through our sickness and suffering.”

On Tuesday night, the Mission ended with a spiritual blessing from Father Gabriel with the Relic of Saint Pope John Paul II and on Wednesday, the Mission ended with a spiritual blessing from your Pastor with the Relic of Saint Francis of Assisi.  On three days of the Mission, Father heard CONFESSIONS in both the morning and the evening.

We are grateful to the Sacristans, Ushers, and Choir for preparing and serving during the Parish Mission.  We are grateful to God for the gift of this time and teaching as we prepare to celebrate the Mystery of the suffering of Jesus Our Lord.


Jeanette Lindish Father Richard York
Director for Evangelization Pastor