Here comes winter again?

Here comes a little taste of winter again.  We had just a dusting of snow here last night…and about 1 1/3 inches of rain over the weekend.  Thanks you, God, for the much needed moisture…and for protecting us from storms.  And, God, please take care of those who suffered losses because of the tornados and storms.

Today, April 16th is the date on which in 1209, Pope Innocent III approved the first Franciscan Rule and the Order received its canonical status.  On this date, many Franciscans throughout the world formally renew their commitment to the Franciscan way of life.  We will do so today. (And on Saturday at the Secular Franciscan Spring Retreat, the Secular Franciscans renewed their Commitment.)  

Our vows of poverty, chastity and obedience are NOT private vows intended only for our own personal piety and salvation.  Ours are public vows offered to the Church for the building up of God’s presence here on earth.  By pronouncing our vows publically, we express our commitment to faithfully live our charism, which is our unique gift to the Church.

On Saturday 73 Franciscans attended this retreat sponsored by the Elk River Fraternity of Secular Franciscans.  The program folders were unique and beautiful.  They were pictures of St. Francis drawn by the Kindergarten, first and third graders of St. Andrews School in Elk River.  Thank you, children.  The retreat day was very good.

Saturday evening a number of us attended the Heartland Symphony Orchestra concert at Charles D. Martin Auditorium here in town.   We were privileged to be at the world-premier performance of the North Country Suite, 2011, composed by Rick Sowash (b. 1950).   This piece of music was commissioned by the Heartland Symphony Orchestra in commemoration of the 35th anniversary of ithe Orchestra’s founding.  The North Country suite has five movements:  Spirit of the North, Northern Lights, Father of Waters, Boreal Forest, Into the Wind.    It is a beautiful piece of music.  It reminded me of the Grand Canyon Suite.  Echo Kowalzek, age 80+, led the clapping for Johann Strauss, Senior’s Radetzky March, Op.228.  It is tradition to clap with the music for certain parts of the March.

Then on Sunday afternoon St. Francis Music Center presented the Sforzando String Orchestra and the Con Brio String Orchestra Spring Concert.  These sixty musicians are fantastic.  I thank them for sharing their talents with all of us.  Celo V’ec is to be commended for his teaching and directing these two orchestras.  Again, the chapel was filled.  Listening to great music was a good way to spend time on a dark and rainy day.

This is Severe Weather Awareness Week.  We will take part in the tornado drill on Thursday at 1:45 p.m.  We will go to the tunnel as our place of safety as we do during a tornado.  Let us pray that we don’t need to go there for a “real” tornado.  Have you figured out where you will go if there is a tornado in your area?

Saturday, April 21st we have a Spaghetti Supper fund-raiser.  We start serving at 4:30 p.m.   Come for a good meal and good visiting.

Next Monday, April 23rd, is Earth Day.  We will have a Prayer Service at 2 p.m. and we will also plant two trees.  Everyone needs to be responsible to care for Mother Earth—to protect our land, air and waters from contamination and pollution.  Spirit of God, open my eyes to Your wonders and my ears to Your Mysteries.

My blessing for you today is from today’s Morning Prayer:  “May God enlighten the eyes of our soul to guide our feet in the way of that peace which surpasses all understanding.”                                             

Sister Mary Lou

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