A Reflection on the Transitus

he Transitus ceremony annually commemorates the passing of St. Francis from earthly life to eternal life.

On the evening of Monday, October 3, 2011, mission candidates and staff members of Franciscan Mission Service attended the Transitus ceremony at the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America in Washington, D.C.  The event included a gathering inside of the Memorial Church of the Holy Sepulchre, a candlelight procession, a gathering around the Portiuncula church and the sharing of bread, followed by refreshments.

During the ceremony, FMS Executive Director Kim Smolik gave the following reflection:

“Thank you, Fr. Jacob. I am incredibly grateful to be here tonight.

I am also humbled.   Once I said yes to the invitation to be here, I was, and still am, faced with the question: ‘What can I possibly say that will give new insight into Francis’ life and passing?’

I am not a religious or secular Franciscan.   I am not a Franciscan scholar or theologian. But what I can offer is myself and my reflections as a lay person whose life has been, in a short time, deeply impacted and forever altered by the Franciscan charism and the Franciscan community that surrounds me.

The way we remember Francis on this evening has less to do with looking into the distant past and dimly recalling the life of someone who lived 800 years ago.   We commemorate him in our lives in a similar way to how the Eucharistic liturgy commemorates Jesus’ Paschal sacrifice.

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