Celebrating St. Francis, one or the other of them…

Big Jim Griffith, the Southwestern folklore expert who writes a blog for the Arizona Daily Star, has another piece about local observances of Catholic saints’ days.

This one talks about traditions that meld appreciation for St. Francis of Assisi, the founder of the Franciscans, and St. Francis Xavier, co-founder of the Jesuits. Some perhaps understandable confusion arises because Mission San Xavier del Bac, an 18th- century landmark that is an active parish still, was named for a Jesuit named Francis, but has been administered by Franciscans, named for another Francis, most of the time since it was founded.

…the Jesuits were expelled from Sonora in 1767, to be replaced by the Franciscans, who had their own St Francis — Assisi. His feast day is Oct. 4; Xavier’s is Dec. 3. Somehow over the years things got confused so that the lying-down statue of Xavier is celebrated on Oct. 4….

Sounds like the kind of blend that would be appreciated by Pope Francis, a Jesuit who chose his name to honor the Franciscan saint, whose feast day is Oct. 4.

Papayas, Kalashnikovs, the rosary: The world of one Vatican diplomat


A U.S. soldier rests near a statue of Mary outside a church in the Dora district of Baghdad, Iraq, in 2007. (CNS photo/Mahmoud Raouf Mahmoud, Reuters)

VATICAN CITY — Imagine every time you wanted to go outside you needed to give 72 hours advanced notice and then be escorted by guards “armed to the teeth,” toting Kalashnikovs and making you look “like someone arrested and taken to prison.”

And because you’re caged up inside your residence, which luckily(?) is also where you work,  you switch the TV on to soccer matches when you do your daily treadmill run so you can imagine that you’re free, dashing across that open field.

That is “The Day in the Life of” Archbishop Giorgio Lingua,” the 53-year-old apostolic nuncio to Iraq and Jordan, who splits his time between those two countries. Continue reading