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.

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