We spent our second day in Assisi, beginning with Mass at Santa Maria degli Angeli (St. Mary of the Angels), a large basilica that was built around a small chapel that played a significant part in the life of St. Francis. The chapel became the spiritual home of Francis and his companions, where Francis lived as he was forming the new community of friars, where they would draw spiritual strength as they were growing, and where Francis would die in 1226.
Following our morning Mass we visited the small church of San Damiano, where the Lord spoke to Francis through the crucifix, telling him to rebuild His church, which was in need of repair. Francis initially thought this was a command to physically rebuild the small church itself, which he did, but later understood the Lord was calling Francis to help rebuild the Church in a spiritual sense, by bringing about renewal and reform among the faithful.
After our visit to San Damiano, we moved on to the Basilica of St. Clare, where the body of Clare is present, as well as the crucifix that spoke to Francis.
We moved onto lunch and a number of the pilgrims enjoyed the traditional favorite of a panino di porchetta, roasted pork seasoned with all types of herbs, stuffed into a fresh baked hard roll.
The day continued with an amazing tour of the Basilica of St. Francis, led by Fr. Martin Breski, an American Franciscan Friar who works at the Basilica. Fr. Martin offered a wonderful commentary on the basilica, it’s art, and spiritual meaning, but also gave us the chance to visit some additional areas, including the extended portico that offers amazing views of the surrounding countryside.
Afterwards, the pilgrims enjoyed wandering the streets of Assisi, additional prayer (and shopping). Tomorrow we move into Siena and time with St. Catherine…
We continue to keep the parish family in our prayers!