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Celebrating the Transitus of Saint Francis: A Capuchin Franciscan Reflection

Every year, as the leaves begin to change and the air grows crisp with the onset of autumn, the Capuchin Franciscan Order gathers to commemorate a significant event in our spiritual calendar – the Transitus of Saint Francis of Assisi. This celebration is not just a mere ritual, but a profound reminder of the life, death, and legacy of our beloved patron saint, Francis of Assisi.

The Transitus, which means ‘passage’ or ‘crossing’ in Latin, is a solemn observance of the passing of Saint Francis from this earthly life into eternal life with God. Celebrated on the evening of October 3rd, it is a time of reflection, prayer, and deep gratitude for the life and teachings of Saint Francis.

For us, as Capuchin Franciscans, the Transitus holds a special place in our hearts. It is a moment to remember and honor the humble man from Assisi who embraced poverty, loved all of God’s creation, and dedicated his life to serving the poor and marginalized. His example of simplicity, humility, and love continues to inspire and guide us in our spiritual journey.

The celebration of the Transitus is a poignant reminder of our own mortality and the promise of eternal life. It is a time to reflect on our own lives, our commitment to the Gospel, and our desire to follow in the footsteps of Saint Francis. It is a time to renew our commitment to live out the Franciscan values of fraternity, service, and reverence for all creation.

The Transitus ceremony is a beautiful blend of prayer, song, and storytelling. We gather in our chapels, illuminated by candlelight, to listen to the account of Saint Francis’s final hours. We sing hymns that echo his love for creation and his deep trust in God. We share bread, symbolizing our unity as a community and our commitment to serving those in need.

As we celebrate the Transitus, we are reminded of Saint Francis’s final words to his brothers: “I have done what is mine to do; may Christ teach you what is yours!” These words challenge us to discern and fulfill our unique calling in the world, just as Saint Francis did.

The Transitus is not a time of mourning, but a celebration of hope and joy. It is a testament to the transformative power of God’s love, as embodied by Saint Francis. It is a celebration of a life well-lived, a life that continues to inspire and guide us in our mission as Capuchin Franciscans.

As we commemorate the Transitus of Saint Francis, we invite you to join us in this celebration. Let us reflect on the life and teachings of Saint Francis, renew our commitment to live out the Gospel, and pray for the grace to do what is ours to do. Let us celebrate the hope and joy that comes from a life dedicated to serving God and others.

In the spirit of Saint Francis, let us continue to strive for a world marked by peace, justice, and respect for all creation. Let us remember that, like Saint Francis, we are all called to be instruments of God’s peace in our world. 

In the words of our beloved Saint Francis, “Pax et Bonum” – Peace and all Good.

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