Happy Feast of Saint Francis – please pray for us that we Irish friars will live faithfully and joyfully our Franciscan vocation. And we promise to continue to pray for you.

In his letter for the Feast our Minister General, Michael Perry OFM, reflects on the gift of accompanying the youth of today as the Synod on Young People that begins with the feast.

The Solemnity of our Seraphic Father, Saint Francis of Assisi, happily coincides with the beginning of the Synod of Bishops, convened by Pope Francis, whose theme is: Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment. It is a time when young people are at the center of the Pope’s heart, as well as of the whole Church.

If we look at the ways in which our Seraphic Father experienced his youth — his restlessness and his searching — we can see a profound connection between that young man of 800 years ago and the youth of today, since the sacred soil of the human heart is no different now than then. The way in which St. Francis was able to respond to the challenges of his time can bring light to the search in which young people are today engaged, as well as being “an invitation to seek new paths and to journey along them boldly and trustfully, keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus and opening up to the Holy Spirit, to rejuvenate the very countenance of the Church” at this time of epochal change (Instrumentum Laboris, Synod on Youth, 1).

The experience of the disciples as they walked to Emmaus can help us and can help young people to be more aware of the presence of Christ who walks beside us. For us too, walking with Christ will mean that our discouragement will be overcome, it will help us to re-interpret our story, make our hearts burn within us, and transform us into proclaimers of his Good News.

Read the full message.