Friday, May 30, 2014

Atlantic City Trip - Tuesday, June 17th

The next trip to Atlantic City is Tuesday, June 17th. The bus will leave at 9:30 am sharp and will return after six hours at the casino. The cost of the trip is $35, payable two weeks in advance. Please make check payable to St. Columba. Payments can be dropped off at the rectory during office hours or can be put through the slot at the convent door. Because of the need to pay for the bus in advance, anyone deciding to go on the trip on the day it occurs will be charged $40

Please spread the word to all you think may be interested. See you on the bus!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

From Pope Francis - May 28, 2014


Saint Peter's Square
- Wednesday, 28 May  2014 -

Pope in General Audience: Peace in the Middle East must be 'hand-made'

The large crowds of pilgrims at St. Peter's Square listened intently during the General Audience as Pope Francis dissected his apostolic trip to the Holy Land, which ended on Monday.

This.. belonged to a disabled girl.

Pope Francis dedicated his catechesis to the goals of his pilgrimage: to spur peace talks in the Middle East, reaffirm the faith of Catholics living in the Holy land, and to further unity between Christians.

The Pope emphasized that this particular issue worries him greatly, especially given the location where these divisions become evident.


"This truly causes pain, pains to the heart. We are still divided, in the very place where He resurrected.”

At the same time, the Pope highlighted his good relationship with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who he feels particularly close to, as a Christian.


"We felt the desire to heal these wounds, still open, and to continue with determination towards the path of full communion. Once again, as Popes before me have done, I ask forgiveness for what we have done to favor this division. I ask the Holy Spirit to help us heal the wounds that we inflicted on our brothers. We are all brothers in Christ.”

Achieving peace was the other main goal for the Pope's trip to the Holy Land. He called it a gift from God, which requires a lot of work from humanity.

He urged politicians to be "artisans of peace.” He also thanked countries like Jordan for their efforts to take in refugees.


"There are no industries to build peace. It's built on a daily basis, hand-made, and also with an open heart, to make space for the gift from God.”

Pope Francis confessed that he felt reassured by the testimony from Christians living the Holy Land, where they remain a repressed minority.

Before the audience came to an end, Pope Francis asked the entire Square to pray there and then, for progress in the peace process between Israel and Palestine, the entire Middle East, and in favor of Christian unity.

© Copyright 2014 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Summer Scripture Study at
St. Francis of Assisi Church

Summer Scripture Study
Catholicism 101 – Summer Session

The Gospel of St. Mathew
Wednesday, June 4, 2014 – July 16, 2014
(No class July 2nd)

Time: Sessions run from Noon to 1 PM or 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM

 St. Francis of Assisi Church - San Damiano Hall
135 West 31st Street, New York City

Fee: $25.00

To Register sign up online at

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

From Pope Francis - May 21, 2014


Saint Peter's Square
- Wednesday, 21 May  2014 -

"If we destroy nature, nature will destroy us"

Favorable weather means Pope Francis spends more time greeting pilgrims gathered at St. Peter's Square. This week, the Pope signed a boy's arm cast, and even stopped several times to kiss people with disabilities, who were visibly excited.

During his catechesis, he talked about science. He said, this gift from the Holy Spirit allows people to see nature a gift from God.


"If God sees Creation as a good and beautiful thing, we must also adopt this attitude, to see Creation as good and beautiful.”

The Pope has frequently expressed his concern over the environment, and it's widely expected to be the topic of his next encyclical. During the audience, he issued another warning.


"This must be our attitude towards Creation: we must protect it. Because if we destroy Creation, Creation will destroy us. Let's not forget that.”

Near the end, the Pope asked the roughly 50,000 pilgrims present to pray for his upcoming trip to the Holy Land, as well as the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China, which takes place on Saturday.

 © Copyright 2014 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

From Pope Francis - May 14, 2014


Saint Peter's Square
- Wednesday, 14 May  2014 -

Pope explains the gift of fortitude during the General Audience

During Wednesday’s General Audience, Pope Francis talked about the gift of fortitude. He said that through this gift, the Holy Spirit frees the heart of all fears and uncertainties, to make room for God's will. The Pope added that this strength helps many people world wide live out their faith in an authentic manner, and that despite challenges, God does not give people more than they can handle. 


Dear Brothers and Sisters: 

In our continuing catechesis on the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, we now turn to the gift of fortitude.  We have seen that the first three gifts of the Spirit – wisdom, understanding and counsel – enable us to contemplate God’s loving plan and to know his will.  

Through the gift of fortitude, we receive the strength to do God’s will in spite of our own natural weakness and limitations.  

In the parable of the sower and the seed, Jesus teaches us that the seed of God’s word sown in our hearts can encounter not only interior resistance, but also be choked by life’s sufferings and trials.  

Through the gift of fortitude, the Holy Spirit enables us to remain faithful amid every difficulty and – as the experience of so many Christians around the world shows – even amid persecution and martyrdom.  

For most of us, the gift of fortitude is exercised in our patient pursuit of holiness in the circumstances of our daily lives.  Whenever we feel weary or discouraged along the journey of faith, let us ask the Holy Spirit to grant us the gift of fortitude, to refresh us and to guide our steps with renewed enthusiasm.

I greet all the English-speaking pilgrims taking part in today’s Audience, including those from England and Wales, Sweden, Denmark, India, the Philippines, China, Japan, Vietnam, Indonesia, Canada and the United States.  
Upon all of you, and upon your families, I invoke the joy and peace of the Risen Lord.  God bless you all!

 © Copyright 2014 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

From Pope Francis - May 7, 2014


Saint Peter's Square
- Wednesday, 7 May  2014 -

Pope's Audience: to pray is to leave space for the Holy Spirit 
to help seek God's counsel

In continuation with his series of catechesis on the Holy Spirit, Pope Francis talked about the gift of counsel. He said that though this gift, God leads people to the right path. But he added that this spiritual gift can only be found through a constant and intimate prayer to God.


"Pray to the Lord, 'Lord, help me, advise me what I should do now.' And with prayer, we leave space for the Holy Spirit to come and help us in that moment. To counsel us on what we all need to do. Prayer, never forget about prayer.” 

The gift of counsel, Pope Francis said, enriches individuals, and helps them grow, by leading them towards God's will.

But the Pope added that the gift of counsel can come from the living witness of men and women of faith. As an example, he cited a young man from Argentina who visited him at the Shrine of Our Lady of Lujan. The man had a serious problem, and after consulting with his mother, she advised him to seek counsel from Our Lady.


"This is the gift of counsel. Don't say this or that. Let the Holy Spirit do that talking. That humble, modest woman gave her son the truest advice, because this man told me; 'I saw Our Lady and I knew I had to do this and this.' I didn't have to say anything. It was all his mother, Our Lady, and the young man. This is the gift of Counsel. All you mothers who carry this gift, pray so that your children will receive it, the gift to counsel their children.”

During his greetings to pilgrims, the Pope expressed his support for the work of an Italian non-profit rehab center, which helps young men and women recover from drug addiction.


"It might do some good to tell everyone. Simply, say no to any types of drugs! Be strong!”

Despite the menacing clouds, it was a different type of rain that befell Pope Francis before the start of the audience. As he rode to through the crowds, pilgrims showered him with gifts and items in hopes that the Pope himself would catch them and bless them.

It was likewise a busy time for his bodyguards, who not only carried children to the Pope to receive his blessing, but also elderly people, wheelchair and all.

 © Copyright 2014 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Monday, May 5, 2014

May 10th bus pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in New Jersey

Pilgrimage with Fr. Tomás del Valle-Reyes and his staff

Saturday, May 10, 2014: 8 AM departure, 6-7 PM return
$40 per person. Secure your reservation ASAP 
with a deposit of $20 p/person

The National Blue Army Shrine of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is a Catholic Shrine in Washington, New Jersey, dedicated to the message of Fatima. It is owned and operated by The Blue Army, USA, a worldwide movement of millions of faithful responding to the requests Our Blessed Mother made to three shepherd children at Fatima, Portugal in 1917. 

Click here for more information on the bus trip and to reserve your seat.