From Our Pastor: 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
I am writing to you on my way to the March for Life in Washington, DC with our young people from Quincy Notre Dame high school which includes some of our people from St. Francis. This is a wonderful experience for them of the broader Church, with young people from around the nation all together in witness to life and sharing in the mass. We get to stand to continue the promotion of the need to protect life from conception to natural death. Keep us in your prayers, and know we are praying for all of you on this pilgrimage.
Thank you to all who made confirmation and the bishop’s visit go so smoothly. The liturgies were stunning and the welcome to him was outstanding. It was great to have our Bishop with us for his pastoral visit, confirmation with our young people, and to meet with our parish staff and councils. Thank you to Bishop Paprocki for being with us and listening to all the amazing things happening at St. Francis Solanus.
Recently the parish was in the Catholic Times talking about an image of St. Corbinian being given to us. Our youth had just chosen St. Corbinian as the patron of their small group. Less than a week later, God’s providence had this person call and offer us the image of an obscure German saint named Corbinian. This was such a wonderful God moment. We have this image hung in the bride’s room where our youth small group meets. If you get a chance check out the image and learn more about the life of this great saint who was influential in the life of our late Pope Benedict XVI.
Speaking of images of saints, I had promised you more explanation of the image of Venerable Fr. Augustine Tolton. So today we start to delve in...
Venerable Father Augustus Tolton was the first African American to become a priest. He was born in 1854 in the slave state of Missouri in Brush Creek, gained freedom as a boy alongside his mother and siblings by escaping to Illinois in Quincy, and became a priest in 1886. This painting (oil on canvas, 30” x 40”) highlights certain aspects of Father Tolton’s life story that, because of his love for Christ and God’s grace and mercy at work in him, have led to the opening of his cause for canonization. The following list explains the purpose and meaning of the images and symbols included in the painting.
Father Tolton is seen standing front and center as the primary subject of the painting. He is flanked by four pillars, and his biretta (hat) echoes the shape of the capitals, suggesting that Tolton, by living out the faith well, stands strong and upright, like the pillars, as a disciple of the Catholic faith.
The pillars themselves are loosely based on pillars inside of St. John Lateran Church in Rome, where Father Tolton was ordained a priest.
With the Mississippi River behind him, Father Tolton stands in his priestly garb facing East. This provides a context to remind the viewer that after Tolton escaped the slavery that existed just on the other side of the river, he lived out much of his life in Quincy (where the viewer also stands). It was here that during his formative years and after his ordination he pursued God through prayer, virtue, and an obedience to God’s will, encouraging us that we too can live out a holy life in this same space.
A rowboat in the river recalls the literal journey Tolton took with his mother and siblings from Missouri to Illinois to escape slavery by crossing the Mississippi River in a small boat.
Clouds appear throughout both the Old Testament and New Testament, signifying the presence of God. The cloud here is intended to allude to that.
More to come next week...
-Rev. Steven Arisman