WILMINGTON — Students at Ursuline Academy gathered to celebrate the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi on Oct. 4. It was an opportunity for them to remember the saint who inspired the woman who founded the Ursuline Sisters and for the fifth-graders to receive Bibles in an annual tradition at the school.
Father Glenn Evers, the associate moderator of the curia for the Diocese of Wilmington and the administrator of St. Joseph Parish on French Street in Wilmington, celebrated the Mass. He told the students from the Lower School that everyone is called to be “great saints.”
In his homily, Father Evers said St. Francis grew up a happy boy, but he realized something was missing from his life. He turned away from his life of wealth and at one point made a trip to the chapel of San Damiano, just outside Assisi. The chapel was in bad shape, and Francis said he had a vision from God telling him to rebuild the church.
Father Evers asked the students what they would need in order to rebuild a church, to which they responded with physical items such as stones and wood. He also talked about another type of church.
“This church is not going to be made up of building stones but of people,” he said. “That’s the other church that exists that God created. That church is called his family. That’s the type of church that St. Francis was instructed to rebuild.
“Jesus wanted more saints.”
Baptism is the sacrament that allows us to become part of God’s family, he told the students.
St. Francis’ feast day is our opportunity to give thanks to the saint for his work for God’s creations, he said.
The priest led the children in saying, “Jesus, we want to rebuild your church.” They can do that through the Bible, he told them shortly before he blessed the Bibles that were distributed to the fifth-graders. The Bible, he said, “helps us to learn about God and God’s plan for us.”
The students’ job would be to study the Bible and help rebuild God’s church.
“God has created a beautiful world and amazing human beings, and he wants them as part of his family,” Father Evers said.
The presentation of Bibles to fifth-graders on the Feast of St. Francis is a longstanding tradition at Ursuline, spokeswoman Brittany Keller said, as the children look forward to moving up to the middle school. The students will use them throughout the year as part of their studies.
All photos by Mike Lang.