6 November 2012
St Francis of Assisi Parish, Stoke, celebrated the beginning of The Year of Faith on the feast of the parish’s patron saint.
Parishioners brought family pets including a parrot, varying shapes and sizes of dogs, guinea pigs of many colours and cats for the blessing of the animals by Father Maurice Carmody before Mass.
Parishioners and family pets processed behind the statue of St Francis to the doors of the church which were blessed to mark the opening of the Year of Fatih.
Everyone, animals included, then entered, passing the new banner of Christ the Teacher, which will remain in the foyer for the Year of Faith.
Children were invited to dress up representing the brothers and sisters of creation mentioned in St Francis’ Canticle of the Creatures. At the end of Mass, the children acted out the Canticle as it was read.
Meanwhile in Tawa, the children at St Francis Xavier school spent some time last month considering the Year of Faith and the question ‘What does faith mean to me?’
Here are some of their answers.
Pati – Believing in what you believe in.
Isabella – Believing and praying to God that something good will happen.
Thomas – If you have faith in God, you believe and trust in God.
Mika – Faith would protect me and guide me.
Anton – Believing without seeing.
Dylan – Funny and comfortable.
Joshua N – Love and compassion.
Harrison – To believe.
Karl – Never give up and believe in yourself.
Jamuel – To have courage, trust and love in God.
Joshua – To believe and trust God.
James – If you are faithful to God you believe in him.
Sean – Always believe and trust God.
Sarah – That someone truly believes in God.
Sabina – That you believe in God and say your prayers.
Anna – You believe in yourself and have courage.
Amy – Believing in God and praying everyday.
Isabelle – Trusting, praying, and believing in God and Jesus.
Ryan – That you believe in God and persevere in everything you do.
Sereana – Something to believe in and it helps you grow closer and believe in God and Jesus more.
Xavier – That you can trust and love Jesus.
Candy – Believing in and trusting God.
Rachel – Believing in God, praying and trusting God in tricky situations.
Top: Father Maurice, assisted by Stephanie Hills, blesses the Church Doors to mark the Year of Faith while Barry Vuillermin carries St Francis.
Bottom: Fr Chris Penders of Our Lady of Fatima Parish Tawa with children from St Francis Xavier school preparing to launch the Year of Faith.