San Francesco Parish, in Clinton Township, Michigan is a personal parish established to serve the Italian community and all people who choose to use its services in lieu of their territorial parish. San Francesco Parish has no geographic boundaries, and all are welcome to come together to worship and grow in faith and love.
SATURDAY: 8am and 6pm
SUNDAY: 8am, 10am (Italian), 12pm
Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament every Friday from 8:30 AM to 12:00 noon with Benediction at 11:50 AM.
First Friday devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Benediction with the Blessed Sacrament.
First Saturday devotions to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and Benediction with the Blessed Sacrament.
Every Friday of Lent: Sacrament of Reconciliation 6:00-6:50 pm. Followed by Stations of the Cross at 7:00 pm.
SUNDAY: 1pm BY APPOINTMENT
CALL RECTORY OFFICE AT LEAST 6 MONTHS BEFOREHAND
Robert Cannon – Supervisor at Charter Township of Clinton
Thomas and Shirley Latimer
Place: Penna’s of Sterling Heights
38400 Van Dyke Ave
Sterling Heights, Ml 48312
Doors open at 3:00pm – Dinner served at 4:00pm
Entertainment by Pino Marelli
$70.00 per person (includes open bar)
For info and tickets call: Ann Burrell at (586) 242-1981 or
Sharon Ruggiroli at (313) 882-5132
From Our Pastor, Fr. Dino Vanin, PIME
Fasting and abstinence from meat during Lent
Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of fasting. The norms on fasting are obligatory from age 18 until age 59. When fasting, a person is permitted to eat one full meal, as well as two smaller meals that together are not equal to a full meal.
Ash Wednesday and all Fridays of Lent are also days of abstinence from meat. The norms concerning abstinence from meat are binding upon members of the Latin Catholic Church from age 14 onwards.
About Indulgences in Plain English
The starting point for a correct understanding of what indulgences are and how they are applied for the spiritual benefit of the faithful must be the beautiful reality of the Mystical Body of Christ in which we live through Baptism.
Saul, the future St. Paul, was on his way to Damascus with murderous thoughts to do away with the fledging Church of God in that city. This is what happened before he got there: He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” Acts 9:4. From that shocking experience, St. Paul understood that by persecuting members of the early Church, he had been persecuting the Lord Jesus Christ himself as Head of the Mystical Body. Thanks to that experience, in St. Paul’s letters we find the best doctrine on the Church as the Mystical Body of Christ. Especially in 1 Corinthians 12: 12-24, St. Paul draws many parallels between the human body and the Mystical Body of Christ and then he adds: so that there may be no division in the body, but that the parts may have the same concern for one another. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy. Now you are Christ’s Body, and individually parts of it. 1 Corinthians 12:25-27.
Let us first reflect on what causes the Body of Christ to suffer: it is sin, any sin however small brings pain to the whole Body. Sin is an offense against God for breaking one of His laws. Although God cannot be hurt by anything, sin included, the Church, (Mystical Body of Christ) is hurt, and suffers.
The ordinary way in which the faithful can be reconciled with God and with His Church for the suffering caused by sinning is by availing themselves of the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession). Penitents who are truly sorry for their sins and who resolve, with the help of grace, to avoid sinning in the future and who receive absolution, have their sins washed away by the Blood of Christ through the ministry of the Church. However, they need to do the “penance” assigned to them by the confessor. Penance consists of expressions of love such as prayers, charitable work, sacrifices, fasting, almsgiving, and so on, all designed to make up for the hurts caused to the “militant” part of the Mystical Body of Christ, the one living on this earth as distinct from the “triumphant” part (the Blessed Mother and all the Saints), and the “suffering” part, the one undergoing purification in the state of Purgatory.
Let us now reflect on what brings honor, solace, and joy to the Mystical Body of Christ. Docile and humble cooperation with the Holy Spirit enables the faithful to bear the fruits of genuine love: In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, Galatians 5:22. Since in Heaven there is no reason or need for faith and hope, the only reality which lasts for all eternity is love. God is love, those in Heaven are love (cf. 1 John 3:2). Love creates a permanent bond among the Saints, the faithful on this earth, and those being purified in the state called Purgatory. This bond is referred to as the Communion of Saints.
This bond of love is meant to be a source of tremendous comfort for us sinners. This is because, in virtue of the power of binding and loosing granted to her by the Lord (cf. Matthew 18:18 and John 20:23), the Church makes available to us and to those being purified the treasury of the infinite merits and prayers of Jesus Christ, those of the Blessed Mother and all the Saints, all the acts of love, the prayers and all the fruits of the Spirit, which those still on this earth are bearing.
Indulgences can be thought of as the applications of the riches of the Church’s treasury to lessen or nullify the temporal punishment resulting from sinning. Indulgences can be likened to a spiritual balm to soothe or eliminate the pain caused to the whole Body of Christ and to aid the faithful’s efforts to correspond to the Holy Spirit in their sanctification. The Church assigns certain conditions for the application of indulgences. The conditions are set by those to whom Christ has given the power to bind and to loose.
Indulgences can be partial, or plenary as defined by the Church. The partial ones are intended to remit a determined portion of the temporal punishment due to sins; the plenary ones remit the temporal punishment in its totality up to the time they are requested for those still on this earth.
Within the Communion of Saints, indulgences can be applied to the faithful pilgrims on this earth and/or to those undergoing purification after death. With every sin committed, the image of Christ, which was perfectly pure on the day of Baptism, undergoes woeful “punishment” and disfigurement. After death, this “punishment” inflicted by sins to the image of Christ in each of the faithful, needs to undergo a punishment of fire until all the dross and incrustations built on that image are “burned away”, and they become pure love just as God is the pure perfection of love. Right away it should be said that we must think of this punishment of fire not as chastisement of a vengeful God but, rather, as an expression of His infinite love and mercy. For example, the finest swords, including the famed samurai swords, undergo an incredible amount of punishment in the forge of skillful smiths and the vigorous, incessant pounding of their hammers until perfection is reached.
The purification is done by a combination of three “fires:” First, the fire of God’s infinite love and mercy. Second, the fire of the excruciating pain and sudden, fierce embarrassment of the faithful being purified as, free from the distractions of earthly life, they realize their utter unworthiness and sinfulness in the blinding light of God’s absolute perfection. Lastly, the fire of the love of members of the militant Church expressed by their prayers, sacrifices, fasting, and acts of love including application to specific faithful departed plenary or partial indulgences and, most importantly, the offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Cross to shorten the length of their purification.
Fr. Dino Vanin, PIME
The Missions Corner
Report on the Synod on Synodality
The delay in writing these reflections on the Report on the Synod on Synodality is intentional because of the murky environment in which this unusual Synod has developed over the last three years of the Church’s life, amid controversies, rumors, apprehensions about the very future of the Church, and fears from her right and left flanks. In the progressives there has been fear that desired changes will be insufficient and, from those clinging to cherished traditions and familiar settings, there is fear that the changes would make the Church hardly recognizable from Protestantism.
The controversies and the sharp divergences in response to the Declaration on blessings of people with same-sex attraction (Fiducia Supplicans) are only the latest reactions manifesting the turmoil and the restlessness afflicting the Catholic Church nowadays.
Both flanks need to be reminded that the Lord Jesus is the divine Bridegroom who shed his blood on the cross to adorn his Bride, the Church, with the beauty that he wants in her. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her 26 to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word, 27 that he might present to himself the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” Ephesians 5:25-27
Neither side should insist on trying to give suggestions to the Lord on how he should beautify his Bride. How can we, mere sinful mortals pretend to think we know how to make Christ’s Bride pleasing to him? How can our ways compete with his mysterious and unalterable ways?
The most important call for the future of the Church in the Summary of the October 23 Convention in Rome is the one of true co-responsibility in carrying out the mission the Lord assigned to his Church. From hindsight this call for co-responsibility was the foregone conclusion since the participants from all over the world included not only bishops but also religious and lay people. While this call to co-responsibility expresses faithfully Jesus’ intentions of having every member of the Church contribute to the building up of his Body and the carrying out of the evangelizing mission, the special role of the hierarchy must be preserved since Jesus never intended his Church to be a democracy. On the other hand, docility to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and humility remain the necessary virtues for the Church to bear the fruits of the Spirit.
Faithful adherence to Holy Scripture, Tradition, and the teaching of Vatican II was also stressed in that October Report. However, way over half a century since the end of the famous Second Vatican Council, its real contribution to the life of the Church is still met with a multiform reaction going from fierce criticism to humble acceptance, to diverse interpretations and even intentional manipulation to fit cherished personal ideologies. The call for greater participation of the “People of God” (clear Vatican II jargon used to stress the contribution-to/participation-of the laity to the life of the Church) needs to be embraced by both bishops and laity in a competition-free spirit filled with humility, goodwill, and intense desire for the building up of the Church through the complementary contribution offered by both, although in different ways. The Summary Documents give concrete suggestions on how this cooperation should be lived out in the local diocesan settings. They include the establishment of verification of the bishop’s work, mandatory diocesan pastoral councils, and criteria for broader input by the laity in the choice of a new bishop.
If widely applied, “the new synodal process” can give a reliable indication of the presence of consensus fidelium, the universal consensus in doctrinal matters, although local synodal assemblies might not be equally reliable due to their reduced size. What appears to be established is the wish for decentralization from Rome to the diocesan conferences to decide on many subjects including liturgical matters.
Finally, the October 2023 Summary Report recommends that the permanent diaconate may reacquire the original task of caring for the poor; that there be a common date for the celebration of Easter; and the broadening of some ministries and the establishment of new ones in the Church such as the ministry to married couples, a baptismal ministry, and a healing ministry for those hurt by Church ministers.
The Synod on Synodality will be concluded in October of this year with an expected final text which will have to receive the Pope’s approval. On our part, we should continue to pray that the final text be accepted with open-mindedness and goodwill by all members of the Church while remaining rooted in the certainty that the Lord Jesus will never abandon his beloved Bride to be ravaged by strife and discord.
Fr. Dino Vanin, PIME
To reinvigorate your missionary spirit and to feel close to the needy and suffering people of the missions, please go to www.PIMEusa.org or:
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Pick up a copy of MISSION WORLD from the magazine rack in the Vestibule of San Francesco Church.