A Fraternal Thanksgiving and an Illuminating Black Friday

A Fraternal Thanksgiving and an Illuminating Black Friday

Thanksgiving is the holiday for which more people travel to be with others. We Franciscans certainly do our share of travel to celebrate the day of thanks. For over forty years, our friars who serve in the Southwest and beyond convene at our Holy Cross Retreat Center and Friary in Mesilla Park, NM, near Las Cruces for Thanksgiving.

Our formation community of San Damiano Friary, San Antonio, packed up and left for Mesilla Park the day before Thanksgiving. Our friars did most of the cooking, so we submitted our list of ingredients to the friars at Holy Cross, who did the shopping. Everyone did something to pull together a Thanksgiving dinner that was not only sumptuous in taste but glorious in strengthening fraternal bonds.

On Thanksgiving night, we gathered in the chapel for Evening Prayer to renew our vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. 

Our “Black Friday” was illuminating. We visited the ministry site of Friar Jarek Wysoczanski, OFM Conv. in El Paso. Fr. Jarek, with some truly committed sisters and lay ministers, operates a shelter where immigrants who first come to the US are welcomed and provided with food, shelter, showers, and, most of all, Christian hospitality until they connect with more permanent lodging, i.e., family, sponsors, etc.

We ended the day with bowling and pizza, which capped off our travels with some recreation and fun.

 – friar Bob Moynihan OFM Conv.