St. Francis of Assisi Shrine

National Shrine of St. Francis

Shrines of St. Francis
There are many churches and cathedrals devoted to St Francis of Assisi all over the world. The most notable in this nation is National Shrine of St. Francis in San Francisco California. The shrine is described as a replica of the little church, the "Portiuncula", or "little corner of the world", in Assisi where Saint Francis began to understand his vocation to follow the Gospel and give up all worldly goods, pray for and advocate peace, as well as take care of the poor and sick.

Beyond the large number of churches named for St. Francis, there are also schools, collages and universities. Among those in the United States are the St Francis University at Loretto, Pennsylvania, and the University of St. Francis at Fort Wayne, Indiana
The Portiuncula in Assisi.

Saint Bonaventure reported that, "because of his reverence for the angels, and of his great love of the Mother of Christ, Saint Francis dedicated the Portiuncula to her". Saint Francis intended to honor Mary by rebuilding the little chapel. The Portiuncula remains an inspiration to everyone because it was a source of St. Francis adoration of God. It keeps his message of peace and love alive through the turmoil of today's world.

The Portiuncula is where St. Francis founded the Franciscan Order of the Friars Minor in 1209,

In 1216, Jesus is said to have appeared to Saint Francis in a vision and granted St. Francis' request that all who entered the Portiuncula be pardoned. The Portiuncula is one of the rare Holy Places in the world

The Basilica of St. Francis Assisi

Assisi was the birthplace of St. Francis (1182-1226 AD) and was known as a sacred place long before the Franciscan era. Little is known about the original founding of the town. Legends claim it was either a holy spring founded by the Etruscans (9th-5th centuries B.C) or it was founded by the Romans sometime during the first century. During the Middle ages the town became an independent commune and became part of the Italian kingdom in 1860.

Born in Assisi, the son of a wealthy merchant, Francis abandoned his worldly possession at the age of 19. He experienced visions of Christ and of Mary and began to compose poems before he founded the Franciscan order in 1210. He was the first known to receive the stigmata and those wounds are said to have caused him great pain.

The Basilica of San Francesco was built between 1228 and 1253 A.C.. It's short period of construction, unusual for that time and a church of that sixe, is explained as a measure of the deep love the people felt for St. Francis. Today, the walled medieval town and its great basilica are among the most visited Christian shrines.

The remains of St. Francis were brought to the new church on May 25, 1230. Pope Innocent IV consecrated the basilica on May 25, 1253. Pope Benedict XIV declared the church a Patriarchal Basilica and Papal Chapel on March 25, 1754 with the Constitution "Fidelis Dominus". On September 12, 1818 Pius VII gave permission to the Minister General of the Friars Minor to proceed with the excavations beneath the main altar of the lower basilica in search of the tomb of St. Francis. Francis tomb was concealed by Brother Elias and then by Pope Eugene IV in 1476. The tomb was found on December 8, 1818 and on December 12 St. Francis remains were exhumed.

On June 18, 1939 Pope Pius XII declared St. Francis patron saint of Italy.
A votive lamp containing oil donated by the various regions of the Italian peninsula burns on the tomb.

In 1442 Pope Eugene IV and in 1476 Pope Sixtus IV sealed the tomb to prevent it from being disturbed during fighting between the noble families of Assisi and Perugia. It was kept totally concealed until Pope Paul VI gave permission to allow St. Francis remains to be properly investigated by Umbrian bishops, medical experts and archeologists.

The relics that remain are a stone used as a pillow for the body of the saint, as he lay in the sepulcher since 1230. There were eleven silver coins found in the sarcophagus identical to those found in the sepulcher of St. Mark in Venus. They prove the times of birth, death and burial of St. Francis, thus authenticating his remains.

The Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN)

An unlikely shrine of St. Francis was launched on August 15, 1981, the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN). Many felt there would be little demand for a Catholic network, but now, in its 27th year, EWTN has become the largest religious media network in the world. It transmits programming 24 hours a day to more than 148 million homes in 140 countries and territories on more than 4,800 cable systems, wireless cable, Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS), low power TV and individual satellite users.

EWTN Global Catholic Network airs family and religious programming from a Catholic point of view in English and Spanish. With more than 80% original programming, EWTN offers inspiring talk shows, entertaining children's animation, exclusive teaching series, live coverage of Church events, and thought-provoking documentaries. Beyond the broadcast vision, first and foremost, the spiritual heart of the EWTN mission is to provide the Eternal Word of Jesus Christ to everyone. The religious centers of the network are visited daily by pilgrims who travel to Irondale to worship in the chapel or visit the breathtakingly beautiful Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, Alabama. Visitors of all faiths are invited to "come away by yourself to a quiet place, and rest awhile" (Mark 6:31)

In the early 1960s, Mother M. Angelica, a Poor Clare nun, cloistered and dedicated to the perpetual Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament, fulfilled a promise made to our Lord by founding Our Lady of Angels Monastery in Irondale, Alabama, USA. In one of her early evangelizing efforts Mother Angelica began writing "mini-books", short teachings on a variety of religious themes. As the popularity of these "mini-books" grew, her nuns obtained a printing press and started duplicating and distributing them worldwide Without making plans for the future, Mother Angelica, relying completely on Divine Providence, believes in going "where God opens the door."


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