“October is special to Franciscans the world over.  On the 4th we celebrate the feast of St Francis himself. This year the Capuchins of South Africa gathered in Pretoria during the first week of October for their annual retreat, a time of reflection and prayer together. On the evening of Thursday 3rd we celebrated the Transitus, the passing or death of Francis, with other Franciscans, religious and lay. An account of his meeting with what he called ‘Sister  Death’ is solemnly read. We were reminded once again of how Francis departed this world leaving to those who would follow him the command to be instruments of God’s peace to all people. On Friday 4th – the feast itself – Archbishop William Slattery OFM was the principal celebrant  and preacher at the evening Mass.  He challenged all those who aspire to follow Christ in the footsteps of St Francis to courageously live the Gospel in the 21st century as the saint of Assisi had done in his own time. On Sunday 6th the Capuchin church of San Francesco in Port Elizabeth, which had been extended and renovated, was consecrated during Mass by Mgr.Brendan Deenihan, Apostolic Administrator.  While, on the same day,  emeritus Archbishop L.Henry,  celebrated  the 80thanniversary Mass of the Capuchin church of St Mary of the Angels, Athlone.  We thank God for the joy of these October 2013 celebrations.”