Parish mission focuses on the last words of Christ

“Are you a jedi?” a child asked the friar dressed in a brown habit as he entered the classroom to talk about St. Francis. “That was the best question I’ve ever gotten,” Friar Johnpaul Cafiero, OFM said with a laugh as he provided some of his background prior to his reflections on the last words or phrases of Christ.

The three-day mission provided parishioners time to reflect on the seven last phrases of Jesus as recorded in scripture. Using humor, personal stories, scripture and more, Friar Johnpaul used the words of Jesus to relate to our lives and our struggles.

After each evening’s reflection, those gathered were invited to take part in a simple ritual to further draw out the evening’s message.

On night one, attendees had their hands symbolically anointed as a reminder that “we are called by the Lord to be his disciples, to fall deeper in love with him.” They were asked to breathe in the fragrance of the oil as a reminder of God's love for them.

As parishioners entered the church on the second event, they picked up a small rock to use in that evening’s ritual. Bring whatever that rock symbolizes for you...and when you're ready, let it go." Participants then dropped their rocks into buckets placed in the sanctuary which were then placed at the base of the cross.

Unlit tea lights greeted attendees for the final night of the mission. Following the evening’s reflection and after having their candle lit, Friar Johnpaul instructed those present to “take the light home and when you're feeling the darkness, light the candle...say a prayer and be filled once again with the light. Remember that you are the light of the world."

Those unable to attend the mission are welcome to view each night’s replay (Night 1 | Night 2 | Night 3). Also, those wishing to learn more about Friar Johnpaul and support him and his various ministries and outreaches can visit his website,

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