On this day in 1620, a group that came to be known as Pilgrims set sail from England on the Mayflower seeking freedom to practice their religion.  102 passengers arrived on November 11, but only had survived that first winter. In 1979, Eight people escaped from East Germany to freedom using a homemade hot air balloon.  During this Covid-19 Pandemic recreational travel is greatly reduced here and across the world.  Nevertheless, refugees still set out on a journey for freedom and a better life.  Some pilgrims still visit Jerusalem, Rome, and Mecca.

The Roman Catholic Church refers to itself as a “Pilgrim People,” notably in Eucharistic Prayer III.  DIOCESAN communication service and website explain. “As Christians, we are a pilgrim people. We are always journeying to that most sacred of places: our Heavenly home. The entirety of life is a pilgrimage – we are destined for Heaven, but surrounded every day by the chance to encounter the holy. In order to make the most of this journey, we must plan well. We need to be fed: Scripture and the Eucharist that provide the sustenance we need. A journey requires a map: the guidance that prayer gives us. We travel with others (family, friends, co-workers, strangers) and we must ask God why He placed each of these people into our life, into our pilgrimage, for God does nothing by chance.”

I want to challenge folks who are not at risk because of age or health concerns, to begin coming back to Mass.  There has not been one incident of COVID transmission in any parish in our diocese so far. The protocols being followed seem to be working. Saint Francis de Sales Church is certainly safer than the stores parishioners are frequenting.  Spiritually there is no better food than the wonderful gift of the Eucharist. Please consider well these words of Saint Augustine (354-430) about what you are missing:

As Christians, our task is to make daily progress toward God.

Our pilgrimage on earth is a school in which God is the only teacher,

and it demands good students, not ones who play truant.

In this school we learn something every day.

We learn something from commandments,

something from examples, and something from sacraments.

These things are remedies for our wounds and materials for study.

– Saint Augustine



THE PASTORAL COUNCIL will meet Thursday at 6:30 pm in the Parish Center with pandemic protocols in place.

SPECIAL COLLECTION for DISASTER RELIEF on Sunday September 19-20, 2020 to support recovery efforts related to the recent natural disasters that have occurred across the country (US Gulf hurricanes and the western wildfires) as well as the devastating explosion that occurred in Beirut, Lebanon.  Checks can be made out to St Francis de Sales with “Disaster Relief” in the memo.  Donations may be placed in a basket near the entrance or dropped off at the office or rectory. You can also mail them to 626 S. Oakwood Avenue, Beckley, WV.

FAITH FORMATION classes are tentatively set to begin on September 28th from 9:45-10:45 am with changes to be in compliance with COVID-19 protocols. More information will follow as the planning progresses. We’re looking forward to seeing all our students back in class!

INQUIRY CLASS will begin for non-Catholics wanting to learn more about the Church and the God we believe and worship on September 22, 2020. It meets on Tuesdays at 6:30 pm in  the Parish Center/Knights of Columbus Hall.  For more information contact Deacon Harry by email – hevans@dwc.org or call: 304-549-4590.

KNIGHTS of COLUMBUS RAFFLE RESULTS: The winners were drawn on September 9th and the results are:  1st Prize of $500 – Rodney Roberts and 2nd Prize of $250 -Karlyn Basile.  The Knights want to express our deepest, heartfelt thanks for the tremendous support of our raffle sales that will benefit our charitable efforts.



And many peoples will come and say,

“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,

To the house of the God of Jacob;

That He may teach us concerning His ways

And that we may walk in His paths.”

For the law will go forth from Zion

And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

— Isaiah 2:3


Blessed are those whose strength is in You,

Whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.

As they go through the baca valley,

they make it a place of springs;

the autumn rain covers it with pools.

They walk with ever-growing strength;

the God of gods will appear in Zion.

— Psalm 84:6-8


I was glad when they said to me,

“Let us go to the house of the Lord.”

Our feet are standing

Within your gates, O Jerusalem,

Jerusalem, that is built

As a city that is compact together;

read more.

To which the tribes go up, even the tribes of the Lord—

An ordinance for Israel—

To give thanks to the name of the Lord.

— Psalm 122:1-4



The point of traveling is not

To arrive but to return home

Laden with pollen you shall work up

Into honey the mind feeds on.

— RS Thomas

Pilgrims are persons in motion – passing through territories not their own – seeking something we might call contemplation, or perhaps the word clarity will do as well, a goal to which only the spirit’s compass  points the way.

— Richard Niebuhr

Life is a journey, along different roads, different paths, which leave their mark on us. We know in faith that Jesus seeks us out. He wants to heal our wounds, to soothe our feet which hurt from traveling alone, to wash each of us clean of the dust from our journey.

–Pope Francis

Keep yourself as a stranger here on earth, a pilgrim whom its affairs do not concern at all. Keep your heart free and raise it up to God, for you have no lasting home here. To God, direct your daily prayers, your sighs and tears; that in death, your soul may merit happy passage to the Lord.

— Thomas a Kempis


PRAYER of the WEEK: Preface from a Eucharistic Prayer for Various Needs
It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation,

always and everywhere to give you thanks, Lord,

holy Father, creator of the world and source of all life.


For you never forsake the works of your wisdom,

but by your providence are even now at work in our midst.

With mighty hand and outstretched arm

you led your people Israel through the desert.

Now, as your Church makes her pilgrim journey in the world,

you always accompany her by the power of the Holy Spirit and

lead her along the paths of time to the eternal joy of your Kingdom,

through Christ our Lord.


And so, with the Angels and Saints, we, too,

sing the hymn of your glory, as without end we acclaim:


Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of Power and Might,

Heaven and Earth are full of your glory.

Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed are those who come in the name of the Lord.

Hosanna in the highest!


POEM of the DAY:   “I Am a Pilgrim”  — Traditional hymn

I am a pilgrim and a stranger

Traveling through this wearisome land

I’ve got a home in that yonder city, good Lord

And it’s not, not made by hand


I got a mother, got a sister and a brother

Who have gone this way before

I am determined to go and see them, good Lord

Over on that other shore


I am a pilgrim and a stranger

Traveling through this wearisome land

I’ve got a home in that yonder city, good Lord

And it’s not, not made by hand


Now I’m going down to that river of Jordan

Just to bathe my wearisome soul

If I just touch the hem of His garment, good Lord

Then I know He’ll take me home


I am a pilgrim and a stranger

Traveling through this wearisome land

I’ve got a home in that yonder city, good Lord

And it’s not, not made by hand


On this day in 1914, Allen Funt, American director, producer, and screenwriter was born in New York City. Some still remember him for his hit show “Candid Camera.”  Here’s something I did not know.  According to Wikipedia, “On February 3, 1969, Funt, his wife, and his two youngest children boarded Eastern Airlines Flight 7 in Newark, New Jersey with a destination of Miami, Florida. While en route, two men hijacked the plane and demanded passage to Cuba. However, some of the passengers, having spotted Funt, believed the whole thing to be a Candid Camera stunt.”   It was not.


On this day in 2009, Mary Travers of Peter, Paul, and Mary died.  One of their hit songs was “Leaving on a Jet Plane.”  This was the trio’s only US number one song.  It was written by John Denver whose hit “Almost Heaven” is dear to most West Virginians.



Q. Why did the professor fail to get the joke about a hot air balloon?

A. It was over his head.


Q. Why are hot air balloons always flown in the mornings?

A. They are early risers.


A man in a hot air balloon realized he was lost. He reduced altitude and spotted a woman below. He descended a bit more and shouted, “Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don’t know where I am.”

The woman below replied, “You are in a hot air balloon hovering approximately 30 feet above the ground. You are between 40 and 41 degrees north latitude and between 59 and 60 degrees west longitude.”

“You must be an engineer,” said the balloonist.

“I am,” replied the woman, “How did you know?”

“Well,” answered the balloonist, “everything you told me is technically correct, but I have no idea what to make of your information, and the fact is I am still lost. Frankly, you’ve not been much help so far.”

The woman below responded, “You must be in Management.”

“I am,” replied the balloonist, “but how did you know?”

“Well,” said the woman, “you don’t know where you are or where you are going. You have risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise which you have no idea how to keep, and you expect people beneath you to solve your problems. The fact is you are in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but now, somehow, it’s my fault!”