Home   Google ARCHIVE SEARCH: Date:

Kennedy shines light of joy
on Saint Francis of Assisi

Robert Francis Kennedy Jr. at the National Shrine of Saint of Saint Francis of Assisi Wednesday, gave a passionate speech about the life of Saint Francis.
Photo(s) by Luke Thomas

By Luke Thomas

September 7, 2007

When a Kennedy comes to town, everyone takes notice.

And so it was Wednesday with the arrival of Robert Francis Kennedy Jr., to the city by the Bay named after its patron saint, Saint Francis of Assisi.

"Bobby" Kennedy, the third of eleven children born to Ethel Skakel Kennedy and the late Robert F. Kennedy, flew to San Francisco to promote his latest book, Saint Francis of Assisi:A Life of Joy, and to be treated to a tour of the construction of a replica of Saint Francis' porziuncola.

Candidate for Senate District 3 Joe Alioto-Veronese, Angela Alioto and Bobby Kennedy
take a tour of a replica of Saint Francis' porziuncola under construction
at the National Shrine of Saint Francis of Assisi in North Beach.

A chapel within a church, the porziuncola is being constructed inside the National Shrine of Saint Francis of Assisi, a church in the heart of San Francisco's North Beach district. The project includes conversion of a portion of the street directly in front of the church into an Italian styled piazza.

Spearheaded by former Board President Angela Alioto and supported by former San Francisco Archdiocese William Joseph Cardinal Levada, the chapel's construction is scheduled for completion in October 2008.

"The landmark of our city is going to be a symbol of peace, love, and taking care of the sick and the poor," Alioto remarked to guests during a private reception for Kennedy. "It's a very holy place already. I've already asked the Pope to make it a second day of pardoning like Saint Francis in Assisi."

Bobby Kennedy, Julie Veronese, Shannon Bavaro, Hooman of Alice 97.3
and Benefit Magazine publisher Michael Earls.

Thanking Kennedy, Alioto said: "You have no idea how profoundly important this is to us and our project for Saint Francis. Thanks Bobby, I will be indebted to you 'til the die I die."

Following the reception, Kennedy attended a special mass at the National Shrine of Saint Francis where he gave a passionate speech about the life of Saint Francis before attending a book signing.

"San Francisco," Kennedy said, "welcomes the kind of diversity that welcomes homeless people and makes greater effort to take care of the poor probably than any other city in the country, if not the world. It reflects the core values of Saint Francis."

"My middle name is Francis - the same as my father's - and Saint Francis is the patron saint of our home."

"He is an ecumenical saint. He's the most loved saint in the world, next to the Virgin Mary, and he continues to be today.

"I was attracted to him because of my love of nature. It was one of his core values as well.

"He represents so many issues that are relevant today. Not just the environment, but also the issue of peace.

"Our primary objective of organized religion should be caring for the poor and most vulnerable members of our society.

"Saint Francis said the way we find happiness in ourselves is by committing ourselves to the poor. If Francis were alive today he'd be working the AIDS wards, among the most vulnerable of our society.

"Try to live your life with the perfect imitation of Christ's life. Do what he did, not what someone tells you to do. To me that's the most inspiring message. It's a message that's relevant to all of us today - the message of peace, protecting the environment - and it's a message of take care of the poor and ultimately democracy as well.

"We should not sell ourselves to some ideology or some dogma, but rather think for ourselves. God gave us a brain so that we could think for ourselves and not so that we could believe blindly and ignore science. Search for the truth, that's what we're supposed to be doing.

"Fundamentalism is a perversion of religion. It's a way of controlling people and expanding imperial ambitions. Religion is at its best when it searches for existential truth.

"God gave us such a wonderful world and we should be exploring it, learning it, understanding it, and not just saying, 'ok, all I need to do is learn what's in this one little book.'

"Most historians believe he single-handedly brought an end to the dark ages. He was a quiet revolutionary. He tried to bring everyone closer to the church and democratize the church.

"And for me, to be able to write this book and teach this story to children was just a great privilege and a great joy for me," Kennedy said.


To view more photos of the reception, mass and book signing, click here.




The Hunger Site

Cooking Classes
in Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires B&B

Calitri in southern Italy

L' Aquila in Abruzzo

Health Insurance Quotes


Bruce Brugmann's


Civic Center

Dan Noyes

Greg Dewar

Griper Blade


Malik Looper






MetroWize Urban Guide

Michael Moore

N Judah Chronicles


Robert Solis

SF Bay Guardian





SFWillie's Blog



Sweet Melissa