LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW WITH THE GENERAL MINISTER
(Vatican Radio) Among those to welcome Pope Francis to the Umbrian hill top town of Assisi on Friday 4th of October was the Minister General of the Friars Minor of the Franciscan Order, Brother Michael Anthony Perry. Brother Perry did so at the Church of San Damiano where he specifies, in one sense the journey of Saint Francis began.
Earlier in the week Linda Bordoni went round to call on him in an effort to better understand the significance of the Holy Father's visit to the town of Saint Francis. Brother Perry began by telling her how the Pope was not going there alone:
"The Holy Father Pope Francis is not going alone. He's going with the Commission that's looking at needed changes within the Vatican, within the Church. So I think it's very significant that he's going together with these cardinals.."
In this interview Linda Bordoni asks Brother Perry why San Damiano is symbolically so important a venue:
"San Damiano was the place where Saint Francis began to understand what it was that God was calling him to. It was here that he experienced tremendous upheaval in his own personal life and a process of inner reflection and changes that led him on a spiritual journey.."
As Brother Perry points out Pope Francis who has never visited Assisi before, symbolically begins his pilgrimage to Assisi at San Damiano where this spiritual journey began and ends it at the 'Porziuncola' where Saint Francis died. This one day pilgrimage filled with encounters with the poor and the disabled is an invitation, he says, for all to follow in the footsteps of this popular Saint.