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CHASING FRANCIS: A PILGRIM’S TALE – IAN MORGAN CRON

‘Chasing Francis’ is the tale of a Pastor called Chase Falson.  When he was twenty-five he founded a new church, which became the largest contemporary church in New England.  When he was thirty-nine, when this tale begins, he has seen that church grow not only in numbers, to 3000 members, but also in the size of the building itself. Everything points towards success. Slowly Chase begins to realise that this church he has founded had been built on the appeal of his belief in a God who could be managed and explained; but God is not that kind of God. Chase comes to the conclusion that he doesn’t know God or Jesus at all – he doubts his faith.  In front of a thousand members of his congregation he tells them he no longer believes. He is asked to by the Elders of the church to take leave of absence and not to contact any of them, and when the time is right they will make a decision on his future. Chase has a so-called uncle who converted to Roman Catholicism and became a Franciscan priest.  After informing his uncle what has happened, Chase is invited to spend time with his uncle in Italy. His uncle tells his nephew he knows just the person who will be able to help him.  It is then that this wonderful book takes off.

‘Chasing Francis’, showed me in a simple, but profound and wonderful way how very true and important our Franciscan Principles are. It taught me how much Francis still has to offer, not only to the church, but also the world in this present age. The book helped me to see that congregations within the church will grow when the church takes on board the Franciscan ideals of poverty and truly cares for others who are in desperate need – people who are homeless or lonely, who are addicted to various substances, who have little or no food, even in our own country.  We who live in communities where such people can live can show them that the church in that community is truly concerned about them, and like Francis, we are willing to go out to them and be with them in all the dirt, squalor, anxiety and loneliness. It is then that people outside our churches will begin to see again that Jesus and his Church do care for them, and can offer them new life and hope.

I believe that this book, although it is a novel, is one that all Franciscan novices should read, it explains so much about Francis’ ideals and the importance of those ideals today.

Bruce Worsfold TSSF