Franciscan Thought: On Poverty


From our associate pastor


Dear Friends, members of our Pastoral Council in the parish have been taking turns each month writing a “Franciscan Thought” for the council to reflect on. I would like to share one with you and also introduce you to our council members.

Peace and all good, Fr. Sam Nasada, OFM


What do the Franciscans believe in? website gave this answer: “Franciscan traditions are steeped in Catholicism and focus on many of the same values, beliefs, and traditions of the Catholic faith, like the importance of charity, benevolence, and selflessness.” Charity is synonymous with help and donations, while benevolence and selflessness denote some act of generosity and/or kindness. At Mission San Luis Rey Parish, fulfillment of the aforementioned values, beliefs, and traditions can be associated with the Loreto House Food Pantry, money collections earmarked for social and spiritual programs in the south of the border (Mexico), and other programs or ministries to help those who are in need. 

Dennis Nazareno

Despite having the largest economy in the world, a plethora of technological and scientific achievements, as well as an abundance of food and job opportunities, poverty and homelessness in America, including here in Oceanside, are plentiful. The situation worsened at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020 when several businesses shut down, travel restrictions & lockdowns were implemented and many people lost their jobs and became homeless. Today, many are still struggling from that painful experience and have yet to recover. There’s a variety of reasons why people become homeless in America but the bottom line is that they all need help.

Just a short distance from Mission San Luis Rey Parish, one can usually find someone who is in need of help, especially in the vicinity of Mission Avenue and Airport Road. Some of those in need can be seen pushing a grocery cart filled with their clothing and other belongings or standing in the corner of a busy intersection, along the highway or main street, or at commercial business parking lots holding a “help me” sign. Others may be walking, sitting or sleeping in public areas or appear disoriented. These situations present good opportunities for anyone, especially those with “Franciscan” hearts and minds to help. In Oceanside, one of the local charitable organizations called Brother Benno’s helps those who are in need by feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, comforting the sick, etc. The Brother Benno Center has a food hall, full kitchen, warehouse, restrooms, shower rooms, chapel, etc. They generate funds by receiving and selling donated items through their thrift store. Anyone can help either directly as a volunteer, or indirectly, by donating clothes, shoes, household goods, books, sporting goods, etc. I’ve previously experienced both as a volunteer and a recurring donor.

St. Francis abandoned a life of luxury for a life devoted to Christianity after hearing the voice of God, who commanded him to rebuild the Christian church and live in poverty (ref. Consequently, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to associate the life of St. Francis with people living in poverty. St. Francis’ own words serve as a reminder, or perhaps, a call to action when he said, “For it is in giving…that we receive”! The opportunity is plenty, it actually surrounds us!

A member of our Pastoral Council and retired U.S. Airforce, Dennis Nazareno has been a member of our Parish since 2009 with his wife Beth, and children Darren and Eliza. Dennis is also a member of our 10 AM and Filipino Community choirs.

Written by: Dennis Nazareno

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