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Assisi
October 2nd - 6th, 2013

Two days before Pope Francis' visit to Assisi on October 4, 2013, (the Feast Day of St. Francis), medieval drummers and 'fire breathers' entertained surprised onlookers in the Piazza del Comune during a windy evening. The drummers were loud and impressive, the 'fire breathers' astonishing, evoking traditions most likely familiar to St. Francis and St. Clare.

The Transitus of St. Francis, which occurs on October 3rd, traditionally begins with a grand procession down the central aisle in Santa Maria degli Angeli including a cardinal, bishops, priests, Franciscan brothers, and invited dignitaries representing different levels of government and regions throughout Italy. Visitors are seated in front of the Porziuncola. The religious services are conducted in the large space behind this little chapel. Visitors are able to watch the proceedings on large tv screens. The Transitus service in 2013 was particularly impressive because large numbers of people had gathered in Assisi to witness the visit of Pope Francis the next day.

The visit by Pope Francis to Assisi on October 4, 2013, (The Feast of St. Francis), was well-covered by network TV, including the Vatican Television Centre, Salt & Light, and EWTN. Some of the people who watched the event on TV may have wondered what it was like to be there in person. This 6 minute video tries to capture at least some of the experiences of pilgrims who were in Assisi on that historic day.

In the days following the Transitus and Feast Day of St. Francis, crowds begin to disperse. Late afternoon on a sunny day is a perfect time to walk from the the Basilica of St. Clare to San Damiano. At dusk, church bells ring throughout Assisi, calling pilgrims to mass.