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This is the town of Gubbio, which lies in Umbria. It has a fine market place, but it is early morning, and, as you can see, it is empty. Not even the children are up to play!
One day, from the wild countryside, a ferocious wolf came to Gubbio, starved, and very hungry.
(enter wolf, who prowls around a bit, then hides )
(enter children, dancing, skipping down main aisle (street) into town (dance 1). They begin a game of blind man's buff. The wolf seizes one child, and drags it away (into vestry)? the rest run off crying out in fear (up towards altar, then left) )
Francis, on his travels, came to the town, and the people begged him to rid them of the wolf.
(Townsfolk come. Francis comes down along altar aisle. One of the people goes down on his knee to beg him to help. )
Francis agreed to help.
(Townsfolk disappear (through vestry? ) )
(wolf enters again, circles round snarling, then notices Francis and goes to sit (like a dog begging) at his feet. )
Francis looked at the wolf, and said:
Brother Wolf, I am sure you have frightened the people because you are hungry. I promise that you will never again be hungry.
(Francis places his hand on its head. )
(Francis leaves "paw in hand". with wolf )
From this day onwards, the town of Gubbio was rid of the terror. The wolf continued to live in the town and was fed by the people.
SONG; GOD MADE EVERY LIVING THING
(sung by ail)
(birds - children in bird costumes - enter dancing (with birdsong noises), enjoying themselves. (Dance 2 for a fair while)
(Francis comes along, down altar aisle, reading a psalter. He reaches the birds, who continue their antics, even when he is in their midst, fluttering around him. )
(He looks up, raises a hand (admonishing them) )
Brother birds, be quiet a moment, while I pray.
(birds settle down round him, wings folded, quiet )
(Francis finishes, closes psalter, raises hand. )
Brother birds, go in peace.
(He goes out, down main aise, and birds follow him out, fluttering again. )
Some time this, Francis was walking along, when he saw another flock of birds. Thinking he would speak to them, as he had to the others, he moved towards them, but they all flew off at his approach. Francis realised from this that the birds had been still not because they were fond of him, but because they heard God speaking through him.
SONG; LAUDATO SIE
(first verse solo, then congregation to join time to set up slides in. projector etc. )
Francis lived much of his life moving from place to place, in the countryside. Let us share in the lovely sights and sounds that he would have enjoyed, and praised God for creating.
SLIDES OF NATURE AND RECORDED MUSIC PRAYER;
(about nature and conservation)
(during opening part of next sequence, slides projector etc, can be quietly cleared away)