Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Twenty years ago the Catholic Community of St. Francis of Assisi invested in a preschool program.  Nancy Bourke was founding director and has led this ministry wonderfully since that time.  This morning, Nancy announced that at the conclusion of this academic year (May 31, 2012) she will be retiring after 40+ years as an educator, including 25 years with the Diocese of Raleigh and 21 years here at St. Francis.

Upon reflection, Nancy described her time here at St. Francis as rewarding.  “My passion has been to help form young families in their faith and continue to develop their relationship with Jesus.”  When asked what she liked best, “I love the children, the teaching of the young child . . . the child is our future.  It has been an honor and privilege to work with the children and help connect their families with the many ministries of St. Francis.”

Nancy’s ministry has been one of evangelization, welcoming families to our faith community, and sometimes back to church.  She has grown this ministry throughout the 20 years of its existence with great enthusiasm and southern charm.   Any time I hear “Hell’s bells,” and “Bless their heart” I will think of Nancy!

The preschool continues to be an important ministry of Catholic Education and Formation.  I have asked Jennifer Bigelow, Director of Catholic Education and Formation, to put together a search committee to name a successor to Nancy.  In the coming months I look forward to continuing the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the preschool, combined now with retirement festivities for our founding director, Mrs. Nancy Bourke. 

In the peace of Christ,

Fr. Mark