Dear Brothers and Sisters,

With the seasons of Advent and Christmas just past, I would like to extend thanks and gratitude to all who shared so generously with St. Francis. Your Christmas and end of year donations help us to make our budget and faithfully live out our mission. In addition the Advent Giving Tree is a significant outreach to those who are in need and struggling financially. I received several notes on behalf of parishioners and other families that we have supported during this holiday time (and that we support throughout the year.) One mother wrote “thank you again for the generosity you have shown my family. I don’t know where we’d be without your kindness.  You have made a difference for my children.”

 We also supported the families of men and women who are incarcerated  in Raleigh prisons. A thank you was received from these parents who     are so grateful to us for helping to care for their children. They also greatly appreciated the toiletries that we provided for them.

 The USO at Raleigh-Durham International Airport sent a letter thanking    us for our food donations to the USO Center at the airport. “Without your support, we could not provide the quality of services to the men and women honorably serving our country,” wrote Connie Inggs, the Director.

Jill Staton Bullard, Executive Director of the Inter-faith Food Shuttle wrote: “As usual, we are thrilled with the donations designated to our programs from St. Francis.  The kitchen equipment, and gift cards and more will go to further our efforts to build an equitable food system.  Special thanks go to Glen and Ellen Kort for taking charge and making this happen for us year after year.  The Inter-Faith Food shuttle is built on people like you, who make generous donations because they believe in our mission.  Thank you so much for being there for us.”

Next weekend, we welcome ValLimar Jansen, a remarkable story teller  and spiritual guide who will break open the scriptures for us in a parish  mission.  ValLimar has been with us before and as those of us who have heard her can attest, she is remarkable!  You’ll want to be engaged and inspired by her.

Next Monday, you’re invited to join Bishop Burbidge, myself and many from the diocese as we journey to the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC for the annual Right to Life Mass on Monday January 23.  I realize most are not able to go to DC, and so together let us join in prayer on Monday that our nation’s laws may respect the dignity and sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death.

In the peace of Christ,
Fr. Mark