Dear Brothers and Sisters,

This past Tuesday all of our employees, pastoral staff, faculty, and staff of our schools gathered together to celebrate the Eucharist and prepare ourselves to lead our parish in The Year of Faith that Pope Benedict has declared beginning this October to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council.

This past Wednesday morning was an exciting day here at St. Francis as we welcomed back 680 students who walked into the courtyard surrounded by Thea, Bonaventure, Jacoba and Juniper Hall on our first day of school of this new school year.  As I joined the students and faculty and staff in morning prayer, there was an excitement and a bit of nervousness too as these young people began a new adventure. Regardless of age, I think there is always a bit of excitement and apprehension anytime we engage in something new — whether it be starting college or entering the workplace — because it involves change — a new way of doing things, new routine, often new people to interact with.  In a changing world, the presence of God remains constant, even as we grow in our faith.  This upcoming “Year of Faith” will provide many opportunities for all of us to be life-long learners growing in holiness, hope, and hospitality.

Catholic education is all about teaching the faith.  Our Catholic schools exist to provide our children with an opportunity, not only for an academically-excellent education as demonstrated by the blue ribbon award for academic excellence we received last year from the US Department of Education, but what I think is even more important, integrated throughout the curriculum, a faith formation that will serve our students for the rest of their lives.  If you haven’t considered a Catholic Education for your children I encourage you to do so.  Our pre-school is just about at capacity, please call Cathy Ashton for inquiries.  Our Franciscan School has some openings in grades K through 6 with 7th and 8th grade full.  Please call Debbie Braga to arrange for a tour and more information about the school.  Parents choose to make tremendous sacrifices, large and small to enable their children to develop a lifelong love for learning at the Franciscan School.  Our parish contributes greatly to tuition assistance to make it affordable for all parents who desire a Catholic education for their children.

 

In the peace of Christ,

Fr. Mark