Dear Brothers and Sisters,

This week there are many occasions for us to pray.

As our president takes the oath of office to lead our nation, let us pray for him and for all who have been elected to serve the common good.

This Friday we conclude the week, of Christian Unity with the celebration of the feast of the conversion of St. Paul.  During the week let us pray for the unity of Christians.  You’re invited to join Bishop Burbidge, myself, and various leaders from Christian communities throughout the Triangle area in an ecumenical liturgy in observance of the 2013 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.  This liturgy will be held on Tuesday, January 22, at 7:00 pm at Resurrection United Methodist Church in Durham.  Bishop Hope Morgan Ward, the Methodist Bishop of North Carolina will serve as host homilist.

Friday, January 25 also provides the opportunity to for us to pray with people of good will throughout our nation for respect for the sacredness and dignity of all human life. I will be in Washington DC joining parishioners and Catholics from throughout our diocese at the annual North Carolina Mass celebrated by the bishops of North Carolina at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, followed by a march to the Supreme Court. This day affords us both an opportunity to pray and also to advocate for the voiceless by marching to the Capitol.

Next weekend we begin the celebration of Catholic Schools Week.  All are welcome and encouraged to participate in the open house at our Preschool and Franciscan School on Sunday, January 27 at 12:45 pm.

Looking ahead, on Saturday, February 9 following the 5:30 pm Mass, I’ll host an information night for a 2013 Franciscan Italy Pilgrimage.  We’ll depart for Italy on Sunday afternoon September 1 and arrive back in Raleigh on Friday, September 13.  Assisi will, of course, be the center piece of the pilgrimage.  More details will be forthcoming.

In the peace of Christ,
Fr. Mark