Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I am reminded over and over again how generous you are in giving of alms to those in need.  As a parish community we tithe 10% of our offertory income to serve those who are in need.  In addition we regularly take up special collections for particular circumstances such as those impacted by Hurricane Sandy.  In addition to sending donations to Catholic Relief Services via the Diocese of Raleigh, we also sent donations directly to St. Francis of Assisi Parish on Long Beach Island via Holy Name Province (HNP).  Fr. David Convertino, O.F.M., Executive Director of Development for HNP, recently expressed his thanks for our “wonderful generosity, care and support for the people who were left without shelter, food, water and power.  Lives have been devastated and destroyed, and your gift will help them heal, be fed and kept warm, and feel cared for during this horrific time in their lives.”

Fr. Steve Kluge, O.F.M., Pastor of St. Francis Parish on Long Beach Island, NJ whose parish benefited from our donations reflected that it has been a little more than one month since the staff members of the parish office and the St. Francis Center returned to the island after the October storm. “I have to say it is good to be home,” he said. “While much work is yet to be completed on the church and especially the backyard of the center, much has been accomplished. This has been a unique, challenging and blessed time for all of us here on LBI. As Franciscan priests and sisters, it is one thing to minister to those who are suffering, but quite another thing to minister to those suffering as one suffering ourselves. If Franciscan spirituality is at its core a spirituality of relationship, this experience has made the relationship between us all far richer. One of the beautiful things the friars have noticed is that people are talking more to each other before and after Mass. This is a good thing since it reminds me of the Eucharistic sacrifice we are about to celebrate: we take, offer, and break open our lives, fears, experiences, blessings, and joys to one another.”

Thank you for your continued generosity to our Catholic Community of St. Francis of Assisi; because of your generosity we are making a difference in many people’s lives.

In the peace of Christ,

Fr. Mark