Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Greetings of peace.

For the past two years, by the appointment of Bishop Burbidge, I have been serving as the Dean (Vicar Forane) of the Raleigh Deanery, which is one of eight regions within the diocese and which covers the parishes within Wake and Franklin Counties.  Part of my responsibility includes being present to a parish upon the death of a pastor, as has been the case with St. Luke the Evangelist parish in North Raleigh.  As you know from my June 16 column, Msgr. Tim O’Connor, pastor of St. Luke, died after a brief illness.

In the weeks to come, Bishop Burbidge will be working with the personnel committee of the diocese to discern the wisdom of the Lord in seeking a pastor to serve the needs of St. Luke the Evangelist.  As this process will take several weeks, the bishop has asked me to serve as the temporary administrator of St. Luke the Evangelist and I am happy to do what I can to assist our bishop and the needs of the people of God.  The past weeks in my role as Dean, I’ve had regular contact with St. Luke’s pastoral staff and have been very impressed with their dedication and commitment and with their care and devotion to those in need and to the continued mission of St. Luke’s.  I look forward to continuing to be with them to provide the needed pastoral care and governance of St. Luke until Bishop Burbidge appoints a pastor.

Naturally, my first responsibility is as your pastor, so I will be here most weekends and will be only an occasional weekend visitor at St. Luke.  Msgr. John Renkin will provide the sacramental care for St. Luke.  Msgr. Renkin is a professor of canon law at St. Paul University in Ottawa, Canada, who has been working in the Raleigh tribunal when his university classes are not in session.  Most of my work with the pastoral staff at St. Luke will be on weekdays.  Meanwhile, I will continue to be as present as possible here at St. Francis.

I ask for your continued prayers, that Msgr. Tim may rest in peace, and for Tim’s mother, brothers, family and all who journey through grief that they may know God’s peace and consolation.  I also ask for your prayers for me that I may balance these new responsibilities faithfully in serving the needs of God’s people.

In the peace of Christ,

Fr. Mark