Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Congratulations to all who helped make Vacation Bible School (VBS) such a wonderful success. It was truly inspiring to see so many people of all ages excited about the word of God and the many stories of our faith. Thank you to VBS coordinator Donna Hennesen and to the many hardworking volunteers who, as a result of all the behind-the-scenes planning, made this weeklong extravaganza seem so effortless.

This week the offices of the pastoral staff will be closed Tuesday through Friday as we retreat for a few days away in prayer and reflection. The theme of the retreat will be A Work of Heart: How God Shapes Spiritual Leaders. We’re fortunate that our retreat director will be Fr. John Durbin, a priest of the Diocese of Raleigh, who currently serves as pastor of St. Jude’s in Hamstead, NC.

Previously Fr. John served as pastor of St. Thomas More in Chapel Hill, St. Patrick’s in Fayetteville and the Newman Center of UNC Chapel Hill.  Before serving as a pastor, he taught Theology at St. Francis College in Loretto, Pennsylvania. He earned his Licentiate in Sacred Theology in Spirituality at the Pontifical Gregorian University after having completed his seminary at the North American College in Rome. With his great depth of background as teacher and pastor, I expect that Fr. John’s leadership of our retreat will provide a time of spiritual renewal for the members of the pastoral staff. It is always one of the highlights of the year for me to spend time away with such a dedicated, competent, and enjoyable group of people.

While most of the pastoral staff is away, a few will stay to respond to pastoral emergencies that come up and to help keep the summer camps going. Msgr. John Renken will celebrate daily Mass and will be available for sacramental needs while the friars are on retreat.

Please remember us in your prayers this week, and be assured of our prayers for you and our Catholic Community of St. Francis of Assisi that we all love so much.

In the peace of Christ,

Fr. Mark