Dear Brothers and Sisters,

As we celebrate the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord we bring to a close the Christmas season.  Thank you to all who shared their time and talent to help us celebrate the birth of Christ through our liturgies and thank you to all who made a special end-of-year contribution to the parish. Your generous stewardship is greatly appreciated.

The world has been captivated by the energy, spirit, words and actions Pope Francis has shown us.  He has refocused all Catholics on our goal    as followers of God to serve those in most need. This renewal of purpose is captured in the 2014 Bishop’s Annual Appeal (BAA) theme “Grateful to God – Generous to Neighbor.”  The BAA attempts to meet the physical and spiritual needs of those   in eastern North Carolina. This occurs through   the good work of Catholic Charities, the largest beneficiary of the BAA.

This weekend our parish kicks off our response to the 2014 BAA.  We are fortunate to have the Very Reverend William L. Pitts, V.F., Pastor from St. Anne’s (and its mission All Souls) in Edenton, N.C., with us to preach on behalf of the BAA.  Fr. Pitts is the Dean of the Albermarle deanery  and knows firsthand how the BAA supports the rural parishes in his deanery.  There are entire counties in our diocese that do not have a Catholic presence yet.  For example, St. Anne’s serves about 300 families from five surrounding counties.  Fr. Pitts will share some of the needs of his     deanery that rely on the support we are able to provide through our contributions to the BAA.

Pope Francis has challenged each and every one of us to be bold in our actions. As a Catholic community through the BAA, we can have a     tremendous impact.  Your pledge to this year’s appeal will make a difference in the lives of many through providing vital services to those in desperate need. Our parish goal is $482,345 and requires the support of every parish household.

Please prayerfully consider your sacrificial gift to the BAA and complete your pledge this weekend.

You’re invited to join me for the annual celebration of the Diocesan Respect Life Mass celebrated by Bishop Burbidge at Saint Joseph Catholic Church in Raleigh at 8:00 am, this Saturday, January 18.

In the peace of Christ,

Fr. Mark