Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Easter peace and joy to you and your families! May the resurrected Christ draw us closer to him through his new life. Welcome to the Catholic Community of St. Francis of Assisi. Welcome to those of you who are here for the first time or perhaps from differing religious traditions. Welcome to those of you visiting Raleigh with family and friends. Welcome to all who join us, whether “regulars” or those who have simply stopped by to celebrate the good news that Christ has risen. Welcome, peace, and good to you today and throughout this wonderful season in which we celebrate the paschal mystery of Jesus.

Congratulations to all who celebrate Easter sacraments with us at the Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday; through baptism, confirmation, and eucharist may you know the presence of Christ in your life and be his disciple witnessing to his new life. As we are all renewed in our baptism, may we know the presence of Christ in our life and be his disciples witnessing to his new life.

Throughout the season of Lent, you may have noticed the words “Jesus, draw me closer to you.” on the cover of the bulletin and our website. Why? It’s a reminder to offer this simple prayer to help each of us grow in our relationship with Jesus the Christ. Remember, we don’t draw ourselves closer to Jesus, it’s God’s grace in us that makes that happen. Ask for that grace. Jesus, draw me closer to you through your new life. Though the forty days of Lent are complete, we now begin the great fifty days of the Easter season leading us to Pentecost. Will you continue to deepen your relationship with Jesus through his new life?  How might you do this?  What worked well during Lent? What might you continue or begin again? Can you take a little time to ask yourself: Am I growing closer to you, Jesus?  Do I have a personal relationship with Jesus? I know that I can deepen my relationship with Jesus. How? The Easter season leads us to Pentecost. Might I call upon the gifts of the Holy Spirit to strengthen me in my journey of faith?

Fr. Bill has a two minute daily reflection that can be sent to your inbox every day. It’s on-line at 6:00 am each morning.  Listen to it, take another two minutes to think about what he says. Sign-up on our parish website. In the resurrection stories we hear of the grief, confusion, and fear of the disciples as they adjust to the reality of Jesus not being with them physically and try to understand the mystery of his resurrection. Is there some grief, confusion, and/or fear in your life? Can you identify with the disciples? Seek out a Stephen Minister, or support group through our Care and Wellness office.

Bringing Home the Word (towards the end of the bulletin) offers a wonderful 2 page reflection each week upon the scriptures. It contains concrete suggestions there to help bring the word home making the connection between faith and your life, between Mass on Sunday and daily life.  There’s also a column to help us understand and be inspired by our patron Francis of Assisi as our mission statement urges us to be, as we seek to proclaim the reign of God.  Our bulletin, this weekly newsletter of the parish, offers many suggestions and recommendations to become involved.

I invite you to deepen your relationship with Jesus this Easter season.  “Jesus, draw me closer to you.” He will, make no mistake about it.

In the peace of Christ,

Fr. Mark

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