Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Thank you to the many volunteers who shared their time and talent to afford a beautiful Holy Week and especially Triduum celebration. I’m also grateful to Jim Wahl, Coordinator of Music and Liturgy for his leadership along with the entire pastoral staff. Our liturgical ministers help us live out our mission: growing in holiness through our experience of Christ in word, sacrament, and one another.

This past week we hosted four families who are without a home through Wake Interfaith Hospitality Network (WIHN). They arrived on Easter Sunday and slept on our campus in Clare Hall using our facilities for breakfast and dinner each day and departed this morning. WIHN addresses homelessness and its causes, providing temporary stability to families as they work toward permanent independence in their own home. There are nearly 1,200 people experiencing homelessness in Wake County on any given day.

Our hosting program that we do three times each year is part of WIHN’s Emergency Shelter Program. In this program, each evening in Wake County, two churches provide shelter, meals, and transportation for up to five families each, serving up to 10 families every night in the WIHN program. WIHN mobilizes more than 2200 volunteers from over fifty host and support congregations. The teamwork of the churches and dedication of volunteers are keys to the success of this program. Thank you to the nearly 100 parishioners engaged in this ministry doing all kinds of beautiful things – providing food, sharing meals, spending the night on campus, providing childcare, and transporting the guests to the Day Center in Raleigh and back. Special thanks to the St. Francis ministry leader Ron Smith and all the volunteers. You help us live out our mission: offering HOPE to those who hunger for human dignity.

Today, April 27, the canonizations of Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II will mark a historic moment for the Catholic Church. To explore the meaning of the lives of these modern-day spiritual heroes, the U.S. Bishops Office for Media Relations asked several persons to reflect on their contributions. Writers include scholars and theologians – Catholic, Orthodox and Jewish – and media personnel involved in coverage of the much traveled John Paul II. You can access their reflections on the bishops’ web site.

This Thursday, May 1 is the feast of Saint Joseph the Worker. This memorial is an opportunity to seek the assistance of Saint Joseph as Protector of the universal Church, that he may intercede for the unemployed and underemployed, who often feel utterly alone, abandoned, and many times guilty about their situation. Our prayers are a sign of our own concern and a hope for God’s providence in a most challenging situation. On this special day, let us join with Bishop Burbidge and parishes throughout our Diocese in prayer for the unemployed, the underemployed, and all those who assist them.

St. Joseph, Patron of Workers, help us to respect the dignity of all workers. Help us to learn and to care about workers who do not have fair wages, just benefits or a safe working environment. Help us to raise our voices for those unjustly treated. Help us to work together to develop opportunities for work that reflects the dignity of the human person. You taught your Son the value of work and the joy of a job well done; teach us these lessons. Guide us in our own work and renew our strength and commitment each day, as we face our work ahead and our labor in accord with the common good of all. Amen.

In the peace of Christ,

Fr. Mark