Dear Brothers and Sisters,

As I shared with you in this column a few weeks ago, I will be transitioning on to a new assignment. The timing has become clearer and it will be before the end of summer. At our triennial provincial chapter we elected a new administration of friars to serve the province. These friars also make up our personnel committee and discern together how best to use the gifts and talents of friars to serve in the many ministries of Holy Name Province along the east coast of the United States. I learned last week that I’ll be heading north to my alma mater where our province has asked me to serve as the Guardian of the Siena College friar community and work in the president’s office as Mission Officer, a newly created position supporting the Franciscan mission of the college. This will be quite a change from parish ministry which I’ve loved, and of course the weather will be a lot colder with more snow. (I think Mr. LL Bean will become my new best friend.) This is a bittersweet time for me as I look forward to accepting the new challenges and opportunities that Siena will offer and yet have already begun to feel the sadness of leaving St. Francis. This has been a wonderful assignment the past 19 years and there is much that I will miss about being a partner in ministry with you. I expect my last weekend will be August 23/24 with my last official duty as pastor being the first two weeks of September leading our parish pilgrimage to Assisi which as you know is a great love of mine – fortunately Siena, Italy is on the itinerary. Though I will depart from Raleigh, following the pilgrimage I will return to Loudonville, New York.

Our provincial administration has also nominated to Bishop Burbidge a wonderfully talented friar to succeed me as pastor. Once Bishop Burbidge receives this nomination from our provincial, he will make the formal announcement of the next pastor, and I will share that with you.

Last week I shared that over the past months our stewardship tithe committee has provided donations based upon our stewardship tithe of 10% of offertory to peace and justice. I’ve received the following letters of thanks and appreciation for your generosity.

Note in the Pocket

Thank you for seeing the good work we are doing and supporting us financially. It makes a big difference knowing we can afford to expand.

Dallas Bonavita

EDGE Training and Placement, Inc.

When your donation arrived, I could do nothing but give God the glory. It was clear that EDGE’s work in the Durham community was not over; God was just changing the location, I was so grateful. The program has always operated at capacity with a waiting list; sometimes with money and sometimes without. EDGE is hands on, a school where we love and accept our students as they are. This belief is the driving purpose behind everything we do. We now have volunteer teachers who are continuing our positive learning environment. Through leadership and group counseling, all hurts, insecurities, failures and misconceptions are addressed. Thanks to St. Francis, EDGE is in full operation .

Fran Alexander, Executive Director

In the peace of Christ,

Fr. Mark