It’s the time of year for summer camps and over these past few weeks St. Francis has been filled with all kinds of camps. One of those camps is called Mercy Camp. Mercy Camp ran from Monday to Friday the week before last. I got an invitation from one of the leaders to see what it was all about. It’s a group of about 30 kids along with adult volunteers and they spend the week going out into the community. Where do they go? All through that week they went out to places such as the Shepherd’s Table, the Men’s Healing Place, the Women’s Healing Place, to a farm to glean cucumbers, okra, and squash. On the last day of camp, they spent the night in the school courtyard. They could take only a sleeping bag and a cardboard box for shelter, all to give them a sense of what it might mean to be homeless.

On that Wednesday, I went with them to the Men’s Healing Place, off I-40 near the Farmer’s Market. The Men’s Healing Place provides support services to men who are recovering from alcohol or drug addictions. We got a tour. We had lunch, grilled cheese sandwiches and lemonade, with some of the men who are in recovery. Our group stayed to help weed the garden.

Each day the group began with prayer and then went out into the community. In that sense they were very much like the apostles who themselves were sent out into a wider world. On Friday of that week, they gathered in the cafeteria of the gym and spoke about “where they had seen the face of God” during their week. They had seen that face in each other, in the adult volunteers who were with them, and in the people they encountered during the week. I felt privileged to be with them for at least part of their week and the group was a kind of “face of mercy,” modern-day apostles to the wider Raleigh community in their travels. Thanks to all who helped to make it successful. (Read more about Mercy Camp on page 4 of the bulletin.)

This weekend is Accountability Weekend and the chair of our Finance Council, Adam McCarthy will be speaking at all the masses about the financial side of our parish community. I am grateful to you, the people of God, for your ongoing support of St. Francis. We will have copies of our Annual Report available and I encourage you to take one with you. I am also deeply grateful to Adam and to the entire Finance Council for their wisdom and advice over this past year.

Blessings on your week!

Fr. Steve