Well it’s the time of year in which it feels like everything is getting started. Both our school and preschool are back in session. Family faith formation is starting up again soon and you’ll notice for this year that faith formation times are oriented more around the 11:30 and 5:30 Sunday masses. Thank you to our faith formation staff as they get ready for a new year. We’d also like to welcome Alexandra (Alex) Mancuso, recently hired to work with our high school age students. Alex is a graduate of Siena College and served for two years as a Franciscan volunteer in Camden, New Jersey. The Franciscan Volunteer Ministry program (FVM) is based out of Philadelphia and is a program for recent college graduates to serve with Franciscan friars in Philadelphia, Camden, and also Silver Spring, Maryland. I went through the program myself in Philadelphia, many years ago now! A warm welcome to Alex as she gets started.

In my travels around local bookstores, I recently found a good book called “Be Not Afraid: Facing Fear with Faith” by Samuel Wells. When I was at Immaculate Conception in Durham some years ago, Sam Wells was the dean of the chapel at Duke. I would sometimes meet him in Durham as part of prayer services held by a group called the Religious Coalition for a Non-violent Durham. This group would go to a site in the city where someone had been recently murdered, meet with the victim’s family, and pray together at the site. The Coalition was run by a passionate and fearless woman named Marcia Owen who would ask the friars and other religious to come sometimes to lead prayer. Sam Wells would often lead those prayers. Marcia was the one who brought everyone together, going around to the victim’s family members one-by-one, speaking words to them, sharing her concern, lamenting the seemingly endless spiral of violence in the city. Those gatherings were small moments of witness. Sam Wells’s book has six sections on “be not afraid” and they include be not afraid of: death, weakness, power, difference, faith, and life. A worthwhile book

Finally, this weekend is the annual Offertory Pledge Appeal. Thanks to everyone who has helped to organize it.

Blessings on your week!

Fr. Steve