I am always impressed, walking around our campus, at the many ways people live out the gospel here. In Clare Fellowship Hall, for example, last week a steady stream of students from our school helped prepare casseroles for our Feed the Need ministry. There were stations set up and the students rotated from station to station, each adding their own ingredient to what became a completed casserole. Feed the Need is a ministry that provides ready-made meals for people who may be going through a hard time in their life. If you’re interested in learning more about this important ministry, contact Kathleen Owen at 919-847-8205×241.

Last Saturday morning I spoke with two volunteers who help with our Brown Bag ministry. This group meets on Saturday mornings, prepares a hundred or so brown bag lunches and then delivers them to a senior center in Durham. The women spoke about what that was like – driving over to Durham, knocking on the doors of people who live there, and how many of those seniors wait with anticipation for their lunch. The women also spoke about how they involve their children in the ministry and one said how important it was for their kids to see that not everyone lives a privileged life. Thank you to everyone who helps out with that ministry. Thank you especially to Tricia Downs who leads the ministry, and who just this past week “retired” from staff at St. Francis to spend more time with her family. We will miss her warm presence and, as we would say in Boston, her wicked sense of humor.

An update on the Bishop’s Annual Appeal: I have heard from many people that it has been helpful to hear about how St. Francis and the Diocese of Raleigh are linked, that we do not stand alone here, that St. Francis shares in the mission of the diocese. The following is from the principal of our school, Jennifer Bigelow: “The Diocese of Raleigh regularly provides professional development for new teachers, aspiring administrators, and all teachers in the area of curriculum, differentiated instruction, faith formation, and best practices in assessment. On a regular basis, the Catholic Schools office coordinates a diocesan-wide professional development day. This is a great opportunity for teachers across the diocese to share effective classroom strategies and to learn more about how they can improve student achievement.” Our Franciscan community has deep connections with the Diocese of Raleigh.

Let me address a couple of questions that people have about the BAA. First, the BAA does not support the new downtown cathedral. The cathedral was a separate campaign. Second, some of you may have received a pledge card from the diocese asking for a pledge far higher than in the past. We received an email of apology about that from the bishop which reads as follows: “In the last few days I have learned that there was an error in some of the letters that came under my signature to the faithful who have been previous donors to the Bishop’s Annual Appeal. Unfortunately, some parishioners were asked for unreasonably high BAA pledge amounts, based upon their prior giving history. I offer my sincere apology for this error and for any difficulties or frustrations that it caused to you or your parishioners. I am mindful of the financial challenges faced by individuals and families in our diocese, and I am extremely grateful for whatever gifts are offered by the faithful, as well as the support they have extended through the years.” If you have already contributed to the BAA, thank you. If not, we ask that you please consider making a pledge. Remember, it’s Our BAA for 2016.

A final word: Justice Theater Project is presenting “Tuesdays With Morrie” here at St. Francis both this weekend and next. Check the stewardship center for days/times. Also, discussion groups around Greg Boyle’s book “Tattoos on the Heart” begin Wednesday.

Blessings on your week!

Fr. Steve