One of the great things about being a friar is that our lives are filled with, as Pope Francis might say, encounters. We meet people and we hear their stories. One story comes from a few weeks back. A woman comes in to meet with me. She is the mother of a gay son. She talks about what that is like – her concern for him, the rejection he has experienced from other family members, whether there is a place for him in the church. She has been part of a ministry we have here called Always Our Children. The name of the ministry comes from a pastoral message to parents of homosexual children released by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in the 1990s. It’s a ministry that meets here every month.

She tells about being part of Always Our Children, how supportive she has found it, and she wants to get the word out to other parents that the group meets here. One of the words we often hear about this parish is that we are “welcoming.” The Always Our Children group reflects that sense of welcoming. If you are interested in learning more about the Always Our Children ministry here at St. Francis, please contact Trevor Thompson at the parish offices.

We continue our campaign for our Bishop’s Annual Appeal, and to stress that the campaign is Our Campaign, that our BAA is deeply tied into the mission of St. Francis, here is another example of how it plays out here, from our Coordinator for Family Life, Jason Lillis: “Throughout the year, married couples contact me looking for assistance in finding a marriage counselor. As we do not have a counselor on staff at the parish, we are glad that the Diocese has the resources to help. Our BAA supports families at St. Francis of Assisi by funding counselors that help couples in the midst of difficult marriage and family situations.” Our BAA is a critical part of the mission of St. Francis. If you have already contributed, we thank you. If not, please consider making a donation to our BAA. We friars have already pledged, as we do every year as a sign of our own commitment to this diocese. Questions? Call Toni Hammes x265, or Rob Neppel x243 at the parish offices, 919-847-8205.

Blessings on your week!