I want to share with you a letter I received last week from Terry Foley, Director of Catholic Parish Outreach:

“Dear Fr. Steve: On behalf of the people we serve at Catholic Parish Outreach, we want to thank you and your parish for the generous donations during the St. Francis ‘Feed A Family’ food drive. The response from your parish was overwhelming, with a donation of 10,379 pounds of groceries and $8,045 for families in need! In January we gave a week’s worth of groceries to over 9,000 people! Our outreach ministry to the needy would not be possible without the assistance of the members of our community and parishes. We are blessed by your devotion to helping the poor in our midst.”

On the two weekends the CPO truck was parked outside, I watched out my window as people stopped and unloaded bags of groceries from the trunks and back seats of their cars. All of it is a sign of our parish living out the Year of Mercy as declared by Pope Francis. It’s a reminder as well of the deep connection between our parish and the Diocese of Raleigh – hence the importance of St. Francis responding to our Bishop’s Annual Appeal. Thanks to all for your generosity!

We are in the midst of our 2016 Bishop’s Annual Appeal and please see the chart below which shows our progress. We are off to a good start, better than in past years and I thank everyone who has made a contribution. Our BAA provides major support for diocesan organizations such as Catholic Charities. Some words from our Director of Pastoral Ministries, Trevor Thompson: “We refer people to Catholic Charities for food assistance, counseling, immigration services, ESL courses, and poverty reduction services.”

You see, from this and other examples, how critical the relationship is between St. Francis of Assisi and the Diocese of Raleigh. Many people know us as a “Franciscan” parish and this is partly true – we are part of the larger Diocese of Raleigh and we friars serve here at the good will of the bishop. We have a deep responsibility and obligation toward the diocese. We friars have already made a financial pledge to the appeal. We ask you to consider your own pledge, as a sign of our commitment to our local diocese.

Thanks for considering and blessings on your week!