In these especially divided times, I was very much taken by a recent story out of Texas of a man who made up a sign which he held up outside of a mosque and the sign read “You belong.” The man was a Christian, and he wrote later on a Facebook post that holding up that sign was what his faith called him to do. “Belonging” was very much on view here this past week, as many of you responded generously to our call for supplies for the migrants who arrive in Louisburg every spring. The stewardship center was overflowing with bags of supplies which will be sent to Our Lady of the Rosary parish to help the newly arriving migrants.
The Franciscan provinces in the United States recently released a statement which partially reads “Pope Francis, during his 2015 visit to the U.S., reminded Americans of the importance of our own identity as immigrants. He said, ‘As the son of an immigrant family, I am happy to be a guest in this country, which was largely built by such families.’ Our country, at its best, has cherished and embodied this decree to “welcome the stranger” by proudly embracing its identity as a nation of immigrants.” Our migrant ministry here is a beautiful reflection of that statement.

After the 11:30 mass last weekend I walked down to the school cafeteria to find hundreds of people involved in the “Super Sole Sunday” project, an obvious play on words on a certain football game played last Sunday, and this project involved cutting up old blue jeans and making them into shoes, which are then sent to Uganda, where they are attached to soles which are made from recycled tires. Got that? As I walked to the cafeteria, one young second-grader
was excited about the project, and about the help it would provide to the people of Uganda who needed these shoes. Another example
of how the words “you belong” are lived out here at St. Francis.

A reminder to all of the importance of our 2017 Bishop’s Annual Appeal. Here is a note from the Director of our Preschool Cathy Ashton about how the BAA supports her ministry: “As a preschool director, the support from the Diocese is invaluable. Our Superintendent, Dr. Michael Fedewa and Assistant Superintendent, Mrs. Kimberly Browning are both available to answer questions, and coach Principals and Directors through situations that arise. The Diocese provides quality training and retreat opportunities for administrators, and offers a Professional Development Day for all Diocesan Catholic Educators every two years. The opportunities provided by the Diocese for School Administrators to come together and support one another helps us all to feel connected and supported in our ministry.” As Cathy’s words indicate, St. Francis has close ties to the wider Diocese of Raleigh. Please be generous as you consider your donation to the 2017 BAA – thank you!

Finally some words from our beloved Pope Francis in advance of last week’s Super Bowl: “By participating in sport, we are able to go beyond our own self-interest ― and in a healthy way ― we learn to sacrifice, to grow in fidelity and respect the rules,” he continues. “May this year’s Super Bowl be a sign of peace, friendship and solidarity to the world.”

Blessings on your week!