Last Sunday at 3:15 in the afternoon I made a phone call to the diocese. All pastors of the Diocese of Raleigh were asked to call in to report on how they were doing on the 2017 Bishop’s Annual Appeal. As of last week our parish had reached 54% of our $511,000 goal, with 20% of families in the parish participating. Let me say a few words about the importance of the Bishop’s Annual Appeal. Our goal is high, and that reflects the generosity of the people of St. Francis. There is a perception sometimes that we, as a Franciscan parish, are a separate thing altogether from the diocese, that we stand aloneas a kind of Franciscan island. This however is not true – we are a parish that is part of the Diocese of Raleigh, and we friars serve here at the will of the bishop. It is therefore important that we do all we can to reach our goal.

Last month I made a road trip to rural Ahoskie NC where I visited a parish that is almost completely supported by the BAA. It’s an area that has lost many jobs over the past decades and is feeling the effects – we toured a food pantry and learned that many people in the area rely on that pantry for food. During my visit, I saw firsthand how small, rural parishes depend on this kind of support from the BAA. It reminded me once again of how we are not our own island here at St. Francis, but that other parts of the diocese rely on our generosity.

And so I ask, on behalf of the friars, that if you have not already made a contribution to the 2017 BAA, please consider making one within the next few weeks. It is important that we do all we can to reach our financial goal, and also that we have as many members of the parish as we can participate in the appeal’s success. We friars made a pledge of $2,000 toward the BAA’s success, as a sign of our commitment to the diocese. We respectfully ask that you consider making your own pledge, no matter how large or small it might be.

Thank you, and blessings on your week!