Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Thank you to all who helped to make our celebration of the Triduum a vibrant faith filled experience of the paschal mystery.  Special thanks to Jim and Patty Carr, chairs of our liturgy committee and the many ministerial leaders and pastoral staff!

Mrs. Jennifer Bigelow and I are pleased to announce that Mrs. Cathy Ashton  has accepted the position of Assistant Principal for our Preschool. Cathy comes to  us with over 20 years of experience in education from classroom teacher, to  directing an afterschool program, to managing a religious education program, to serving as Educational Director of a Preschool. Cathy has a Bachelor of science degree in Elementary and Early Childhood Education from Penn State University and a Coordinator of Religious Education Certificate from the Diocese of  Harrisburg. Cathy and her family are active   members of St. Thomas More   Parish in Chapel Hill where her husband Mike serves as Principal of their elementary school. They are proud parents of four children.

Cathy expressed her gratitude to the entire community for so warmly welcoming her to St. Francis of Assisi during the interview process and is thrilled for the opportunity to lead the ministries of our parish for families with preschool aged children including our Preschool. In her philosophy of early childhood education she states:  “Parents are a child’s first educators and therefore should be an  integral part of any educational program. An early childhood program should embody God’s love and acceptance, create opportunities for children to explore and nurture an early appreciation for discovery and learning. A teacher’s role is to provide and facilitate learning opportunities that directly relate to the learning goals and objectives of the curriculum.”  We can look forward to Cathy’s leadership which will continue the hallmark of excellence of the St. Francis Preschool and her being a collaborative partner in ministry for the pastoral staff. The Assistant Principal for preschool will be a part of the administrative team for The Franciscan School reporting to Mrs. Jennifer Bigelow and also serve as a member of the pastoral staff of the parish for Catholic Education and Formation.

The search committee was chaired by Trey Morris, and included Pat Kowite, Donna Mariani, Tina Subasic, Ken Brinson, Heather Lisk, and Kevin Rooney. They provided outstanding leadership for this process.

As you are aware, Mrs. Nancy Bourke, founder of our St. Francis Preschool  announced her retirement earlier this year.  I am grateful for the tremendous foundation Nancy has built within our Preschool.  On Sunday, June 3 at the   9:30 am Mass we will have an opportunity to celebrate Nancy’s ministry among us and her retirement.  We have much to be grateful for as we honor Nancy for her commitment and dedication to the children and their parents of our Catholic Community.

In the peace of Christ,

Fr. Mark

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