No matter what our level of participation at St. Francis of Assisi, God’s light and love are being made flesh in our life.  I imagine that for most of us this divine light and love are most evident in the intimacies of our families and friendships.  But for some of us, the deepest experience of God’s presence is through active participation and stewardship in a community of faith.  Whether through attendance at Mass, participation in a Small Christian Community, joining a support group, or service in one of our outreach ministries, the Catholic Community of St. Francis has a myriad of ways we can walk more fully in God’s light and love.

Read here about a couple parishioners who has found St. Francis a kind of Bethlehem, a place where God is being made flesh in and through their lives.


lee cunningham

Lee Cunningham, parishioner 7 years

Why are you excited about being at St. Francis of Assisi?

From my first time visiting St Francis I felt it was warm and welcoming.  The sermons that I listened to seem to be speaking to me.  I love the friars and how they look at life.   I was going through some difficult things in my life and I reached out the Stephen Ministry and was helped immensely.   Between the staff and the volunteers you get a feeling that people really care and they show it through their faith and their actions.

What are a couple things you have done to increase your sense of belonging to this parish?

I take communion to the residents at Magnolia Glen.  They are so appreciative that someone would come and share their faith with them.  These are individuals who have lived a very giving life and now I can give something back to them.  I have joined a couple of the other ministries (Caregiver, RCIA Sponsor, Bible Study and the Funeral Reception), and every time I participate I feel that I am getting something out of whatever I do.   My mission week at the St Francis Inn in Philadelphia was also truly eye opening experience.  Also, this past year, I went through the “Just Faith” 30 week class on the social teaching of the Church, and it showed me the world in a whole new light, especially how other Christians fight for the rights of the men and women making the world a better place.


Chris and Megan Winter with their children Annie (9), Jacob (6), and Rachel (3)

Parishioners for over 9 years

Why are you excited about being at St. Francis of Assisi?

We have now been at St. Francis for 10 years, nearly our entire time in Raleigh.  From the first time we walked into the church, it has always felt like home.  As our family has grown and our children have become more involved at St. Francis and The Franciscan School and Preschool, we have found the parish becoming more and more a part of our daily lives.  In John 12:35, Jesus says, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer.  Walk while you have the light…”  At St. Francis, we feel encouraged and inspired to humbly walk in this light.

What are a couple things you have done to increase your sense of belonging to this parish?

Our sense of belonging to the parish has increased significantly over the past couple of years.  Much of this has been through our involvement at The Franciscan School, the Preschool and Vacation Bible School.  Nothing has increased our sense of belonging quite as much as seeing our children engaged in the life of the parish.  We see them with a sincere interest in church and in Bible stories, which opens the door to wonderful opportunities to both lead and follow them on their faith journey.

 How has St. Francis been a part of your faith journey in the recent months?

In our first couple of years at St. Francis, we lived the life of “anonymous parishioners,” faithfully coming to Mass on Sunday and not too much more.  Once our kids became involved at The Franciscan School and engaged in the life of the parish, we transitioned into a family that was involved on multiple levels – through VBS, lectoring, and many The Franciscan School activities.  It is wonderful to look back and see how, in some ways, it was our children’s life at The Franciscan School and at the preschool that led our entire family to a much more engaged experience at St. Francis.  In recent months, our faith journey has taken on the added dimension of having the opportunity to get to know and work with members of the St. Francis staff.  Like their colleagues at The Franciscan School and at the preschool, they are deeply dedicated to the mission of the parish and to the St. Francis community.  We are all so blessed to have this staff as partners with whom to walk in that light of which Jesus spoke.  At our 10 year mark as parishioners, our faith journey has been a transformational time in our family, and we are excited to see what the future might hold here at St. Francis.

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