Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Many thanks to Adam McCarthy, our 2013 Bishop’s Annual Appeal chair who speaks at each of our masses this weekend echoing the words of Pope Francis: Don’t forget the poor.  The BAA is our opportunity to partner with the Catholic Church throughout the 54 counties of Eastern Carolina to serve the needs of others, especially the poor.  Thank you to those who have already submitted their pledge cards.  Next weekend will provide us the opportunity to learn more about and make our commitment to remember the needs of the poor through the BAA.

I thought you might be interested in this new “prayer opportunity” – The Franciscan friars of Holy Name Province, we belong to are offering the faithful a new way to pray in the digital age by accepting prayer requests via text messages.  Its’ “Text a Prayer Intention to a Franciscan Friar” initiative, which is described as faith at your fingertips, is a novel way for Roman Catholics to connect.  “People are always saying to friars, ‘Can you say a prayer for me?’ Or ‘Can  you remember my mother who has cancer?'” Father David Convertino O.F.M. the New York-based executive director of development for the Franciscan Friars of the Holy Name Province, said in an interview.  “I was thinking that a lot of people text everything now, even more than email, so why not have people have the ability to ask us to pray for them … by texting.”

The faithful simply text the word ‘prayer’ to 30644, free of charge.  A welcome message from the friars comes up along with a box to type in the request. When the text is sent, the sender receives a reply.  The intentions are received on a website and will be included collectively in the friars’ prayers twice a day and at Mass.  It is one of several ways the friars hope to reach a younger audience, increase the number of faithful, and spread the faith. “If the Pope can tweet, friars can text,” said Father David.   “We’re trying,” said Father David when asked if the friars are well into the digital age, adding that they were “rushing madly into the 19th century.  We’re really excited about this working, I think we’ll be able to keep up (with all the intentions). That’s what we do, we pray for people.”

In the peace of Christ,

Fr. Mark

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