Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I’m happy to announce that Fr. Steve Patti, OFM, (our new pastor effective September 1) with input from the finance council, pastoral staff and pastor’s leadership team has selected Mr. Robert Neppel to serve as the Director of Finance and Planning. Rob brings great experience in many business and finance senior management assignments during a 32 year career with IBM. A veteran of the United States Navy, he served for 3 years aboard the USS Duluth. Rob has been a St. Francis parishioner since 2006. He is married, has four adult daughters and will have a grandchild at the St. Francis Preschool this fall. Rob joined our pastoral staff Monday, August 4.

As you know, following an extensive consultative process by a finance council task force chaired by Tom Mense (council member), I accepted their recommendation to create a new position on our pastoral staff: Director of Finance and Planning. I’m most thankful to Julio De La Rosa, who has served as the Acting Director since April 1. Julio has been extensively supported by Joe Kurzweil and Toni Hammes. Together they have provided tremendous leadership for our parish finances. I’m grateful to the members of the search committee (Julio, Jennifer Bigelow, Bill Laxton, Andy Hammes and Russ Elmayan), chaired by Tom Mense, who conducted an extensive round of interviews for the new position. We were fortunate that they were able to choose from many worthy candidates.

In this bulletin and on our parish website, we have posted information about the issue of unaccompanied children coming to the United States. This is a difficult issue that Pope Francis has called a “humanitarian emergency.” Our resources provide helpful information from the United States Catholic Bishops, as well as a statement from our Franciscan province. In addition to the action steps offered in these resources, if you would like to help be part of the solution, Fr. Robert Ippolito, Pastor of St. Stephen’s in Sanford is working with Catholic Charities Immigration Services and is in need of lawyers who are willing to help. He also seeks folks who are simply willing to help as drivers to transport people to court. For more information please contact Fr. Rob, 919-776-1532.

 These past weeks I’ve been in transition preparing for a new assignment at Siena College in Albany, NY. I look forward to celebrating the Eucharist with you next weekend (my last in the parish) which will provide me the opportunity to express my deep gratitude and appreciation to you for being a partner in ministry with you these past 19 years. You’re welcome to join together for cocktails, a festive dinner and some “friar-ly fun” on Friday evening August 22 at 7:00 pm. Please contact Toni Hammes for more information or click here to RSVP.

In the peace of Christ,

Fr. Mark

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