Let me say thank you to everyone who has been involved in our annual Offertory Pledge Appeal and especially to Julio de la Rosa, a long-time member of the parish for his words at Mass last weekend about his own understanding of what it means to be a steward here at St. Francis. And to follow up on his words, I would ask you to consider, what does it mean to belong to a place like St. Francis? As I preside here at Mass on the weekend, and look out over our worship space, what I see are the People of God, called together to hear God’s word and to remember that deep down, amid all the anxieties and pressures of our lives, we are called by God to be people of peace, reconciliation, kindness, and generosity in an often fractured world. And so I ask you, especially as you receive the Pledge Appeal letter in the mail to consider your own share in the vital mission of St. Francis in North Raleigh.
This past week I was in Pompton Lakes, New Jersey for the annual Guardians Meeting for the Franciscan Friars of Holy Name Province. Frs. David, Bill, and I are all part of this province which is based out of New York City and has ministry sites all along the East Coast. A “guardian” in our province is a friar who is responsible for the local friar fraternity and so I am both pastor of the parish and guardian of the local house. I was able to stop in Philadelphia both on the way up and on the way back and it was nice to be back at St. Francis Inn where I served for two years before coming to Raleigh in August. It’s a big contrast between here and Philly – at the Inn in Philadelphia the elevated subway rumbles by every 15 minutes or so, and here of course we have the close roar of jets from RDU. It was great to see the friars and the lay volunteers at the Inn even for a short time.
I went to see one of the Friday night productions of The Justice Theater Project’s “A Raisin In the Sun” and I recommend it highly. It’s an intimate setting right here on the campus of St. Francis. The play is set in Chicago in the 1950’s. It tells the story of what happens when a black family buys a house in a white neighborhood and raises timely questions of the state of race relations in our culture. This is very good theater – great set design, great acting – all right here at St. Francis. See it if you get a chance!
Also last weekend was my installation mass at 5:30 on Saturday, and I want to thank everyone once again for your kindness and welcome, both to me and to my family who were visiting here from Boston. Blessings to all as we enter these cool September days.