This week I turn over this space to Kathleen Owen, Coordinator of Care and Wellness, who reflects on her experience working here at St. Francis, and on ways in which her work coincides with the mission of the Diocese of Raleigh and our BAA.

[Kathleen Owen]

There’s a misconception that people in North Raleigh never have a bad day. To be sure, many people in North Raleigh and in our parish are very blessed – with safety, with financial security and with family. But several times each month, parishioners call or stop by to talk with me. Usually, they share that they have experienced some difficulty in their lives – job loss, marital difficulty, health issues, or financial strains.

There’s also a misconception that the Bishop’s Annual Appeal just helps other parishes. I can tell you that our BAA supports several partners that our parishioners depend on! Let me tell you about two of these partners and the impact they have right here at St. Francis.\Recently, a person approached me who had had several really unfortunate things happen. As we talked, it became clear that finances were so strained that money for food was very tight. Usually, I just make a referral to Catholic Parish Outreach (CPO), but on this day, I decided to take the referral and the person to see what type of help was available.

When you enter the parking lot, you see lots of people entering the building. The inside of the building is very clean and very bright. You give your name to the receptionist and take a seat in a large waiting room. When they call you, they take your name, listen to your story, and orient you to their services. They offer groceries and child care items for children up to 6 years of age. After your interview, a volunteer meets you and takes a grocery cart to your car and fills it with food. The guests are able to return once each month.

Another type of conversation I hear is when someone is having difficulty with a relationship. It could be a work relationship, a marital or family relationship. Our local Catholic Charities has two counseling offices – one in Raleigh and one in Cary. It gives me great comfort to be able to refer someone to trained professionals within our faith, who can help someone regain their footing and resolve troubling issues.

So when you’re asked to consider a gift to the BAA, don’t think so much about the folks you don’t know. Think about the folks right here, who you see at Mass or are behind you in carpool, or who used to come to bible study, but you haven’t seen in a while. They may be dealing with an issue and need some help from one of our partner ministries. So give generously, give joyfully and with the knowledge that you’re helping our parish, too.