This weekend we say farewell to Fr. David McBriar, as he prepares to move north to a new assignment at Siena College. Fr. David arrived here in 1987 as the first Franciscan pastor of St. Francis (the first pastor was Fr. Jim English, a Jesuit). David served as pastor until 1995, and during his term helped build the original church building (which still stands and is now meeting space down the long hallway off the gathering space). He also provided the vision for our current church which was dedicated in 1996. David returned to St. Francis a little more than ten years ago as associate pastor, and now prepares to move on to his new assignment.
I first came to know David in 2003 when I arrived for a new assignment at Immaculate Conception Church in Durham. I was new, had been ordained only two years, and had never lived in the South before. The parish in Durham had just dedicated its own new church, modeled on the design of our own church, and I remember during the busyness of that time, David going out of his way to welcome me and to mentor me, a newly ordained friar still finding my way. I am grateful for that and will miss him here in Raleigh. In the thirty years he has served in North Carolina, he has been a major part of building two churches, in Raleigh and in Durham, and not only the church buildings, but the sense of the church as the people of God, the baptized faithful living out their mission as disciples in the world. Blessings to David as he moves to this new assignment.
As a side note, we do not expect to have a third friar until possibly next June.
As you may know, every year we send out a “year-end ask” letter with a specific parish project in mind. Two years ago, it was new carpeting in the church. Last year, it was new signage for our Leesville Road entrances. We hope to have the new signage completed within the next few months. This year, our letter is a request for new siding on the friary, as our maintenance staff has told us that the original siding from nearly thirty years ago needs to be replaced. As always, we are grateful for your generosity to St. Francis.
Blessings on your week!