It’s once again the time of year for the Bishop’s Annual Appeal, and a mailing from the diocese about the BAA has gone out in the past week. Our goal is high – $509,000 – and we rely, as always, on the generosity of our parish to support our share of the BAA. As I have mentioned in past years, St. Francis is a parish that is part of the Diocese of Raleigh and that is served by the Franciscan Friars of Holy Name Province; we serve here at the good will of the bishop. We are not, as I have said in past years, a kind of Franciscan island within the diocese with no obligations to the diocese. The diocese relies on the BAA to support very important programs such as Catholic Charities, seminarian education, and other diocesan needs. In February, we will have a guest speaker from Catholic Charities who will speak at all the Masses about the BAA and how it supports the programs of Catholic Charities. And so I make my own appeal to you – please be generous in your support of the BAA. It’s important to us here. For your convenience, here is the link: https://2370.thankyou4caring.org/baa.

An update as well on a letter which we sent out in November asking for your support for a new roof for our church. As of last week, we have received just over $70,000 toward our new roof. The projected cost for the roof is just over $100,000. Contributions are still coming in, and we would love to be able to make up the $30,000 difference so that we can fully fund our new roof project. And let me add a word about what we call “asks” here at St. Francis. We want to keep you informed in what we ask for financially and why we ask for it. Our major asks are: the annual Offertory Pledge Appeal (OPA) in August/September; the Franciscan Challenge in September/October; the Bishop’s Annual Appeal from January-March; and what we call the “year-end ask” letter in December, in which we identify a specific project that we would like to fund. The OPA is extremely important for us here, as we rely on our annual offertory to fund ongoing operations of the parish. The Franciscan Challenge is an annual appeal from the friars of Holy Name Province which supports provincial efforts to serve the poor, also elderly and retired friars, and friar formation. The Bishop’s Annual Appeal funds important programs within the Diocese of Raleigh. For the year-end ask letter, I consult with our staff to see if there is a particular project for which we need funding. It’s important to know that we do have a Reserve Maintenance Fund which we have built up over the last several years, and by asking in particular for funding for the new roof (which would typically come out of that fund), we can use that reserve fund for other projects. That Reserve Maintenance Fund will be important to us going forward, especially as many of our buildings begin to age and need repairs. I am very grateful to our Finance Council and to our finance and operations staff for their attention to the ongoing needs of our buildings. If you have questions about any of our funds or operations, please contact Rob Neppel, our Director of Finance and Planning.

Finally, next Sunday January 28 both of our schools are hosting an Open House. If you know of anyone with a child in preschool or grades K-8, we encourage you to look into either of our schools, both of which are gems.

Blessings on your week!

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