Last weekend, we heard from David Nerz, chair of our Finance Council and Deb Royals-Mizerk, our Director of Stewardship, who spoke about our parish finances and stewardship. Thank you to both of them for speaking at all of our masses. David shared good news about our parish, that in our last fiscal year ending in June of 2018, our offertory was up 6% over the previous year. Thank you to all who have been generous in your ongoing support of our parish. And as David said, we ask you to continue to be generous in your support. Please note as well that we will be offering an info session on our finances on Thursday evening, September 20 at 7:00pm in Anthony Hall Founder’s room. All are welcome.
Deb followed David by speaking about all the good this parish does – its movement “beyond the walls” – the good work of our parish community garden which helps feed hungry people in our area; the parish mission trip to our sister parish in Guatemala this past summer; the many casseroles brought in to help our Feed the Need program; the many food drives we have which support food pantries and poorer parishes in our area; the many people who faithfully bring eucharist to those who are homebound or in nursing homes; the presence of nearly 900 students from preschool to eighth grade who bring so much life to our parish; the letters written by members of this parish to inmates at Central Prison; the vibrant liturgies and faith formation programs and summer mission camps which involve so many of our people; the bright, shining light of this parish that shines out over Leesville Road. All of it is rooted in what we do here every Sunday – hear the Word, receive the Word, act on and live the Word. We are rooted in an experience of a loving, generous, self-giving God.
That is our foundation.
And still, for many of us our sense of the word “foundation” has been shaken over the past several weeks, with the news of clerical abuse out of Pennsylvania and with the beginnings of new investigations in other states. Also with news of infighting within the walls of the Vatican. We friars, along with many of our staff, have heard from many of you about your concerns about what is happening within the Catholic Church. We have heard from you that your friends, families, and coworkers have asked you, why do you stay in this Catholic Church? We hear your questions. We have also heard you ask what role St. Francis might play in all this – what words might we speak to our Catholic hierarchy, what would we want to say?
And so a couple of things: in the coming weeks we will be offering a session that addresses the “why be Catholic?” question. Watch this space for details. Also, at our parish listening sessions a few weeks back, we took notes. Out of those notes, and out of what I have been hearing from many of you, I will be writing a letter to our bishop here in Raleigh, and I will be writing to him simply about how we have responded here, and also what I’ve heard – your concerns, your frustrations, your hopes for the Church. And let me affirm once again – we continue to pray for those who have suffered abuse and we re-affirm our strong child protection program here at St. Francis.
A quick movie recommendation: “Operation Finale” which I saw last Sunday night at the Raleigh Grande. It’s a movie about the hunt for and capture of the Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann and especially in these days in which we still see the spectre of white nationalism (only a year ago a march a few hours north of here in Charlottesville, VA), this is a good and important movie to see. And finally, mark your calendar for our upcoming Franciscan Convocation, held here on site on Saturday, September29th. Check our parish website for details.
And blessings on your week!