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The deadlines for the bulletin have all been moved up this season so I write these words on the day before Christmas Eve, with a sense of anticipation and light. The big tree in the church, as of now, has yet to be decorated; when it’s lit, especially in the dark church, it’s a magnificent sight. Every year a member of our parish donates this tree to us, so we are grateful.

We are now in a new year, we celebrate this weekend the Epiphany of the Lord which tells the story of the arrival of the magi from the east. They come to pay homage to the  newborn Christ child, and already within the story there is the shadow of a threat, as Herod is suspicious of their asking about a newborn king, and responds with the massacre of all male children under the age of two. The Christ child from His birth will walk in the shadow of threat and death as he announces the good news of God’s kingdom of justice,
peace, mercy, and reconciliation, and He will go to the cross and die for that kingdom. In so many ways, the message of the Christ has always been and still is under threat,  anytime we do not see and respond to the radical message of the gospel in our times.

A very fine book recommendation: “A Book of Uncommon Prayer:100 Celebrations of the Miracle and Muddle of the Ordinary” by Brian Doyle. The description on the back cover begins this way: “Prayers for cashiers and good shoes; for shorter sermons and better senators; prayers for the bruised, foolish, glorious, stumbling, brilliant Church; for chaplains and mathematicians; for idiot authors and muddy dogs..” The preface is titled, “Prayer for the Idiot Author That He Doesn’t Totally Punt in the Pages That Follow.” What I love about this book is that the 100 prayers are all about the everyday and ordinary, that they are not necessarily “proper” or pious, but are rooted in the everyday stuff and happenings of life. And isn’t that where God meets us?

Blessings on your week!

 

St. Francis of Assisi Pastor’s Column – February 3, 2019

Many thanks to Liz Michel who spoke at
all of our masses last weekend about her
experience of The Franciscan School. We
had an open house for both our school and
preschool last weekend, both well attended,
and in her talk Liz spoke about her family’s
experience of being welcomed at TFS and
her children’s educational and spiritual formation at the school.
As I have said before, both our school and preschool are gems
of St. Francis.
Last weekend, we had three baptisms on Saturday morning
and as part of the baptism ritual, a third-grader from our school
named Ashley helped out by reading the prayers of the faithful.
She volunteered. As she did this, I was reminded of the ways
that TFS prepares our students for ongoing life in our parish – in
this case, an 8-year-old third grader who stands up in front of a
crowd and prays in front of 30+ people. So beautiful to see!
We are off and running with the 2019 Bishop’s Annual Appeal
and once again thank you to all who have pledged so far. As we
have said, we at St. Francis are not our own Franciscan island
separate from the Diocese of Raleigh; we are part of the diocese
and we friars serve here at the good will of the bishop of
Raleigh. We friars have made our annual pledge and we ask
that you please consider making your own pledge to this
important appeal. As always, thank you!
This coming week I will be attending an interprovincial retreat
of Friars to be held in Orlando, Florida. As you may know, six
provinces of Franciscans in the United States agreed last May to
begin the process of merging into one province; this is a process
that will take several years. In the meantime, the six provinces
are beginning to look at ways to come together and meet each
other, and that is what will be happening in Florida this coming
week. The retreat will be led by Fr. Richard Rohr, a Franciscan
friar based out of Albuquerque, New Mexico who is well known
for his spiritual writings and retreats.
Blessings on your week!

St. Francis of Assisi Pastor’s Column – February 3, 2019

Many thanks to Liz Michel who spoke at
all of our masses last weekend about her
experience of The Franciscan School. We
had an open house for both our school and
preschool last weekend, both well attended,
and in her talk Liz spoke about her family’s
experience of being welcomed at TFS and
her children’s educational and spiritual formation at the school.
As I have said before, both our school and preschool are gems
of St. Francis.
Last weekend, we had three baptisms on Saturday morning
and as part of the baptism ritual, a third-grader from our school
named Ashley helped out by reading the prayers of the faithful.
She volunteered. As she did this, I was reminded of the ways
that TFS prepares our students for ongoing life in our parish – in
this case, an 8-year-old third grader who stands up in front of a
crowd and prays in front of 30+ people. So beautiful to see!
We are off and running with the 2019 Bishop’s Annual Appeal
and once again thank you to all who have pledged so far. As we
have said, we at St. Francis are not our own Franciscan island
separate from the Diocese of Raleigh; we are part of the diocese
and we friars serve here at the good will of the bishop of
Raleigh. We friars have made our annual pledge and we ask
that you please consider making your own pledge to this
important appeal. As always, thank you!
This coming week I will be attending an interprovincial retreat
of Friars to be held in Orlando, Florida. As you may know, six
provinces of Franciscans in the United States agreed last May to
begin the process of merging into one province; this is a process
that will take several years. In the meantime, the six provinces
are beginning to look at ways to come together and meet each
other, and that is what will be happening in Florida this coming
week. The retreat will be led by Fr. Richard Rohr, a Franciscan
friar based out of Albuquerque, New Mexico who is well known
for his spiritual writings and retreats.
Blessings on your week!

Call St. Francis