So many things going on as we draw close to transition! Our school begins this week, with classes arriving in stages on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Our preschool begins next Monday the 24th. Much work and preparation has gone into opening both of our schools, and we’re excited to see students back on campus.
There are also some projects being done on our campus. One project is the renovation on Clare Hall; you may recall that last fall we sent out a letter asking for donations for new siding and windows on Clare, and those funds, along with funds from our reserve maintenance account, are being used for the work. Clare Hall is around 30 years old and there were signs of rot and wear which needed to be addressed immediately.
Another project that is beginning is the installation of solar panels on the roof of Clare Hall. There are up-front costs for this project, and those costs will be recovered over time with energy savings. We see this as a Franciscan project, as Francis of Assisi himself composed a prayer/song which addressed “Brother Sun, who is the day and through whom You give us light. And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendor; and bears a likeness of You, Most High One.” And, of course, with this project, provides us energy.
A few other things: our focus over the next several weeks and going into the fall is on our schools and on planning our liturgies. Because of this, we have cancelled all on-campus events through September 15th, and this will be continuously evaluated throughout the fall.
Faith Formation in the fall will be entirely virtual. Pastoral Care and Peace and Justice events are also being planned for virtual only at this time. “At this time” may be the key phrase here: all of our planning and forecasting is fluid and up for constant evaluation, as we balance what we need to do in these constantly evolving days of Covid-19.
A few words on our parish finances: you may have already received a letter sent out from the Diocese of Raleigh about the 2020 Bishop’s Annual Appeal. As you might imagine, the BAA has fallen short in its goal for the year. We understand these are extraordinary times, and we ask that if you are able, to please consider making a donation to the 2020 BAA. Thanks to all who have done that.
Also, our own parish offertory has fluctuated throughout the summer. It is critically important that the people of St. Francis continue to support the parish. The best way to support St. Francis is via Faith Direct, and you can sign up by calling 866-507-8757 and giving our parish code NC674. Or, you can support St. Francis by sending in donations to: St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, 11401 Leesville Rd., Raleigh NC 27613. We are grateful for your support!
For the three of us friars, our time is running short. Our last Sunday here (at least for Steve K. and me, Jim will remain in the Diocese) will be August 30th and there are plans for a farewell presentation after that mass. There is a planning committee working on that. It’s drawing close!
We also last weekend started a 5:30pm Sunday mass for around 100 people, with sign-ups required, and masks and distancing. That went well last Sunday and so we are planning to continue that, and you can find information on how to sign up on our parish website www.stfrancisraleigh.org.