House Fire of Staff Member:
Trevor Thompson, director of our Justice and Peace Ministry, lost his home to fire last Tuesday. Fortunately, no one was hurt. We are encouraging parishioners who would like to assist his family with the rebuilding effort to contribute through a GoFundMe link which you received from a Constant Contact email I sent last Friday. PLEASE USE THIS LINK ONLY. We are learning about possible scammers who are setting up other types of accounts that look similar to the official link. Thanks for keeping Trevor and his family in your prayers.
Please see the parish website for information regarding our four Ash Wednesday liturgies at the church, how to sign up for them, and which ones will be livestreamed. I would like to note that ashes will be distributed at these liturgies a bit differently this year in light of COVID-19 safety protocols. For those electing to receive them, they will be distributed in a manner more common outside the United States but part of our Catholic tradition: sprinkling them lightly on the top of one’s head. This is how the Pope receives ashes every year. This manner of distribution is recommended by the Vatican to eliminate personal contact between the distributor and recipient of ashes and subsequent contact with others. If you are uncomfortable having a few ashes sprinkled on your head, please note that the reception of ashes is entirely optional.
Bishop’s Annual Appeal:
We kick off the Bishop’s Annual Appeal this weekend. Our goal is: $509,088. Although this goal is high, it is proportionally equal to every other parish based on offertory and number of households. You will learn more about the many ministries that are served by the BAA in our parish video starring our own Fr. Jairo. His is a great story and he is a priest of our diocese because of the BAA. It will be played at all Masses his weekend and will also be available on our parish website. I really encourage you to view it.
Response to Inaccurate AP Story:
An inaccurate article was recently published by the Associated Press that created the perception that the Diocese of Raleigh is sitting on vast sums of disposable income and questioned whether Catholic parishes, schools, etc. should have participated in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) last
year. The article implies that this diocesan money could have been used to support parishes. The article used inaccurate data and lacked an understanding of the financial resources of the Diocese. A lot of that money is tied up in previously designated funds and restricted gifts that legally and ethically cannot be used for any other purpose. An excellent response to the article from Dr. Russ Elmayan, chief financial officer of the diocese and a parishioner of St. Francis, that accurately portrays the true facts with total transparency is available on our parish website. I encourage you to read it.
The parish was the beneficiary of a PPP loan. A statement from our director of finance and planning, Rob Neppel, endorsed by the previous and current chairs of the parish Finance Council, Tim Throndson and Steve Vebber, and me is also found on our parish website. The statement describes what we received and how it was used. You will clearly see that without the loan, the parish (i.e., church, pre-school, and TFS) would be in serious financial difficulty today because of the massive loss of income we experienced in the previous fiscal year and are continuing to experience in this one.
It too shows how we have been good stewards of what we received. We did not deprive any other small business from receiving a PPP loan. In fact, nearly $130 billion remained unused in this program. I tell you all this to assure you that the Bishop’s Annual Appeal is used appropriately and for very worthwhile causes. Supporting the many diocesan programs through this appeal is necessary because of the limitations placed around larger sums of diocesan money that are restricted. I also tell you this so you are aware of our own transparency regarding our reception and use of a PPP loan. Please be assured we treat your donations with the highest respect and integrity.