Meet our Priests
Monsignor Michael ClayPastor
Monsignor Clay was born in Philadelphia PA, the first child of George and Mary Ann Clay. After several moves in connection with his father’s naval duties, his family finally settled in New Bern, NC where he attended elementary, junior high, and senior high schools. He earned the Bachelor of Music Education, the Master of Liturgical Music, the Master of Divinity, and the Doctor of Ministry in liturgical studies degrees from The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. He prepared for the priesthood at the North American College in Rome and at Theological College in Washington. He was ordained on November 15, 1980.
Within the Diocese of Raleigh, he has previously served as vice-rector of Sacred Heart Cathedral and pastor of St. Peter Church in Greenville, St. Thomas More Church in Chapel Hill, and St. Ann Church in Clayton. At the diocesan level, he has served as vocation director, director of the permanent diaconate, director of liturgy, and legislative lobbyist at the NC General Assembly.
Between 2012-2020 he served as associate professor, department chair of Pastoral Studies, and associate dean for graduate ministerial studies at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC where he taught courses on baptismal priesthood at the undergraduate level, courses in pastoral theology, homiletics, and ritual praxis at the graduate seminarian level, and multicultural ministry at the doctoral level.
For over 30 years he has been an internationally recognized authority on the implementation of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) and has presented workshops on the RCIA in over 70 dioceses in the United States and Canada. He is the author of A Harvest for God: Christian Initiation in the Rural and Small-Town Parish published by Liturgy Training Publications and over 12 articles on Christian initiation and liturgy. Since 2013, he has served by appointment of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity as a member of the Catholic team on the bilateral commission for international ecumenical dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Church.
He received the Bishop’s Medal from Bishop Gossman in 2005 and was named a Chaplain to His Holiness with the title, Monsignor, by Pope Benedict XVI in 2006.
James Singarayar, HGNParochial Vicar
I was born to Catholic parents in Tamil Nadu, India. I am the third and youngest child in my family. My parents and brothers still live in India. My brothers are married and I have two nieces and two nephews. Primary and high school education took place at catholic schools. The priests and religious sisters who worked in those schools inspired me to become priest through their witness and support. I entered the seminary in 1999 in the state of Andhra Pradesh, south India, and was ordained in 2009 for the Heralds of Good News (HGN), a missionary society of apostolic life founded in India in 1984 to promote vocations to the priesthood, to train seminarians, and to send missionaries to dioceses throughout the world where there is a need.
After ordination, I served as a parochial vicar for one year and then was sent for advanced studies for two years. After completing a master’s degree in philosophy, I taught in our major seminary for four years where I also served as Dean of philosophy for three years. Then I was sent as a missionary to the United States in 2016 where I served as parochial vicar, administrator, and pastor in the Archdiocese of Mobile, AL and the Diocese of Baton Rouge, LA.
Though some people may perceive me as a very serious person, in reality I am not. I am a fun loving person who enjoys the friendship and company of others and also likes to play badminton. When none of the above are possible, I enjoy listening to music (though I am not a good singer), reading, and playing with my toys (electronic gadgets), exploring their functions and operations.
The Lord has assisted me in touching the lives of the people with His love and compassion in the past. Now I am here amidst you, called to serve, and feel blessed. Trusting in Divine Providence and in God’s graces, I look forward to serving you as your parochial vicar. I request your prayers and assure you of mine always.
Father Jim Sabak, O.F.M.In Residence
Father Jim Sabak serves as the Director of Divine Worship for the Diocese of Raleigh. Fr. Jim acts as a resource for priests and parishes for guiding liturgical celebrations. He explains that while every parish is unique and has its own, “identity, charism and flavor,” there are standards and commonalities that should be maintained to ensure that our liturgies represent the best of ourselves and the best praise we can give to God.
Fr. Jim is an ordained Franciscan of Holy Name Province (O.F.M.). He has taught at The Catholic University of America, Franciscan School of Theology, and Providence College. Fr. Jim is the chair of the American Franciscan Liturgical Commission and serves as the convener of the Problems in the Early History of Liturgy Seminar for the North American Academy of Liturgy. Fr. Jim also serves as a member of the Executive Committee of the Catholic Academy of Liturgy.