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Meet our Priests

Monsignor Michael Clay


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 by Bishop Joseph Gossman.

Within the Diocese of Raleigh, he has 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.

He is returning to the diocese after completing an eight-year appointment by the Bishop of Raleigh from The Catholic University of America where he has served as associate professor, department chair of Pastoral Studies, and associate dean for graduate ministerial studies.

At the university, he has taught a course 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. He is currently completing a manuscript on homiletics. 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

Call: 919-847-8205 ext 224

Father Alex González

Parochial Vicar

Father John-Alexander Gonzalez (Fr. Alex) was born in Tuluá, Valle del Cauca, Colombia, into a family of two boys (Gustavo Adolfo, his younger brother) from Amparo Cruz and Adelmo González.

He attended Gimnasio del Pacífico High School and studied philosophy at San Pedro Apóstol Seminary and Santo Tomás University, both in Cali. Previous to entering the seminary, Fr. Alex completed some studies in broadcasting at La Escuela de Locución Autónoma del Valle.

He came to the United States for the first time in the summer of 1992 to study English as a Second Language (ESL) and theology at St. Vincent de Paul Seminary in Boynton Beach Florida as a seminarian for the Diocese of St. Petersburg, FL. After two years of discernment, he decided to return to Colombia where he taught in a Franciscan school and a public school for six years.

As discernment continued, he returned to the US in 1998, joining the Diocese of Raleigh as a seminarian. After completing 18 months of pastoral formation at St. Paul’s Church in New Bern, he completed his theological studies at Mundelein Seminary near Chicago, graduating with a master of divinity degree. He was ordained a priest on June 1, 2002 at St. Andrew’s Church in Apex, NC.

After ordination, he served for a summer at St. Mark’s in Wilmington and returned to Mundelein Seminary for an additional semester of studies towards a licentiate in theology. In December 2002, he was appointed parochial vicar at St. Thomas More in Chapel Hill. In June 2005, he became chaplain and campus minister at NCSU and its football team with some additional service as sacramental minister at Sacred Heart Cathedral and assistant vocations director.

In June 2011, he was appointed pastor of St. Joseph in Burgaw and Transfiguration in Wallace and in June 2014 became pastor of St. Mary Church in Goldsboro. Most recently, he has served parishes in Raeford and Pinehurst.

Call: 919-847-8205 ext 222

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.

Call: 984-900-3406

Daily Reflections

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