RALEIGH, N.C. – The retiring bishop of the Diocese of Raleigh, Bishop F. Joseph Gossman, was affiliated to the Province on July 24. The honor came during an evening prayer service the bishop was invited to attend at Saint Francis Catholic Community here. During the service, Bishop Gossman was vested in the Franciscan habit.
Mark Reamer, pastor of Saint Francis Parish, said the decision to honor Bishop Gossman was approved by the General Minister. “This is the highest honor the Order can give to an individual outside of our community,” Mark said. “We believe it is the first time a person in North Carolina has been so recognized.”
“Bishop Gossman manifests in his life many of the virtues of St. Francis himself,” said Provincial Minister John O’Connor. “He is a humble man, generous in his care for the poor, outstanding in holiness. We are grateful for his welcome to our friars in the Diocese of Raleigh. He has always affirmed our ministry among the people of the diocese. He is truly our brother and most worthy of this honor of being clothed in the habit of St. Francis.”
The friars from St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Raleigh; Immaculate Conception Parish, Durham; and Dan Kenna, president of Cardinal Gibbons High School, took part in the affiliation ceremony. Sean O’Brien and Patrick Tuttle, former ministers in the diocese, were also present.
The affiliation decree reads:
The Province of the Most Holy Name of Jesus
The Order of Friars Minor
Most Reverend Francis Joseph Gossman
In recognition of your exceptional charity and kindness to the Friars of the Province of the Most Holy Name of Jesus of the Order of Friars Minor; We, relying upon the infinite merits of Jesus Crucified and of our Holy Father Saint Francis, by this document of affiliation, Do this 24th day of July in the Year of Our Lord, 2006 admit and receive you among the brethren of the Province, so that in this life and in the life to come, you may share fully in all the prayers, masses and other good works of the Friars.
“I am very humbled by this recognition,” Bishop Gossman said. “It is I who should be thanking the Franciscan friars for the love and support they have given to me over the years, but more importantly for the love, support and dedication they have given to the people of the diocese through their ministry and through their witness of Christ.”