RALEIGH — May was a busy month at the community of St. Francis of Assisihere, which gathered May 1 for its annual Founders’ Day celebration. It met again on May 13 for a workshop on “Essential Faith: Uncovering Catholic Social Thought.”
Founded on April 26, 1982, by 125 families, the parish has since grown to approximately 4,800 families. It also runs an Early Childhood Learning Center and a kindergarten to eighth-grade school.
At the celebration and luncheon, parish history and employee accomplishments were highlighted through a slide show depicting the year’s major events. In his opening remarks, pastor Mark Reamer, OFM, reflected on his recent trip to Assisi to commemorate the Order’s 800th anniversary.
Five staff members were also recognized for becoming U.S. citizens through the naturalization process. Congratulations went to those recently completing graduate degrees, including Julian Jagudilla, OFM.
Mark also presented service awards to staff members. Among those recognized was director of music Gene Pipas, who celebrated 30 years with the Diocese of Raleigh and 17 years at St. Francis. Gene expressed appreciation to former pastor David McBriar, OFM.
The event concluded with the presentation of the Second Annual David J. McBriar Collaborative Ministry Award. Commissioned last year in honor of David’s 50th jubilee, the award was presented to principal Jennifer Bigelow (pictured with Mark in “behind” photo).
Workshop on Catholic Social Thought
On May 13, the church’s Franciscan Coalition for Justice and Peace sponsored a workshop on Catholic social teaching titled, “Essential Faith: Uncovering Catholic Social Thought.”
William McConville, OFM, presented to a multi-denominational audience from throughout Raleigh. “Christian faith is an essentially public and communal witness to the reality of God,” he said.
William addressed the deep roots of Catholic social thought, highlighting “signposts” that “manifest God’s intentions for how we are to live in this world” and guide the Church’s social teaching. They are: the Decalogue, the prophetic witnesses in the Hebrew scripture; the Gospels and the teachings of Christ; and the Epistles and the carrying forth of Christ’s message into the world.
Bill discussed how Church teaching draws on the signposts in the scriptural witness, and applies manifestations of God’s intentions to modern issues and dilemmas. He discussed the importance of documents such as Rerum Novarum and Gaudium et Spes in setting a framework for the social teaching of the Church.
He concluded by acknowledging the difficulty of Catholic social thought principles and guidelines. “The closer you get to practical applications, the more refined the discernment necessary to make rightful judgments informed by the Gospel.”
“Fr. Bill recognized that reasonable women and men of faith may have legitimate differences on the particulars,” said Joseph Wolyniak, advocacy coordinator for the Franciscan Coalition. The important thing, Bill said, is that the Church’s teaching informs our conversation and our action.
Wolyniak, who said Bill’s presentation was filled with humor and candor, facilitated the remainder of the workshop, which delved into each of the seven key principles of Catholic social thought.
Updates about other recent Raleigh parish news — including the Save the Racial Justice Act news conference and the 5K Run for Peace — will be featured in a future issue of the newsletter.