RALEIGH, N.C. — All 125 employees of the Catholic Community of St. Francis of Assisi gathered on Aug. 15 for a day of prayer and reflection upon the mission statement of the parish on the Feast of the Assumption of Mary. Following a continental breakfast with introductions of new members, of both the parish and early childhood learning center, elementary and middle schools joined in the procession of the holy day Eucharist.
Keynotes talks were delivered by pastor Mark Reamer and David McBriar, parochial vicar. Mark’s talk was titled “Mission Impossible? Mission Possible!” in which he spoke about the importance of the mission of the parish as a “household turned outward,” and the imagination that is necessary to live out the possibilities of mission.
David made a presentation on the “Franciscan Charism.” He turned to the life of St. Francis, pointing out that Francis lived in a time not unlike our own. There were great divisions in society, among the rich and the poor, the hierarchy and the laity, men and women. Francis of Assisi helped bridge these distances by embracing the human person, acknowledging his/her dignity and goodness, calling the Church to reform itself and be a catalyst for peace and justice. David pointed out that Francis of Assisi was a man with a keen imagination, who brought the human Jesus into the lives of the people through the Christmas crèche, the Stations of the Cross, his love of nature. Franciscan friars of every age are challenged and challenge those they serve to make this charism of St. Francis their own and live it out.
Christine Miesowicz, leader of the Evangelization Ministry Group and director of Middle School Faith Formation, shared how this will be lived out during the coming year under the banner of “Growing In Faith Together . . . Sacramentally” (GIFT). GIFT will help the parish reflect upon the theology of its sacramental identity.
“GIFT sacramentally spans the year,“ said Miesowicz. “The offerings and opportunities for formation are . . . connected and sustained.” The first Ministry Formation Day is scheduled for Sept. 8. “Sacraments and The Life of Faith” with John Donahue, SJ and William McConville will be presented. A follow-up Ministry Formation Day is planned for the spring with the Rev. Richard Fragomini presenting a more in-depth view of the sacraments of Baptism and Eucharist.
It was a wonderful way for the staff to honor Mary, a servant of the Lord who speaks her “yes” throughout her life as we reflected on our mission and our willingness to say “yes” as a parish staff.
— Donna Smith is a liturgical communications specialist at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Raleigh.