RALEIGH, N.C. – St. Francis of Assisi here celebrated its 25th anniversary, welcoming Most Rev. Michael Francis Burbidge, bishop of Raleigh, on Oct. 7 who gave the homily, and thanked God for the many gifts bestowed on the parish.
The parish jubilee coincided with a successful year for the capital campaign, one that raised $4.5 million in pledges. Peter Hefring, chair of the Growing in Faith Together (GIFT) campaign, handed over a shovel, signifying the beginning of construction of the Assisi Community Center, school classroom expansions, Our Lady of Angels Chapel and much more.
Pastor Describes Success of Capital Campaign
“This is a tremendous investment in the future of the mission of our parish, and a real testament to the parishioners of this great parish,” said pastor Mark Reamer, OFM, shown in photo with Bishop Burbidge. Hefring also thanked the parish, saying, “Thank you for the most successful campaign we’ve ever had here at St. Francis, thanks to the sacrificial giving of so many of our fellow parishioners. It is a wonderful testament to your generosity that the pledge wall of participation is filled.”
The parish plans to embark on Phase 1 and Phase 2, with construction starting in 2009, according to Mark, on the Assisi Community Center, Clare Hall Renovation with a stage for performing arts, and lecture hall, Our Lady of the Angels Chapel, and Early Childhood Learning Center (ECLC). Phase 3 will include the Siena Lifelong Center, a middle school to replace 10 modular classroom units on the St. Francis campus; and ECLC expansion.
Bishop Burbidge was equally thankful for the parish. He said, “At this Eucharist, we gather to give thanks to God for the abundant blessings he has showered upon your parish these past 25 years and to ask for his continued guidance.”
Bishop Gives Homily
He continued: “I also take this opportunity to thank all who have served and continue to serve and worship here for the countless ways you witness your love for the Lord Jesus and his Church. In particular, I express profound gratitude for the longstanding and ongoing commitment to the ethic of life, which you preach in word and deed ever mindful of the words of your patron, ‘There is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is the preaching.’ ”
“Congratulations on this blessed occasion in the life of your parish and, through the intercession of Saint Francis of Assisi, may the Lord shower abundant blessings upon you today and always. Amen.”
The bishop preached at two Masses that festive Sunday.
The Catholic Community of St. Francis of Assisi was established April 25, 1982. The former bishop, Joseph Gossmann, asked the friars of Holy Name Province to assume the pastoral care of the parish in 1987.