The Archbishop Thomas J. Murphy Award is presented to a parish for its outstanding work in Christian stewardship formation in honor of the late Archbishop Thomas J. Murphy. Archbishop Murphy was an ardent supporter of ICSC and a passionate promoter of Christian stewardship. He died in June 1997, and this award is a fitting tribute to his memory.
The Catholic Community of St. Francis of Assisi Raleigh, North CarolinaThe Reverend Mark G. Reamer, OFM, Pastor
The Catholic Community of Saint Francis of Assisi was established in 1982 from two parishes, St. Raphael the Archangel and Our Lady of Lourdes, which combined had a total of 125 worshiping families. In 1983, a church was dedicated which held 450 persons for worship. That space also served for receptions, dances, children’s gatherings and faith formation. A courtyard became a hub of parish life, hosting social events, plays and children’s Liturgy of the Word. The parish began to grow rapidly. Overflow crowds at liturgies became the norm and parish ministries flourished. In 1991, a parish center was dedicated. By 1993, membership had grown to 2,300 families and it was obvious that a new worship space was needed. By 1996 this became a reality.
Stewardship, which helped propel this rapid growth, had taken root at St. Francis of Assisi with the arrival of the Franciscan Friars in 1987. Consistent planning and a deep commitment to stewardship resulted in a full-time stewardship coordinator, an active stewardship committee, an annual appeal, gift discernment and stewardship formation, volunteer matching and leadership training, and new opportunities for spiritual growth. The parish is committed to sharing ten percent of its income for outreach, and ten percent for student financial aid, as well as committing five percent of school tuition to a student financial aid endowment. A lay ministry education endowment fund has been established, and an “Accountability Sunday” includes sharing an annual report with the parishioners. The parish is committed to communication within the community, and to the ideal of integrating stewardship into every aspect of parish life.
In 2012, the Catholic Community of St. Francis of Assisi grew to over 4,600 families and continues to welcome new people to the faith community.