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Bishop Celebrates Annual Mass for Homeschool Families

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Approximately 500 parents and children from 27 parishes attended the annual Mass with Homeschool Families on Friday, December 7, 2012. The Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge was the Principal Celebrant and Homilist at the Diocesan Mass at Saint Joseph Church in Raleigh. Fr. Ned Shlesinger, Director of Vocations and Seminarian Formation; Fr. Douglas Reed, pastor of St. Michael the Archangel Church; and Msgr.  John Williams, pastor of St. Joseph Catholic Church were concelebrants. Sister Rose Marie Adams, I.H.M., Executive Director of Catholic Formation and Evangelization, and Mary DiSano, Diocesan Coordinator of Catechesis and Faith Formation were also in attendance.

The Mass was hosted by the Association of Roman Catholic Homeschoolers (ARCH) of Raleigh and Cary.  Its membership is made up of families throughout Wake County and surrounding areas.

ARCH’s mission is to promote homeschooling among Catholic families and to support those families who are engaged in providing their children’s education at home.  Its activities and functions are founded on fidelity to the teachings of the Church. 

“It is truly a wonderful blessing to be able to celebrate with our Bishop and with our community,” said Mrs. Sharleen Klas, parishioner of St. Catherine of Siena in Wake Forest.

December 7 is the Feast of St. Ambrose, a teacher of faith. In his homily, Bishop Burbidge suggested three ways to embrace the Year of Faith: “Study our faith so we can teach others about our faith; Show our faith so it can be demonstrated in the way we live; and Share our faith through good and charitable deeds.”

The Bishop continued, “It is my hope and prayer that this sacred Season of Advent and the Year of Faith will be a source of abundant spiritual gifts for all of you and that with renewed trust we will offer our ‘yes’ to the Lord, who longs to open our eyes and to work miracles in our lives.”  As a sign of appreciation, Bishop Burbidge presented each family with a blessed Christmas ornament after Mass. 

“This Mass reinforces what we’re doing at home,” said Scott Flanagan of St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Southern Pines. “It comes at a good time because we have just finished the first semester, and support from the Bishop reinvigorates us for the next semester.”

Following Mass, an outdoor luncheon reception was provided by ARCH-Raleigh Chapter.  “We are so grateful to the Raleigh Chapter of ARCH for all of the work that went into this year’s Home School Mass,” said Mrs. DiSano. “Many volunteers put in countless hours to promote and plan this special event.  It was a great pleasure to collaborate with them.”

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Above: Approximately 100 families attend annual Diocesan Home School Mass celebrated at St. Joseph Catholic Church.

Above: Bishop Michael F. Burbidge during celebration of Mass. Concelebrants were Fr. Douglas Reed, pastor of St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church; Fr. Ned Shlesinger, Diocesan Vocations Director; and Msgr. John Williams, pastor of St. Joseph Catholic Church.

Above: Bishop Burbidge distributing ornaments to children of each Homeschool family.