Dear St. Francis Xavier and Nativity of Our Lady Parishioners,
In early March the liturgical cycle will have us move from Ordinary Time to Lent. It seems we are often moving through that cycle from season to season. It reminds me of the Christian journey of life: from birth to baptism, from death to resurrection. At times we find ourselves at different places in the cycle, but we believe, in faith, the cycle always leads us to God.
I write to you this day with great sadness as we Franciscans face a difficult step in that cycle. I write to announce that the Conventual Franciscans will have to withdraw from our presence and ministry at St. Francis Xavier and Nativity of Our Lady.
We have not come to this burdensome decision lightly. Over the last few years our province has been guided by a Strategic Plan. The process of creating and updating such a plan has had us look quite seriously at our decreasing numbers and aging membership. Realizing we cannot possibly staff all the friaries and ministries we currently have, the plan had the friars themselves identify those friaries that are essential to sustain our future. To reach this sustainability has required consolidation. The only way we can do the consolidation needed is to withdraw from some of our friaries, which we have done and will continue to do.
... concerning the decision to
close the friary in Brunswick, Georgia ...
While the Friars will no longer be living or ministering in and around Brunswick, this does not sever our long history or the heritage we have shared all these years. And this by no means lessens our affection or diminishes the wonderful gift you have been to us.
Please know that Fathers Chuck, Bob, Wilfrid and I will work together with Bishop Hartmayer to make this transition as seamless as possible. I have written this letter with a heavy heart but am confident in the power of Jesus Christ and what His death and resurrection mean for our life of faith. May God bless us all in this sad time.
In Christ the Lord,
Fr. James Kent OFM Conv.
Minister Provincial for OLC Province
Most Rev, Gregory Hartmayer OFM Conv.
Bishop of Savannah