Message From The Principal

January 3, 2020

Dear Franciscan School Parents,

By now many of you have received an email from Father Steve about the decision of Holy Name Province to withdraw from the management and sponsorship of St. Francis of Assisi Parish. Of course this is devastating news to a parish and schools committed to Franciscan values and heavily influenced by our Friar presence. That being said, when this whole process started the Holy Name Province’s Provincial, Kevin Mullen, contacted the Diocese of Raleigh and the Bishop to let them know of the process they were undertaking. The Bishop is committed to St. Francis of Assisi Parish, and we will have priests who will manage St. Francis when the friars leave in June of 2020. 

We have always been a Diocesan Parish, and the Diocese is faithful to all of the families here at St. Francis.  We remain the St. Francis of Assisi Parish and The Franciscan School, and we are committed to the example of our patron, St. Francis, and we will continue to be going forward.  We will stand together as a school community to celebrate who we are, who we have been for the past 20 years and will be for the future, and take the opportunity to thank the friars for their many years of service.  

How things move forward is largely in the hands of the Diocese and Bishop Zarama, and I have the utmost faith that the Bishop and the Diocese will be considerate and thoughtful in their processes to staff our parish with excellent priests.  While we are sad that we will be losing the Franciscan Friars, we remain committed to their example and values. As more information becomes available, you will be quickly and reliably informed as to what is occurring. Please pray for our Bishop in his deliberations, for our friars in this time of transition, and we join in a prayer of thankfulness for the many years the Franciscans have dedicated their time and spirit to St. Francis of Assisi Parish, the St. Francis preschool, and The Franciscan School. 


Mike Watson 

Principal of The Franciscan School

If you want to ask a question about the transition process at the school, please contact Mike Watson at


Frequently Asked Questions

All the friars have provided what they know, and shared their thoughts and feelings, at all the Masses this past weekend. The letter from Father Mullen about the decision from HNP was available at the Masses. I was fortunate to hear Father Steve Patti’s homily this weekend and his, and the other friars, feelings were evident and mirror all of yours.

I would ask you to please NOT send petitions or emails/letters to the Bishop or to any external media. We are all in a state of shock with this news, including the Bishop. This is a moment when we all need to remain calm to allow time for thoughtful reflection and discernment.

We need to give Bishop Zarama that time, and we need to work together as a parish community with our Diocese to move forward together. I have been fortunate to be able to work with the Bishop numerous times as principal, and, as I mentioned, I have the utmost confidence that he will choose carefully and thoughtfully what priests or religious order he partners with St. Francis Parish.  

For more information on The Decision by Holy Name Province,  please visit their FAQ here: