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OUR FAITH JOURNEY: Sacrament preparation integral to faith formation

Over the next year, this series will explore the preparation process for all Sacraments here at Holy Infant. 

As Catholics, we believe that “Jesus gave us the Sacraments to call us to worship God, to build up the Church, to deepen our faith to show us how to pray, to connect us with the living Tradition of the Church and to sanctify us” (United States Catholic Catechism for Adults).  Here at Holy Infant, preparation for the Sacraments of Baptism, Reconciliation, Eucharist, Confirmation and Marriage are all integral parts of the faith formation process for both children and adults. 

On May 11, sixteen children in our parish celebrated the Sacrament of Eucharist for the first time after completing a two year Sacramental preparation process.

Second-grade parent Josee Meehan has been through the process with each of her three children. In preparation, parents guide their children and adult catechists guide the parents. The perspective of other parents has been valuable to our family, Josee said. 

"Each time we have gone through the process, I have cherished the time spent with each of them, hearing their unique perspective and answering their questions," Josee said. "It makes our faith new again for me and better prepares me to answer their questions."

Tracy Gentry has been the Faith Development Commission chair for the past four years.

“I am involved in faith development because I think that continuing to explore and deepen your faith as an adult and to share your faith with others are extremely important,” said Tracy, who has been a catechist for much her time in the parish since 1988. In that time, she has taught second graders preparing for First Reconciliation and Eucharist and taught Baptism workshops.

Involvement in sacrament preparation and other facets of faith development have been rewarding for Tracy, who says she enjoys learning and sharing her faith with others.


Oblates Annual Appeal 2nd Collection is June 1 and 2

Please prayerfully consider contributing to the Oblates Annual Appeal second collection.

From the Oblates Annual Appeal bulletin page:

The Oblates are an international religious community of priests and brothers committed to living Jesus through the virtues of gentleness, humility and compassion in the example of our patron, Francis de Sales. Working in parishes, schools, hospitals, military chaplaincies, social service agencies, and foreign missions, the Oblates have ministered at Holy Infant since the founding of the parish in 1970.

Your contributions during this special collection help to support these important ministries along with the recruitment and training of men information and the care of our elderly priests and brothers who have devoted their entire lives to making this world better for all of us.

As friends of the Oblates, you understand the deep need for new priests who will be there with us and for us throughout our lives. With your prayers for vocations and your support for training our seminarians, you help provide countless precious gifts through newly-ordained Oblate priests as they teach and counsel us and perform all the sacred rites that strengthen our faith and lives.

We appreciate your consideration for our elderly Oblates in retirement who have done so much to serve God and His people. They truly deserve our thanks, and now they need our help to live out their natural lives, however long, in safety, peace and dignity. Although they no longer serve in active ministry, they continue to be a profound inspiration to all.

We are indeed grateful for your ongoing help in fortifying our future and continuing to share the spirituality of St. Francis de Sales. We pray that through the intercession of our founder, Blessed Louis Brisson, God will bless you and your loved ones with health, peace and joy. Thank you for your generosity!

To view the video featuring Christopher Allen, Oblate seminarian and recent visitor to Holy Infant, speaking on his journey to religious life, CLICK HERE.

Roar into summer with Vacation Bible Camp

Register by June 10 for the early bird price of $25.

Join us July 7 to 11 from 5:30 pm to 8 pm for an African adventure. Children ages 4-10 will sing and dance their way through the week as they learn Bible verses and virtues that highlight the goodness of God.  Stations include Stampede Sports, Kid Vid, Imagination Station and Bible Discovery. Our evening begins and ends with song and dance together, songs that your children will sing all year long.  A snack will be served each evening to reenergize us.

Register by June 10 at the early bird price of $25 per child. After June 10, the fee increases to $35. The registration fee includes snacks, Bible Buddies, Imagination Station gadgets, and a T-shirt.

Is your son or daughter in middle or high school?  We always need crew leaders and station assistants! 

Holy Infant parishioner Quynh Nguyen, now a rising sophomore at UNC Chapel Hill, has worked as a crew leader since middle school and will return to that role this summer. She says working with young children at Vacation Bible Camp is a great service opportunity for youth. Not only did it provide leadership experience, but it helped her get out of her shell and get to know kids in JYM and TYM.

“I love being able to spread God’s word to young children who are so excited by it,” Quynh said.

Contact Assistant Director of Faith Development Leanne Woodward with any questions.



Parishes display Eucharistic Miracles of the World exhibit

St. Michael the Archangel and Our Lady of Lourdes will host viewings in June.

Several parishes in the Diocese of Raleigh are hosting the Vatican International Exhibition “Eucharistic Miracles of the World.”

The exhibit features photographs and historical descriptions of Eucharistic Miracles that have taken place throughout the ages around the world.

The following parishes are hosting the exhibit:

St. Michael the Archangel Church in Cary (parish hall): Sat., June 22, 12 pm - 8 pm and Sun., June 23, 8 am - 8 pm 

Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Raleigh (Fallon Center Hall): Fri., June 28, 12 pm - 6 pm; Sat., June 29, 12 pm - 8 pm; and Sun., June 30, 12 pm - 8:00 pm

A young boy, Carlo Acutis from Milan, researched and compiled the results for what is now known as the Vatican International Exhibit of Eucharistic Miracles of the World. It includes over 150 miracles recognized by the Church.

In this video, Miracles of the Eucharist, produced in conjunction with Ignited by Truth, Reverend Monsignor David D. Brockman, Vicar General of the Diocese of Raleigh, describes just a few of the Eucharistic Miracles depicted in the Exhibit of Eucharistic Miracles of the World to educate and inspire the faithful.



'Show and Tell' for building updates on June 1 and 2

Our new church building project has a green light from the Diocese. So what’s next?

Our Building Communications Committee will be on hand in the Atrium after all Masses on June 1 and 2 to answer those questions and share updated drawings.

Grab a cup of coffee in the Atrium and stop by to see new drawings and pick up an updated Frequently Asked Questions. The FAQ available on the web site addresses parishioner questions and is updated as new questions arise.

Recent questions include in the new FAQ include:

  • Will there be a cry room or some type of area in the new church for young children who are unhappy being in the pew?
  • What are the milestones that need to be met prior to breaking ground? and
  • Does the plan for the new church include storage space for all the Liturgical décor items that are currently being stored in the shed?

Visit the Building Updates page for more information on our vision, capital campaign and memorial donation opportunities.

OUR FACILITIES: Maintenance Committee tends parish facilities

This story is the first in an occasional series highlighting Operations and Planning ministries in the parish.

Just like your own house, our church facilities need maintenance.

A small group of parishioners offer time and talent to keep our facilities maintained. They take on small repairs, perform tasks at the request of parish staff and the pastor, and provide advice for various facility needs.

They also schedule work days as needed to tackle larger projects. While the committee is not currently seeking new members, anyone with licenses or skills in plumbing, electrical, and carpentry can contact committee chair Tom Mazzeo.

In addition to helping hands, maintenance for our parish facilities requires a budget. Special envelopes are available to contribute to the maintenance offeratory each month. Online donations are also encouraged.

Volunteer with Families Moving Forward for June dinner service

Barrels of Joy collection also set for June.

Holy Infant’s next Families Moving Forward rotation will be Monday, June 3 and Wednesday, June 5.

Volunteers are needed to join our cohort congregations, Hope Valley Baptist and Christ the King Moravian Church, at the shelter.

Dinner service is from 5:15 pm to 6:30 pm and child care is provided from 6:15 pm to 7:30 pm.

Needs are as follows:

Monday, June 3

  • Three volunteers to serve a catered dinner and clean up after the meal.
  • Five volunteers to assist with children’s activities.

Wednesday, June 5

  • Food preparation and service for about 17 people (four to five families)
  • Five volunteers to assist with children’s activities.
  • Three volunteers to serve the meal.
  • Food donations (menu to be announced) delivered to the Holy Infant kitchen by 4:15 pm. Menu items needed will be available soon.

Contact Kim Bauer to volunteer.

Our Barrels of Joy collection will be the weekend of June 1 and 2. Bring joy to homeless families by donating new, unopened, and/or unused items. 

Families Moving Forward offers a temporary home to families with children in the crisis of homelessness. Working together, we create a path to stability and self-sufficiency through personalized services and ongoing community support.

Retrouvaille offers hope for struggling marriages

Christian, couple-to-couple sharing is a confidential way to reconnect.

The Retrouvaille Program for married couples facing challenges will begin the weekend of Oct. 11.

The three-phase program begins with a weekend experience followed by either six or 12 weeks of post sessions. The final phase is a monthly small-group support meeting. 

The Christian marriage program, which is Catholic in origin, invites couples of all faiths or no faith background to attend to improve communication and reconnect. Presenters are not trained marriage counselors, but rather couples sharing their personal stories of marital struggles and the tools they used to rediscover their love.

The program is aimed at couples who are struggling, not communicating well, and those who are considering separation or divorce. Those who are already separated or divorced are also welcome to attend.

For confidential information or to apply to attend the program, call 800-470-2230, email or visit the web site.


Listening Place offers spiritual direction training program

Training starts in September. The deadline to apply is May 31.


The Listening Place Spiritual Center is currently accepting applications for its two-year training program in the art and ministry of spiritual direction which begins in September.

Classes meet 10 hours per month (one Saturday, one Monday) for 10 months each year. The ecumenical program rooted in Ignatian spirituality is for those seeking to deepen their own spiritual experience. It also develops the skills needed to assist others on their spiritual journeys.

Topics include listening skills, discernment, the history of Christian spirituality, theological perspectives, the enneagram, dream work, the mystics, prayer traditions and practices, use of the arts in spiritual direction, and standards of practice and guidelines for ethical conduct.

A certificate is awarded upon the successful completion of the program.

The application is due May 31. For more information contact Mary Grace McCoy, director, at 919-417-6279. The Listening Place Spiritual Center is located at 1703 Chapel Hill Road in Durham. 

OUR PARISH: Ministry is a visible link to sick and homebound

Our parish embraces those unable to be present by sharing the Word and Eucharist. Is this ministry calling you?

The last moments of the 8:30 am Mass at Holy Infant provide a special link to those who cannot be with us: the sick and homebound of our community.

Father Robert sends forth Eucharistic ministers to share the Word and the Eucharist with those they visit.

“In this way, there is a visible and tangible link between the assembly and those who are either sick or homebound,” said Lynn Sale, Pastoral Associate and Director of Faith Development.

The Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion to the sick and homebound are called to serve in the very life of the church, the living Body of Christ, Lynn notes. 

Rosalie Chamberlain, a long-time minister and co-coordinator of the ministry, said that recipients often express gratitude that we come.

"It’s really a privilege to bring Holy Communion to them and to help them feel connected to our parish community,” she said.

Don Stanger, who co-coordinates the ministry with Rosalie, says ministers can sign up for as many visits as they wish – whether it’s twice a month or twice a year. Ministers can typically complete their routes in one and a half to two hours after the 8:30 am Mass.

The numbers vary but up to five ministers typically bring communion to anywhere from 30 to 50 individuals weekly.

We invite parishioners to prayerfully consider being a part of this ministry. Learn more about becoming a minister to the sick and homebound of our community.

Is this ministry for you? Contact Don Stanger at 919-489-2248 or Rosalie Chamberlain at 919-490-1204.

Continue to be alert to email scams targeting parishioners

Phony communications often appear to be from local priests, bishop.

Over the past few months, people in our parish and within the Diocese of Raleigh received emails that appear to be from clergy members and even our bishop. These emails asked for gift cards and money or asked for a response right away.

Scam artists are relentless and often prey on willing religious people and on seniors in particular, as they realize that they are more likely to rush into something to assist their clergy or other trusted figure.

Here is an example of a recent phony email that has circulated:

From: Fr. (Redacted) <
Sent: Friday, March 29, 2019 9:25 AM
To: (Redacted employee or parishioner) <>
Subject: Re: More Blessing (Redacted name) 

Can you help me to get a Steam wallet gift card worth $500 at $100 or $50 denominations for a friend of mine going through cancer in the hospital. He needs the cards to download his favorite musics and videos to boost his confidence on his next phase of surgery and fight over cancer which he's going to undergo today but i can't do this now. 

These tips can help you avoid scams:

  • Emails from parish staff only come from Those from diocese staff only come from
  • Do not open or reply to any emails or text messages that you suspect are a scam.
  • If you are uncertain about an email that appears to be from our office, please call us at (919) 544-7135.
  • You may also report the suspicious email by forwarding it to

To learn more about online security, visit the Federal Trade Commission.

OUR OUTREACH: Garden grows into food justice effort at Holy Infant

You can help by donating produce from your own garden or helping out at the garden at Holy Infant!

This story is the first in a monthly series highlighting Peace, Justice and Human Concerns ministries in the parish. 

A garden started in 2011 from a cleared patch of woods next to the parish center has grown into a year-round effort to help feed our Durham neighbors, producing more than 12,000 pounds of food since 2012.

Just this year, the Holy Infant Food Justice Garden has already grown and donated 144 pounds of food. In April, the garden produced nearly 70 pounds of food, with kale, lettuce and carrots being the top crop.

Food pantries that have benefited in the past year include Catholic Charities, Parkwood Elementary PTA, Feed My Sheep and End Hunger Durham.

Bobi Gallagher, a parishioner involved in numerous social justice initiatives, notes that we are called to value the vulnerable and feed the hungry. 

So how can you help? By volunteering to tend the garden on designated workdays or by planting a row in your own garden. In 2017, Holy Infant’s “Lettuce Pray” program invited parishioners to donate extra produce from their own gardens once a month.

Workdays are Tuesday mornings from 8 am to 10 am and Saturday mornings from 8:30 am to 11 am. Bobi noted that those with home-grown produce should meet her at the garden by 10 am on Tuesdays so she can deliver the food to the pantry that day. 

Anyone interested should contact Bobi Gallagher at 919-225-2457 or Joan Novak at 919-493-1774.

Next month, we will learn more about Families Moving Forward, an effort to support programming for homeless families by providing food and child care to participants.


Holy Infant close to its goal for Bishop's Annual Appeal

There is still time to contribute to the BAA.

Bishop’s Annual Appeal contributions from Holy Infant parishioners total nearly $90,000 as of April 25, which is 80 percent of our parish goal with nearly 40 percent of parishioners participating.

Our parish goal is to raise $109,038.

The 2019 BAA, which kicked off in January and concludes in December, has raised nearly $6 million to support the work of the Catholic church in our diocese. The Piedmont Deanery, of which Holy Infant is a part, has raised more than $900,000.

Your generosity helps provide services that reflect our Catholic belief in the sanctity of human life, the dignity of the individual and the central role of the family in life and society. In its over 30-year history, the BAA has raised over $120 million to support the ministries in our diocese.

Make your donation online to support these vital ministries. Be sure to designate Holy Infant when you donate. 

Parishioners in diocese collect nearly $200,000 for Retirement Fund for Religious

Holy Infant collected about $5,000.

Parishioners from the Diocese of Raleigh gave more than $175,000 in support of the 2018 Retirement Fund for Religious collection. Holy Infant contributed about $5,000 to the fund last year.

In a letter to Bishop Zarama, the executive director of the Presentation Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary said proceeds from the collection offer support for medications, nursing care and other day-to-day needs for older members of religious communities.

Roughly 94 percent of donations to the Retirement Fund for Religious directly aid senior religious and their communities. The fund has distributed $803 million to assist with the direct care needs of senior religious since 1989. 

It’s OK to be Human

An important theme of the Lenten season is the humanity of Christ.

 In Jesus, God became human and fully experienced the wide range of emotions we all encounter in life. Jesus experienced times of loneliness, sadness, hurt, anger, disappointment, grief, and abandonment. That is part of being human. Another part of being human is needing help from each other. God never intended us to be completely self-sufficient. Part of God’s plan is for each of us to turn to others for help when we need it.

So when you are experiencing difficult times, don’t struggle alone. Our Stephen Ministers will walk with you, listen to you, encourage you, pray with you, and provide confidential one-to-one care to help you through tough times. Stephen Ministers can bring the love of Jesus back into your life. To learn more about Stephen Ministry, talk to a Stephen LeaderOur Stephen Ministers are ready to care for you!

Planning and Operations volunteers tend to routine tasks

Acts of service have big impact on parish operations.

Ever wonder who repairs the brick walkway or leaky faucet around our facilities? Or who counts the collection or makes plans for our future facility needs?

St. Francis de Sales said “Great occasions for serving God come seldom, but little ones surround us daily.” In that spirit, our Planning and Operations council works with the parish office to fulfill administrative and operational needs with guidance from the Parish Pastoral and Finance Councils.

Just like your own home, dozens of details need attention. Our parishioners step up in numerous ways to ensure that our facilities operate smoothly, our scheduled tasks are done and our future needs are foreseen.

Opportunities to serve include collection counting, office volunteers, and the maintenance and planning committees. Contact the parish office or click here to learn more.

In the coming months, look for feature stories on the website about each of these vital parish ministries.

Holy Infant Faith Development programs cast wide net

People of all ages and stages gather to support each other's faith journeys.

Children stream in after 8:30 a.m. Mass for their faith development classes, but that’s not where faith formation stops here at Holy Infant.

The parish embraces a lifelong faith formation process that goes beyond sacrament preparation.

“Multi-generational faith formation is the crux of our faith development programming. This model of catechesis emphasizes that discovering and understanding our rich, Catholic faith is a lifelong process. We never stop learning! It is truly a gift to be able to share our Faith with others, a gift each of us receives by virtue of Baptism,” said Leanne Woodward, assistant director of faith development.

The Faith Development Commission, currently led by Tracey Gentry, helps to discern the faith development needs of parishioners at all stages of faith life.

Join us in your faith journey as a catechist or in one of our faith formation programs. In the coming months, you will learn more about each individual ministry in this commission from RCIA to Sacrament preparation to programs for teens and adults. Stay tuned!

Ministries provide "parish in-reach" to our community

Our fellowship with each other extends beyond the pews

In the coming months, you'll learn how to live Jesus in our parish through unique ministries that strengthen bonds among parishioners through community building and fellowship.

The Parish Life Commission, coordinated by Ruth Phillips, offers programs and events to enrich and support the lives of Holy Infant parishioners.

The ministries encompass our welcome to new parishioners as well as social-, prayer-, activity- and service-based groups. Ruth says the Parish Life Commission ministries are those that work with the people of Holy Infant whether it’s through programs to support health or socialization or prayer and devotion.

“Remember the pineapple?” she asked in a recent conversation. It’s a symbol of welcome and hospitality that Holy Infant parishioners know well.

Ruth says that welcome starts with the new parishioner orientation where new members learn about various ministries. “That’s a great time to get new people involved” in parish life, she said.

Indeed, any time is a good time to get involved . Visit the Ministries & Groups sections to learn more. And stay tuned in the coming months to learn about parish life ministries that need you!

Ministries support Catholic social teaching

Peace, Justice and Human Concerns Commission focuses on justice.

Holy Infant offers parishioners ample opportunities to live Jesus through outreach to our community.

The Peace, Justice and Human Concerns Commission promotes awareness within the parish on social justice issues ranging from hunger and homelessness to the sanctity and dignity of all lives.

Bobi Gallagher, a parishioner involved in numerous social justice initiatives, notes that we are called to value the vulnerable and feed the hungry. 

Commission ministries do just that, helping to feed the hungry through meal service at area shelters, food pantry donations and produce from our own parish food justice garden. Parishioners connect with and assist various organizations that promote the sanctity and dignity of human life. In addition to direct service to our community, our parishioners partner with local groups engaged in social justice initiatives such as restorative justice with the Religious Coalition for a Nonviolent Durham and the Living Wage Project with Durham Congregations, Associations and Neighborhoods (CAN).

According to a U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, it is a teaching founded on the life and words of Jesus Christ, who came "to bring glad tidings to the poor . . . liberty to captives . . . recovery of sight to the blind"(Lk 4:18-19), and who identified himself with "the least of these," the hungry and the stranger (Mt 25:45).

Adrienne Manhard is the current PJHC chair. In the coming months, you will hear more about the individual ministries that support Catholic teaching on social justice.

Next week, our ministry focus will be on the Parish Life Commission, which supports the rich fellowship among parishioners.

Many hands enrich liturgical experience at Holy Infant

Once a month, you will hear about individual ministries in the Liturgical Commission and how they support the parish.

The doors are open, the scene is set and friendly faces greet you every time you attend a Mass at Holy Infant.

That friendly greeting drew Joan Caccavelli into the Holy Infant community.  Joan has been a greeter for 20 years.

“I have belonged to many Catholic parishes for all my life and at Holy Infant was the first time anyone had ever stood there at the entrance and smiled and greeted me,” Joan said. “It just made such a huge impression.”

Director of Liturgy and Music Francine Britto estimates around 90 people help prepare the church to celebrate weekend Masses from the greeters to the sacristans to the cantors. Joan is the current Liturgical Commission Chair. 

We have 14 coordinators within the Commission who work closely with Fr. Robert and myself to ensure that the Liturgy flows seamlessly. Our mission is to create a spiritually fulfilling environment to encourage full, active and conscious participation at Mass. Once new volunteers are trained and approved, we work to include them in the schedule for the monthly Masses,” Francine said.

Ministries in the Liturgical Commission support the community by acknowledging the presence of God in the preparation and celebration of liturgical life in the parish. Mass is beautifully choreographed to have meaning, Joan said.

“Volunteers work in front of and behind the scenes to make the Mass meaningful for everyone.”

The time commitment is small, but the rewards are great.

“Whatever we are giving out returns to us tenfold,” she said. Visit the website for a list of ministries that support the liturgy. Stay tuned for more stories about these ministries in the coming months.

Attending Mass and receiving the Eucharist is beautiful in itself, and being enveloped in a warm and friendly atmosphere here at Holy Infant makes the celebration even more inviting! 


Inclement Weather Operations Policy

Severe weather is a year-round possibility that can affect liturgies and parish activities.

Our parish policy follows.

Weekdays During the 9-Month School Year

  • Mornings - The parish conforms to Durham Public Schools' pronouncements: delayed opening of schools or cancellation of classes affects parish office hours and cancels morning liturgy. (Exception: When DPS are delayed as a result of low temperatures and no other harsh weather conditions, parish office hours and morning liturgy will continue as scheduled.) For details, check the top of any page of the website for a Special Alert (see graphic below) or call the Parish Center voice mail greeting at (919) 544-7135.
  • Afternoons and Evenings – Any cancellation of liturgies or parish activities will be announced near the top of all pages of the website via Special Alert (see graphic below) and on the Parish Center voice mail greeting:  call (919) 544-7135.

Weekdays When School is Not in Session (holidays and summer)

  • Mornings, Afternoons and Evenings – Any cancellation of liturgies or parish activities will be announced near the top of all pages of the website via Special Alert (see graphic below) and on the Parish Center voice mail greeting: call (919) 544-7135.


  • Saturday Vigil / Sunday Masses – Regular weekend Masses will not be cancelled for inclement weather unless announced directly by the diocese.  As a parishioner, always consider circumstances which may affect your personal safety with respect to your attendance at Mass.
  • Activities other than Masses – Any cancellations of activities other than regular weekend Masses will be announced near the top of all pages of the website via Special Alert (see graphic below) and on the Parish Center voice mail greeting: call (919) 544-7135.