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Good News for August 23rd

In July, I attended the National Black Catholic Congress. I’ve been offering reflections based on the amazing breakout sessions I attended. Last week, I wrote about one entitled "Using

Testimonies as a Tool for Evangelization."

In 1990, Pope John Paul II wrote "Redemptoris Missio." This was his encyclical about the

Church’s call to mission in the world. In it, the Holy Father wrote that the world is not looking

for teachers. It is looking for witnesses! As they suggested at the Black Catholic Congress,

personal testimonies are one way that witnesses can tell their stories.

Personal testimonies can be evangelization moments for people within the church. They are

evangelization tools that also reach people outside of the church community. Social media

enables testimonies to reach outside of the geographical area of the parish. They can reach

people disengaged from the faith. These stories might attract people who might not have any faith at all.

In Pope Francis's encyclical "The Joy of the Gospel," the Holy Father defines what a parish is. "The parish is the presence of the Church in a given territory. It is the environment for hearing God's word and for growth in the Christian life. It is a place for dialogue, proclamation, charitable outreach, worship, and celebration." (Evangelii Gaudium #28).

When you talk about evangelization, you go to the heart of why St. Raymond exists. However, the "parish" does not evangelize. "Parishioners" evangelize. Parishioners are called to be lay apostles. Lay Apostles are people who center their life around election, vocation, and mission. 

Sherry Weddell (Catherine of Siena Institute founder) writes about this in her booklet, The

Parish: Mission or Maintenance? She says that witness is another way of describing

evangelization. No one can be saved unless they first believe. Bishops, along with priests, have the primary duty of proclaiming the gospel to foster this belief. Pope St. John Paul II adds this, however: "Today society disregards teachings from the church hierarchy - unless a compelling personal witness story accompanies it!”People today put more trust in witnesses than preachers, experience rather than teaching, in life and action rather than in theories.

The witness of Christian life is the first and irreplaceable form of mission (John Paul II,

"Redemptoris Missio"#42).

This is where you - O people of Saint Raymond - come in. Lay Catholics are in daily contact with the world. You have natural ties to people who have little or no contact with the church. You have ready access to relationships and situations where no priest would be welcome. Finally, there are a lot more of you than of me. A personal witness to Christ is par excellence, the role of the laity in the church. 

The people of St. Raymond have hundreds of excellent witness stories. Our task? Let's figure out some ways to offer these testimonies. As I wrote in last week's articles, let's use creative

methods that are accessible and compelling.  

One of the parish's SMART Goals is for every parishioner each month to talk to just one

person about the parish, the faith, the Pope, etc. We also wanted to focus on young

people. OK, here is your chance. Give this article to someone between 10 - 35 years old.

They are"digital natives." Invite them to consider helping the parish. Ask them, "Can you think of a way that you could be willing to use technology to allow the people of St. Raymond to tell their stories?”

Fr Charles Zlock, Pastor




As more people have returned to in-person mass, we’ve had lots of questions about joining the choir at St Raymond. If you’d like to become a part of this amazing ministry, please reach out to our Director of Music, Kenny Arrington, at so that he can set up a time to meet and conduct a voice assessment to determine where your voice may fit. We’re looking for people who are moved to Praise God through song, are humble, patient, and able to commit to attending weekly practices and singing for our 10:00 mass.


Brothers and Sisters in Christ, Fasting is powerful for obtaining conversion. This week, as you consider grabbing a snack, hold off for a few minutes and offer this short time of sacrifice for those who are on your list from the past two weeks. ~Archbishop Pérez


Sunday, August 27th, after 10 am mass (time will be approx 12-1 pm).

Calling parents and youth to join our Youth Ministry and Event for 6th - 8th Graders. The first meeting, a Kick-Off Pizza Party, is Sunday, August 27th, after 10 am mass (time will be approx 12-1 pm). Come out to meet Brandi Whitehead, Youth Outreach Director, and the Team. You will hear about several upcoming ideas under consideration. And it is a good opportunity for the kids to meet each other.

Please RSVP to Brandi at 215-549-3760 or



SPECIAL COLLECTION, 9/3 Black and Native American Missions

This fundraising initiative was established as the first national collection for the Catholic Church in the United States in 1874. Since that time, it has proven itself to be a successful vehicle for sharing the resources of the Church’s members to provide for the unique cultural, pastoral, and temporal needs of our African-American, Native American, and Alaskan Native sisters and brothers. Your support provides the presence of missionaries here in African American, Native American, and Alaskan Native missions, parishes, schools, religious education programs, and the many, many diocesan programs and projects that strengthen the work of the Gospel. Your partnership places Bibles and catechetical materials in the hands of priests, consecrated men and women, and lay leaders. Your sacrifice impacts pastoral work across the country and addresses the need to train catechists, permanent deacons, and seminarians for future generations here in many of our neighborhoods and backyards. Please be generous!


Are you interested in joining the Catholic faith? Do you know someone else who is? Are you Catholic but want to learn more about your faith? Or do you want to go deeper into your relationship with Christ and journey with others in a more intentional way?

The Order of Christian Initiation of Adults or OCIA (formerly RCIA or the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) Is a new structure meant to invite people on a path to Baptism, First Communion, and Confirmation.

OCIA is part of an ongoing journey of discipleship that will culminate with baptism and confirmation — usually during the Easter Vigil — but will continue throughout the person’s lives.

It is open to people who have never been baptized (known as “catechumens”) and people who are baptized but never received Confirmation and First Holy Communion (“candidates”)

But wait… there’s more!

It is also open for fully initiated Catholics who wish to do a committed deep dive into their faith. It might appeal to a committed Catholic wishing to develop a more intentional relationship with Christ within a community setting.


Join us for one of two Information Sessions. The first will be with Deacon Bill and Cindy Bradley on Sunday, August 20, at 12:30 PM (after Mass Hospitality in the Sister Rosemary Room underneath the rectory). The second is on Monday evening, August 21, at 7:00 PM with Fr. Charles Zlock in the Sister Rosemary Room. If you can not make either session, Contact Fr. Zlock or Deacon Bill at the rectory. Phone: (215) 549-3760


Fr Charles Zlock, Pastor



Eucharistic Revival – Join Us! Our world is hurting. We all need healing, yet many of us are separated from the very source of our strength. Jesus Christ invites us to return to the source and summit of our faith: his Real Presence in the Eucharist. The National Eucharistic Revival is a movement to restore understanding and devotion to this great mystery here in the United States. Stay up to date on our local celebration of the Eucharistic Revival at

  • Eucharistic Congress sign-up sheets are in the back of the church.



  • 8/20 = Mission Appeal

8/27 Youth Ministry Kick-Off Pizza Party. Come out to meet Brandi Whitehead, Youth Outreach Director, and the Team. Please RSVP to Brandi at 215-549-3760 or

8/26 and 8/27 = Monthly Prayer Team after Mass (always last Sunday)

Submit your weekly collection envelopes during your summer vacation and travels…..We are counting on you!


The Men of St Raymond (Men’s Group) will be having a Meat Raffle Fundraiser! Tickets are $3.00 each or two @ $5.00 Tickets can be purchased in the rectory office or After Mass in the rear of the church.

Drawing will be on Sunday, August 27

Proceeds to Benefit Parish Youth & School

Saturday, September 9

Event: Diaper and Baby Item Drive:

World's Greatest Baby Shower

Catholic Social Services will hold a Diaper and Baby Item Drive. There are two ways to give: scan the QR code (flyer) or purchase baby clothes and gear and drop them off or have them delivered to Amy Stoner at 222 N. 17 St,

Philadelphia, PA 19103, 3rd floor.

More info: Please contact Amy Stoner at for more info!


Youth Corner

Grades 6th-8th

Do you have a child in grades 6th-8th? Please contact Brandi to get them involved in our Middle School Youth Ministry. Below is the schedule that was created for the children. We would love to have all our Middle School Kids involved. Brandi can be contacted or 215-549-3760.

Sunday (8/27)-Kick Off Pizza Party

(SRR after 10am Mass)

Sunday (9/10)-PB&J Sandwich Making for Kensington

(SRR after 10am Mass)

Sunday (9/24)-School Supplies Collected; Meeting in SRR after 10am Mass

Sunday, 10/22-Pumpkin Carving & Reflection

Saturday, 10/28-Trunk or Treat

Hope to see your children soon



Will you be one of 5?

5. For our parish to offer faith formation classes for the children & parents of our parish, that is the number of volunteers needed to make it possible. Please consider sharing your time and love of Jesus with our children and their parents.

Qualifications: love of Christ, desire to introduce others to the joys of a friendship with Him, longing to learn more and grow deeper in your own faith and friendship with Christ. We provide you with simple-to- follow lesson guides that cover the ‘what, when, and how’ to share the Good News.

Time Commitment (per session week): reading weekly emails and reviewing information before the session (about twenty minutes); facilitating a session or being the classroom

assistant to the catechist (one hour). Sessions start Sept 17, 2023, immediately following the 10:00 Mass.

Requirements: Complete and stay current on all parish safe environment protocols.

Ready to help or want more information? Please attend the meeting on Sunday, August 27, 2023, following 10:00 Mass in the lower church. Or contact Arleen Daniels if you are unable to attend the meeting.


The Saint Raymond Church family mourns the passing of Merle Heyward

Funeral Service Saturday, 9/9/2023

Viewing at 10:00 a.m. Mass is 11:00 a.m.


St Raymond is collecting School Supplies for the needs of the children in St. Raymond School. We will be collecting Backpacks, pencils, crayons, lined paper & folders. If you can assist, please drop off all items in the back of the Church or the Rectory.

Thank you for your help.


Attention Ladies

Catholic Women’s Conference

Sat. Oct. 28, 2023

Registration Information Packets are located on the desk at the rear of the church. Please complete the pink form and return it to the basket provided to ensure that you are registered for the session of your choice. Please note you may only select one session.

Sign up early- the event fills up quickly!


Join us, on Tuesday, August 29, from 4 pm-7 pm for our 2nd annual Meet and Greet BBQ for our St. Raymond Church and School families. Food, Games, and Music will be provided. To RSVP, please call the Rectory Office at 215-549-3760 or use the signup sheets in the back of the Church.


Family Faith Formation Classes (PREP)

Begins Sunday, September 17, 2023

Please note the new time & schedule.

On-site catechesis will be immediately following the 10:00 Mass on the 1st & 3rd Sundays of the month in the lower church. Parents are to attend these classes with their children. Classes will last 45 min to an hour.

At-home catechesis will be on the 2nd, 4th & 5th Sunday of the month. This new model of Catechizing children is based on Scripture: Deuteronomy 11:18-19. ” Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your

foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road when you lie down, and when you get up. Parents are the primary educators for their children, we are here to assist you in the process. If want to see a change in the world, it is up to this generation of children to bring it about. Train up a child in the way he should go; together, we can.

Let’s Just Do It!


St. Raymond Church needs you!

Fr Charles Zlock has asked that you volunteer a minimum of 2 hours per month. How can you help? Please see below for a preliminary list of small, yet important activities.

Catechists; Faith Partners (RCIA); Altar server scheduling and training; Altar server robes (weekly straightens, regrouping, and periodic washing); Office volunteers: Administrative support like answering the phone and answering the door. Filling out sacramental forms for baptisms and Godparents. Ordering office and liturgical supplies. Office organization. Filing records and forms. Proofreading articles for the parish bulletin. Moving supplies to the church and office.

Mass slides operation; Camera operators; Ministry to the Sick (phone calls); Home visits to the sick report compiler, communication coordinator, etc;

Weekly exterior campus review with a follow-up report; Counting the collection; Caring for Friends assistant/ coordinator; Church Community Builder database update; ESL volunteers; and Certified drivers for the parish bus.

The engagement of parishioners is critical to leading to a St. Raymond that is alive, vibrant, and joyful. Please contact the rectory office at 215-549-3760, Or contact a member of the staff directly (names, phone numbers, and email addresses are on the front page of the parish bulletin).


The Shrine of St Katharine Drexel will be producing and sharing a video series for Black Catholic History Month this coming November. We are seeking testimonials over the summer!

The theme for this year is "The Seed that fell on good soil" to honor the work, ministry, witness, and legacy of the Black Catholics who have given the Church the gift of themselves and "bore good fruit!".

If interested, please reach out to or to Gina Ingiosi, Associate Director, St. Katharine Drexel Shrine and Venerable Cornelia Connelly Memorial in the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul -, 267-603-7337


Opportunities to Reflect, Renew & Restore

Cranaleith Spiritual Center, 13475 Proctor Rd, Phila. Pa 19116

Gaelic for “sanctuary of trees,” Cranaleith offers serene and rejuvenating space to those who wish to reflect on what matters deeply in their lives, renew their spirit for life and work, or restore themselves from life’s traumas. Individuals and groups are invited to participate in retreats and other programs offered in a spirit-rekindling environment of well-being, respect, and harmony. Cranaleith is a sponsored ministry of the Sisters of Mercy. For program information log on to,


Monday Evenings, 8 PM

Event: Virtual World Mission Rosary

Join hundreds of people throughout the Archdiocese who have regularly been praying the ROSARY LIVE! United in this most powerful prayer, we ask for the miraculous intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary to hear our intentions and renew our Catholic faith as we pray in unity for our brothers and sisters in mission lands worldwide. On Mission Mondays, we pray the World Mission Rosary, created by Venerable Fulton Sheen, in which we offer each decade for one of five Mission areas, including the US.

Location: Use this Zoom link to join each Monday:

More Info: Sponsored by the Pontifical Missions Societies (


Please log in to find out what is going on around the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.


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