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Good News for February 14, 2024

Updated: Feb 15

Over the past weeks, I’ve been writing about yearly reviews. This includes looking back at 2023 and planning ahead for 2024. We’ve been doing this as a Parish Staff. I have been doing it as a Pastor. What am I and the staff doing well? What are our recurring whack-a-mole habits that annoy others and hurt the team? What did we start in 2023 that we would like to finish in 2024? 

We will do this kind of assessment for several aspects of the parish as well. For example, we do not have a clear idea of the health of parish buildings, grounds, and infrastructure. To address this, we sent out “requests for proposals” to several companies at the end of last year. In the end, we chose GAC Associates out of Ardmore to perform a “Property Condition Report.” GAC are construction professionals with 40 years of heavy, commercial, and residential construction experience. 

We spent $3,500 for them to report on the following:

  • Report on all building elements

  • Structural descriptions of foundation systems

  • First-floor structure and superstructure

  • Examination of MEP (mechanical, electrical, and plumbing) 

  • Elevator egress paths 

  • HVAC (heating, venting, air conditioning) including the heating plant, cooling plant, and electric service

  • Electric distribution and wiring

  • Fire suppression and sprinkler fire pumps 

  • Domestic water pressure

  • Water heating and backflow prevention

  • Vertical façade, roof, and stormwater drainage

  • Utilities (Electric Gas Water Sewer)

The report typically runs about 65 pages. It includes narratives describing the property including but not limited to sections listed above. Figures include:

  • Location map 

  • Site layout 

  • Third-party reports obtained for this engagement 

  • Photographic documentation of property conditions showing representative building elements (typically 40 – 50 photographs)

Should items be identified requiring the opinion of a design professional; architect or professional engineer, then recommendations will be made as such. 

Once we have that report in hand, we need to begin a long-range facilities plan. This will help us determine what items we need to prioritize. Which items can be addressed later. How do we responsibly finance the work that needs to be done? As a priest-pastor, this is not the kind of project work I have been trained to do. Thus I’ll need help and serious engagement from qualified parishioners. I’ll discuss that at a later date.   

Fr. Charles Zlock

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Good Things are Happening at St. Raymond!

Rite of Reception

This year 2024, St. Raymond is blessed with twelve people who will be baptized, join the Catholic Church, or complete their sacraments of initiation at the Easter Vigil on March 30. 

A Catechumen is an unbaptized person. Our Catechumens are:

  • Dionna Stanton

  • Teresa Zakarewicz

  • Victor Hicks

  • Vincent Hicks

  • Joexiel Gomez               

  • Jazmin Gomez               

  • Jackeline Gómez                   

  • Verónica McMillan       

  • Víctor McMillan                    

  • Krystal McMillan                  

  • Aubrey McMillan 

A Candidate for full communion is a person who was baptized in another Christian church but who is uncatechized in the Catholic faith. Our Candidate is:

  • Daniel Jaffe

All are seeking to learn more about becoming Catholic through a gradual process of faith formation.

At the conclusion of a certain  period of religious instruction, a Rite of Sending the catechumens to their election by the bishop is celebrated in the parish. On February 11th, the group celebrated the Rite of Sending at St. Raymond's 10am Mass. On February 18th, they will celebrate the Rite of Election. This is held at the Cathedral Basilica of SS Peter and Paul. Archbishop Perez is the celebrant. The reason we celebrate this ritual is given to us in the introduction to the rite: "Thus the Church makes its 'election,' that is, the choice and admission of those catechumens who have the dispositions that make them fit to take part, at the next major celebration, in the sacraments of initiation. (119) This choice is made by the Church (headed locally by the bishop) as an outward expression of the choice already made by God."

With these ceremonies, they officially began an intensive time of prayer and preparation prior to the Easter Vigil. Before these Rites, the Candidates and Catechumens undergo three "Scrutinies" over the course of three Sundays. The Scrutinies are the formal, liturgical examination of the suitability of the Candidates and Catechumens to receive the Sacred Mysteries of the Sacraments.

We ask that you pray for them and their continued growth in faith.


Happy Valentine's Day!


Lent at St. Raymond

Ash Wednesday

Please join us tonight at 7:00 PM for a Prayer Service with Distribution of Ash.

Also, invite a friend – especially those who have not been to Mass in awhile.


One of the best ways to celebrate Lent is receiving the Lord’s mercy through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. As an appointed “Minister of Mercy” by Pope Francis, Fr. Zlock offers several opportunities for Confession to accommodate busy, working schedules:

  • Monday evening from 6:00 - 7:00 PM

  • Tuesday morning from 6:30 - 7:30 AM

  • Saturdays from 4:00 - 4:45 PM (Please NO Confessions after 4:45. Fr. Zlock is will be preparing for the liturgy)

  • By appointment. Call 215-549-3760 to schedule a convenient time. 

Take advantage of this opportunity to experience grace and forgiveness at no charge!

Washing of Feet

On (Holy) Thursday, March 28th at 7:00 pm we celebrate The Mass of the Lord's Supper. This commemorates the Last Supper, during which Christ instituted the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist and the Sacrament of Holy Orders. It also commemorates Jesus's commandment and example to love one another. Christ washed the feet of the Apostles at the Last Supper. After the homily, the priest follows Jesus' example by washing the feet of 12 parishioners. Would you like to serve as an Apostle by being 1 of the 12 to have your feet ceremonially washed by Fr Charles Zlock? Please contact Brandi in the church office at 215-549-3760.

Holy Week Schedule

  • Holy Thursday, 3/28: Mass of the Lord’s Supper at 7 PM

  •  Good Friday, 3/29:  Service of the Lord’s Passion at 3 PM

  •  Good Friday, 3/29: Stations of the Cross at 7 PM

  • Saturday, 3/30 at 10 AM = Decorating the Church for Easter (No 8 AM Morning Mass)

  • Easter Vigil, 3/30: 7 AM (No 5 PM Service)

  • Easter Sunday, 3/31: 8 AM and 10 AM with Easter Egg Hunt after 10 AM Mass


Life Groups


Lenten Life Groups are open to parishioners, family, and friends (pretty much anyone). If you have never joined a Saint Raymond Life/Small Group, now is the time! 90 minutes + once a week + 4 weeks = a new relationship with Jesus and others. What are the next steps? Pick up a flier from the back of the Church (or see below) and look over the different groups. Then contact the Life Group Leader to save your spot at the table (or on the couch). YOU MUST REGISTER IN ADVANCE TO ENSURE YOUR PLACE. Want to know more? Call Minta Brown at 610-329-7256 or email

Details for all groups are on this handout:

Lenten Life Group Flier 2024
Download PDF • 280KB


Church Announcements

Weight Watchers

Weight Watchers are back, and they meet here at St. Raymond every Thursday from 4 pm to 6 pm. If you are interested or know someone who is, please contact Brandi in the Church Rectory at 215-549-3760 or email her at

Church Safety Equipment

Recently, the Parish purchased two items that are important to church safety. A fully equipped first aid kit, as well as an automated external defibrillator (also known as an AED device) are located in the sacristy. Both are on a table to the left of the Sacristy sink. This ensures that St. Raymond has sufficient means to address significant medical emergencies during liturgical events.

Snow and Inclement Weather

In the event of severe snow, the 8 AM Weekly Daily Mass Schedule will be based on the Catholic School Schedule. If the school is closed or delayed, there will be no 8 AM Daily Mass that day, thus giving time to get the lot cleared for the next Mass. Please check your local news channel for school closings.

Tax Time

As you prepare your taxes, Brandi in our Parish Office is happy to provide a statement for your 2023 Giving. Please call her at 215-549-3760 or email her at

Special Collections

February 11 - St. Raymond School Annual Appeal

March 3 - Rice Bowl

Financial Facts

We thank those parishioners who, recognizing God’s gifts to them, make their response in our weekly collection. Your continued support is vital, necessary, and deeply appreciated.

Collection for Sunday, February 11, 2024

Budgetary Goal: $13,500.00

Collection & Envelopes: $5,315.00

Electronic Giving: $8,285.00

Monthly Church Maintenance: $526.00

REST: $1,050

School Appeal: $893.00

Christmas Offering: $10.00

Thanksgiving Offering: $10.00

Total: $16,140.00


Black History Month Week 3

Scroll down to see the answers!


Celebrating Our Youth with Generation Grace

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 at or 215-549-3760.

We are making sandwiches and care packages for Kensington in the school Cafeteria on Sunday, February 25th after the 10 AM Mass. Please join us.


Kensington Outreach

On February 25 our young people will be making sandwiches and putting together care packages in the school cafeteria to be delivered to our brothers and sisters in Kensington. We’re collecting new adult hats, gloves and socks to aid in this effort. If you would like to donate, please place them in the box marked Kensington in the back of the church.


Calling all Young Adults!

Sign up for Fr. Zlock’s Young Adult WhatsApp community for prayers, videos, reflections and events for the young adult community. Click here to join the group.


Family Faith Formation Sessions

"Let the children come to me”

Attention Parents/Guardians: Family Faith Formation Sessions will run September 17, 2023 – June 2, 2024.

Parents with children entering grades K through 7th grade are encouraged to attend. Sessions are held immediately following the 10:00 Mass every other Sunday in the lower church. Enrollment forms are located on the desk in the rear of the church. Contact Arleen Daniels at 215-549-3760 or to receive a form via email. The greatest gift you can give your child is the gift of faith formation. If children do not experience how to live for God, the world will certainly show them how not to!


Connect with Us Online

Be part of our awesome virtual community! Follow us on Instagram and Facebook to get the latest scoop, see fun pictures, and hear about our exciting events.

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Community Events & Announcements

Spotlight on local history

Sunday, February 18, 2024 @ 2:00 pm

In this talk, Ms. Bea Joyner will speak about her documentary project, Oneness: A Black Catholic’s Journey, which began as an effort to document Black Catholic life at Most Blessed Sacrament Church in West Philadelphia in 1985. 

About the Speaker: Bea Joyner, CEO of Busy As A Bea Productions, LLC, has been documenting African Americans through her photographs, workshops, and writings. She began documenting Black Catholic life when she enrolled her children in Most Blessed Sacrament School in West Philadelphia, which led her to produce a documentary and a photo book entitled, “Oneness: A Black Catholic’s Journey.” Cited as one of only four African American domestic humor authors, she published two award winning books, “Don’t Need No Soaps, My Life Is Soap Enough!” and “A Taste of Things to Come.” Ms. Joyner is currently working on her doctorate in Education at St. Joseph’s University. 

Register to Attend The lecture is FREE and open to the public, but registration is required. The event will also be livestreamed via Zoom for those wishing to attend online. 


Men's Retreat at Malvern

Looking for answers, peace of mind, or simply a deeper relationship with Christ? Then we have the perfect weekend for you. So, take some time out from the troubles of the world and join Fr. Zlock and The Blessed Trinity Men’s Group for an exciting faith-building weekend at Malvern Retreat House.

This retreat will be centered on an inspiring message, uplifting spiritual music, over-the-top hospitality and supportive Christian fellowship. The theme for the weekend is Mark 1:15:

"The time has come,” he said. “The Kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”

There will be four talks during the weekend presented by Fr. Charles Zlock and Mark Houck, Co-Founder/President of The King’s Men. The King’s Men is an organization seeking to unite and build up men as true leaders, protectors, and providers.

The four talks are as follows:

  1. The Kingdom: What is it? Where is it? Why is it important?

  2. Repentance and the Mission of Mercy

  3. Time of Fulfillment: Time and the Journey; Completion and Fulfillment

  4. How to live as a first-century Catholic man in a 21th century society

In addition, there will be daily Mass, confession, and other special exercises, as well as the ability to fellowship with about 200 Christian men of all ages, some of whom are your fellow parishioners.

Date: Friday, February 23, 5pm to Sunday, February 25, 11 am (40 Hours)

Location: Malvern Retreat House (35 min from St. Raymond), 315 Warren Ave, Malvern, PA

Suggested Cost: $275.00 covers your private room and all activities and meals.

Please contact Patrick McKay at 610-416-5326 or Melvin Thornton at 215-549-1105 with questions. Register here.


ManUp Philly - Save the Date

Attention, Men of St. Raymond! You are invited to join Catholic Men from throughout the Archdiocese for the 16th Annual Man Up Philly Men’s Conference at Cardinal O’Hara High School on March 2. The Sacrament of Reconciliation will be available, and the Conference will conclude with Mass celebrated by our archbishop Most Reverend Archbishop Nelson Perez.

Scholarships Available!

The Martin de Porres Foundation is providing 100 scholarships to pay the registration for African American Men to attend the conference. The deadline to sign up is February 16th.

Contact Arleen Daniels at 215-549-3760 if you would like to be registered for this event.


Episcopal Ordination

Click the this link to participate in the livestream.


Lunch and Learn


Catechetical Convocation

The Catechetical Convocation is an annual faith formation event that invests in the professional and spiritual growth of the parish through a sharing of theological insights, instructional methodologies, and practical applications. The celebration of Mass, keynote presentations, varied workshops and more will be offered from 8 am - 3 pm. Fr Stephen Thorne and Deacon James Mahoney are two of the workshop presenters.  

There is a group rate of $35 ($40 for individual/single). However, grants are also available through the generosity of the St. Martin DePorres Foundation. The registration deadline is 12pm, March 11th. Please contact Minta (610-329-7256) if interested.  


News From the Office of Black Catholics

Check out the February 2024 Newsletter for many exciting events.


Sunday's "Go Forth" Suggestion from Archbishop


Archdiocese of Philadelphia Updates

The February newsletter is available here.

Please sign up to find out what is happening around the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.


Black History Month Week 3 Answers

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