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February 7, 2024

Updated: Feb 15

Two weeks ago, I provided an update about some of the issues the parish was facing concerning our parking lot and the grounds around the campus. I will be providing more updates as they become available.

This leads me to my next point. As we start 2024, a parish is provided with two opportunities. One is to assess 2023. What went well? What was exceptional? Where did things not go as planned or hoped for? Where are the recurring whack-a-mole problems that kept surfacing?


The other is to look forward to 2024. What did we start in 2023 that we would like to finish? Are there initiatives that we have not done that we can try in 2024? What are the stretch goals we would like to achieve? What occurred that we do not want to repeat? Where did we do well but can improve? Where are the futile, recurring problems that are challenging to resolve? I mentioned both in last week’s homily.

The Parish Staff did this exercise last month. We looked at every activity in 2023. We looked at what we would like to do in 2024. We gave each activity a score (1 for poor, 2 for ok-to-good, and 3 for excellent). We asked and tried to answer the questions listed above. In the end, we had close to 26 pages of notes. It's a difficult and exhausting process. But if you do it once, then you have a clearer assessment of the past year and a blueprint for the following years.


In terms of personnel, I provide each staff member with quarterly assessments of their performance. For myself, I recently sent out a “360 Evaluation” to the Parish Staff and selected parishioners. I asked them to assess my performance. This will provide me with feedback on how I am doing, where my strengths are, and where are areas for growth.


As we enter 2024, I am looking for new and creative ways to engage the parish. I am especially keen on using tools that interest and incorporate our young people. 


One item I am considering is an app called Poll Everywhere. It allows a presenter, priest, or preacher to solicit immediate input and feedback. This can be in the form of multiple-choice questions, Q&A, “word clouds,” surveys, or open-ended questions. 


I would like to beta-test this over the next few weeks starting this weekend (February 10 - 11) We will start with just two questions dealing with the homily:     

Given five choices, which homily component was the strongest

  1. Audible

  2. Passionate

  3. Organized / Easy to Understand

  4. Relevant

  5. Amount of Time  

Given five choices, which homily component needs the most attention?

  1. Audible

  2. Passionate

  3. Organized / Easy to Understand

  4. Relevant

  5. Amount of Time  


The congregation will first be asked to text CHARLESZLOCK622 to 22333 to join the survey. You should then receive the following acknowledgment “You’ve joined Charles Zlock’s session (CHARLESZLOCK622). When you are done, reply LEAVE – Powered by


I will offer instructions on what to do from there.


I will be discussing further parish assessments next week.

Fr. Charles Zlock

Follow me on social media!


Good Things are Happening at St. Raymond!

Lenten 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:

2024 Lenten Life Group Flier
Download PDF • 201KB


Church Announcements

The ashes used on Ash Wednesday are made from the burning palms blessed in the previous year’s Palm Sunday. Please bring your palm from last year to Church so it can be burned to make the ashes you will receive on February 14, 2024. We will be accepting ashes through Sunday, February 11, 2024.

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 4, 2024:

Budgetary Goal: $13,500.00

Collection Total:  $13,324.00

(Envelopes & Collection: $6,874.00; Electronic Offerings: $4,863.00; Monthly Maintenance: $692.00; and REST: $525.00)


Confessions During Lent

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!


Black History Month Week 2

Scroll down to see the answers!



Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday is February 14th. Please see below for our schedule:

  • 8 AM Mass with Distribution of Ash 

  • 10:30 AM Mass (School Mass) with Distribution of Ash 

  • 7:00 PM Prayer Service with Distribution of Ash

Please plan to attend.

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


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

Friday, February 23, 5 pm to Sunday, February 25, 11 am (40 hours)

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.


Catechetical Convocation


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 2 Answers

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