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Good News for February 8th

I have written about Archbishop Perez's archdiocesan initiative entitled "Called for More." The Archbishop wants every parish to submit three significant Parish Priorities to him. The parish should focus on these priorities over the next 3 - 5 years. He is also asking for 6-7 goals that correspond to those Parish Priorities. St. Raymond needs to submit these within the next 6- 8 weeks.

I received a draft of St. Raymond's priorities and goals when I arrived. The priorities and goals are good and compelling. Still., I would like more input.

(Proverbs 11:14 Without council people fail, there is wisdom in a multitude of counselors). Thus, I am inviting you to attend one of two PARISH CONVERSATIONS between me and the people of St. Raymond. The first session will be Sunday, February 19. The second session will be Sunday, February 26. We will serve light refreshments during the conversations. Both sessions will begin immediately following the 10 AM Mass. (Sometime between 11:45 am and 12 noon, depending on how vivacious the liturgy is that day. You do know the way we “do church” here…)

I also have two special requests. First, I am asking parishioners to personally invite and bring young people to the sessions. Second, I am also asking you to invite and bring people who have not been to Saint Raymond's in a while. I am interested in knowing why these two groups are not coming or are no longer involved with the parish. I look forward to meeting you and hearing what you say.

The timing of these discussions is providential. The National Black Catholic Congress (NBCC) will convene between July 20 of July 22. This year the Congress is in Baltimore. In preparation for the Congress, a Day of Reflection was held last week. The Office for Black Catholics of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia sponsored the event. The Missionary Sisters of the Most Blessed Trinity hosted the event at their Mother Boniface Retreat Center.

Several people from St. Raymond played a significant part in the success of the day. Most notable were two young parishioners, Mason and London Powell. They gave a witness testimony of their experience helping people in need during the Christmas season.

The National Black Catholic Congress meets every five years. The first Congress was held in 1889 in Washington D.C. Fr. Stephen Thorne opened up this year's Day of Reflection by providing a history of the Congress. He has been attending the Congress even before he was ordained to the priesthood. He provided an overview of the history of the NBCC. He also outlined the importance of the Congress today.

During the 1889 Congress, Father Augustus Tolton celebrated high mass. Reverend Tolton was the first recognized black American priest in the United States. He was born as a slave in America and grew up during the time of the Civil War. He later went to a seminary in Rome, because no American seminary would accept him. Also, during the 1889 Congress, 200 delegates met with President Grover Cleveland.

Fr. Thorne asked a poignant question. “What are the odds that the President of the United States, who is Roman Catholic, will come to Baltimore and meet with the National Black Catholic Congress this year? Probably rather small. The question is, why? Grover Cleveland came from a Presbyterian family. Yet he felt it was important to meet with the Black Catholic Congress. This occurred during the difficult post-Civil War period of Reconstruction. Why don’t we carry the weight and the gravitas today that we had back in 1889?

Over the next several weeks, I would like to pose such questions to the people of Saint Raymond. What are the overwhelming strengths on which we can build? Where are the areas in our parish that are lacking? Where do we find the resources, intentionality, creativity, and courage to address these areas?

Fr. Charles

A Place At the Table: African Americans On the Path to Sainthood,” a documentary released this year by Stella Maris Films, was crowdfunded in early 2021 and covers the exceptional lives of the six venerated US Black Catholics. Simply put, the two-hour film drew me in from start to finish and touched me in a surprising way.

While we are all called to be saints, those who have lived particularly heroic and virtuous lives often enter the canonization process by way of their religious community and/or local diocese. “A Place At the Table” goes into detail on Venerable Pierre Toussaint, Servant of God Mary Lange, Venerable Henriette DeLille, Venerable Augustus Tolton, Servant of God Julia Greeley, and Servant of God Thea Bowman.

Be sure to see this amazing film! A Place at the Table can be viewed on Formed.Org

Please pray for these six venerated US Black Catholics.



Congress XIII (2023)

Announcing the Congress Theme — “Write the Vision:

A Prophetic Call to Thrive”

July 20-23, 2023

The Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center

201 Waterfront Street, National Harbor, MD 20745

You are Cordially invited to the

Installation of Fr. Charles Zlock

as Pastor of St. Raymond of Penafort

Roman Catholic Church in Philadelphia

Sunday, March 5, 2023

at the 10:00 AM Mass

Luncheon - Reception to follow after Mass.

Use this link

Sign-up sheets in Church or contact the office at (215) 549-3760

if you plan to attend the Luncheon.

*******Please RSVP by 2/26/23 ********

How will the month of February enrich your knowledge of Black History (in the world, our nation, our city, and our neighborhood? There is much to learn and much to share. What is your plan? There are things to do in Philadelphia.


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 flyer from the back of the Church and look over the different groups. Then make a phone call to the Life Group Leader to save your spot at the table (or on the couch). YOU MUST REGISTER IN ADVANCE TO ENSURE YOUR PLACE AT THE TABLE. Want to know more? Call Minta Brown at 610-329-7256 or email More information on this handout:

2023 Lenten Life Group Flyer.doc
Download PDF • 140KB

Home Going Service


Joseph H. Black


February 10, 2023

at St. Raymond of Penafort Church

Viewing at 9:00 AM Funeral is at 10:00 AM

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 over the next few weekends so it can be burned to make the ashes you will receive on February 22, 2023 - Ash Wednesday ashes. We will be accepting Ashes through Sunday, February 19, 2023.

Ashes will be given out on

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

At the 8:00 AM Mass

10:30 AM School Mass

7:00 PM Mass

St. Malachy’s Catholic Church

1429 N. 11th St Phila. Pa 19122

Presents “The Source” Holy Hour with Music

Come, Receive The Lord’s Mercy & Healing

Confessions are Available at 6:30 pm

On the following Dates

Feb. 18th, March 18th, April 15th & May 20th

Social to follow.

Permanent Deacon of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia assigned to St. Athanasius Parish located in West Oak Lane. Deacon James was ordained on June 6, 2004. He is responsible for teaching the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults and instructing a bible study class at St. Athanasius Parish. He is currently employed as the Associate Director of the Shrine of the Miraculous Medal in East Germantown. He is also an instructor in Homiletics for the Permanent Diaconate Program of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Attention! Attention! Men of St. Raymond Save the Date March 4, 2023

15th Annual Man UpPhilly

Men’s Conference

March 4, 2023

Join other Brothers in Christ for

this special experience and stand

united as true Men of God.

Cardinal O’Hara, High School

St John Vianney Hall Theater.

1701 S. Sproul Road, Springfield, PA 19064


His Eminence, Timothy Cardinal Dolan

Archbishop of New York

Deacon James Mahoney

St. Athanasius Parish

Assoc. Director Miraculous Medal Shrine

Jim Wahlberg

Producer, Writer, Film Director

and Catholic Revert

Music By Mark Forrest, (Irish Tenor)

Archbishop Nelson Perez,

Mass Celebrant

To register for this event contact

Arleen Daniels at 215-549-3760

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,

2/6/23 Saint Paul Miki, priest and martyr, and his companions, martyrs. Nagasaki, Japan, is familiar to Americans as the city on which the second atomic bomb was dropped, immediately killing over 37,000 people. Three and a half centuries before, 26 martyrs of Japan were crucified on a hill, now known as the Holy Mountain, overlooking Nagasaki. Among them were priests, brothers, laymen, Franciscans, Jesuits, and members of the Secular Franciscan Order; there were catechists, doctors, simple artisans, servants, old men, and innocent children—all united in common faith and love for Jesus and his Church. Brother Paul Miki, a Jesuit and a native of Japan, has become the best-known among the martyrs of Japan. While hanging upon a cross, Paul Miki preached to the people gathered for the execution: “The sentence of judgment says these men came to Japan from the Philippines, but I did not come from any other country. I am a true Japanese. The only reason for my being killed is that I have taught the doctrine of Christ. I certainly did teach the doctrine of Christ. I thank God it is for this reason I die. I believe that I am telling only the truth before I die. I know you believe me and I want to say to you all once again: Ask Christ to help you to become happy. I obey Christ. After Christ’s example, I forgive my persecutors. I do not hate them. I ask God to have pity on all, and I hope my blood will fall on my fellow men as a fruitful rain.” When missionaries returned to Japan in the 1860s, at first they found no trace of Christianity. But after establishing themselves they found that thousands of Christians lived around Nagasaki and that they had secretly preserved the faith. Beatified in 1627, the martyrs of Japan were finally canonized in 1862.

On February 8, the Church commemorates the life of St. Josephine Bakhita, a Canossian Sister who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in Sudan. Josephine Bakhita was born in 1869, in a small village in the Darfur region of Sudan. She was kidnapped while working in the fields with her family and subsequently sold into slavery. Her captors asked for her name but she was too terrified to remember so they named her “Bakhita,” which means “fortunate” in Arabic.

Retrospectively, Bakhita was very fortunate, but the first years of her life do not necessarily attest to it. She was tortured by her various owners who branded her, beat and cut her. In her biography, she notes one particularly terrifying moment when one of her masters cut her 114 times and poured salt in her wounds to ensure that the scars remained. “I felt I was going to die any moment, especially when they rubbed me in with the salt,” Bakhita wrote.

She bore her suffering valiantly though she did not know Christ or the redemptive nature of suffering. She also had a certain awe for the world and its creator. “Seeing the sun, the moon, and the stars, I said to myself: 'Who could be the Master of these beautiful things?' And I felt a great desire to see Him, to know Him, and to pay Him homage.”

After being sold a total of five times, Bakhita was purchased by Callisto Legnani, the Italian consul in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan. Two years later, he took Bakhita to Italy to work as a nanny for his colleague, Augusto Michieli. He, in turn, sent Bakhita to accompany his daughter to a school in Venice run by the Canossian Sisters.

Bakhita felt called to learn more about the Church, and was baptized with the name “Josephine Margaret.” In the meantime, Michieli wanted to take Josephine and his daughter back to Sudan, but Josephine refused to return. The disagreement escalated and was taken to the Italian courts where it was ruled that Josephine could stay in Italy because she was a free woman.

Slavery was not recognized in Italy and it had also been illegal in Sudan since before Josephine had been born. Josephine remained in Italy and decided to enter Canossians in 1893. She made her profession in 1896 and was sent to Northern Italy, where she dedicated her life to assisting her community and teaching others to love God. She was known for her smile, gentleness, and holiness.

She even went on record saying, “If I were to meet the slave-traders who kidnapped me and even those who tortured me, I would kneel and kiss their hands, for if that did not happen, I would not be a Christian and Religious today.” St. Josephine was beatified in 1992 and canonized shortly after on October 2000 by Pope John Paul II. She is the first person to be canonized from Sudan and is the patron saint of the country.

2/10/23 Saint Scholastica, Virgin, sister of St. Benedict, consecrated her life to God from her earliest youth. After her brother went to Monte Cassino, where he established his famous monastery, she took up her abode in the neighborhood at Plombariola, where she founded and governed a monastery of nuns, about five miles from that of St. Benedict, who, it appears, also directed his sister and her nuns. She visited her brother once a year, and as she was not allowed to enter his monastery, he went in company with some of his brethren to meet her at a house some distance away. These visits were spent conferring together on spiritual matters. On one occasion they had passed the time as usual in prayer and pious conversation and in the evening they sat down to take their reflection. St. Scholastica begged her brother to remain until the next day. St. Benedict refused to spend the night outside his monastery. She had recourse to prayer and a furious thunderstorm burst so that neither St. Benedict nor any of his companions could return home. They spent the night in spiritual conferences. The next morning they parted to meet no more on earth. Three days later St. Scholastica died, and her holy brother beheld her soul in a vision as it ascended into heaven. He sent his brethren to bring her body to his monastery and laid it in the tomb he had prepared for himself. She died about the year 543, and St. Benedict followed her soon after. Her feast day is February 10th.

The Martin de Porres Foundation will cover fees for those needing assistance to attend the Break every Chain Retreat.

Archbishop’s Texting Challenge - Sign Up now!

Volunteers are needed to resume pew-to-pew collections. Please see a staff member, or call the office at 215-549-3760

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