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Good News for January 24, 2024

RAIN AND SNOW STORM DAMAGE: Winter is upon us. We are seeing issues related to the latest heavy rains which were followed by cold weather and snow. Water from the 3-day rainstorm permeated cracks in the parking lot. This was especially true in areas where sewer or other underground pipes were installed. The ice froze and lifted the macadam (asphalt) surfaces at several spots around the parking lots. 

This presents a significant trip hazard that parishioners need to be aware of. We have contacted the archdiocese about this and are discussing options. We have also marked areas where people need to be especially vigilant. Meanwhile, PLEASE BE AWARE OF ANY UNEVEN SURFACES WHEN WALKING THE GROUNDS. You are all important. We don’t want anyone to incur any injuries.  

I will be providing more updates as it becomes 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? What are those futile, recurring problems that are challenging to resolve?

The Parish Staff did this exercise over the past two weeks. 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.


More to come as responses are received.

Fr. Charles Zlock

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Community Events & Announcements

Are You Being Called To School Leadership in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia?

The Martin de Porres Foundation offers financial support for Black Catholics who wish to earn a Principal Certification or Master’s Degree in School Leadership.  To learn more, join us on Zoom for a virtual information session on Thursday, February 1 at 7 pm.

Meeting ID: 812 526 9359

For more information, contact:

Reverend Stephen Thorne, Ed.D. 


Little Free Library at St Raymond  

There’s a new little free library on Williams Ave outside of Saint Raymond Church (near the office)! It is packed with books for younger readers, teens, and adults. Like every Little Free Library book-sharing box, this one is open seven days a week, 24 hours a day, and what’s inside is accessible to all. Anyone may take a book or share a book, and you aren’t required to leave one in return. But if you do take a couple of books, it would be nice to add some new options to the library. While I am “the steward,” which is the primary caretaker, and will make sure the library always has books in it, this is a community project. Let’s share great books with each other!

Because it’s located on St Raymond Church property, please ensure that the novels are appropriate—PG-13 and below! I started this little library to honor my father, Bruce Ragin, who passed away from a form of leukemia in November 2022. Please help me keep his memory alive by looking out for the library and maintaining its pristine condition. And if you loved a book, feel free to leave me a note. As a book editor, I love hearing from readers.

Thank you!

Bria, your local library steward


St. Blase Blessing of Throats

Saturday, February 2 and Sunday, February 3

Saint Blase was an Armenian Bishop during the fourth century who had a great story of grace. He was reputed to have miraculously cured a little boy who nearly died because of a fishbone in his throat. Despite terrible persecution in Cappadocia, where he was ultimately beheaded for refusing to renounce Christianity, the faith and mercy of St. Blase lives on in the sacramental known as The Blessing of the Throats. A priest, deacon or other designated individual places two crisscrossed candles around or near a person’s throat while invoking the intercession of St. Blase. It is a way to honor him and ask for protection from illnesses of the throat.  

On the first weekend of February, Fr. Charles Zlock and Deacon Bill will be blessing throats after all Masses. Join us!


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.

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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Church Announcements

Fake Phishers of Men (and Women)

Like many clergy, Father Charles is being "phished" with requests that did not come from him. Hackers get clergy names off the diocese web site or other public sites. The email address they use is fake, but sometimes our parishioners don't notice that. Please be aware that Father would never email or call anyone, asking for help. If the message sounds fake, it is. Please call the Rectory if you feel confirmation is needed (215-549-3760).

Monthly Prayer Team

Monthly Prayer Team will meet on 1/27 and 1/28 after all Masses.

Special Collections

February 11 - St. Raymond School Annual Appeal

March 3 - Rice Bowl


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


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 or to register.


Supporting Those with Mental Health Struggles

Saturday, January 27, 2024 – 9:15am-2:30pm

It is estimated that one in five adults in the U.S. lives with a mental illness. Among children and teens, the numbers are increasing dramatically. This means that every parish and church institution - and many families - have members who struggle in this way, and often in silence. This workshop is designed to give parish leaders, as well as family members and friends, practical tools to help you support those who experience mental health struggles.

Workshop topics include:

  • What do we mean by mental health struggles?

  • How to walk alongside someone in a way that is sustainable and resourceful

  • How to create space where people can share their struggles while remaining within the boundaries of our competence (e.g. acting as a friend, not a therapist)

  • Question-Persuade-Refer Suicide Prevention Training: how to respond when someone may be thinking about suicide

Speaker: Dave Eckert, M.Div., CPRP, Intersect Network, a branch of Access Services

Sponsored by: Office for the New Evangelization and Office for Persons with Disabilities of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia

Location: St. Cecilia Parish Auditorium, Philadelphia

Cost is $25 which includes morning coffee and lunch


Episcopal Ordination

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia rejoices that three of her priests have been chosen by Christ and named by our Holy Father to be elevated to the dignity of the episcopal office. Archbishop Perez asks the faithful to pray daily for Bishop-elect Keith J. Chylinski, Bishop-elect Christopher R. Cooke, and Bishop-elect Efren V. Esmilla as they prepare for their episcopal ordination on March 7, 2024. A special holy hour of intercession for the bishops-elect will be offered on March 6, 2024 at 7:30 p.m. at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul and is open to the public. All are invited to attend. At the Ordination Mass on March 7, seating in the Cathedral is by invitation only, given space limitations. All are encouraged to participate in the Mass via livestream that day. Episcopal Ordination of Bishop-elect Keith J. Chylinski, Bishop-elect Christopher R. Cooke, and Bishop-elect Efren V. Esmilla EUCHARISTIC HOLY HOUR WITH SOLEMN VESPERS Wednesday, March 6, 2024 at 7:30 p.m. Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul and the Shrine of St. Katharine Drexel 18th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway Philadelphia, PA 19103 Open to the Public. Free parking is available in the Cathedral parking lot.

Solemn Mass with the Ordination of Several Bishops Thursday, March 7, 2024 at 2:00 p.m. The faithful are invited to participate via livestream at this link.


Catechetical Convocation


ManUp Philly - Save the Date - March 2, 2024

16th Annual Man Up Philly Men's Spirituality Conference

From Death Into Life (1 Jn3:14)

Attention, Men of St. Raymond! ManUp Philly Returns to Cardinal O’Hara High School on March 2. The men of our parish 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. Speakers include Phillies Hall of Famer, Mike Schmidt, acclaimed author of Back to Life Danny Bader, "That Man is You" VP Mark Hartfiel, and Coordinator of Young Life Deacon Nathan Gunn. Back by popular demand is Mark Forrest, internationally recognized Irish tenor, who will lead our Eucharistic Adoration. The Sacrament of Reconciliation will be available, and the Conference will conclude with Mass celebrated by our archbishop Most Reverend Archbishop Nelson Perez.

Contact Arleen Daniels at 215-549-3760 if you would like to be registered for this event. Registration is free thanks to the generosity of the Martin de Porres Foundation.


Mt Airy Baseball

Attention, players aged 7-12! Here's the best way to be sure you are ready when "Batter Up" time comes this spring. Mt. Airy Baseball Winter Clinics are sure to keep you in shape. Register soon, using the QR code above.


News From the Office of Black Catholics

Check out the January Newsletter for many exciting events.


Sunday's "Go Forth" Suggestion from Archbishop


Archdiocese of Philadelphia Updates

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

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