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Good News for July 26th

Last week I returned from the National Black Catholic Congress (NBCC). I have participated in and helped organize conferences during my professional career and priesthood. The NBCC was probably the finest I ever attended. The location was at the Gaylord Hotel and National Harbor Convention Center. It's located south of Washington, D.C.

The accommodations were deluxe. The food was quite good, and the meal logistics were well done. The signage was clear. The hotel and the Congress provided separate, helpful, informative "apps." The keynote speeches and break-out sessions were incredible. The technology worked. The topics were relevant. The speakers were well-informed. They gave information that was relevant and practical. They also challenged us. "Take the information back to your parishes, dioceses, and ministries. DO something concrete with it."

I took lots of notes (it's what I do). Over the next few weeks, I would like to share what I heard and saw at the NBCC. Like the speakers, I will also be offering a challenge. What can we DO with these insights and suggestions?

Here was the money line from one of the speakers: "We need to totally reconsider how we understand 'church.' Or you can begin to focus on ministries of grieving and depression because your church will be dead in 5 years.”. That elicited quite a reaction from the participants. It was NOT because we thought he was wrong.

I was talking with Father Steve Thorne. He was one of the organizers and presenters at the NBCC. He related to me questionnaires that the US Catholic Conference of bishops prepared for Congress. Initial results showed overwhelming interest and concern about the Catholic faith and our young people. The topic of youth was at the center of many of the presentations. So let me relate some of that information to you. I'll start with "Mass, Liturgy, Youth and Young Adults." The presenter was Cynthia Battle. Cynthia is the Director of Faith formation at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Washington, D.C.

She asked, "How do the Youth Experience Mass?" It's boring. There is too much book learning. On a more positive note, they see Mass as a place of community. They like it because they like being with their friends. It provides a place for the Ministry. What do the youth like most about the Mass? The Eucharist, community, and good preaching. What do they find the most meaningful about Mass? Community and the Eucharist.

Cynthia asked, WHY do the young people find it boring? Because they’re not engaged! We need to get them engaged vs. having them see Mass as just following rules, a place they have to go to or need to go to get something.

Next week I'll go deeper into her presentation. I'll introduce THE biggest problem with youth disengagement in their faith (you won't like the answer). I'll also outline Cynthia's ideas to help with engaging our young people.

Fr. Charles Zlock


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


7/29 and 7/30 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 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!



Thanks to Fr. Stephen Mutie, S.A.C.D, for last weekend’s visit and insight into the need and services of the Pallottine Mission Appeal. Donations will continue to be accepted for the next few weeks. Please use the envelopes in the back of the church. The 8/2 Mission Appeal envelope in your mailed envelope packet is another donation option. The Lord loves a generous giver!


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, 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!


Calling all Parents, Grandparents & Guardians

Jesus is saying:“Let the children come to me and do not prevent.

them, for theirs, is the Kingdom of God.”

Registration for St. Raymond’s Religious Education Program (PREP) for the 2023 - 2024 sessions will begin soon. The program is open to all students who do not attend a Catholic School and are entering grades Kindergarten through 7th. Children who have not received the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Reconciliation, Holy Eucharist, or Confirmation) should attend these classes. Scripture tells us to “Train up a child in the way they should go, and when they are old, they shall not depart from it.” The faith formation that a child receives starts in the home and is the greatest gift that a parent can give and our PREP classes are designed to assist you in the process of imparting the Catholic Faith in your child. PREP sessions are free of charge and will begin on September 17, 2023. Stay tuned for the revised format and time of classes.


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; Candle closet inventory/purging and cleaning;

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).


Racism has distorted our vision for too long. The time to see one another as human is now. Two women of faith (one Black, one white) acknowledge the sin of racism and proclaim a way forward – together, with respect and kindness, rooted in the example and words of Jesus.

This day of reflection will name the reality of racism and its destructive impact on each of us. Storytelling, conversation, deep listening, and ritual will provide a basis for healing individually and as a Christian community.

Philadelphia, PA 19116




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.


New podcast from OSV will center Black Catholic voices

The new show will premiere later this month, featuring 17 guests interviewed by Black Catholic religious sister Josephine Garrett.

NATE TINNER-WILLIAMS June 19, 2023 9:45 AM 2 min read

A new podcast from Our Sunday Visitor will premiere later this month featuring Black Catholics interviewed by Sr Josephine Garrett, CSFN, a nationally known African-American religious sister serving in Tyler, Texas.

Hope Stories with Black Catholics,” the latest offering in the OSV Podcasts lineup, was announced by Garrett earlier this year; a 30-second teaser was released on June 8. The new show will feature guests from around the country sharing “extraordinary stories of hope hidden within the ordinary lives we lead,” according to a description on the OSV website. “Sr. Josephine sits down with friends and family to share stories of pain, struggle, consolation, and joy that encourage even the most downhearted to participate in the hope of Jesus Christ more fully.”

A podcast sharing stories of hope beginning with Black Catholics - the first episode will be available this month, go to or wherever you subscribe to podcasts to check out more - I’m SO excited to share these conversations! — Sr. Josephine Garrett (@SJOSEPHINE_CSFN) June 13, 2023

Known as a speaker and writer covering issues related to mental health, spirituality, and youth/young adult ministry, Garrett has been a vowed member of the Italy-based Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth since 2015. This followed her upbringing in Houston, a career in banking, and her conversion to Catholicism in 2005. Since entering religious life, she has served in her congregation’s vocations ministry and is currently a Catholic school counselor. Garrett is also one of the most popular Black Catholic figures in the online sphere, boasting of roughly 24,000 followers across social media, and tens of thousands of views on various featured videos with the likes of OSV, Ascension Press, and the Word on Fire Institute. She has also written for OSV and says her newest collaboration with the organization has been a fulfilling venture with a diverse array of interlocutors.

“It was a huge honor to serve as an interviewer and receive the stories of 17 Black Catholics from all over the nation who minister and serve in our Church as married, single, deacon, religious, priest, and even a bishop,” she told BCM.

“They are all gifts to the Church, their stories of faith and hope are beautiful, and I hope the listeners will be inspired by them.”

As indicated by its title, the podcast follows the theme of hope—a long-term focus for Garrett, who wrote on the topic for OSV in 2021, in an op-ed encouraging Black Catholics to be bold in passing on their legacies.

“We need to tell these stories so that the whole story is complete and has a voice in the places where there was not previously a voice. It is a part of participating in the hope of Jesus that we may be one,” she wrote.

“A key to unlocking the discernment on how we are each called to participate, I think, also lies in the treasure and talent of our stories. But we have to look at them in hope, no matter how painful.”

Garrett is also the author of an upcoming book entitled “Hope: An Invitation,” which will be available in paperback in early October. Like the podcast, it is being released by OSV, one of the largest Catholic publishers in the world. The “Hope Stories” podcast is available now on all major streaming platforms, and the first full episode will be released later this month.

Nate Tinner-Williams is co-founder and editor of Black Catholic Messenger.


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 (


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