Last week I started talking about something called "formation." Formation is a key aspect of anyone who is not only serious about their faith. It is key to a healthy and thriving person. It takes a holistic approach to all aspects of a disciple’s life. There are some problems associated with formation in today's world. Problem #1 deals with being a lay disciple (That's you). There is an enormous gap between the Church‘s vision of what a lay disciple is and the lived experience of most men and women. The blame for this can be placed at the feet of the parish, priests, and pastors in particular. I remember having a revelation about this while I was attending St. Charles Seminary. The material that we were receiving was exciting, engaging, and relevant. I remember leaning on my hands, thinking, “Why have I never heard anything like this in the Parish?” Add up all priests, religious, deacons, and seminarians in the United States. They comprise only .2% of the entire Catholic body. That means that 99.8% of Catholics or lay people. The church has called that 98% to go out and make an impact in the world. In other words, the Church calls lay people to preach the relevance of the gospel to the world. Priests, deacons, and religious receive years of pastoral, human, and spiritual training. They need this to do their tasks. It is unthinkable that priests, deacons, or religious could fulfill their roles otherwise. Yet that is exactly the case with lay people. We give them a mission then don’t give them the tools to do it. Instead, we have trained our people to come to church, to sit passively in the pews, and receive the spiritual and sacramental goods of the church. Lay members of St. Raymond are more than mere recipients of what the clergy doles out. You are not spiritual customers and consumers. You are also not called to only be parish volunteers. You are apostles! You are people called to go out and transform the world and make it better. Problem #2 involves the approach that the church has used to address this issue. We have tried to teach our way to a solution. We have presented principles and information. We provide catechesis and religious education. We expect this approach will change the way people look at themselves, the church, the mission, and their role in that mission. Unfortunately, this is one of the least effective ways to do this. The most effective way is personal experience. The second effective way is through witnesses. This includes the experiences of others whom we trust and admire. We catechize people through Catholic schools, PREP, CCD, and RCIA. We then sacramentalize them. We offer First Penance, First Communion, and Confirmation. We never evangelized them. The order is backward. We need to evangelize them first. Next, we can adapt religious instruction to the spiritual level they are at. Then we can administer the sacraments. In this way, they experience a fruitful spiritual life that puts them on a “mission journey.” Instead, Catholics who went to Catholic school have left the church over the past few decades. They have left by the millions! We should not be surprised. We never talked to them about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We never taught them that this was not only an option but a necessity. Thus, a majority of Catholics do not believe that one can have a personal relationship with God. The situation with our youth today is even worse. They have been taught to question whether there even is a God. Whether one can have a relationship with a deity is even more far-fetched. They have been taught to be skeptical of truth, values, and things that are transcendent. This means a pre-evangelization stage is needed first. We have to engage them with these big questions. We have to address the doubts that they have in their minds. Only then can we begin to talk about anything like religion or sacraments. Yet, there is good news. These challenges are known. Dedicated priests, bishops, and concerned lay Catholics are on fire for the Lord. They not only want to do something about it. They already are.
Over the past 20 years, the Church is beginning to pivot to address today’s reality. The quality of the materials available to do this task is remarkable. They are of high quality, and the quantity is growing. It’s an exciting time. Did you know that you have a duty to a high-quality, personal, custom-made formation program? Did you know that you also have a right to this? Next week I want to touch upon that and bring in the idea of discernment.
Fr. Charles Zlock
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 7 th. 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.
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 phillyeucharisticrevival.org.
Special collection 7/2 = Campaign for Human Development
7/10 Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist Information Session ( 7:00 PM in the Church)
7/22, 7/23 World Mission Appeal: Pallotine Missionaries will be present
7/29 and 7/30 Monthly Prayer Team after Mass (always last Sunday)
Please extend congratulations to the following who shared their good news:
Trina Morris-Graduated from 1st Grade
Anala Paris Boyd-Graduated high school and will be attending Widener University on a full Scholarship.
Wes Matthews-Graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. He will be attending Harvard Divinity School in the Fall.
Eli Matthews-Graduated from Devon Prep. He will be attending Case Western Reserve University in the Fall
Ma’Lan Rose-Graduated from the 5th Grade at Excelsior School of Philadelphia.
Gabrielle Daniels-Graduated from Cheltenham High School
Corrine Chapolini-Graduated from Waldron Mercy Academy. She received the Matt Brannau Award for Leadership. Also, an award for Character & Sportsmanship. She will attend Merion Mercy Academy in the Fall.
Alexis Therese Sharp-Received her MastersMaster of Education & Special Education from Cabrini University.
Emily Ruzicka- Received her Masters of Public Health at Temple University
Kiah Johnson-Graduated summa cum laude
from West Chester University.
Congratulations to our 8 th Grade Students
from St Raymond School!! May God guide
you on your journey to High School!!
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, www.cranaleith.org
CALLING ALL SINGERS!
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 Tua20523@temple.edu 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.
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
Saturday, July 8 – Sunday, July 16
Event: Novena to Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Our Annual Parish Novena to Our Lady of Mount Carmel begins on Saturday, July 8th, at the 5 PM Vigil Mass. For nine consecutive evenings, we will honor Our Lady with devotion and prayer. Throughout the Novena, which will take place at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, Doylestown, speakers will lead us in prayer, psalms, meditations, devotions, and preaching.
Location: Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Doylestown.
Our Parish Website:www.ourladymtcarmel.org
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: https://zoom.us/s/494480541
More Info: Sponsored by the Pontifical Missions Societies (phillymissions.org)
Continue to Stay safe as you travel during this July 4th Holiday
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!
Please log in to find out what is going on around the Archdiocese of Philadelphia