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Good News for May 22, 2024

Part 1: Introduction and The Gift of the Scriptures

On September 9, 1984, the ten Black Bishops of the United States published “What We Have Seen and Heard: A Pastoral Letter on Evangelization from the Black Bishops of the United States.” This document was written as a witness to the Black community. The bishops sought to explain that evangelization is both a call and a response; it means not only preaching but also witnessing. The first part of the document was about the shared gifts rooted in the African heritage. In part two they discussed the obstacles to evangelization that still must be overcome. 

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the publication of the document. So, I have been reading through it. It is a rich document worth reading. Part 1 has especially struck me: The Gifts We Share. This describes the gifts the Black community offers, not only to the Catholic church but to the wider community. Over the next weeks, I would like to focus on those gifts. 

Black Culture and Values: Informed by Faith and the Scriptures. There is a richness to the Black experience that must be shared with the entire people of God. To be Catholic is to be Universal. But universal does not mean uniform. Individuals have particular gifts. Groups have particular gifts. Parishes have particular gifts, based on the common heritage of their members. These need to be identified, named, nourished, strengthened, and then shared.

This is a call to a Black community: to enrich and build up the whole church. Experience at St. Raymond has shown that when this is done, it is also a way by which we ourselves are enriched.

One of the gifts involves the Black Catholic engagement of Scripture. It is a huge part of the Black Community. African American spirituality is deeply rooted in the Bible. I have found the Black community to have an engagement, understanding, and application of the Scripture that other communities simply do not have. It is something that touches us deeply when we experience and hear it. It is something that we admire. It is something that we envy.

I have spoken about a $1.5 million gift that was given to St. Charles Seminary to establish a “Preaching Institute." The goal is to monumentally improve the quality of preaching and homiletics in the Catholic Church. The Black community (not just Catholics), the preaching style, the practical biblical application to everyday life, and the deep spiritual interpretation of the Scripture texts must be a major part of that.

This is based on the history of people of color. As written in “What We Have Seen and Heard,” the Good Book was not just for our ancestors. It is not a mere record of the works of God in a bygone age. It is also a present record of what is happening now, and it points to what is to come. In reading the scriptures, God's power makes the dry bones scattered snap together in our lives, in our families, in our churches, in our communities, in our places of work and neighborhoods. Many people in the Black community talk about, and live, their lives from a scriptural perspective. Scriptures describe personal tragedy and victory, birth and death, and suffering and sorrow.  It biblically tells a story of how it ends in burial and Resurrection for all who are faithful. It is awe-inspiring. It needs to be shared. 

The Bible promise points to a better future. It is the hope of the Black community. When proclaimed it is not only a new message but a new challenge. As the Bishops relate: “it is time now to take this precious heritage and “Go Tell It on the Mountain." 


Fr. Charles Zlock

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Good Things are Happening at St. Raymond!

House Guest on the Way!

This summer we will welcome Mr. Bernie Faia as a guest Seminarian housed at St Raymond.  June 3rd is his anticipated start date. Take a look at this video to learn more.

Additional information will shortly follow. God is good!


Bibles, Boots and Backpacks

Valley Forge Hike is Postponed!

Bad Weather Forecast has postponed our next hike, Saturday May 25 at Valley Forge National Park. A new date, along with a second date for the previously-rained-out Wissahickon hike, will be announced next week.


Ministry Moment: REST

Congratulations to Fils Iragena on his outstanding achievements at Thomas Jefferson University! Fils and his family moved to Philadelphia from the Republic of the Congo in 2018, and our Refugee Empowerment Support Team (REST) has proudly supported them throughout their journey. You can read about Fils' inspiring story in The Nexus powered by Jefferson.

REST is always seeking more volunteers to assist families resettling in Philadelphia. If you're interested in joining our team, please sign up here.


Welcome our New Altar Servers

We are truly blessed to have so many dedicated young people stepping up to serve at our Masses, and we are equally grateful to Atiba for his leadership in our altar server training at St. Raymond. Your commitment and enthusiasm are a blessing to our community. Thank you all for being such an important part of our church family! Please welcome our newest altar servers:

Karlie Ogden

Ma’Lan Rose

Vincent Hicks

Victor Hicks

Jesse Phillips

Victor McMillan

Veronica McMillan

Krystal McMillan

Zachary Jones

Paris Rose

Shania Jones

Ella Holley

Kourtney Ogden 

Bella Marion


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.

Sunday, June 9 - Caring for Friends Food Preparation (date change)

Friday, July 5 - Gospel Skate Night at Rolling Thunder


Church Announcements

REST Recommends Hamira's Sewing Skills

Margaret Freels heeded the recent St. Raymond appeal for clothing alterations by Hamira Taheri, a member of an Afghan family supported by REST, who is handy with her sewing machine and hoping to develop a cottage industry while she seeks a permanent position in the fashion industry.

If you have any pants that need shortening, dresses that need to be taken in, hems that have come undone, or other sewing tasks, Hamira is eager to help. Our REST team member, Bonnie Dalzell, will be happy to take your garments to Hamira and bring them back to you when she has fixed whatever needs fixing. Call Bonnie at 215-823-9910 if you'd like to connect with a really good (and inexpensive) seamstress.


Baby Bottles for Guiding Star Ministries

Guiding Star is a maternity home in Germantown for pregnant women and their children. They also provide life skills for future success. Please take a bottle in the back of church, fill it with your donation, then bring it back to church no later than June 1st and 2nd.

Silence Cell Phones

Please remember how distracting cell-phone noises can be during Mass. We prayerfully ask you to silence your phone when you enter church, so that no one is disturbed during this holy hour.

Lost and Found

Have you lost any personal items during Church service and never retrieved them? Please check the bin in the back of Church labeled “Lost & Found”. People turn in items often to the Rectory. All items turned in are put into the bin.

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.

Trauma Kit Now in Sacristy

Did you know that trauma cases are one of the leading causes of fatalities for people over 40? To increase the possibility of addressing medical issues requiring trauma first aid, a "Stop the Bleed" trauma (or tourniquet) kit is now in the sacristy. It is located next to the Automatic Electronic Defibrillator (AED), to the left of the sink.

The trauma kit includes:

  • Tourniquet with windlass rod

  • Heavy gloves

  • Compression dressing

  • Packing gauze

  • Marker

Using the kit is not difficult but does require a bit of familiarity with the items in the kit. A five-minute instructional video can be found here. It's worth taking the time to watch, just in case.

Special Collection:

May through June 8th

"Did you know 1 in 5 people in the Greater Philadelphia area count on the Catholic Charities Appeal for help and hope? We may not notice them, but they are there in every county, town, parish, and neighborhood. It’s time we focus on the women and children looking for shelter, focus on those experiencing poverty and looking for a meal, and focus on individuals with special needs looking for opportunity. Every year, the Catholic Charities Appeal impacts nearly one million lives. But this is not possible without your help. Your gift matters more than you know."

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.

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Budgetary Goal: $13,500.00

Collection & Envelopes: $4,627.00

Electronic Giving: $3,520.00

Monthly Church Maintenance: $308.00

Catholic Home Missions: $165.00

REST: $50.00

Easter Flowers: $20.00

Total: $8,690.00

To our Online Parishioners

We, at St. Raymond, are extremely pleased that you continue to be part of our community via livestream. Although you may be unable to attend Mass in person, please remember that we need your financial support in order to remain a vibrant parish. You may give online anytime at this link.

Feel free to contact the rectory for assistance at 215-549-3760.


Volunteer Opportunities

St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, School of Theological Studies – Registration is open!

The Catechetical Institute provides catechetical courses that can be used towards the catechetical certification program of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Office for Catechetical Formation (OCF). Upon successful completion of a course, the STS Office will send a participant’s name to OCF and they will issue a catechetical credit. Learn more and register here.


Matthew 9:37-38:  Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.”

Numerous needs have been communicated here and in the bulletin. Unfortunately, responses are nearly non-existent. A vibrant parish has members responding to the call for help. YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE! Please scroll below for several opportunities. You can sign up here or complete a signup sheet on the table in the back of church (on the Williams Ave side). We want to hear from you! THE HARVEST AWAITS!

Bethany Team

The Bethany Team's primary function is to serve as greeters to welcome all who attend weekend Mass (5 pm, 8 am and 10 am). The team also guides people in the procession to receive the Eucharist. Requirements are a warm smile and hospitality. A monthly schedule will be provided. Please contact Minta at or by phone at 610-329-7256 if you would like to join the team.


We are in dire need of support from those with basic technology skills:

  • Slide Operators – manage slides shown on TV screens during 5pm, 8am or 10am Mass

  • Camera Operator – manage live streaming of 10am Mass via YouTube

  • YouTube Host – Engage with parishioners during 10am Mass

Requirements are a love for your parish, and a willingness to learn and serve. Teenagers and adults can contact Brandi at 215-549-3760.

To volunteer for any of the above tasks, please complete this form and someone will be in touch soon!


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.


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

Go, Make Disciples: An Introductory Training in Missionary Discipleship

Saturdays, June 29, July 13 and July 27 – 9 AM-12 PM

Event: Go, Make Disciples: An Introductory Training in Missionary Discipleship

Join us for a powerful and practical training in the habits and skills of missionary discipleship. This course will help you deepen your personal friendship with Jesus and acquire relational skills to encounter and accompany others into Christ’s love.

Facilitators: Meghan Cokeley, Office for the New Evangelization, Archdiocese of Philadelphia and Fr. Matthew Biedrzycki, Parochial Vicar, St. Helena, Philadelphia Location: St. Helena Parish, Lower Church Gathering Space, 6161 N. 5th St, Philadelphia, PA 19120

Cost is $25 for all 3 sessions including coffee, snacks and guidebook. Click here to register or visit


Catholic Women's Conference


Congratulations to Father Joseph Ita-Sam

Congratulations to Father Joseph Ita-Sam, CM who received his Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy Degree from LaSalle University.  

His new book, Confronting Situations: A Guide to Living a Fulfilled Life, is inspired by the gospel words, "I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). The book offers motivational insights, real-life stories, and empowering scriptures. Each chapter combines inspiration with practical therapeutic approaches, including short prayers for solace. Copies can be ordered here.


News From the Office of Black Catholics

Check out the Newsletter for many additional exciting events.


Archdiocese of Philadelphia Updates

The May newsletter is available here.

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


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