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Good News for May 24th

We just finished our primary elections in Philadelphia and elsewhere. Citizens across the nation went to the polls to decide who they wanted to represent them.

The word ‘determine’, in American usage, sits nicely on the hinge of the question of right or wrong. When the government determines the rate of income tax, that is one thing. When the Surgeon General determines that smoking is harmful, that is something totally different. They are two different kinds of ‘determinations’, reached in different ways, BUT one is reformable, and one is irreformable.

And what about the church? I recently read an article by the Catholic app “Universalis” about the Church and its decisions. Outsiders are often under the impression that the Church decides things. For instance, they think that saying that this or that kind of action is morally right or wrong is a decision, rather than a determination of fact.

It is convenient, in a world where journalists see everything as political, to treat doctrine as what we decide to believe. This is erroneous reasoning and also potentially dangerous. In the end, the whole point of our encounter with God is that it is an encounter with Truth Itself, whereas if everything is politics, then nothing is definitely true. If we argue for long enough, or we are the political party in power, we can decide that apples fall upwards.

Theology is a science. It determines things in the Surgeon General sense, not in the tax sense. When we decide that we all need to celebrate Easter on the same date, and then argue about which date, that is like tax or deciding which side of the road to drive on. It is not science. This is not about truth. It is about guidelines and liturgical procedures. It is not theology either, but religion. Theology asks ‘What is true?’ while religion asks ‘What shall we do about it?’, much like engineering asks ‘The laws of physics are given. What shall we do about it all?’

Theology is a science, and it uses the methods of science. That is not some unrealistic aspiration. It is not an invention of medieval academics. We see it in action at the Council of Jerusalem in the reading from the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 13;1-31). Science has data, and a scientific discussion starts from the data and makes sense of them. So, during the Council of Jerusalem, the Council heard one important item of data – the descent of the Holy Spirit onto the family of the Gentile Cornelius. This conflicted with certain ideas of what it meant to be chosen, and righteousness, and justification – ideas which have themselves come from other data, from the accumulation of scripture and salvation history. The scientific task is to make sense of the whole. Even in Luke’s compressed account, it is clear that the Council is not having a ‘What shall we choose to say?’ discussion but a ‘What is true?’ discussion: that is to say, a scientific one. Such discussions are of a fundamentally different nature from political or decision-making ones. It is not about getting a majority on the committee. It is about taking the data, however discordant they may seem, and making sense of them all. That is what science is. Is this an impossible goal, or a possible one? In the case of the physical world, we believe that it can be done because we believe that the physical world really exists. When it comes to theological matters, we know that it can be done because we know that we are commanded to love the Lord our God with all our mind: that is to say, we are told that God makes sense. Arguments will never cease, of course. That is the glory of having one race made up of many minds. But we do need to remember that when we believe, the root of our belief is not a decision (let’s all drive on the right or let’s all drive on the left) but the truth. Then our arguments, and even our disagreements, can be truly scientific in the original, root sense, of the word: ‘productive of knowledge’.

Fr. Charles Zlock



On March 21 of this year, a fire broke out in the school of Our Mother of Consolation Parish in Chestnut Hill. The terrible irony was that the parish and school were in the final stages of a capital campaign to provide improvements to the school.

An appeal was made to St. Raymond Parish to assist. Eventually, the parish took up a collection and sent funds over to OMC. A number of individual parishioners likewise sent over personal donations.

I recently received a thank you note from Fr. John Fisher, OSFS, their Pastor. I would like to share that with you:


My formal and heartfelt thanks for your parish and the personal gifts to our OMC Fire Recovery Fund. It is most appreciated.

Please know that as a parish we pray weekly for all our benefactors. You are in that great company. Thanks!


Fr. John"


St. Raymond of Penafort

“Called for More”

Parish Priorities and SMART Goals

Update from Fr Charles Zlock


SMART GOAL #1: “Tithing Your Time” - Each St. Raymond parishioner will commit to 2 hours of service monthly either, In the pews buildings, on the property, in the parish, in the neighborhoods.


UPDATE on SMART GOAL #1 - TECHNOLOGY: A comprehensive worship technology platform is drafted. Prices being examined for microphones, microphone chords, mic stands, a new keyboard, new larger TV screens, screens. Finance Council has approved funding.


Three New Transitional Deacons

Bishop Joseph Perry of Chicago to head USCCB anti-racism committee


5/27 and 5/28 = Monthly Prayer Team after Mass (always last Sunday)


PUBLIC DISPLAY OF EUCHARISTIC MIRACLES The exhibit will be on display June 2 - 4 at St. Albert the Great Catholic Church. There are over 150 documented Eucharistic miracles in the display. If you are interested in attending, please let us know by placing your name on the sign-up sheet at the rear of the church.

Eucharistic Miracle Display - Sunday, June 4th. Van will leave St. Raymonds at 2:00 pm

Sam has volunteered to drive the van.


Be One With Nature!

Depart from the St. Raymond parking lot at 8:40 am

Saturday, June 3rd Lead by Sean Bradley

Join us for a quiet, informative walk in the woods. Please call the rectory if you are interested.


Congratulate Fr. Zlock

as he celebrates

the 29th anniversary

of his ordination.


Any graduates in your family? Special awards received? Email Brandi at We want to acknowledge all of our achievers!



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,



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.



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


Sunday, June 4, 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm

Event: My Guy and I Afternoon Retreat (in person)

Leading the retreat will be Rob Longo joined by his daughter Grace. Make this a special day with your daughter(s), granddaughters, or nieces! Spend time together, pray, have lunch, and walk our beautiful grounds. Recommended age is 10+.

Location: Upper McShain/Dining Hall, Malvern Retreat House, Malvern PA

More info: For more information; Registration is required for this event.



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 (



Called & Gifted - Charism Discernment

  • WHAT IS IT? - Come to an Information session on Saturday, 5/27, 9am - 10am, in the rectory office/Sister Rosemary Room

  • SMALL GROUP MEETING OPTION 1 BEGINS: Saturday, 6/3, Session #1, 10:00 AM in the rectory office/Sister Rosemary Room. Moderator: Fr. Zlock

  • SMALL GROUP MEETING OPTION 2:BEGINS Monday, 6/5, Session #1, 7:00 PM in the rectory office/Sister Rosemary Room. Moderator: Minta Brown

"Be who you were created to be, and you will set the world on fire," - St Catherine of Siena



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