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Good News for September 27th

I’ve been writing about a Lectio Divina meditation. It involved praying with an icon of Mary entitled “Holy Protection.” The Madonna is holding a stole on which are 5 stars. I wrote about the first three in the past weeks. The fourth and fifth stars involved our St. Raymond School. The first event (fourth star). It was a Zoom meeting for the parents. It was a nuts-and-bolts meeting covering important dates, the introduction of teachers and administrators, important personnel, uniforms, and discipline. It might not seem very exciting, but it provided important information. This information minimizes confusion and chaos and maximizes a positive opening school experience. (There's that “momentum” again).

The new school Vice Principal, Ms. Dene Jennings, ran the meeting. She was efficient and professional. The technology worked. The slides were clear and informative. Ms. Jennifer Nobles ran an effective chat room. Kudos to the team.

The school's Welcome Back BBQ was the fifth star. Over 200 people attended. There were games for the students. A DJ played music. Magnificent service and hospitality were generously provided by the ladies who served. The Men of St. Raymond helped out in many ways. “Master Chef” Harris kept the dogs and burgers coming (with maybe just a few casualties - but some people like their food well done).

Especially important were the informal conversations between teachers and parents. Teachers asked, “Tell me about your child. What are their strengths? What do they struggle with? Is there anything in particular that I should know?” These are key, crucial conversations. They set the foundation for moving forward with a successful and happy student.

This type of Lectio Divina meditation can be used in a variety of ways. What are five blessings that you received this month? Who are five people you know who are hurting and need prayers? Who are five people who have been a blessing to you in the past week? Where are five areas in your life where you need God’s assistance? In each case, you are contemplating your life. You are wrapping it up in prayer. You are having a conversation with God about it. Try it and see how God speaks to you through this ancient form of prayer.

Fr. Charles Zlock, Pastor



Each year, our parish has been very generous in supporting the AOP Catholic Charities Appeal. I just received a report that we have achieved 41% of our assigned goal. Please consider contributing to this effort that helps our Church lead the way in helping those in need. If you cannot find a Catholic Charities Appeal special envelope, please place your contribution in a plain envelope marked Catholic Charities. Your contribution can be placed in our Mass collection baskets. God will bless you for your generosity to others.

Fr Charles Zlock


Good things are happening at St. Raymond.

The REST of the Story

Almost two years ago, the members of St. Raymond’s REST team welcomed their most recent refugee family to America. Since then, with the help of your prayers and hands-on support, Wazmina Pashai and her nine children from Afghanistan have taken their first steps toward becoming American citizens. There is much Good News to report.

From time to time, we will publish a little feature about the resilience and achievements of this remarkable family. Let’s begin with the two oldest boys, Parwiz,16, and his brother Jawid, 15. These aren’t their exact words, of course, but they sure do reflect their enthusiasm.

What We Did on our Summer Vacation

Play Captains! That’s what Fab Youth Philly called us after we found our own way on public transportation and ended up in their office near Drexel University. Can you imagine getting paid to be in charge of a bunch of kids just like ourselves and working on streets that the city turned into Play Streets in different neighborhoods all summer? We played sports with them, and we did art projects, and we practiced speaking good English and reading together. It was so cool!

The really good thing was that the adults in the neighborhood thought we were really good leaders. They called us “assets” to their community because we helped them see how playing certain games kept kids from getting “summer slide,” which means that when school starts again you’ve forgotten a lot of what you learned the year before.

Fab Youth Philly got over 230 applications to become Play Captains. We learned so much from this job! In the future, when we try out for other kinds of work, we know what to do to succeed, and we’ll be able to continue to help our family.


Annual Stewardship Collection

Dear St. Raymond Family,

I am writing to you with an update on the finances of the parish. I apologize for the delay with this report. More on that below. I also wish to ask for your generous support of St. Raymond during this year’s Stewardship Sunday.

Perhaps you remember 1978. It was the “Year of Three Popes” (Paul VI, John Paul I, and John Paul II). It was a disorienting time during the church. Last year was the “year of three pastors.” Similarly, it was a complex and, at times, unsettling time. Nevertheless, St. Raymond came through the transition well. There are many signs why St. Raymond enjoys a fine and well-deserved reputation within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Much occurred over the past 9 months. On the request of Pope Francis, We held two parish listening sessions in light of the worldwide synod. Archbishop Perez asked us to form a select committee to develop three parish priorities and six SMART Goals. We reconstituted a new Finance Council. We hired a new director of Finance and Accounting. The archdiocese asked us to implement new finance and accounting procedures.

We accomplished this while still having our Advent and Lenten Life Groups. We begin to update the musical and liturgy infrastructure. REST continued to help several families transition as citizens. We initiated a new family catechesis program for our PREP program and started a new RCIA program for people desiring to be received into the Catholic faith. Our weekend liturgies also continue to be vibrant and nurturing.

In the midst of these changes, we continued to deal with the finance and accounting challenges associated with a rapid turnover of three pastors, two finance/accounting directors, and one bookkeeper. When you consider the spiritual, liturgical, temporal, and pastoral changes, ensuing financial challenges are reflected and supportable.

The financial picture of St. Raymond is mixed (see statistics below). Our overall church income declined by 5%. Weekend and Christmas collections were down. However, the Easter collection increased significantly (+145%). The expense side of the ledger was positive. Overall expenses decreased by 1%. Some of this was due to changes in Pastoral Staff personnel. Some was due to the excellent work of the Finance Council, which monitored and helped to control expenses.

As a general rule of thumb for churches, the weekend collection alone should cover the cost of the parish mission. This is a sign of a viable and vibrant parish. Coming out of Covid, we are not doing badly, but the financial picture is still tenuous. I am exceedingly grateful to all of you for your generosity. I am well aware of the sacrificial giving of many of you in support of St. Raymond.

I am asking for you to prayerfully consider two requests. First, sign up for electronic giving rather than weekly envelopes.The printing, sending, collecting, and counting of envelopes is a labor-intensive and costly process. Electronic giving reduces expenses.

It also provides a consistent, reliable source of church income, especially during holidays, summer vacation, and those times when your family might be away from the parish.

Second, consider offering $150 during the Stewardship Sunday weekend (October 7 & 8). When you consider inflation, people on fixed income and family financial responsibilities, this might simply not be feasible for some of you. I understand. Give what you can. “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7).

In closing, as I look ahead towards the Advent/Christmas season, I am excited about the momentum in the parish, especially coming out of the National Black Catholic Congress. I am honored to be the Pastor of such a wonderful "Parish Family.” To quote one former pastor, "There’s something about St. Raymond.”

Fr Charles Zlock



Income:  $625,394

Of which:

·         Weekend: $552,573

·         Christmas    $6,852       

·         Easter:              $4,856


Total Expenses: $519,734

Net:    $105,661

Expenses as a percent of income: (83%)





Income:  $595,773 (-5%)

Of which:

·         Weekend: $498,170 (-10%)

·         Christmas $5,257 (-23%)

·         Easter: $11,956 (+146%)


Total Expenses: $515,714 (1%)

Net:    $80,059 (-24%)        

Expenses as a percent of income: (87%)


‍Brothers and Sisters in Christ, At next week's Sunday Mass, keep an eye out for someone you don't know or someone who is new to the parish. Take the first step and introduce yourself to that person after Mass. Make an effort to get to know them a bit. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you. ~Archbishop Pérez




10/8 = Annual Stewardship Collection - The Lord loves a Generous Giver

  • 10/22 Hospitality Sunday

  • 10/28 and 10/29 Monthly Prayer Team after Mass (always last Sunday)


Have Leftovers???

Why not package them for Caring for Friends.

Containers are located in the Sacristy. We are in constant need of a variety of meals for ailing seniors. The one meal that you discard can be a meal for an ailing senior living alone. Frozen meals can be dropped off at the Rectory between the hours of 8:30 AM and 5:00 PM. Volunteers are also needed to deliver meals to seniors on a weekly basis. For more info, contact Arleen at 215-549-3760.


Youth Corner

Youth Corner, Grades 6th-8th

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 (10/1)

  • Meeting in SRR after 10:00 a.m. Mass.

    • (Jenn Cresina will facilitate)

  • Candy Apple Making

Sunday, 10/15

  • Pumpkin Picking and more @ Kohler Farms

(After 10:00 a.m. Mass)

St. Raymond Church is having a Trunk or Treat!!

Saturday, October 21st, from 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. in the Church Parking Lot

  • Sign up to be a “Trunk.”

o Registered “Trunks” will bring candy to hand out PLUS be entered into our “BEST TRUNK” Contest.

Please register below

(Please copy and paste this link to your web browser.)

  • Sign Children up to “Treat”

o Registration is REQUIRED by using the link below

o $1 (per child) entry fee at the entrance of the parking lot

(Please copy and paste this link to your web browser.)

There will be activities, games, face painting, and more!

Come out and help OUR Youth Kids Celebrate Halloween!!

Please contact Brandi at 215-549-3760 or at if you have any questions.


Attention Parents/Guardians

Family Faith Formation Sessions

Sept.17, 2023 – June 2, 2024

"Let the children come to me.”

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 215-549-3760 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!


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!


The Shrine of St. Katharine Drexel will be producing and sharing a video series for Black Catholic History Month this coming November. We are seeking testimonials over the summer!

The theme for this year is "The Seed that fell on good soil" to honor the work, ministry, witness, and legacy of the Black Catholics who have given the Church the gift of themselves and "bore good fruit!"

If interested, please reach out to or to Gina Ingiosi, Associate Director, St. Katharine Drexel Shrine and Venerable Cornelia Connelly Memorial in the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul -, 267-603-7337


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,



The Third Annual Mother Mary Lange Lecture in Black Catholic Studies will be held on Thursday, November 2, at 7:00 p.m. at Villanova University’s Charles Widger School of Law. There is free parking in that area of campus. We will also live stream the event.

This year’s keynote speaker is Dr. Maureen O’Connell, professor of Christian social ethics at LaSalle University. Dr. O’Connell is also the author of Undoing the Knots: Five Generations of Catholic Anti-Blackness (Beacon Press 2021).


Uncommon Faithfulness of Black Catholics: An Invitation to All

Join us on Saturday, October 14th, 2023, for a morning with Sister Cora Marie Billings, RSM. She will share her story and the story of her family to educate and inspire us.

The event will start with a meet & greet at 9:30 a.m., and Sr. Cora’s presentation will go from 10:00 a.m. until Noon.

Location: Saint Vincent de Paul Church, 109 East Price Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19144

Parking is available in the Church Lot on East Price Street, between Lena and Wakefield Streets.


If you have any questions, please reach out to:

This is a joint presentation of the Archbishop’s Commission on Racial Healing and New Encounters: Catholics Confronting Racism.




The Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced that Archbishop Nelson J. Pérez has appointed Reverend Timothy Tarnacki, O.S.P.P.E., as the Director of the Office for Ministry with Young Adults (OMYA). He succeeds Mr. Matthew Davis, who served in this post since November 2020. In making this appointment, Archbishop Pérez said, “The Archdiocese of Philadelphia is home to a vibrant and passionate young adult community. Over the past several years, the Office for Ministry with Young Adults has worked with great zeal to build a spiritual formation program that engages young men and women from various backgrounds as they work to develop an authentic relationship with Christ.” I ask the people of our local Church to join me in prayerfully congratulating Father Tarnacki as he prepares to assume his new role. I know that he will help young adults encounter the transformative love of Jesus and inspire them to live a joyful life as a missionary disciple.”

To learn more about the Office for Faith Formation for Youth and Young Adults, please visit



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