Our Response to the City’s Safer at Home Plan

November 19, 2020

Dear Saint Raymond Family,

Praise God for His goodness and mercy that have seen us through each day of this pandemic and will continue to guide, protect, and comfort us!

As you are aware, the City of Philadelphia issued their Safer at Home Guidelines this week as the reported cases of the virus continue to rise. While none of us wanted to see the closing of schools, businesses, and activities again, hopefully with these measures and the promised vaccines, we will be able to taste victory early in the new year. Of course, the decision by the City does have an impact on our worship at Saint Raymond. Therefore, I share with you the following:

We will continue to have Mass on Saturday at 5 pm and Sunday at 8 am and 10 am. The Daily Mass will continue at 8 am Monday to Thursday and Saturday Mornings. Attending Daily Mass has become a popular choice for many in place of the Sunday Mass as the fewer number of people allows for greater distancing.

Our Parish Office will continue to be open to serve your needs from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday thru Friday.

We will NOT require people to register (or sign up) for Mass as we did earlier in the year. Rather, when you arrive for Mass, you will be asked to sign our logbook (date, time, name, and phone number). Should we become aware of a person who tests COVID positive, we will be able to inform those who were in the Church at the same time (the custom known as “Contact Tracing”).

Our wonderful volunteers on the RESTORE Team will continue to guide you as you enter the Church, sign our logbook, sanitize your hands, and maintain social distancing and proper wearing of masks throughout your experience of worship. Our Church will continue to be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized between Masses and during the week.

I believe that given the likelihood of decreased numbers (as many choose to worship from home at this time), we will be able to welcome those who arrive and allow them to worship from the Church, Choir Loft, or ample space in the School Hall.

As we monitor attendance, we may adjust the manner in which Holy Communion is distributed and the manner in which we dismiss people after Holy Mass.At the 10 am Mass, Father Chris will offer Holy Communion on the front steps of the Church to those who are worshipping via Live Stream in their cars. Those who worship from home and would like to receive Holy Communion at some time during the week are welcome to call the Parish Office and schedule a time with Father Chris. As Catholics, we know the abundant grace we receive through the Holy Eucharist and I do not want you to be deprived of this grace.

Father Chris will continue to be available for the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) before Masses. He will be in the Confessional Space in the sacristy.

Friends, if you have concerns about your safety, please worship from home at the 10 am Mass (or find a Mass on TV or the internet). This allows you to remain connected to the Lord in Sunday worship, essential to the heart of every Christian. Archbishop Perez’s “lifting of the obligation to attend Sunday Mass” remains in effect. I want you to feel safe and remain healthy. Like all things, except God’s love, this too shall pass!

Please join our Catholic Call to Prayer Monday to Friday as a means of remaining faithful and hopeful at this challenging time. Please call TOLL-FREE 1-877-309-2073, Enter Code 319-414-445# (then press # again when prompted). Join at 6:30 am: This call lasts 5-7 minutes and can have an amazing impact at the start of your day, reflecting on God’s WORD!! Join at NOON: We will pray the Angelus, Psalm 91, and intercessory prayer for those in need and beg God that His mighty power save us from this wretched virus. 

As we have all learned throughout these months, these plans are subject to change. I will seek to keep you informed and appreciate your feedback. Should you have concerns or questions, do not hesitate to contact me via email or by phone (215-549-3760).

As we approach Thanksgiving, please know that I am most grateful for you and your goodness. While this holiday will be different from others, we must heed the words of Scripture and continue to find reasons to be thankful. I know it will not take you long to find many people, things, and graces for which you give thanks!

Father Christopher M. Walsh, Pastor

Good News for November 18th

Today is the feast of the American Saint. – Rose Dischene. She was born in France to a wealthy family. She was a storng willed child and would sue this as a path to her holiness in life. She entered the Visitation of Mary convent at 19, and remained despite family opposition. As the French Revolution broke, the convent was closed, and she began taking care of the poor and sick, opened a school for homeless children, and risked her life helping priests in the underground. When the situation improved, Rose personally rented the former convent, now a shambles, and tried to revive its religious life. The spirit was gone, however, and soon there were only four nuns left. They joined another community, the Society of the Sacred Heart, whose young superior, Mother Madeleine Sophie Barat, would be her lifelong friend (this is the saint who was patron of the former parish in Mount Airy). In a short time Rose was a superior and supervisor of the novitiate and a school. But since hearing tales of missionary work in Louisiana as a little girl, her ambition was to go to America and work among the Indians. At 49, she thought this would be her work. With four nuns, she spent 11 weeks at sea en route to New Orleans, and seven weeks more on the Mississippi to St. Louis. She then met one of the many disappointments of her life. The bishop had no place for them to live and work among Native Americans. Instead, he sent her to what she sadly called “the remotest village in the U.S.,” St. Charles, Missouri. With characteristic drive and courage, she founded the first free school for girls west of the Mississippi. Though Rose was as hardy as any of the pioneer women in the wagons rolling west, cold and hunger drove them out—to Florissant, Missouri, where she founded the first Catholic Indian school, adding others in the territory. “In her first decade in America, Mother Duchesne suffered practically every hardship the frontier had to offer, except the threat of Indian massacre—poor lodging, shortages of food, drinking water, fuel and money, forest fires and blazing chimneys, the vagaries of the Missouri climate, cramped living quarters and the privation of all privacy, and the crude manners of children reared in rough surroundings and with only the slightest training in courtesy” (Louise Callan, R.S.C.J., Philippine Duchesne). Finally at age 72, retired and in poor health, Rose got her lifelong wish. A mission was founded at Sugar Creek, Kansas, among the Potawatomi and she was taken along. Though she could not learn their language, they soon named her “Woman-Who-Prays-Always.” While others taught, she prayed. Legend has it that Native American children sneaked behind her as she knelt and sprinkled bits of paper on her habit, and came back hours later to find them undisturbed. Rose Duchesne died in 1852, at the age of 83, and was canonized in 1988. The Liturgical Feast of Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne is November 18. St. Rose, pray for us!

Give yourself a unique experience this Advent (which begins November 29th) and receive daily devotionals from a wonderful group of Black Catholics. This is the first year it is happening and it promises to inspire, equip and help you prepare for Christmas in a wonderful way! Please visit ADVENT MAKE SIMPLE and sign up. Please share this wonderful resource with others as well. To God be the glory!

We have 15 days until Thanksgiving. Have you started to count your blessings? Father Chris and the Parish want to know what YOU are thankful for this year. While some will be able to gather for the 9am Mass on November 26th, we are aware that some will worship from home. Please take the time to complete this simple form to let us know that for which you are grateful in 2020!

Our parish desires to share the Gospel with our young people, knowing the freedom we can all find in Christ! Please share Father Chris’ video teaching with your young people and download this wonderful handout:

The life of every human person is precious. This is a basic tenant of our Christian Faith. Each year, when we are not battling COVID, the Pro-Life Union of Greater Philadelphia gathers with 1400+ people to celebrate life and get charged up for another year of serving families facing unplanned pregnancies and building a culture that cherishes each life from the womb to the tomb. This year, the STAND UP FOR LIFE DINNER is virtual. Please consider joining Father Chris, Richara and others (from your own home, eating your own food) for this 45 minute no-cost presentation. It will be well worth your time as you continue to be formed as a disciple of Jesus! If you would rather join our St. Raymond WATCH PARTY (and watch it with others in the Rectory Basement), please contact Father Chris.

This Sunday we will celebrate the Feast of Christ the King. Want to pray a Prayer to Christ the King? Want to be inspired by a great sermon on Jesus as King? Want to learn more about why we have this feast? Join us this weekend. Despite COVID restrictions in our City, we will remain open for the Glory of God and the good of His people!

Good News for November 11th

Loving God, We ask for blessings on all those who have served their country in the armed forces. We ask for healing for the Veterans who have been wounded, in body and soul, in conflicts around the globe. We pray especially for the young men and women, in the thousands, who are coming home with injured bodies and traumatized spirits. Bring solace to them, O Lord; may we pray for them when they cannot pray. We ask for an end to wars and the dawning of a new era of peace, as a way to honor all the veterans of past wars. Have mercy on all our Veterans. Bring peace to their hearts and peace to the regions they fought in. Bless all the soldiers who served in non-combative posts; May their calling to service continue in their lives in many positive ways. Give us all the creative vision to see a world which, grown weary with fighting, moves to affirming the life of every human being and so moves beyond war. Hear our prayer, O Prince of Peace, hear our prayer. Amen.

The past seven months have been amongst the most challenging for many if our community: the pandemic, the isolation, the racial unrest, the hurtful words, the difficult electoral process, the financial uncertainty and the regular “stuff” of life. Yet her we are, still moving forward in Christ. Our parish remains strong financially (we are most grateful to you for your continued goodness and support). Each week we have more and more people returning to Mass and maintaining our needed precautions to keep everyone safe. We have more than 100 people participating in Small Groups and having lively conversations about THE SEARCH. We continue to move forward with a commitment to worship, being equipped in our faith, inviting others to join us at Church and in sharing out time and treasure with others. So you can plan well – we will have a Christmas Revival on Sunday, December 13th at 5pm (limited seating in Church; Live Streamed as always) on Christmas Eve we will have Mass at 5pm and 7pm and on Christmas Day at 9am. We will not be having the Home for Christmas Day event as normal but will announce shortly our plan to serve our sisters and brothers int he shelters we serve. You will have the chance to prepare for Christmas by celebrating the Sacrament of Penance (Confession) before Mass as normal; with extended time after Mass the weekend of Dec. 19th & 20th and with a Penance Service at St. Luke Church in Glenside on December 23rd at 7pm. Remember, confessions are heard at Mary’s Shrine every Monday throughout the day. Plan now…please!

Praise God for the gift of our faith and the opportunity to grow in understanding our faith. St. Charles Seminary has announced a new Institute for Religious Studies by which you can take courses on a particular topic for your personal enrichment as well as growth in ministry.

Please schedule time to visit with Fr. Chris via a phone call, an in person visit at your home or the Parish Office, or via Face Time. Use this tool to get on Father Chris’ calendar! He is also happy to bring Holy Communion to those who are worshipping from home throughout the pandemic.

Please share Arleen’s VIDEO TEACHING with our young disciples this Sunday while you worship! Please download the handout as well:

Give yourself a unique experience this Advent (which begins November 29th) and receive daily devotionals from a wonderful group of Black Catholics. This is the first year it is happening and it promises to inspire, equip and help you prepare for Christmas in a wonderful way! Please visit ADVENT MAKE SIMPLE and sign up. Please share this wonderful resource with others as well. To God be the glory!

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!.

We have 15 days until Thanksgiving. Have you started to count your blessings? Father Chris and the Parish want to know what YOU are thankful for this year. While some will be able to gather for the 9am Mass on November 26th, we are aware that some will worship from home. Please take the time to complete this simple form to let us know that for which you are grateful in 2020!

The life of every human person is precious. This is a basic tenant of our Christian Faith. Each year, when we are not battling COVID, the Pro-Life Union of Greater Philadelphia gathers with 1400+ people to celebrate life and get charged up for another year of serving families facing unplanned pregnancies and building a culture that cherishes each life from the womb to the tomb. This year, the STAND UP FOR LIFE DINNER is virtual. Please consider joining Father Chris, Richara and others (from your own home, eating your own food) for this 45 minute no-cost presentation. It will be well worth your time as you continue to be formed as a disciple of Jesus! If you would rather join our St. Raymond WATCH PARTY (and watch it with others in the Rectory Basement), please contact Father Chris.

Good News for November 4th

God of all nations, Father of the human family, we give you thanks for the freedom we exercise and the many blessings of democracy we enjoy in these United States of America. We ask for your protection and guidance for all who devote themselves to the common good, working for justice and peace at home and around the world.We lift up all our duly elected leaders and public servants, those who will serve us as president, as legislators and judges, those in the military and law enforcement. Heal us from our differences and unite us, O Lord, with a common purpose, dedication, and commitment to achieve liberty and justice in the years ahead for all people, and especially those who are most vulnerable in our midst. Amen.

If you are having a tough time in the days surrounding the election (or anything else that is causing you anxiety or fear), do not hesitate to schedule a time to talk with Father Chris for prayer, advise or just someone to listen to your venting.

Join us on Saturday – in person or via Live Stream

We continue to nourish our young disciples with the Word of God. Please share this video teaching from Paula with your children and grandchildren and be sure to down load this handout for them as well…

Our 13 Small Groups have launched this week and praise God for the opportunity to pray together, share our faith journey and grow as disciples with one another. if you are not able to be in a Small Group, we encourage you to watch the video series called THE SEARCH and spend time reflecting on these wonderful presentations (7 presentations, all less than 30 minutes). Long into formed.org and create an account using our parish password: 8TJNV2

Over the past several years, Giving Tuesday has become a popular day to share your blessings with others. This year, Giving Tuesday will be on December 1, 2020. St. Raymond will participate through #igivecatholic and you will be able to begin making donations as early as November 13th! Learn about giving options for our parish HERE and please consider sharing it with others as we prepare for Giving Tuesday. Share God’s blessings…it is always the best way for a Christian to live!

Good News for October 30th

This weekend we will celebrate the Solemnity of All Saints! (Please remember that Halloween is not “the devil’s birthday – since the devil was an angel and angel’s are not born anyway – but it is the Eve of All Hallows). We remember the many women and men who have lived a life of faith, hope and live is now rewarded with the Glory of Heaven! Our celebration of these sisters and brothers will inspire us in our own journey towards sanctity! Come Lord Jesus, give us the grace to be saints.

Our City has been rocked once again by the death of a young man after an altercation with our Police Department and then the violence and looting that has followed. It is tragic and causes many of the people in our City to experience fear, frustration and sadness. Father Chris offers his thoughts HERE (please share with others as well and allow it to be a foundation for conversation with them). We will continue to beg the Lord to change the hearts and minds that need changing – for the Glory of God and the good of us all!

Please continue to pray for our 18 young people as they prepare for the Sacrament of Confirmation on November 7th during the Annual Mass in Honor of Saint Martin de Porres. Pray for them with your family – may they receive a generous portion of God’s Spirit to capture their hearts and minds for Jesus. If you are not able to attend in person, please join us via LIVE STREAM and worship with us!

Praise God for our young people who desire to be nourished by the Word of God. Please share with them this video teaching from Richara and download this handout which helps them to become saints as well!

On November 2nd we will begin our month of praying for our loved ones who have died and are experiencing purification in Purgatory, Please join us for the 8am Mass on Monday and then the following weekend for our Memorial Masses as we especially remember all those from our Church Family who have died in the past year. Do you have questions about the Church’s teaching on purgatory? Read THIS or watch THIS. Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them!

None of us really want another minute of 2020 but we get an extra hour on Saturday night when we turn the clocks back…see you in Church at the right time!

Good News for October 23rd

As Pastor, Father Chris seeks to shepherd (get it…the picture) our Parish Community in all ways. This shepherding includes our lives of citizens of this nation as well. As we approach the Presidential Election, people are asking him: Father, who should I vote for? Watch THIS VIDEO for his answer!

Our Church Family mourns the passing of Mr. Ed Odum, a fixture at the 5pm Mass and active member of the Men of Saint Raymond. Ed led the men in our Fish Fry’s and Monthly Breakfasts (which ended around 2010). He was always ready to serve! His funeral will be October 31st at 10am at St. Raymond. Please pray for his wife Vera and their children as they grieve his passing. Rest in peace Ed! May you have the reward of your goodness.

Allow the young disciples in your family to be nourished by Father Chris’ reflection on this weekend’s readings on the call to LOVE! Be sure to download this handout for them as well…

As we continue to move through this difficult 2020, we move forward in Christ! If you have not been back to Mass, please consider trying it this week – over the weekend or even for an 8am on Monday thru Thursday or Saturday. At the 10am on Sunday, you can not worship in our School Hall with ample social distancing. Why is coming to worship so important? We need to receive JESUS in Holy Communion and we need to experience other people. Come home…

As you know, many people are struggling financially at this time. Thankfully there are many resources for our fellow Americans but that is not often the case in other nations, Catholic Relief Services has asked us to assist them in raising funds for the hungry in the 150+ nations they serve. We help them in Lent through the Rice Bowl – but they need a great deal of help NOW. Please use this LINK to donate today and share it with others who have a heart for the poor across the world.

Good News for October 21st

Thursday, October 22nd is the Feast of Saint John Paul II: a pope who had the heart of a Pastor as he traveled the world, including his memorable visit to Philadelphia in 1979. Reflect on these words from JPII when he visited New Orleans in 1987: I express my deep love and esteem for the black Catholic community in the United States. Its vitality is a sign of hope for society. Composed as you are of many lifelong Catholics, and many who have more recently embraced the faith, together with a growing immigrant community, you reflect the Church’s ability to bring together a diversity of people united in faith, hope and love, sharing a communion with Christ in the Holy Spirit. I urge you to keep alive and active your rich cultural gifts. Always profess proudly before the whole Church and the whole world your love for God’s word; it is a special blessing which you must forever treasure as a part of your heritage. Help us all to remember that authentic freedom comes from accepting the truth and from living one’s life in accordance with it-and the full truth is found only in Christ Jesus. Continue to inspire us by your desire to forgive-as Jesus forgave and by your desire to be reconciled with all the people of this nation, even those who would unjustly deny you the full exercise of your human rights.

Small Groups will begin once again the first week of November. We are using the series SEARCH that will allow us to reflect on the meaning of life and what it means to be in relationship with Christ! Groups will meet throughout the week – some in person and most via ZOOM. Please contact Minta Brown for more information and look for the flier with all of the group contact information this weekend!

The video for this weekend’s Children’s Liturgy of the Word will be made available on Friday. Be sure to find it and share with our young disciples.

Need a retreat? This Saturday Father Chris, Richara and Jessie will be offering an online retreat this Saturday, October 24th through the Miraculous Medal Shrine from 11am to 3:30pm. The retreat will help you reflect on the many events of 2020 and find Christ in the midst of the mess! Please sign up by Noon at this location!

Join us on Wednesday Night at 7pm for a one house Bible Study on the Gospel of John. Join us in Church or via livestream. We are studying Chapter 12. Be nourished by the Word of God and enjoy some socially distanced (or virtual) fellowship!

We will have a Neighbors Meeting for those who live on the blocks close to Saint Raymond to build a better working relationship and resolve ongoing concerns. The meeting is Thursday, October 29th at 6:30pm in our Church. If you know of friends or family who live on the blocks immediately surrounding the Church Property, please be sure to encourage them to attend in person or virtually. May the Lord bless our effort for the good of our efforts!

Every child is a precious gift from God. As Christians, we are called to work hard to make it so that no couple considers abortion as an option. There are so many resources available for women and men facing an unplanned pregnancy: The Sisters of Life, Alpha Care Pregnancy Center and Hope Pregnancy Center to name a few! Many from our Parish have attended the Annual Pro-Life Union STAND UP FOR LIFE Dinner. This year, it is a virtual event on Sunday, November 22nd at 7pm. Please SIGN UP HERE to “attend” and be inspired by all the things happening to love them both!

Good News for October 15th

Saint Teresa lived in Spain in the 16th Century. She was a great reformer of the Church through her life of prayer, teaching and urging others to follow Jesus more closely. Her influence was HIGE. Many find her prayers very inspiring, including this one: Let nothing disturb you, let nothing frighten you, all things will pass away. God never changes; patience obtains all things, whoever has God lacks nothing. God alone suffices. Amen.

We will celebrate the Feast of St. Martin de Porres on Saturday, November 7th at 1pm at the Cathedral. In addition to this being the 1st Mass with Archbishop Perez, it will be the occasion of 16 of our young people receiving the Sacrament of ConfirmationPlease mark your calendars and plan to be there to pray for our young disciple to catch a good dose of the Holy Spirit! There will not be a bus but parking is available at the Cathedral.

Two more Wednesday of Bible Study – live in the Church or via Live Stream. Please join us next Wednesday from 7pm to 8pm as we study John Chapter 12! God has a WORD for you at this season of your life!

Praise God for our young disciples! Please help continue to form them in the ways of Christ. Life is challenging for us all…but especially our young people at this tough time in history. Please share the video teaching (ideally on Sunday when your family is worshipping or when you come home from Mass). Be sure to download the handout as well…

Our next session of Small Groups will begin at various times on various days the 1st week of November, Most will be via ZOOM and we will be using a video based program called The Search. Check out the TRAILER. Want more information? Contact Minta Brown.


Please wear your mask properly!

Good News for October 7th

Today is the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. It recalls a military battle between a Christian nation and a Muslim nation. The Christians won and gave “credit” to the powerful intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary (many had been praying the Rosary to save Europe). There are a few hundred people (including a few from our parish) who gather Monday thru Thursday at 8pm to pray the Rosary on ZOOM for an end to the pandemic. Why not join in this one night? Link HERE.

Pope Francis issues a new encyclical last Sunday on the call for the human family to live more as brothers and sisters in a post-COVID world. You can read about it HERE and read the document in its entirety HERE.

As we approach the National Election on November 4th there is a great need for POLL WORKERS. Normally, our elders fill this need at the polls but because of COVID many are choosing not to fill the role this year. We need YOU. Besides assisting in the great experiment in democracy, there is a stipend that may reach $250 for the day. Please visit HERE if you are interested learning more about how you might serve our country on election day!

Our proposed Senior Housing goes before the Philadelphia Zoning Board on Wednesday, October 14th at 9:30am. We are unsure if people are able to join. If that is allowed, we will send a link early next week. If you join, please speak loudly and respectfully in favor of the project (thank you for the many signatures we gathered). If you can’t join us (via zoom), please pray at 9:30 that God work in the hearts and minds of those who hear of case!

Praise God for our young disciples! Please help continue to form them in the ways of Christ. Life is challenging for us all…but especially our young people at this tough time in history. Please share the video teaching (ideally on Sunday when your family is worshipping or when you come home from Mass). Be sure to download the handout as well…

We return to the Gospel of John for the next four Wednesday Nights. Join us in Church or on Live Stream, from 7pm to 8pm and allow yourself to be nourished as a Disciple. A handout will be available in Church, on the homepage of our website or in the comments section of the Live Stream by the time Bible Study begins.

Please spread the word about testing being available. Some has asked about why insurance information is gathered. Note, it is NO COST which does not mean FREE. The grant that provides the testing does not cover lab costs. Thus, the bill your insurance and it will be covered. If you do not have insurance the government will cover the cost! We have gotten some news coverage for our efforts as well – way to go Andrea!

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has appointed Mr. James Andrews as the new Director for the Office of Black Catholics. We look forward to welcoming James and allowing him to meet our community. He will be present at the Mass in honor of Saint Martin de Porres on November 7th at 1pm – please mark your calendars and plan to be with us!

Venerable Father Tolton, pray for us and our Church!

Senior Housing – WE NEED YOUR HELP

The vote from the neighborhood meeting on Tuesday night was not as we had hoped (54 against; 11 in favor). Father Chris is aware that many were not able to attend the ZOOM for a variety of reasons but still want to support this project. If you live in the 50th Ward (most of our parish neighborhood), please download the attached petition and sign it. Please have your neighbors sign it as well. There will be copies available this weekend in Church as well. For the good of our elders (and those to be elders) who desire to age in our neighborhood, please sign this petition and lend your support!