A very special day! Keep the Faith in Frankford launched the first project of more to come for The Friends of St. Joachim Cemetery. Joe Taylor co-ordinates this effort and he approaches it like many things he’s done before – with a list of tasks. A holdover from his Navy days perhaps but Joe has been invaluable with his lists of to-do’s and sets of plans for any project we’ve done!
Joe, your skill helped you and the Friends to be so successful today! Well done and we owe you, Maureen Taylor, and all who helped today our thanks!
Joe and Maureen Taylor are the “perfect people” to head this effort. Before the Capuchin Franciscans arrived, Keep the Faith in Frankford had a committee we called, “St. Joachim Sanitation Saints”. We would periodically clean Griscom St. along the rectory and cemetery and Church St. in front of the Church. Before this year’s Annual Feast Day Mass, Bob Smiley and I saw Joe and Maureen at their house and they mentioned being down around Church earlier that day. I asked, “What were you doing there?” and was told, they were cleaning up in preparation for Mass. Good people!
It was a hot Saturday morning in Philly yesterday – a heat alert was in effect by mid-afternoon, yet all who came out in the morning could have stayed home, done other things or nothing at all, but they wanted to help clean up the final resting place for people they might have known or for people that they didn’t know at all. As we continue this effort, we do want you to get to know the stories of the people who are buried here. These are the people who “kept the faith” for us for over 175 years.
Gina Christian, Senior Content Producer and Host of InsideCatholicPhilly.com podcast, came by, today, too! Thank you, Gina, for getting the word out there for us on Catholic Philly! Continued blessings and much success in your efforts!
Many thanks, Fr. Tom Higgins, Pastor, Holy Innocents Parish, for approving this project and for supporting it with your hard work, today, too. Father has always been supportive of our programs to honor those Veterans who are buried in our cemetery. To you, Father, Joe and Maureen Taylor, Brian McCloskey, Tom McAvoy, Julia, Lorenzo and Sal Roldan and Sean Brassil, a hearty and grateful “Thank You” for your efforts. May God continue to bless you for your generosity of time and talent!
To those who were not able to come today, we thank you for your donations of money and wanting to help, and to keep informed, you can find us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/thefriendsofstjoachimcemetery/ and on the web at https://keepthefaithinfrankford.org/the-friends-of-st-joachim-cemetery/
Here’s some of what The Friends of St. Joachim Cemetery were able to accomplish today! See you next time!
We are so happy that our Annual Feast Day Mass was such a special one! Over 80 people attended our 6th Annual Feast Day Mass on Saturday, July 27, 2019, 4 PM at St. Joachim Church in Frankford. We merged with Holy Innocents Parish on July 1, 2013. Keep the Faith in Frankford was established just for this purpose – to keep the faith in Frankford. Mater Dolorosa, St. Joachim and St. Joan of Arc all merged into Holy Innocents on that day. Earlier, Ascension parishioners had merged as well.
When we filed our appeal, little did we know that 3 1/2 years later, the Capuchin Franciscans would purchase our former Convent for the Padre Pio Friary and then reopen St. Joachim to house the Padre Pio Prayer Center. We started, because of Father Steve, praying to Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, at the end of every Mass during the Area Pastoral Planning Process. Once it was decided we would merge, within a year or two, Keep the Faith in Frankford was opening its weekly meetings with the same prayer! Someone heard our prayer!! 🙂
The Capuchin Franciscans of the St. Augustine Province arrived in July, 2016 and St. Joachim Church continues to serve Frankford and beyond today! God has been very good to us! This is most unusual for one of our Churches to be re-opened. Below is the schedule that was first posted!
Many people are owed thanks for their contributions and participation in our celebration this past Saturday. Keep the Faith in Frankford organizes, plans, provides the program and refreshment for these yearly Feast Day Masses. We would like to thank Father Thomas Higgins, Pastor, Holy Innocents Parish, for both his help, support and being our yearly celebrant! I just met Brother Alex Hostoffer, who, along with Brother Andrew McCarty, supervises and directs the efforts of the Padre Pio Prayer Center. PPPC is in very good hands. Thank you, both, for all of your help in preparing the Church for this Mass and our refreshments after. Brother Kip Ledger is the Guardian of the Friary and we thank you, Brother Kip and the Postulants for setting up and cleaning up for us. Every year, we are “wowed” with the caliber of the young men who are interested in following the way of St. Francis. There are already powerful women in the Church – we need only look at Sr. Kathleen Anderson, SSJ, Pastoral Minister, HI, Sr. Catherine Glackin, IHM, Pastoral Care, HI, and Sr. Linda Lukiewski, SSJ, for your presence and support! We are indeed very blessed! Please be assured of all of our prayers for each one of you in your ministries.
A Mass doesn’t really happen without the laity in the pews. To all of you who attended and were able to brave the heat, God bless you, we count on you! To our Lectors, Marco Osuna, Helen Greenberg and Maureen Taylor, thank you! To those who brought up our gifts – Jack Pfiel, Sabina Baker-Tegeder, Mary and Preston Moretz, and Joe Taylor, thank you! To our ushers, Bill McGeehan, Sr., Bob Smiley and Joe Taylor, thank you so much! We owe many, many thanks to our superb and St. Joachim favorite Cantor, John McCabe. John selected our beautiful and inspiring music! Well done, John! And to my very good friend, Sr. Rita Keller, IHM,who stepped in to help us as organist when we really needed her, many thanks! Your musical talent is a gift – some of the music Sister hadn’t seen until she arrived from Virginia!!
For those of you unable to attend or to just experience the joy of this day, again, please take a look at the following video! Every one of these faces in this video is special to us! Each of you showed we could really be “One With the Lord”!!! Next year is 2020! 🙂
Tomorrow, Saturday, July 27, 2019, 4 PM, St. Joachim Church, 1527 Church Street, Phila., PA 19124, the St. Joachim community will gather to celebrate our 6th Annual Feast Day Mass. Will you be marching in with the angels and the Saints coming to honor Sts. Joachim and Ann(e), the parents of our beloved Blessed Mother and the grandparents of Our Lord, Jesus Christ?
“All are Welcome in This House!”
“¡Todos son bienvenidos en esta casa!”
Let me share with you a few reasons why I’m more excited about our Feast Day Mass than our first time seeing the Pony Penning and Auction here on Chincoteague Island!!
In 1843, 23 Catholics got together and discussed the need for a Catholic Church in Frankford. Land was bought at Harrison St. and Main St. (Frankford Ave.). Many people felt this location was out in the fields. Bishop Kenrick sent Father Forrestal to Frankford to see if a church was indeed warranted. Our congregation was small but big enough. In 1844, Dr. Lamb donated land at Franklin (Griscom St.) and Pine (Church St.) where St. Joachim’s is now. The parishioners sold the other land for a profit. Moral: Sometimes, we may not make the right choice but eventually, we get it right, with God’s help!
At about the same time, the Philadelphia Nativist Riots, aka the Philadelphia Prayer Riots were taking place. The Irish American immigrants fueled an anti-immigration feeling in the city and many felt they were trying to remove the Bible from public schools. St. Michael’s on 2nd St. and St. Augustine’s in Old City suffered major damage. These rioters were coming to Frankford next for us and the Frankford Arsenal but Mayor McMichael contacted the Commander and a letter was sent to ask for forces from Fort Columbus in New York to protect us. Moral: It is God’s time, not ours that determines what happens.
A church was built by 1856 but we outgrew it and a new cornerstone was laid in 1874 and completed in 1880. Sadly, that Church would burn down in 1978. A new Church, at the cost of almost $2 million would be built and dedicated on December 13, 1981. Moral: Faith can build Churches.
The Area Pastoral Planning Process would determine that as of July 1, 2013, St. Joachim, Mater Dolorosa and St. Joan of Arc would merge with Holy Innocents Parish in Juniata. Ascension Parish had already merger with HI. There would be no Catholic Church in Frankford. Keep the Faith in Frankford filed an appeal and with the support of the St. Joachim community and the Frankford community, we would meet weekly, endeavor to do good works and pray to Padre Pio that our Church would open again. Moral: Fight for what you believe in!
In July of 2016, the Capuchin Franciscans of the St. Augustine Province would be buying and renovating our former Convent to house the Padre Pio Friary. The Brothers would also operate the Padre Pio Prayer Center at St. Joachim Church. Moral: God does answer prayers and miracles can happen!
We need God; We need His Word; We need to be in Communion with Him! Join us tomorrow and let Sts. Joachim and Ann, their example and unconditional love for their families heal us and our families and bring God’s peace into our hearts so that we, too, can share it with others and Keep the Faith in Frankford!
Our Mass is bilingual and here is all the music that you need to know! Please listen and get familiar with it!
Opening Hymm – Ven al Banquete/Come to the Feast – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_6O-RqkMtI&list=RDD_6O-RqkMtI&start_radio=1&fbclid=IwAR2RAjURYyrN618824pKC3l4SsTZH-xfqpbpbTTZ5qCrupCUpKzqHIftW2g
Presentation of the Gifts – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94I07YCeqBs&fbclid=IwAR1M0kWufh24UATr9XbYwLtUK0v4kxDOSEGNwbfodLfjn2b5ZcMh9yAYV0g
Closing Hymn – “Joyful, Joyful” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ObqN9c9Jro0&fbclid=IwAR2nl__-jMfKwLKLPIcC9bjihDoYqlmMPSsxHDJ_c1arHAttMDhmmb3sxUw
We hope to hear your voices tomorrow! God bless you!
I think this quote is true of all people and that’s why I have been thinking a lot about change. Our lives change daily with the dawn of a new day! Sometimes, we’re not even aware that something has changed until after it’s all done!!
Our spiritual lives greatly changed on July 1, 2013. What have we learned since St. Joachim and Mater Dolorosa, St. Joan of Arc and Ascension were merged into Holy Innocents?
More confirmation that nothing stays the same. God’s love and call is a constant beckoning for us to change, to grow closer to Him, to be more like Him. However you answer that call is between you and God.
- Our Parishes were pretty much “stand alone islands” and that made it more difficult to support and help each other;
- The glory days of the Church in Philadelphia were long gone yet those years are exactly the ones we yearned for;
- Religion can both unite and divide us;
- Being taught that “We are one Body in Christ” doesn’t make it so;
- We had the responsibility and the duty to “Keep the Faith in Frankford” and to preserve it as best we could;
- The faith of the laity suffered but true faith is enduring; we better appreciated the efforts of those who built these parishes and paid for these parishes and we would not let them down;
- Money talks – even in our houses of worship; and
- Still, as we sing a favorite hymn, “All Are Welcome”, are they really?
We are the Church and if we expect the Church to change, we have to change, hard as it is. We have to be vulnerable, to open our hearts and to invite others in. If we look at our Patron’s statue, his hand is out-stretched and he is in motion, stepping out in greeting.
I started thinking about all of this because this year, St. Joachim’s Annual Feast Day Mass will be bi-lingual which it should have been. Even here in Chincoteague, I’ve been told and I sense that some people may not attend because of this. Or they will attend grudgingly but at least they will attend.
Another reality recently shared with me was after last week’s English Mass at St. Joan of Arc, Father Higgins had a meeting with folks to tell them that the attendance at both the English Mass and the Spanish Mass had dropped off. He would allow them time to build up Mass participation until Advent and if not, a real possibility of those Masses being stopped. It wouldn’t be easy, the right things to do never are, but if those folks don’t try to come together, both will lose. Today, we need every prayer we can get!
We’re not going to have a longer Mass because it’s bi-lingual but we are going to have a celebration together to include St. Joachim’s rich diversity. With more time of planning, I could have included even more cultures, our African American, Asian, and other brothers and sisters to truly be a multi-cultural Mass. God-willing, we will have time for that. Keep the Faith in Frankford’s motto is, “We believe our diversity is our community’s greatest strength”. Together, we can build the kingdom of God.
We are trying something new. We are trying to change. We are trying to be the people who have answered God’s call to serve each of His “beloved children of God! We are trying to mean what we say when we sing “All Are Welcome” in this place.
Our 4th Annual Community Spirit Day Honoring Al Stark, Jr. will take place Saturday, October 14, 2017 from 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM at St. Mark’s Church Parking Lot, 4442 Frankford Avenue.
Al Stark, Jr., longtime Frankford resident, was devoted to his family and to his Church – St. Joachim. Al believed in asking questions and righting injustices whenever or wherever he saw them. He used his energies for a better Frankford! Al set a high bar with his example. Sadly, he passed away during our efforts to reopen St. Joachim. I hope he is as proud of us as we are of him. In fact, if you look at the header picture on our website, Al is in the yellow shirt.
If you would like to volunteer to help us with this event or to donate needed items, please click this link, Planning Sheets, for an updated list of needs – both people and supplies. Thank you so much and God bless you!
Part of Frankford Forward’s mission, and one that many feel deeply about, is our efforts at responding to violence in our community. Two days after we learn that someone is a victim of violence, at 6:30 PM, we gather at the site where it occurred. These Vigils are 15 – 30 minutes long. We have signs that we hold or not and we gather together. Recent efforts had us meeting the family of the victim and praying with them and, another, we walked two blocks meeting our neighbors and inviting them to join with us. Several people expressed an interest in our next Frankford Forward meeting which is Monday, June 27, 6:00 PM at St. Mark’s Church.
This past Saturday, we ended with a prayer. Sometimes, we begin with a prayer. We do what seems best at the time. This is an important activity that we hope you will want to join, too. It is rewarding, we are meeting people who mostly appreciate what we are trying to do. We want peace in our neighborhoods. We want people to feel safe. We can do this – with your help.
Sadly, another young man was shot and killed in the middle of the day at Bridge St. and Torresdale Avenue, Tuesday, June 21. Man Shot, Chased and Killed in Frankford Identified Frankford Forward will gather there on Thursday, June 23, 6:30 PM. Many of us are going to the PSA 1 Meeting at Aria Frankford at 7:00 PM where we can meet with the police and talk about this situation. There have been 4 shootings in this area resulting in 2 deaths and 2 injured within the last 2-3 weeks. Something is definitely going on here.
Please take the time to view this 1 minute movie to better understand what we do. We hope to see you Thursday evening!!
Our Step Into History Tours #1 and #2 were a success. Those who attended agreed that it was informative, enlightening and a good way to spend some time on a Sunday afternoon.
Our next Step Into History Tour #3 takes place on Sunday, June 5. We will be touring the sites of former mills, mansions that the owners lived in and we hope to get inside some of these magnificient edifices for a peek.
As always, each tour begins at the Grand Army of the Republic Museum for a personalized tour given by Dr. Andy Waskie. Then we visit the sites in Frankford for that particular day. We finish at The Historical Society of Frankford for a wrap-up and light refreshments.
One of the most rewarding ministries I think we do as Keep the Faith in Frankford is pray for those in need. At every prayer service and every meeting, whenever we gather together, one of our intentions is that the Lord touch those in need of healing in mind, body and spirit and they feel the power of our prayers as well as God’s comfort. We will also mention by name those we know or those for whom we have been asked to prayer for. This is important to us as community means all of us – not just those who are physically present with us. My favorite story in the Bible is the Centurion who sends the Jewish elders to ask Jesus to heal his servant but has such faith that he tells his servants to tell Jesus, as he’s approaching the Centurion’s home, “Lord, do not bother about it, for I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof. Therefore, I did not feel worthy to come to you, but say the word and let my servant be healed.”
I recently received an email from a dear cousin asking for prayers for a couple at her church. My cousin included The Prayer of Healing that was written by Father Larry Hess from the Lehigh Valley. Also, another good friend asked for prayers for one of her friend’s family members going through some recurring problems. Initially, I was going to post right away on Facebook asking for those prayers but something intrigued me about Father Hess and I wanted to learn more about him and his Prayer of Healing.
As a young priest, Father Hess was involved in hospital ministry and known for his healing prayers said at each patient’s bedside. He would pray with each of the patients individually and spontaneously. The more he prayed with them the more he formalized his prayer and he wrote it down. He wrote it down he said, “So I wouldn’t forget it”. Father would also serve for many years at Notre Dame High School, Muhlenberg College, Cedar Crest College and Kutztown University. Many came to feel as one of God’s unique children because of Father’s kindness and patience.
He would later be pastor of Our Lady of Good Counsel in Bangor, PA and served at St. Vincent de Paul Mission in Portland, PA. Father’s last assignment was as Pastor of St. Anthony of Padua, in his hometown of Reading, in the Millmont neighborhood. Father was the 8th Pastor of St. Anthony and he oversaw the renovations of the church and school in anticipation of their 100th Anniversary in April, 2014. Father Hess would not live to see it as he passed away in February, 2014 at the young age of 63. He had been a priest for 35 years. He had such a personality that others were drawn to him and, through him, to Jesus. Father Hess was also a dynamic preacher, too!
Writing down his prayer enabled Father to make prayers cards for those he ministered to and to others who heard about his healing prayer. At the time of his death over 10,000 of his prayer cards were being asked for here in the US as well as other countries. His legacy came to be that he was “The Priest of the Holy Card”. I tried to find out if the holy cards were still available. It took some real detective work. As we know, churches close and merge, and I thought I wouldn’t learn the answer to that question. But through comments on a web post, I learned that Our Lady of Good Counsel and St. Vincent de Paul Mission Church merged. I called the rectory and their automated response asked if you were looking for the holy cards to contact David Rugh.
I called David Rugh to learn that he is the nephew of Father Hess and the family has taken over the sale and distribution of these holy cards. Now called “Heavenly Father Card” as those are the beginning words of Father’s prayer, you can order them through their website, www.heavenlyfathercard.org. They also have cd’s and dvd’s of Father’s talks and sermons. They ask for modest donations to cover shipping and handling. Heavenly Father Cards are available in Spanish, too. You can get prayer cards that are for you to say for yourself or prayer cards for someone you are praying for their healing. Well, we will be ordering cards as I know that those we serve would welcome them in a special way. We have much to pray for. We are prayer warriors, too!
Here is Father Hess’s Prayer of Healing. When praying this prayer, just replace the “I” words with the name or intention for whomever you are praying. God will know who you mean.
“Heavenly Father, I call on you right now in a special way. It is through your power that I was created. Every breath I take, every morning I wake and every moment of every hour, I live under your power.
For if you created me from nothing, you can certainly re-create me. Fill me with the healing power of your spirit. Cast out anything that should not be in me. Mend what is broken. Root out any unproductive cells. Open up any blocked arteries or veins and rebuild any damaged areas. Remove all inflammation and cleanse any infection.
Let the warmth of your healing love pass through my body to make new any unhealthy areas so that my body will function the way you created it to function.
And Father, restore me to full health in mind, body and spirit, so I may serve you the rest of my life.
I ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.”
Please pray for my cousin’s friends and my friend’s family member. And, say a prayer for Father Hess, too! Thank you and God bless you!
Some links you might be interested in:
Dean Jon Clodfelter and Deacon Phil Geliebter, St. Mark’s Church, have been on a mission to address the drug trade and the violence that results because of it. Monday, March 28, they invited the community to get involved at a meeting held at the Church. The community was well-represented with faith and community leaders, active and concerned residents. To succeed, this effort will include everyone in the community and we must believe that we can make a difference. There was a roomful of believers present. The meeting was led by Deacon Phil.
We heard a presentation about Cease Fire, a national program, which intervenes in a community to prevent violence. Funded by many national and local partners, and based at Temple University, to bring this program to Frankford would cost $250,000. Cease Fire employs people who live in the community who have experienced and lived the “high risk street activity” but can be the “right messengers” to “interrupt” and offer different choices, a different path. You can learn more about them at http://philaceasefire.com/ We can look into possible funding. A representative from Temple was willing to help. All present agreed, that this would be but one strategy and we need to tackle these problems with many different solutions.
We know that everyone reacts differently to stress. We know that our modern times are stressful and made more so by the shots we hear, the news reports and the frustration and sadness that comes because it’s not only the loss of the victims of crime we mourn but also the lives of those who commit them – it’s senseless and tragic. The best advice for dealing with some of this stress was shared by Ysaye Zmore, Human Services Incident Response Planner, of the city’s Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services. Ysaye suggested that we each take the time every day to do something we really like – cook, garden, read, walk, play with your children or grandchildren. It’s trying to keep the balance in an unbalanced world. You can learn more about their services here – http://dbhids.org/
The Anti-Violence Partnership of Philadelphia also provides counseling for individuals and families and victim assistance services to those most directly affected by violence. Lisa Christian explained that they serve families, individuals and work in high schools, too. This age of students 13-17 are the ones most savvy in social media. Of late, they have observed more posting of pictures of themselves holding weapons. Many, many autopsies of our youth, 17 years and older, with drugs in their system. President Obama, speaking at a drug abuse summit in Atlanta this past Tuesday, has made the correlation that we see drugs as a criminal problem but we need to look at as a health problem. Our youth are in crisis. Lisa told us, too, that 60% of school age children in our city have an episode of homelessness – 6 out of 10 children.
These were the experts sharing their truth. Those attending the meeting were experts, too, as each had many experiences and knowledge in addressing these issues, too. Robert Cook, the Pastor of St. James and standing up in our picture and speaking, has done much work with youth and families. St. James has planned a Coffee House, 6 PM, Sunday, April 10 for “live music, food and fun”. All are welcome! Pastor Rob also hosts a Family Movie Night, etc., bringing families in the community together. For more information, contact Pastor Rob directly at Pastor.Rob.email@example.com.
Pastor Richard Smith of the Faith Assembly of God, spoke very passionately about the need for us to carry on Christ’s mission of caring for each and everyone in the community. Pastor Smith makes a dedicated effort to find the children that are hungry in our area.
Jim Boxmeyer, a local resident, spoke about he and his wife’s efforts to maintain and improve a block on Foulkrod Street by screening tenants and taking care of the properties they own. We know many stories of absentee landlords in our area who care nothing except for the revenue their properties generate.
Kudos to all who attended. An impressive group!
The next meeting of this community group is scheduled for Monday, April 11, 6 PM at St. Mark’s Church, 4442 Frankford Ave., Phila., PA 19124. Our agenda includes the skills and talents we possess and can share and concrete ways we can help to make a difference in our community of Frankford. We will be looking for you!!