St. Joachim, the Church, has been closed since June 30, 2013. However, St. Joachim Parish is alive and well! We are committed to staying together and working together as a parish community to reopen St. Joachim Church. In fact, we have begun a nonprofit organization, Keep the Faith in Frankford, to continue the work of the Church in our community.
We meet weekly, we demonstrate downtown, we hold our prayer services, we participate in Archdiocesan events, we visit Holy Innocents and other churches to fulfill our weekly obligation of Mass but we long for the day when St. Joachim reopens. How can we do that? What makes us think that we are able to change the minds and hearts of our hierarchy and accomplish what some people feel is a battle already lost? The answer is simple – it’s our faith!
We have had so many opportunities to walk and live by faith as Catholics. Since our Church closed, our faith has increased and become even more meaningful! This past Sunday,October 13, 2013, to commemorate the Year of Faith now ending, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia invited all to participate in a Pilgrimage of Faith. From different “landing points”, the faithful would walk to the Basilica to “Rediscover the Joy of Believing in Christ and His Church”. Sandwiches and water from Williamson’s would be distributed. A holy hour would take place at 5 PM with Exposition and the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the Archbishop would say Mass at 6:30 PM.
We have been blessed to meet and work with other brothers and sisters whose parishes have also been impacted by decisions over which they had no voice. One such group is La Milagrosa whose efforts to resolve the sale of their chapel to a building developer is being led by Miguel Ortiz and Gilberto Gonzalez. Miguel and Gilberto, along with their families and fellow parishioners, have been models of humility, devotion and a real love of the Lord.
So together we would walk to the Basilica from La Milagrosa Chapel and witness our faith and say a Rosary for Justice for our Churches and all Churches that have been closed. Al and Mary McK., Al S., Ann Y., Barbara J., David and Shannon H., Florence S., Gregory M., Josephine L., Maryanne S., and Pat and Bob Smiley stepped off. (La Milagrosa started a little later than us but we all met later.) As we walked to the Basilica, we passed a group of homeless men in a park along the parkway. Greeting everyone with a God bless you and friendly faces just didn’t seem enough in this situation. I will never forget when Al S. and David H. talked to Williamson’s about donating the extra sandwiches to those men in the park. They assured them that’s what they would do after everyone had arrived and had been fed. It’s great to have faith but you have to use that faith to help others. The Lord constantly uses us to teach and learn from each other using our own gifts and talents to help make it “heaven here on earth”.
Yesterday, we walked, we sang, we talked and shared with others about what our faith means to us! Now we have to put it into action! What will you do as part of St. Joachim Parish to love, serve and witness your faith with and for others? Let us work to reopen St. Joachim to continue our witness which began back in 1844.