We believe that:
1. People are the greatest resources within any community;
2. The greater diversity of people within a community strengthens that community;
3. Our community of Frankford has been blessed with a great diversity of people; and
4. Working together we can make Frankford a great community.
Building upon the faith, the traditions and the history of our Frankford community, Keep the Faith in Frankford endeavors to bring together and unify our Frankford community for the following purposes:
1. To support and strengthen our faith-based organizations;
2. To help our residents develop their talents and gifts to live fuller, richer lives;
3. To help them find their voice and their desire to contribute to the greater good of the community; and
4. To improve the urban environment and liveability of the community of Frankford.
St. Joachim Church participated in the process, began in 2011, known as Area Pastoral Planning. Together with area churches, the pastors and parish representatives were charged with suggesting a plan to guarantee the viability of the Catholic Church in the coming years. However, for many different reasons, the future of St. Joachim and Mater Dolorosa were not decided upon by those with a vested interest in this outcome and it was left to the Archdiocese to decide. Their decision signed off by all those leading up the Archbishop of Philadelphia himself was to close both St. Joachim and Mater Dolorosa.
There was no real information or input shared with the parishioners that led either church to believe that both of their churches would be closed on June 30, 2013. But that is exactly what happened via the Archbishop and the pastor’s letter shared the weekend of June 1st and 2nd. That is the point at which Keep the Faith in Frankford began as an effort to have this decision reviewed and overturned. However, no one would meet with us or explain to us why and how these decisions were actually reached. It has taken us until the end of July to piece the story together. You can read about it here.
I would like to share with you the homily our Pastor, Father Steven Wetzel, preached on the weekend after we learned both of our churches were closing.
“…God Has Visited His People” (Luke 7: 16)
† “Some years ago, there was a factory fire on Adams Ave. in the middle of the night. I invited those affected to the rectory and gave them my own socks, clothes, etc., and then cooked them breakfast. This fire and the need of the people reveal that “…God has visited His people”.
† Mr. Joseph Levash (deceased) at 87 years old had not attended services at St. Joachim for over 10 years. I visited him, when trying to determine our true parish membership, and listened to this angry man. He returned to Mass and whenever a death was announced, tomatoes from his garden were left at the back door of the rectory for the family affected. Joe’s charity to those mourning a loss reveals that “…God has visited His people”.
† I am a chaplain to our 15th Police District (the largest in the city). Whenever there’s a need, I only have to mention it to them and, anonymously, they fill that need. A man had his gas turned off and I had a microwave oven for him that afternoon. Those in need and those who feel called to fill those needs reveal that “…God has visited his people”.
† When someone is homeless or in one of our many recovery houses, when I learn of their death, I pray at their bedside and inquire about funeral plans. If there are none, those at the daily 12 Noon Mass give this soul the full dignity and rites of the Catholic Church for burial. Their mortal body finally finds rest in our cemetery. Of course, the faithful have dug the hole themselves. The homeless, the lost, and those who reach out reveal that “…God has visited His people”.”