My Dear Parishioners,
Happy New Year! I hope that you had a peaceful celebration of Christmas and the New Year. I also want to thank all those who made our celebrations as beautiful as they were. I especially want to thank our musicians, vocalists and all those in the Music Ministry, our Lectors and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. Thank you as well to our Altar Society (all those who care for the altar by washing the linens also providing, caring for, and watering the plants and flowers). I especially want to thank those who regularly help to clean and decorate our church. Your work has truly beautified this sacred space. Thanks also to those who contributed to our “Christmas Flowers” collection. You and your loved ones are remembered in prayer throughout the season. Now is also a good time to thank those that operate “behind the scenes” by seeing to it that our weekend celebrations run smoothly. This list also includes our ushers, sacristans, collection counters, and the “Scrip Sellers” in support of our school.
The list of volunteers and those to thank extends beyond our Sunday celebration. I want to also thank all those who work in the formation and education of the people at St. Joseph. This includes the superb faculty, staff and volunteers at St. Joseph/St. Robert School, in the CCD program and Adult Faith Formation, and RCIA. As pastor I am grateful for the advice provided by the Finance Council. I also appreciate the parish nurses and those associated with the Health and Help Ministry, and St. Joseph HOPE committee, Food for the Poor, and the rectory volunteers. Thank you for all you do to make St. Joseph a loving and hospitable place. I am grateful to all those who assist with the running of the parish facility including our rectory and maintenance staff. All volunteers are invited to classroom 18 to pick a small token of our appreciation. This year we are offering a 100th Anniversary engraved pen and flashlight/keychain set as the featured gift. If you prefer, please take another one of the Anniversary coffee mugs.
This week our young people will be celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation for the very first time. Please keep them in your prayers as they come to experience the love and mercy of the Lord Jesus. Hopefully, we will see this as a reminder that we need to stay close to the Lord, and that whenever we have placed an obstacle in our relationship with God, He gives us the opportunity to have that obstacle removed.
Archbishop Perez has asked that the following letter be communicated this weekend.
May God Bless You in the New Year,
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
The Catholic Relief Services (CRS) collection funds Catholic agencies that work for the benefit of our brothers and sisters around the world who are marginalized and in critical need of assistance. By providing humanitarian aid, resettling those displaced by warfare or strife, and advocating on behalf of victims of atrocities such as human trafficking, beneficiaries of the CRS collection fulfill the Church’s mission of mercy. They respond affirmatively to the Gospel’s call to love others as we love God and proclaim our fundamental belief that every human life is sacred in a concrete way.
The annual Catholic Relief Services collection challenges American Catholics to put their faith into action and to see the presence of Christ in the faces of the poor and to demonstrate love for Christ by responding to their needs. A small amount from the collection is retained by the Archdiocese to help cover local efforts to promote the collection.
This year’s collection will be taken up in the parishes of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia during the weekend of January 14-15, 2023. The American Catholic community, and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in particular, have always responded very generously to this annual collection. The majority of funds collected support relief efforts overseas and a small amount is retained locally for charitable endeavors undertaken by our local Church.
I am grateful for your compassionate response in past years and ask that you be generous once again. Be assured of my prayers for you and your intentions. May God bless you abundantly.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
+Most Reverend Nelson J. Pérez, D.D.
Archbishop of Philadelphia