From the Pastor — February 19, 2017

Posted by on Feb 21, 2017 in From the Pastor Columns, Uncategorized

AMDG Dear OSJ Family, With all the conversation recently around refugees, I want bring to your attention a service of our Jesuit Family that is seeking to meet the rising demands of refugees. Many of you have asked how you can help those fleeing persecution and oppression in distant lands, so the Jesuits in the USA are encouraging those we serve to consider supporting the good work of the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS). This blurb, taken from the JRS website, best explains who they are: The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) is an international Catholic organization with a mission to accompany, serve and advocate on behalf of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons. JRS programs are found in 50 countries, providing assistance to: refugees in camps and cities, individuals displaced within their own countries, asylum seekers in cities, and to those held in detention centers. The main areas of work are in the field of education, emergency assistance, healthcare, livelihood activities and social services. At the end of 2016, more than 900,000 individuals were direct beneficiaries of JRS projects. Gratefully, the Jesuit Refugee Service celebrated its 35th year in service to those in need. In addition, Pope Francis’ invitation to the Church to reveal Christ’s mercy, especially to those most in need, goes hand in hand with JRS’ mission. Again, Pope Francis has stressed that each of us are invited “to rediscover and make fruitful the mercy of God, with which all of us are called to give consolation to every man and woman of our time.” When addressing the current refugee crisis, the Holy Father has also said “the world is suffering from a ‘globalization of indifference,’ ignoring those who cry out for mercy. But it is time to change that.” If you are interested in supporting the ministry of refugees, please consider the work of JRS, and see their website for more information. Additionally, Dr. Bethany Welch, the steadfast chairperson of our Social Justice Committee, recently offered our parish community these additional agencies that will allow you to support services to refugees and refugee resettlement activities in our region: Welcome the Refugee – Catholic Social Services, Archdiocese of Philadelphia 610-876-7101 HIAS PA 215-832-0900 Nationalities Service Center (215) 893-8400 Bethany Christian Services (215) 376-6200 Thank you and God Bless. In the Lord, Fr Phil Florio,...

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USCCB Chairmen Statement in Response to Refugee Executive Order

Posted by on Feb 3, 2017 in Uncategorized

On January 27, 2017, President Donald J. Trump issued an executive order that, among other things, suspends issuance of visas and other immigration benefits to nationals of seven predominantly Muslim countries for 90 days, indefinitely suspends resettlement of refugees from Syria (a predominately Muslim country), subject to a possible exception for those who are “religious minorities” in their home countries and facing religious persecution, and suspends virtually the entire U.S. refugee resettlement program for 120 days, also subject to a possible exception for such “religious minorities.” Most Reverend Mitchell T. Rozanski, Bishop of Springfield and Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, Most Reverend William E. Lori, Archbishop of Baltimore and Chairman of the USCCB Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, and Most Reverend Oscar Cantú, Bishop of Las Cruces and Chairman of the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace, jointly issued the following statement in response to this action: We recognize that Friday evening’s Executive Order has generated fear and untold anxiety among refugees, immigrants, and others throughout the faith community in the United States. In response to the Order, we join with other faith leaders to stand in solidarity again with those affected by this Order, especially our Muslim sisters and brothers. We also express our firm resolution that the Order’s stated preference for “religious minorities” should be applied to protect not only Christians where they are a minority, but all religious minorities who suffer persecution, which includes Yazidis, Shia Muslims in majority Sunni areas, and vice versa. While we also recognize that the United States government has a duty to protect the security of its people, we must nevertheless employ means that respect religious liberty for all, and the urgency of protecting the lives of those who desperately flee violence and persecution. It is our conviction as followers of the Lord Jesus that welcoming the stranger and protecting the vulnerable lie at the core of the Christian life. And so, to our Muslim brothers and sisters and all people of faith, we stand with you and welcome you....

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From the Pastor-January 15, 2017

Posted by on Jan 20, 2017 in Uncategorized

AMDG Dear OSJ Family A few of our parishioners asked me to share some startling statistics that I used in my homilies last weekend regarding the ongoing persecution of Christians all around the world. Sadly, but because we need to earnestly reflect on what this means for us as a body of believers and as a human family, I share this information with you, taken from my Epiphany homily: “To believe in Christ, to obey his Gospel and to execute his teachings, means that we will unquestionably need to take some risks. We will be forced to move beyond our comfort zones and at times move into danger zones.  Being a Christian, especially in the unbelieving world in which we live today, is a risk.  Sadly as we begin 2017, The Catholic News Agency reports that Christianity has become the most persecuted religious group in the world. In 2016 there were over 90 thousand Christians killed around the world, with 63 thousand of those on the African continent. Twenty-seven thousand of that 90 thousand were murdered by terrorists, terror sponsored groups, and governments that participate in the persecution of its religious minorities, including North Korea. Today we gather here, in our beautiful and welcoming parish church, freely and without fear, but 500 million other Christians cannot freely practice their faith.  We must pray and work to change that!” (Florio homily of January 8, 2017) Indeed, this sad reality must be addressed by our civil and religious leaders as we move in to the New Year, and like the early Christians, we must not allow the pressures and trials of the world around us to cast us into shadow and darkness where the light and radiance of our holy faith can be extinguished. Religious freedom ought to be a right for all people regardless of what they believe or with which faith they identify. This does not exclude our Christian sisters and brothers who continue to suffer, mercilessly, for their faith. And you will be hated for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved – Matthew 10:22 May God bless and protect all who suffer for their faith. In the Lord, Fr Phil Florio, SJ...

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From the Pastor, September 25, 2016

Posted by on Sep 26, 2016 in Uncategorized

AMDG Dear OSJ Family, Thank you to all who continue to ask about the status of our newly arrived senior priest, Father Mike Siconofli, SJ.  As some may know, Father arrived here following intensive surgery and was hoping to slow down at OSJ after having served for almost eight years as the Catholic chaplain at Quantico. He enjoyed a thriving ministry to our Marines there and was anxious to begin serving the liturgical and sacramental needs of our parish. He celebrated several Masses in the past few weeks and proved to be an excellent preacher.  Sadly, last week he became ill again and, at the request of the Jesuit Provincial superior, has been summoned back to our health care facility at Fordham University in New York. There he will receive excellent medical attention and it is our hope that he will advance in his restoration to health. Please keep him in your prayers. Also, I invite anyone to help us at this time in giving a donation to purchase new altar server vestments. Many of them are in need of replacing and, through your generosity, we hope to do that in time for the holidays. Indeed, vestments truly add to the beauty and dignity of our worship. The vestments that we hope to purchase will cost around $160 each and they can be donated in memory of a deceased person or in honor of a living person. If you choose to purchase one or more vestments, we hope to create an honor roll of these names that will be placed in the church sacristy. If you’d simply like to make a small donation to the fund we will gladly accept that gift as well. Either way, If you’d like to help us purchase new vestments, please see me after Mass or call me at the parish offices 215-923-1733. Thanks again and let us pray for Father Siconolfi and all who are in need of God’s healing and peace. With my esteem and prayers, Fr. Phil Florio, SJ...

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From the Pastor 5/15/2016

Posted by on May 18, 2016 in From the Pastor Columns, Uncategorized

AMDG Dear OSJ Family, The Church, in her wisdom, gives us the Month of May in which to honor Holy Mary, our Mother and our Queen. Mary, the Queen of Heaven, is honored for her unique relationship with Jesus and her love and guidance to each of us, her earthly children. You will note that to the left of our altar is the stunning stained glass window of Mary being crowned Queen of Heaven—it is a true treasure of our parish. In the early 70’s, Pope Paul VI declared that May is the month that Christians offer the Virgin Mother more “fervent and loving acts of homage and veneration; and it is the month in which a greater abundance of God’s merciful gifts comes down to us from our Mother’s throne.” Notably, Pope Francis consecrated his papacy to Mary, under the title of Our Lady of Fatima, and he invited everyone to consecrate themselves to her tender, loving care. This month, as we honor our Mother and Queen, let us consider praying the rosary, lighting a candle at Mary’s shrine, or praying one of the various novena prayers of Our Lady (Perpetual Help, Fatima, Un-tier of Knots, Guadalupe, Lourdes). Finally, I share with you a few lyrics from a favorite Marian hymn of my youth that still serves to inspire me to greater devotion to Our Lady, the infamous “May Procession” song:   Bring flow’rs of the fairest, Bring flow’rs of the rarest, From garden and woodland And hillside and vale; Our full hearts are swelling, Our glad voices telling The praise of the loveliest Rose of the vale.   O Mary! we crown thee with blossoms today, Queen of the Angels, Queen of the May!   Grace and peace, Fr. Phil Florio,...

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From the Pastor 4/24/2016

Posted by on May 13, 2016 in From the Pastor Columns, Uncategorized

AMDG Dear OSJ Family, As many of you know, my mom Frances M. Florio passed away last week at 81 years of age at a local hospice. She was surrounded by her family and friends, and her last breath was taken as we prayed the Hail Mary—because that is how good old school Italian-American ladies of faith go home to God! She originally entered the hospital after suffering a serious stroke just three and a half weeks ago. She was having difficulty with her physical rehabilitation. After running tests to find out why, her medical team discovered stage four cancer in her pancreas and liver. She was diagnosed on Monday, moved to hospice on Wednesday, and passed on Thursday. It was unreal. I am certain that our holy patron Saint Joseph, the patron of peaceful death, hastened to guide her home to our Savior.  Thank you good Saint Joseph! My family and I thank you for all of the prayers that helped her to return to her eternal resting place at God’s side. I am sure, as a good friend said to me, “Franny Florio does not have to wait in line to get through the heavenly gates”. Though she was never Jesuit educated herself, she and my dad served as an Ignatian Volunteers at the Gesu School. She was a true “person for others” and I am sure that Saint Ignatius ran out to greet her at the gates! I am especially grateful for all from OSJ who attended her beautiful Funeral Mass at our parish Church of Saint Monica’s in South Philly and all who sent cards and well wishes. I am grateful to our OSJ choirs and to Pat Montenegro who brought a taste of our wonderful music ministry to my mom’s Funeral Mass. The outpouring of love from OSJ was, and remains very consoling. My mom leaves behind my dad, my two older brothers, my sister-in-law and four grandchildren.  Please continue to pray for us. Thank you for your prayers and for your kindness. Gifts in her memory (Frances Florio) may be made to the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus. Give her eternal rest, O Lord, and may Your light shine upon her forever. Receive her soul and present her to God the Most High. Amen! Requiescat in pace Gratefully, Fr. Phil Florio, S.J....

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