Dear OSJ Family,

This time last year we found ourselves in the midst of the papal visit to Philadelphia where hundreds of thousands of pilgrims from around the world came to our city to celebrate our Catholic faith, the place of the family, and to draw inspiration from our Holy Father, Pope Francis. For me it was a “once in a lifetime event.” I cannot help but think that we are a better city, nation and church after the visit of our first Jesuit pope!

You may recall that, at that time, I asked our facilities folks to fly both a papal flag and a colonial American flag (the US flag of choice in our historic area) at the two entrances to our church. The flags were well received.  Consequently, I asked that these flags remain flying after Pope Francis returned to Rome. These symbols have helped draw people to our wonderful parish.

Pilgrims recently visiting our city from Ohio told me, “We searched for your historic church but we could not find it! We passed by it several times looking for a steeple or a bell tower but found none!  It was only after our young son identified the papal flag flying down the little alley that we were drawn down the street and saw the sign (our restored sign is striking!) that told us we had found our destination, Old St Joseph’s. We love being here, it is so central to the history of our faith and the church is just so beautiful!” These remarks could not have made me happier—pilgrims discovered our treasured church and the flags helped to lead them here!

With that, the flags need replacing around every six months and so we need to purchase additional flags for both entrances. If anyone would like to help purchase new flags please see me after Mass or call at the office to arrange for this. The flags cost $50 each and last for about 6 months. Additionally, I’d like to explore flying these two flags from the balcony inside our church, as is done in our neighboring historic churches. These indoor flags are $175 each and last for several years. Please let me know if you’d like to help us to keep our colors flying at OSJ!

Thanks for your kind consideration and may God continue to bless our beloved Nation and Church!

With my esteem and respect,

Father Phil Florio, SJ