Last chance this weekend!

Times for the sacrament of reconciliation during the holy season of Lent

Sunday mornings between the end of the 9 am Mass and the beginning of the 11 am Mass in Church (through Palm Sunday) This is NEW!;

Saturdays from 8:30 – 9 am and from 4 -4:45 pm in Church

Any mutually convenient time arranged with a priest in the Parish Center

The Passion of Jesus Is Our Reason for Hope

A reflection on the Scriptures for Palm Sunday, Year B – March 29, 2015 by Fr. Thomas Rosica:

PassionThe Passion, suffering, death and resurrection of the Lord are the very themes that unite us as a Christian people and a Church during Holy Week.

This year on Palm Sunday, we listen attentively to Mark’s Passion story of Jesus’ final days and hours on earth. It is a story of striking contrasts. As we hear anew this moving story, Jesus’ passion penetrates the numbness of our lives. This week in particular, we have a privileged opportunity to learn from what happened to Jesus and discover not only the identity of those who tried, condemned and killed him long ago, but also what killed Jesus and what vicious circles of violence, brutality, hatred and jealousy continue to crucify him today in his brothers and sisters of the human family.

Zooming in on Mark’s Passion narrative

Mark’s account (Mark 11:1-10) of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem is the most subdued version of the event in the New Testament. For some reason the evangelist places much emphasis on the donkey in this account. It was the custom for pilgrims to enter Jerusalem on foot. Only kings and rulers would “ride” into the city — most often on great steeds and horses and in ostentatious processions, in order to make their presence known. Jesus, a different kind of king, chooses to ride into the city, not on a majestic stallion but on the back of a young beast of burden.

By being led through the city on the back of a lowly donkey, Jesus comes as a king whose rule is not about being served but serving. His kingdom is not built on might but on compassion and generous service. The donkey Jesus mounts sends us back to the words of the ancient prophet, Zechariah, who foretold this scene five centuries before: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on a donkey . . . ”

In Mark’s jarring Passion story, we witness the anguish of Jesus who has been totally abandoned by friends and disciples. Jesus is resigned to his fate. He makes no response to Judas when he betrays him nor to Pilate during his interrogation. In Mark, Pilate makes no effort to save him, as the Roman procurator does in the other three Gospels.

As he does throughout his Gospel, Mark depicts the utter of failure of the disciples to provide any support to Jesus or to even understand what is happening. The enigmatic, young male disciple who flees naked into the night when Jesus is arrested is a powerful symbol in Mark’s Gospel of his followers who initially left family and friends behind to follow Jesus. Now that the heat is on, they leave everything behind to flee from him.

When we remember the events of that first Holy Week – from the upper room to Gethsemane, from Pilate’s judgment seat to Golgotha, from the cross to the empty tomb, Jesus turns our world and its value system upside down. He teaches us that true authority is found in dedicated service and generosity to others; greatness is centered in humility; the just and loving will be exalted by God in God’s good time.

Viewing Mark’s Passion through the lenses of fidelity

In the midst of Mark’s stories of betrayal and violence, the evangelist inserts a dramatic story of exquisite fidelity. While Jesus visits Simon the Leper in Bethany on the eastern slopes of the Mount of Olives, an anonymous woman breaks, open her alabaster jar of costly perfumed oil, and anoints Jesus’ head in good, royal, biblical fashion (14:3-9). As the fragrance of the oil fills the room, those with Jesus are shocked at the woman’s extravagant gesture. But Jesus defends her. She had performed an act of true fidelity and love, he tells them, “for she has anticipated anointing my body for burial” (14:8). For this, Jesus promises, she would be remembered wherever the Gospel would be preached (14:9). This woman is the only one in all of the New Testament to be so greatly honored.

While his male disciples and apostles clearly manifest a bold track record of failure, betrayal and abandonment, this anonymous woman embodies boldness, courage, love and fidelity. What an example! Though she may not fully understand the significance of her symbolic and prophetic act of anointing him, nor the timeliness of her action, she only desires simply to be with him and to express to him lavish love and attention.

Is this not what each of us is called to do during Holy Week in particular? Is it not to love Jesus and to be attentive to him throughout the final tragic movements of the symphony of his earthly life, and in the midst of all of the setbacks, failures and betrayals of our own lives? Our lives must be like the woman’s jar of expensive ointment poured out so lavishly on the Lord in the final moments of his life on earth.

Who, if not the condemned Savior?

At the conclusion of the Stations of the Cross at Rome’s Colosseum on Good Friday night in the Jubilee Year 2000, Pope John Paul II spoke these moving and powerful words:

“Who, if not the condemned Savior, can fully understand the pain of those unjustly condemned?

Who, if not the King scorned and humiliated, can meet the expectations of the countless men and women who live without hope or dignity?

Who, if not the crucified Son of God, can know the sorrow and loneliness of so many lives shattered and without a future?”

What a Savior we have! He truly understands our human condition. He walks with us and shares our sorrows, loneliness and suffering. How do we respond to such outlandish love and genuine solidarity? Passion Sunday invites us to put on what Paul calls the “attitude of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:6-11) in his passion and death: to “empty” ourselves of our own interests, fears and needs for the sake of others. May we reach out to heal those who are hurting and comfort the despairing around us despite our own denials and betrayals.

During the moving liturgies of Holy Week, we are given the special grace to carry on, with joy and in hope, despite rejection, humiliation and suffering. In this way, the Passion of Jesus becomes a reason for hope and a moment of grace for all us as we seek the reign of God in our own lives — however lonely and painful that search may be. Holy Week gives us the consolation and the conviction that we are not alone.

The readings for this Sunday are: Isaiah 50:4-7; Philippians 2:6-11; Mark 14:1-15:47 or 15:1-39.

For Mini-Reflection from today’s Gospel:

From today’s Gospel reading:

Those preceding Jesus as well as those following kept crying out,

“Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”


Humans fight to gain power over others. Disciples are not exempt from these ambitions; but Jesus knew that God’s rule would come by his patient suffering and death. How different is that! The crowd and we look for displays of power. But Jesus offers us the cross.

So we ask ourselves:

  • God’s power appears as weakness to the world? What could that mean?
  • When and in what places have we experienced the power of God in weakness?

Mark your calendars to attend WMOF – Philadelphia (including the Papal visit): September 22 -27, 2015 

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George Weigel reflects on the Significance of the World Meeting of Families – 2015

From First Things, “America’s Most Influential Journal of Religion and Public Life”

(First Things is published by the Institute on Religion and Public Life, an interreligious, nonpartisan research and educational 501(c)(3) organization. The Institute was founded in 1990 by Richard John Neuhaus and his colleagues to confront the ideology of secularism, which insists that the public square must be “naked,” and that faith has no place in shaping the public conversation or in shaping public policy.)

The World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia this September should be more than a vast Catholic “gathering of the clans” around Pope Francis—and so should the months between now and then. If the Church in the United States takes this opportunity seriously, these months of preparation will be a time when Catholics ponder the full, rich meaning of marriage and the family: human goods whose glory is brought into clearest focus by the Gospel. Parents, teachers and pastors all share the responsibility for seizing this opportunity, which comes at a moment when marriage and the family are crumbling in our culture and society.Now, thanks to a fine mini-catechism prepared by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and the Pontifical Council for the Family, we’ve been given a basic resource with which to do months of preparatory catechesis on marriage and the family—and preachers have been offered reliable material for shaping homilies on these great themes between now and September.

Love Is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive (Our Sunday Visitor) begins by reminding us that the Catholic Church’s teaching on marriage and the family is not composed of “positions” or “policies,” a widespread misunderstanding today. Rather, the Church’s teaching about marriage and the family are expressions of the basic truths of Christian faith: God, who brought the world into being, loves us; the divine love is most powerfully displayed in God’s son, Jesus Christ; friendship with Jesus brings us into the communion of the Church, which is a foretaste of the communion with God for which we are destined; our basic task as Christians is to offer others the gift we have been given—friendship with the Lord, which we do both by witness and by proposal. Or as St. Augustine so memorably put it in the “Confessions,” we have been made for God, and our hearts are restless until they rest in the divine embrace.

Nothing falls outside of God’s creative and redeeming purposes, which include our being created male and female, the complementarity and fruitfulness built into our being created male and female, and the permanence of marriage, which is a sign of God’s own covenant fidelity. God is a communion of loving Persons—thus married love, St. John Paul II taught, is an icon of the interior life of the Holy Trinity. God keeps his promises; thus the promise-keepers among us who live the covenant of marriage bear witness to that divine promise-keeping by their own fidelity.

In light of all this, the Christian idea of chastity comes into clearer focus. In the Catholic view of things, chastity is not a dreary string of prohibitions but a matter of loving-with-integrity: loving rather than “using;” loving another for himself or herself. The sexual temptations that the Church says “No” to are the implications of a higher, nobler, more compelling “Yes”— yes to the integrity of love, yes to love understood as the gift of oneself to another, yes to the family as the fruit of love, and yes to the family as the school where we first learn to love. “Yes” is the basic Catholic stance toward sexuality, marriage and the family. We should witness to that “Yes” with a joyful heart, recognizing that the example of joyful Catholic families is the best gift we can offer a world marked today by the glorification of self-absorption.

In a pontificate that has reminded us continuously of our responsibilities to the poor, for whom God has a special care, preparations for the World Meeting of Families are also an opportunity to remind our society that stable marriages and families are the most effective anti-poverty program in the world. As demographer Nicholas Eberstadt wrote recently, “the flight from the family most assuredly comes at the expense of the vulnerable young”—especially low-income children, who are more vulnerable to the toxic effects of family breakdown. That’s not Catholic carping; that’s basic social science data.

The Catholic idea of marriage and the family is a gift for the whole world. Catholics should give that gift away, profligately, in the months ahead.

George Weigel is Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C. Weigel’s column is distributed by the Denver Catholic, the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Denver.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE         March 11, 2015               P R E S S   R E L E A S E

World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia 2015 Announces Committee Chairs and Vice Chairs for Historic Event

Philadelphia, PA (March 11, 2015) – The World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia 2015 today announced the establishment of a comprehensive committee structure in advance of the World Meeting of Families Congress and historic visit of Pope Francis in September 2015. There will be 15 committees advising on myriad planning issues including liturgical development, combatting hunger and homelessness, and visitor experience among others.

Each committee will have a Chair/Co-Chairs as well as Vice Chairs who will work together with the members of their respective committees. Meetings are set to begin in earnest in early April, approximately six months prior to the global event. Several notable committees, such as security and transportation, are being headed by regional authorities and governmental agencies. Senior leadership from the World Meeting of Families –Philadelphia 2015 will represent the organization to those bodies. The World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia 2015 will closely coordinate with the City of Philadelphia on communications.

“In preparing for the World Meeting of Families, we have been blessed with wonderful support from the entire community. Of special note is the willingness of business, civic, and cultural leaders to become engaged,” said Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. “Whether Catholic or of another faith tradition, they have responded equally with open hearts, great enthusiasm and strong commitment. I’m deeply grateful to those who have accepted the invitation to serve on the committees being announced today and I’m confident that we will create a beautiful and memorable week for our families here in the Philadelphia region – and for families from around the world.”

The following is the full committee list, identifying Chairs/Co-Chairs and Vice Chairs for the World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia 2015:

Communications and Marketing

Chair: Tod J. MacKenzie, Senior V.P. of Corporate Communications & Public Affairs, Aramark

Vice-Chairs: o A. Bruce Crawley, President and Principal Owner, Millennium 3 Management, Inc. (M3M)

o Jay Devine, President & CEO, Devine + Partners


Chair: Eustace Mita, CEO, Achristavest

Vice-Chairs: o Ward Fitzgerald, Managing Principal, CEO, Exeter Property Group

o Lucille Francesco, Chair, St. Charles Borromeo Seminary Gala


Co-Chair: Meryl Levitz, President and CEO, VISIT PHILADELPHIA™

Co-Chair: Sharon Pinkenson, Executive Director, Greater Philadelphia Film Office

Government Outreach

Chair: Steve Fera, Senior Vice President, Public Affairs, Independence Blue Cross

Vice-Chair: Michael J. Tierney, Partner, Dilworth Paxson LLP

Health Resources

Chair: Jerry M. Francesco, D.Ph. Chair, Board of Trustees, The Visiting Nurse Association of Greater Philadelphia

Vice-Chair: Karen Alston, RN, MSN, MBA, Executive Vice President/Chief Nurse Officer The Visiting Nurse Association of Greater Philadelphia

Housing Committee (Vatican, PCF, VIPs, and AOP Housing Specific)

Chair: Fr. Paul Kennedy, Pastor, Saint Katherine of Siena Parish, Philadelphia

Vice-Chair: Sr. Virginia Rozich C.S.F.N., Regional Contact of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth

Hunger and Homelessness

Chair: Sr. Mary Scullion, Executive Director, Project HOME

Vice-Chair: Anne Healy Ayella, Associate Director, Nutritional Development Services, Archdiocese of Philadelphia

Liturgy Committee

Chair: Reverend Gerald Dennis Gill, Director, Office for Divine Worship and Rector, Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, Archdiocese of Philadelphia;

Vice-Chair: Dr. John Romeri, Director, Office for Liturgical Music, Archdiocese of Philadelphia

Liturgy Sub-Committee: Liturgical Music

Chair: Reverend Gerald Dennis Gill, Director, Office for Divine Worship and Rector, Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, Archdiocese of Philadelphia;

Vice-Chair: Dr. John Romeri, Director, Office for Liturgical Music, Archdiocese of Philadelphia

Papal Events

Co-Chair: Karen Dougherty Buchholz, Senior Vice President of Administration, Comcast Corporation

Co-Chair: Josephine Mandeville, Chair and President, The Connelly Foundation

Vice-Chairs: o Varsovia Fernandez, President & CEO, Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

o Katie Keating, Community Leader

o Dr. Keith Leaphart, President & CEO, Replica Creative

o Amelia Q. Riley, Senior Manager, Comcast Corporation

Parish and School Preparation Committee

Co-Chair: Meghan Cokeley, Director, Office of the New Evangelization, Archdiocese of Philadelphia

Co-Chair: Christopher Mominey, Chief Operating Officer and Secretary for Catholic Education, Archdiocese of Philadelphia

Visa and Immigration

Chair: Fr. Bruce Lewandowski, C. SS. R, Vicar for Cultural Ministries, Archdiocese of Philadelphia

Vice Chair: Mark Shea, Esq., Administrator, Immigration Program, Catholic Social Services, Archdiocese of Philadelphia


Chair: Alison Grove, Principal, Grimm & Grove

Vice-Chair: Patricia Schwartz, Executive Director PennSERVE: The Governor’s Office of Citizen Service

Welcome Committee

Chair: Jack Ferguson, President and CEO, Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau

Vice-Chair: Greg Fox, Board Chairman, Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority Partner, Montgomery McCracken, Walker & Rhoads, LLP

Youth Congress Committee

Chair: Rev. Stephen P. DeLacy, Vocation Office for Diocesan Priesthood, Archdiocese of Philadelphia

Vice-Chair: Sr. William Catherine Brannen, IHM, Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

“We are so grateful to those willing to give of their time and talent in support of this once-in-a-generation event,” said Donna Crilley Farrell, Executive Director of the World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia 2015. “It is encouraging to see our community come together to deliver such an important event for our city, our state and our nation. Truly, we are indebted to those who have agreed to lead committees for the World Meeting of Families and to all who will serve on these committees moving forward. It is their efforts, which will make this event so incredibly special.”



Click here to view the World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia 2015 “Schedule at a Glance”. 

Host a Family


Welcome Visitors with Hospitality

Many of our visiting families are traveling long distances to reach the World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia 2015. As an affordable alternative to hotel accommodations and to support the volume of people coming to the Philadelphia area, we are offering families located in the Philadelphia region the opportunity to open their doors to our visitors.

Host Families can host visitors in a spare bedroom, a vacated apartment, or any amenable facility. Visiting individuals and families can then search the Host Family database to find hosts to be matched too. When registering as a Host Family, you will include information on your hosting situation (bedrooms, family hobbies, pets, allergies, access to public transportation, etc.). Additionally, each visiting family will pay a nightly fee to the Host Family. The Host Family can use that money to offset costs, buy breakfast each day, donate to the visiting family, or in any other way desired. Your role, as a Host Family, is pivotal in enabling many families to make this trip safe and affordable.

If you would like to open your home to a World Meeting of Families Visitor, you can register at  or email us at

Once Host registration has opened, you will be notified so that you can enter your information into a private database which will be used only for the World Meeting of Families event.