A Tale of Two Shepherds

Archbishop and MeWell, Archbishop Chaput, at a lecture he was giving in Manhattan (imagine how many people like us were there) “blasts Vatican debate on family, says ‘confusion is of the devil””. Now when you read this article, I started to wonder if Archbishop Chaput really wants Pope Francis to come here. I have personally heard him speak about how “concerned” and worried Catholics are because of Pope Francis – his words and his actions. He most definitely seems to be speaking for himself. Yet this article should not be a surprise to us as there can be not debate, no discussion with the Archbishop about anything. Does he think his style and words are drawing people back to the church? Is he even helping to keep people in the church? I get concerned about people who always think they’re right. I’m concerned about our local Shepherd telling us “the decision has been made and we are not considering any changes”. Are you as concerned as I? You decide after reading – “Archbishop Chaput blasts Vatican debate on family, says ‘confusion is of the devil'”

Pope FrancisThank God for Pope Francis. A light and a beacon that tells us it’s alright to have these discussions. He’s another opener of doors like Pope St. John XXIII. Let’s talk about it – let’s see how we can heal those whose lives have already been broken by society, by the loss of a love intended to be forever through divorce and anyone who feels a distance from Jesus’ love. Pope Francis is not about “winning” or dictating. He’s about making visible the kingdom of heaven on earth. How different than what we’re used to. Pope Francis, himself, is an expression of unity and of bringing all of us together. Here’s a summary of the Synod from the National Catholic Reporter. “Synod a win for Franics and openness”.

I’m glad ours is a church of diversity and expression of that. But we mustn’t let fear or judgement be our guide. We must have the courage of the Holy Spirit! It confirms what we believe. It is even more imperative and necessary that each and every Catholic add their voice to these discussions. Are you willing? Can you believe?

Thanks to Greg Minetola for sharing with me the article on Archbishop Chaput.

Pope Francis photo credit: KOREA.NET – Official page of the Republic of Korea via photopin cc

Join Us on Sunday, 9/21, at 6:30 PM at the Basilica!

Please email this link to everyone you know who cares about the 40+ churches that have closed or merged in the last 13 months! Spread the Word! Spread the Good News! Churches are important, not just to us as Catholics, but our neighborhood communities as well! Join us! We’ll be waiting for you!

Flash Your Faith

You Don’t Want to Miss This Event!

What’s the hottest ticket in town? No, it’s not along the Avenue of the Arts! It’s the ticket for tonight’s presentation at the Historical Society of Frankford, 1507 Orthodox St. See you there! The most fun for $5 you can have anywhere!!!!

HSF September 2014 program half page


Archbishop Chaput Stays the Course While the Faithful Flounder!

TempestAs Archbishop Chaput continues to close churches and refuses to meet with the faithful, area Catholics struggle to understand. As a member of St. Joachim Parish (and we do have an open Appeal in the Vatican), we learned last year that “the decision has been made and we are not considering any changes”. From Philly.com, “Archbishop Nixes Appeals by Five Closed Parishes”.

Personally, I would respectfully ask the Archbishop to rethink this policy. Evidence is mounting and even more credible that the Area Pastoral Planning Process is severely flawed. Every parish we have spoken to, has had the same experience that we, at St. Joachim, have had. All parishioners were not consulted and recommendations of the PPA’s have been overturned at the highest level without any explanation at all to the reasoning or the logic. This process needs to be reviewed and redone. The history of our neighborhood parishes is deep and rich. Our needs today require that we unite and become “One body, One church” whether we are from Marcus Hook or Montgomeryville, South Philly or Swarthmore. Only then, can we be heard.

We call on the Archbishop, as our Shepherd here in Philadelphia, and urge him as stated by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) referring to 1 Peter 5:1-4 to be that “example” for us:

“So I exhort the presbyters among you, as a fellow presbyter and witness to the suffering of Christ and one who has a share in the glory to be revealed. Tend the flock of God in your midst, [overseeing] not by constraint, but by willingness as God would have it, not for shameful profit, but eagerly. Do not lord it over those assigned to you, but be examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd is revealed, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.”

The mighty wind of the Spirit is stirring throughout this Archdiocese to ask for an honest and earnest discussion about the future of the Catholic Church in Philaelphia and its surrounding suburbs. This Spirit is inclusive and urges that all the voices of the faithful be heard. Can you hear it, Archbishop Chaput? Do you feel it? Perhaps it’s time for a new direction, a new course?

photo credit: Jaimito Cartero via photopin cc


Join Us! Meet Us! We Remember!

Please share this information to any and all who might be interested. Thank you! God bless you!

Parish Pilgrimage Image

To Appeal the Closing of Your Church, You Must Act Swiftly

If your church is being closed or merged July 1, 2014, you only have until Friday, June 13, (10 business days) to send “a written petition” signed by 2-3 registered parishioners stating the reasons why you are “aggrieved by the decree” to Archbishop Chaput. We strongly suggest that you mail this at the post office by “certified mail with return receipt requested” and you mail it as soon as possible.

The reason you have several parishioners sign this document is  to keep this appeal active should something happen to one of the signers. In our case, I quickly wrote to Archbishop Chaput so if something happens to me, St. Joachim’s appeal would stop because I was the only one to sign it. So, I do try to take extra good care of myself.

Here is a PDF of the “Recourse Against Administrative Decrees” which is based on Canon law. The Archbishop has 30 days to respond or not and then you begin the formal appeal process. This PDF explains the initial process.

Recourse Against Administrative Decrees_AOP - Recourse Against Administrative Decrees

We can help you. We have been through it – our appeal has reached the doorstep of the Apostolic Signatura (the Vatican Supreme Court). Our canon law consultant, Peter Borre, is willing to assist you initially at no cost to you because he believes, as we do, that closing churches is not the way to balance budgets nor does closing churches provide for adequate pastoral care, much less continue the evangelizing work our Church is called to do.

You may call me or text me at 215.520.5616 or email me at Closed gates and Marypatsmiley@keepthefaithinfrankford.org with any questions, concerns or free advice. It’s important for us to unite and to say that not one more church should lock its gates. Let’s work together for good!

For more information about us, visit www.keepthefaithinfrankford.org and find us on Facebook.

Do You Have a Voice in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia?

quote-the-human-voice-can-never-reach-the-distance-that-is-covered-by-the-still-small-voice-of-conscience-mahatma-gandhi-68117We have a rich, blessed history of faith in our city, in our country! As the Church (and we are the Church) faces challenges and an ever-increasingly complex, global world that is at our doorstep, it’s vital that the voice of the laity is heard, respected and plays a role in guiding the direction of our Church!

Is that happening here? Are we truly invited to share in the ministry of the Church on a broad scale?

Do you care about this? Do you care that Churches are closing to solve financial problems? Do you care that nursing homes could be sold without regard to those seniors who built these Churches and made financial sacrifices of their own? Do you care that the Church is abandoning those very people Jesus has commanded us to serve – the poor, the unwanted, the least among us?

If you do, you will join us this Saturday, April 5th, 2 PM, at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church (yes, that’s where we meet since both Churches were closed in Frankford), 4442 Frankford Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19124. For more information, please email patsmiley@keepthefaithinfrankford.org or call Pat at 215.520.5616

We need your voice!

Use this map to find your directions. For those traveling by SEPTA, use the 3 or 5 bus that passes right in front of the Church. St. Mark’s is between the Margaret-Orthodox and Church St. stops of the Market Frankford El or Blue Line.

This meeting is being sponsored by Keep the Faith in Frankford and La Milagrosa!

We Are Hard “Pressed” to Understand Why Archbishop Chaput Does Not Hear Us!

One week ago, we rallied in front of the Archdiocese to ask Archbishop Chaput to hear us – his families seeking to understand the closure of our churches without a full explanation from those who decided this was best for the “salvation of souls” and would enable the Archdiocese to provide even better “pastoral care” to the faithful of Philadelphia. Before we are able to host the World Meeting of Families in 2015, we need to get our own house in order.

You have heard us and the press has heard us. We believe. We continue to work to get answers to our questions regarding the Parish Area Pastoral Planning Initiative and the resulting abandonment of the lifeblood of the Church here in Philadelphia.

Al Dia pubished another article on our story this week. You can read it here. If you need to translate it to English, copy the url, visit Google Translate and simple paste in the url and hit “translate”.

We thank Channel 6 news, The Metro, Al Dia and you for caring about this most important issue.

Our thanks to Gilberto Gonzalez who shared this on Facebook.

Archbishop Chaput, please hear us!







Missed Our Rally…Highlights Here!

Photo by Charles Mostoller of The Metro
Photo by Charles Mostoller of The Metro

Thank you to everyone who braved the first day of Spring to attend a rally to urge Archbishop Chaput to redo the Parish Area Pastoral Planning Initiaitve. We scheduled this rally for now because in several days, Archbishop Chaput, Mayor Nutter and Governor Corbett are traveling to Rome to ask the Pope to attend the World Meeting of Families help in Philadelphia in September, 2015. We wanted Archbishop Chaput to know that there are Philadelphia families who want to meet with him regarding the way this planning process was implemented.

Churches closed or merged based on this process. We maintain it is a severely and systemically flawed process that needs to be redone. You can read more about the reasons why here.

Our rally drew members of St. Joachim, La Milagrosa and St. Leo parishes.

Channel 6 news came but footage of our event did not make it onto TV as it was a very busy news day.

On Tuesday, March 19, we were featured in the Northeast Times. Tom Waring, editor, wrote “Parishioners of Closed Frankford Church Plan Rally”.

I think it’s interesting to see how reporter’s stories can be changed for one reason or another.  Sam Waterhouse, reporter for The Metro, wrote a story, initially, “Catholics from Closed Churches Seek Audience with Archbishop Ahead of World Congress of Families”. When the story appeared on Page 2 of today’s Metro (Friday, March 21), it was titled “Catholics Rally To Give Church a Second Chance”. Either way, I am happy that Sam was there and showed an interest in our situation.





We are the faithful of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia who believe that "Mutual respect, necessary condition for obedience." (Jack H.)