Our 4th Annual Community Spirit Day Honoring Al Stark, Jr. will take place Saturday, October 14, 2017 from 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM at St. Mark’s Church Parking Lot, 4442 Frankford Avenue.
Al Stark, Jr., longtime Frankford resident, was devoted to his family and to his Church – St. Joachim. Al believed in asking questions and righting injustices whenever or wherever he saw them. He used his energies for a better Frankford! Al set a high bar with his example. Sadly, he passed away during our efforts to reopen St. Joachim. I hope he is as proud of us as we are of him. In fact, if you look at the header picture on our website, Al is in the yellow shirt.
If you would like to volunteer to help us with this event or to donate needed items, please click this link, Planning Sheets, for an updated list of needs – both people and supplies. Thank you so much and God bless you!
For those of you who think about joining us when we announce a Prayer Vigil and Standing Witness Against Violence in our community, might want to know exactly what’s involved.
Part of Frankford Forward’s mission, and one that many feel deeply about, is our efforts at responding to violence in our community. Two days after we learn that someone is a victim of violence, at 6:30 PM, we gather at the site where it occurred. These Vigils are 15 – 30 minutes long. We have signs that we hold or not and we gather together. Recent efforts had us meeting the family of the victim and praying with them and, another, we walked two blocks meeting our neighbors and inviting them to join with us. Several people expressed an interest in our next Frankford Forward meeting which is Monday, June 27, 6:00 PM at St. Mark’s Church.
This past Saturday, we ended with a prayer. Sometimes, we begin with a prayer. We do what seems best at the time. This is an important activity that we hope you will want to join, too. It is rewarding, we are meeting people who mostly appreciate what we are trying to do. We want peace in our neighborhoods. We want people to feel safe. We can do this – with your help.
Sadly, another young man was shot and killed in the middle of the day at Bridge St. and Torresdale Avenue, Tuesday, June 21. Man Shot, Chased and Killed in Frankford Identified Frankford Forward will gather there on Thursday, June 23, 6:30 PM. Many of us are going to the PSA 1 Meeting at Aria Frankford at 7:00 PM where we can meet with the police and talk about this situation. There have been 4 shootings in this area resulting in 2 deaths and 2 injured within the last 2-3 weeks. Something is definitely going on here.
Please take the time to view this 1 minute movie to better understand what we do. We hope to see you Thursday evening!!
My first “organizing” words were “I represent the parishioners of St. Joachim” so, in whatever capacity or environment I find myself, I remember that I am not speaking for myself but for you, for us! While we still mourn the closed gates of our Church, we have opened the doors to many new relationships, friendships and possibilities. For that, I am truly blessed.
I met Loraine Ballard Morrill when Bob and I joined Ellie and Al Stark at the weekly Saturday night Rosary that the parishioners of La Milagrosa Chapel said outside their chapel since it was sold and no longer available for them to gather and worship there as they have for the past 100 years. No one from the Archdiocese has come to their aid. It’s a given that the Archdiocese did not own the building but those parishioners belonged to the Archdiocese. As we talked, Loraine shared with me that she worked for ClearChannel Media+Entertainment and would like to interview me to find out more of our story. Loraine is the News and Community Affairs Director and we scheduled the interview for Wednesday morning, 8/14. Loraine is very knowledgeable about our community and its happenings and I am very grateful to her and to ClearChannel Media+Entertainment for their interest and concern about the recent closings of so many of our churches. Loraine asked very thoughtful questions and ones that helped me to form some new insights into our current situation. Loraine also wrote a great story that you can read on her blog, “Pat Smiley to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia – Bring My Church Back!” This interview aired this morning on “What’s Going On” between 7:00 AM and 7:30 AM on Q102, Radio 104.5 and Mix 106.1.
We believe in Jesus because He believes in us. We must start with relationships. That is what holds us together and keeps us together and what made St. Joachim a special place. As Father Steve said, “God has visited His People”. Initially, we believed we had a relationship with those charged with the Area Planning Process but their concern was achieving the closing and merging of parishes with as little disruption as possible. We have gotten in the way of that – relationships matter!
As a group, we, Catholics, have been very respectful and cognizant of the life choices that our clergy and religious have made in order to live out their mission call from God and to serve the people of God – us! I would not be the person I am had I not attended St. Veronica’s and St. Cecilia’s schools and taught by the IHM’s that God expects us to share the gifts he gives to each of us. Cardinal Dougherty, during the late 60’s and 70’s, helped to form my social awareness and being a child of the 60’s, my ability to question and believe that questioning only helps all of us. We have asked questions of our Church leaders and, instead of counting on the relationship we expected, we have only been “shut down” like our Churches and asked to accept what has been decided and will not be changed. We require wisdom because we cannot accept this. Our view is that we are asking these questions to strengthen and form a real working relationship and to assist in building the city of God right here in Philadelphia – if we’re given the chance.
For those of you who missed the interview this morning on the radio, here for your listening pleasure:
Catholics lost both churches in Frankford on June 30th as a result of the Archdiocese decision to close Mater Dolorosa and St. Joachim. The reasons given for closing both churches are feeble at best and false at worst.
You might take a look at the other 30 plus churches in Frankford that have remained open. They are large, small and everything in between. I took a tour this past Sunday to take some pictures. They are active and looks like they will remain so. And still the Archdiocese of Philadelphia walks away from Frankford.
Two Frankford Roman Catholic Churches were shuttered- Mater Dolorosa and St. Joachim. St. Joachim closed its doors just last Sunday and it gates are now locked. But in the video, you will see that the faithful’s hearts and spirits are as high and as hopeful as this summer heat wave we’re experiencing. Just as St. Joachim has been there for us, we feel the need, now, to be there for St. Joachim to continue to give witness to our faith. Since it is a Worship Site, we gathered at the times our Masses used to be – Saturday, 4:30 PM, and Sunday at 8:00 AM and 10:30 AM. This was a holiday weekend yet for those of us here in the city we continued our struggle to demonstrate the need for a Roman Catholic Church in Frankford. We continue to be committed and united in our efforts.
Saturday night, my husband, Bob, my mother, Mary, and I went to Holy Innocents for Mass. The Saturday night Vigil Mass is 5:30 PM there. We couldn’t have been more warmly welcomed and the rich traditions of our Catholic rituals are very moving but it wasn’t “home”. Perhaps we would understand this better had we “answers” from those who closed our Churches. Our voices were never heard in the process but that does not seem to matter. “The decision has been made and we are not considering any changes”. Our feelings are certainly understandable as the sacred places that gave us roots and our sense of belonging and were a compass in our daily lives are not easily replaceable. So we kept St. Joachim company this weekend.
Here’s a link to a homily Pope Francis gave this weekend with Seminarians and Novices. Pope Francis tells them that God asks us to “Comfort, comfort my people (Isaiah 40:1) and that leads to mission”. As we shared our thoughts today one among us said that “comfort” was what was missing in our dealings with our Philadelphia hierarchy. We are told whenever we try to meet the Archbishop – not to confront, not demonstrating – to let him know who we are and to be seen, we are told like children that it is not the right time or place. But when is the right time and place? We are on “mission” and hope our prayers and actions “break hearts of stone”.
Join us as we plan to be at St. Joachim every weekend! Bring a friend! Rekindle your faith! Keep the Faith in Frankford!
The 48-acre parcel, shaped like a smoker’s pipe, once was viewed as a solution to a rapidly expanding Catholic-school population. Not so long ago, it may have been a coveted site for homebuilders.
The archdiocese bought the land in 1964 in anticipation of growth such as a school or parish, according to a news release from Max Spann Real Estate & Auction Co., in charge of the sale. But, almost 50 years later, the archdiocesan school population is contracting, not growing.
The sale would help reduce the archdiocese’s budget deficit, which results in parts from lawsuits, investment losses, and bad loans to some parishes. Church attendance and Catholic-school enrollment also have fallen, leading the archdiocese to merge parishes and close schools.
Hello and thank you for visiting. The following information is for all who are directly involved in the effort to Keep the Faith in Frankford. We invite you to join us and lend your special gifts and talents to this worthy cause. It is not about us – it is about those who have no voice and who will have no Catholic Church in Frankford after June 30! God bless you!
Good morning! I have been told that we have had some direct contact from California. You know who’s in California, right? Yes, our brother, Archbishop Chaput. Someone looking through the keyhole of the door has reported our activities. We know someone is behind that door. We just have to get someone to open it. The next 2 days will be telling. So, what do we do?
We keep the pressure up. Today is the first day of “demonstrating” – not picketing. If you, your friends and relatives can join us at 222 N 17th St between 11 AM and 1 PM today, please be there! This is our biggest pressure point!!!!!!
Phone calls to 215.587.3600 – do your daily dialing! Emails – directly to the Archbishop because he is the ONLY one who change change this decision.
Letters to the Archbishop -Most Reverend Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.
Archbishop of Philadelphia
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Petitions – in print and online.
I had forgotten the Archbishop was of Native American descent and the first Bishop to represent his people. Knowing American history, we know the injustice done to our Native Americans and that means that the Archbishop knows injustice as well.
You are awesome. Keep up the pressure! We’re rolling…like thunder!!!!!!!
The fight to keep the faith in Frankford has stretched out to Twitter, Instagram and other social media sites!!! If you are on any of these sites feel free to take part as the effort grows.
For Twitter search on and use the main hashtag of #fkdfaithful to make your comments or to find out what others have already posted.
We are also posting images to Instagram and for that we have multiple tags. We are using the same #fkdfaithful for all images but we can also tag them with as much description as possible. This helps to reach a wider audience. For example, you can use #stjoachimphila, #materdolorsaphila, #catholic, #philadelphia, #church, etc. Remember, the more descriptive the wider the audience.
Our Facebook groups have been flooded with new members. Be sure to look for us there if you haven’t already click and visit here!!!!
We are the Catholic faithful in Frankford who are working to keep the Catholic Church in Frankford. In June, a decision was made by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to close 2 of our Catholic Churches – St. Joachim (opened in 1845) and Mater Dolorosa (opened in 1911).
St. Joachim, in particular, has been blessed to be staffed by the Oblates of St. Frances de Sales for the last 35 years. Our current pastor is Rev. Steven Wetzel. We pay Father’s salary – it is not costing the Archdiocese at all. We are solvent and viable. We have monetary assets in the Archdiocese’s accounts and steady income from rentals of our former school – that Father Steve sought and arranged – and the former convent. This is not costing but contributing to the Archdiocese’s assets. Our building is modern since our Church burnt down in 1979 – another heartache. We are handicapped accessible. Our maintenance costs are reasonable. This is not costing the Archdiocese of Philadelphia at all. We are small – 200 weekly attend Mass – but we are an older population and have many sick and homebound. This is not costing the Archdiocese at all.
Why are we being closed? Where is the outrage at many of our parishes being closed who serve people who are in need of God’s Word and charity?