We’re happy to have Fr. Addisalem Mekonnen, the pastor of our sister parish, St. Martin de Porres, join us at all of our Masses next weekend and present the homily as we continue our 42-year tradition of sharing our faith with our sister parish.  And, as they have done for many years, members of St. Martin de Porres parish will lead us in song at the 5:00pm Vigil Mass.  This year, their men’s choir, God’s Men, will be here to lead us in lively song!  We will then host them for dinner following the Mass and everyone is invited to join us.  We ask that you contact Maria Carrillo, our parish St. Martin de Porres coordinator (mariamcarrillo@icloud.com or 610-357-2392) if you plan to come to dinner so we can be sure to have enough food for everyone.

For the past 42 years, our parish has enjoyed a special relationship with parishioners who live around 24th Street and Lehigh Avenue in Philadelphia.  Originally, they belonged to St. Columba Parish, a parish that had been founded in 1895, two years after our parish was founded.  When St. Columba parish was combined with two other parishes (St. Mary of the Eternal, which closed in 1976, and Corpus Christi, which closed in 1987) to become St. Martin de Porres Parish in 1993, we continued our relationship with a special focus on its newly-established St. Martin de Porres School.  In 2011, St. Martin became an independent Catholic School under the management and financial responsibility of Friends of St. Martin de Porres.  The Archdiocese of Philadelphia, which had worked closely with the school at its foundation, continues to provide curriculum support.  The school has an enrollment of 370 students from kindergarten to eighth grade.  Although only about 10% of the students are Catholic, about 80% of its graduates attend Catholic high schools.  The school has done so well, in fact, that it continues to be a model for the 13 other Independence Mission Schools that have been established throughout the Archdiocese.  And, much of its success is due to the courageous and farsighted leadership that a handful of our parishioners have provided – along with their outstanding financial support – and the generous financial assistance our parish continues to provide.

Those of you who are familiar with the neighborhood of 24th and Lehigh know that most of the people living there have rather limited financial resources and face many challenges as they try to raise their families.  And, although they live just 20 miles from us, they live in a culture that is different from ours in a variety of ways.  Additionally, although they are fellow Catholics, they also express their faith in ways that are unfamiliar to some of us, especially in their music, which is often rather lively.  So, our ongoing relationship with them enriches both us and them in many ways as we share our lives and faith experiences.

Due to the financial challenges that many of the families with children in St. Martin de Porres face, we started supporting them and the school with food staples, Christmas food baskets and school supplies.  Last Christmas, you provided large boxes of food and gifts for 80 families!  Twenty-four years ago, we expanded our support.  As we became aware of the financial needs of the school, we initiated an annual collection to provide assistance for its operating costs.  We have also contributed significantly to the restoration and maintenance of the school – especially its library – and provide additional financial assistance throughout the year.  Twelve times a year, I am privileged to send a $1,000.00 check to St. Martin de Porres parish from the Feed the Needy second collection we take up monthly.  We do all of this in response to Christ’s call to love our neighbors as ourselves and our awareness that we all benefit as we share our blessings with them and t

Next weekend, as we welcome Fr. Mekonnen and some of his parishioners, we will hear him speak at all the Masses to explain the present situation at the parish and school.  A second collection will be taken up to support St. Martin de Porres parish and school.  And, if you feel called to get more involved in our sister parish, please contact Mrs. Maria Carrillo, our parish coordinator for our outreach to St. Martin de Porres parish, for more information.  Be sure to take advantage of this opportunity to share our Easter joy with our long-time friends!


hey share theirs with us.