"Welcoming, charitable, and empowered
to live the Gospel"

Our Mother of Good Counsel,
located in Bryn Mawr, PA,
just 20 minutes west of Philadelphia,
welcomes all!

Looking Forward; Moving Forward

Dear Friends,

Monday evening the Parish Pastoral Council met for the first time after the summer recess.  We spent considerable time discussing the recent scandal and cover-up and the ways it affects us here at OMGC.  We also finalized and approved the Parish Pastoral Plan that we have been working on for over a year.  We will publish that for all to read before this time next week. 

October 7 – Parish Conversation in Response to PA Grand Jury Report and Cover-ups in the Hierarchy. 

As I said last week in this space, the revelations of abuse and cover-ups have left most of us very upset, confused, disillusioned, and angry.  As Fr. Denny did seven years ago in a similar situation, we have asked Dr. Patricia Kelly to moderate a Parish Conversation to enable all of us to express the pain that we are feeling and to listen to and support each other.

Dr. Kelly is proficient in moderating these kinds of events. I’m sure that many of you remember how helpful she was to the OMGC community the previous time she came.  I hope that as many of you as are able will join us for this meeting. 

This event will take place from 1 PM to 3 PM on Sunday, October 7 in the Social Center.  Father John will lead us in a simple prayer service at the beginning. 

Friday Evening, September 14 - Prayer Vigil of Reparation and Petition

Please consider attending the Prayer Vigil of Reparation and Petition at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral tomorrow evening to ask for God's mercy upon His Church in this moment of profound crisis.  Father John and I plan to attend at least part of this event.  Here’s the schedule:

5 PM - Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament
7 PM - Holy Hour of Reparation
12 AM - Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament

Please click below for more information: 

http://archphila.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/HaveMercyflyer.pdf

I mentioned in a recent homily that we might also want to observe next Wednesday, Friday and Saturday (Sept. 19, 21 and 22), the traditional Fall Ember Days, as days of fasting and prayer of petition and reparation for the healing of the survivors and the reform of our church.    

Let us continue to pray first of all for the victim-survivors, then for each other and for the entire Catholic Church during this difficult time.

In Him,
Fr. Liam

Plaster Chips in our Pews

Dear Friends,

Most of us carry around cameras in our pockets these days. Just over a week ago I walked into the Church a couple days after we had that terrible rainstorm. There were plaster chips all over the third and forth pews and surrounding floor on the railroad side of the church. I'm kind of kicking myself right now that I didn't pull out my camera/smartphone and take a few photos that I could have sent you with this letter. Paul Umaña was cleaning them up. There was probably enough to cover the bottom of his dustpan.

A few days later I climbed up between the ceiling and the roof of the church with our facilities manager, Joe Carey. It was my first time to visit that space. Joe climbed along the narrow spaces to get to the spot where the leak had occurred, to spread some plastic sheeting to prevent a repeat of this kind of damage. This, of course, is a temporary remedy. We as a parish have known for quite a while that our existing roof needs to be replaced.

Two weeks ago in this email, I sent you updates on three projects: The Social Center, the friary kitchen, and the church roof. The members of the Finance Council, the parish staff, Fr. John and I have been discussing the structure and makeup of the campaign committee to raise funds for the roof. We already have a few volunteers, and I will begin contacting parishioners to invite them to participate in that team in the next week.

In light of the publication of the grand jury report last week, some have wondered as to whether or not this is the best time to begin this campaign. People are justifiably angry, frustrated, and discouraged by the horrific stories recounted in the report, and the cover-up by church leaders that compounded and multiplied the crimes committed against the innocent. As you know, I addressed this scandalous situation last week’s email and at Mass on Sunday, as did Fr. John. We intend to speak out and respond to the situation as is necessary.

We need to work through our rightful anger, praying for and assisting the victims of abuse and their families, and urging structural changes in the institutional church. Archbishop Chaput has called for an evening of prayer and reparation on Friday, September 14. Please see the link below for more details.

Also, see Pope Francis's letter to us regarding the abuse and cover-up.

While doing this, we cannot neglect the physical needs of our church building, whereas a Christian community we offer our prayers and our love for God, and have done so for 120 years. The process is already well begun, and we are waiting for only one or two approvals before we give the go-ahead for the work to begin.

Please keep the committee and their work in your prayers.

In Him,
Fr. Liam

P.S.:

As mentioned last week, we will offer Masses for the Victims of Abuse this Sunday, August 26 at 9:30 AM and on Sunday, September 2 at 11:15 AM. Please pray for them in your daily prayers and rosaries as well.

A Prayer Vigil of Reparation and Petition – September 14:

http://archphila.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Have-Mercy-flyer.pdf

Letter of the Holy Father Francis to the People of God:

http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/en/bollettino/pubblico/2018/08/20/180820a.html

If you are a victim-survivor in need of assistance, please contact someone at the Archdiocesan Office for Victim Assistance:
888.800.8780 • philavac@archphila.org

More information at:
https://childyouthprotection.org/index.php/victim-assistance/overview-of-services

August 23, 2018

The PA Grand Jury Report

Dear Friends,

“Gut-wrenching,” “heart-breaking,” “unspeakably awful,” “painful,” “horrific” – these are only some of the adjectives that come to mind when reading the stories of the victim-survivors spoken of in Tuesday’s Grand Jury Report.  They have suffered so much for so long!  And at the hands of men who knew better!  Wrong decisions, by church leaders whose priorities were so sorely misplaced, contributed to their continued suffering. 

Every time a new revelation surfaces, such as the McCarrick story in June and now this report, we are filled with sorrow for the victim-survivors.  At the same time we are heartsick over how this affects our fellow-Catholics and the majority of good, faithful priests we know.  Things like this can shake our confidence in the church and shatter trust in people we love and respect. 

Hard work and vigilance have brought about genuine progress in the protection of minors over the past 15 years in the US Catholic Church.  We must remain vigilant.  The vast majority of situations in the report were pre-2002.  Still, I believe the Church needs reform.  More laity (especially women) should be enlisted to help assess, evaluate and reform structures that allowed these tragic situations to exist and continue. 

Scripture shows us time and again that God can make good out of evil. My hope is that in this dark time God will help us to become a more loving, a more faithful church.  We need to work hard and to pray hard – for the victim-survivors and for the church! 

I invite you to offer Masses with me for the Victims of Abuse on Sunday, August 26 at 9:30 AM and on Sunday, September 2 at 11:15 AM.  Please pray for them in your daily prayers and rosaries as well. 

In Him,
Fr. Liam

If you are a victim-survivor in need of assistance, please contact someone at the Archdiocesan Office for Victim Assistance:
888.800.8780 • philavac@archphila.org

More information at:
https://childyouthprotection.org/index.php/victim-assistance/overview-of-services

August 16, 2018

Social Center, Rectory Kitchen, and Church Roof

Dear Friends,

At the Parish-wide meeting a few months ago, I spoke about three parish projects that were in progress or in planning. I’d like to update you on them today.

Social Center. Many of you have already seen the beautiful new windows in the Social Center. We installed new air conditioning and heating units. Most of the work on the new ADA compliant restrooms has been done, and they will be fully functional within a very short time. A shout-out to Joe Carey for the hard work and planning that he has put in on this project.

Rectory Kitchen. Since at least the 1950s very little work had been done on the friary (rectory) kitchen except for the occasional coat of paint and replacement of worn-out appliances. Since the beginning of June, Pine Street Carpenters has done an excellent job of modernizing the kitchen. They predict completion by this weekend. Many thanks to Fr. Jim McBurney for his leadership on this project!

Church Roof. 30 years ago, Fr. Jim Martinez and the OMGC parishioners did an excellent job of beautifying the interior of our church. Now it is our turn to pay due attention to the roof and exterior in order to preserve our church as the locus of our worship of God and our growth as a Catholic Christian community. We have a debt of gratitude toward the people who came before us and sacrificed so much for the parish. We have a responsibility toward each other in our present community and to our children, grandchildren and all who will come after us here at OMGC. These repairs will be an essential investment in our future. Most of you are aware that especially during severe storms, we sometimes have problems with leaks coming through the ceiling. Water damage, if ignored, can destroy a church.

Besides the roof, we need to make exterior repairs to stonework, copper work, and moldings around the stained glass windows.

With solid guidance from an expert consultant from the Archdiocese, we put the project out to bid to three companies and selected Miller Roofing in Ardmore to do the job. We are now in the process of getting the contract approved through the Archdiocese. If all goes according to plan, work should start early in the fall.

At the same time, we have been quietly soliciting donations for this project from among some of our parishioners and friends of the parish. Between your contributions to the annual appeal over the past four years, a generous gift from a deceased parishioner, and the donations mentioned above, we have raised $550,000 of our projected goal of $1,300,000.

At our Parish Finance Council meeting this past Monday evening, we decided to form a Campaign Committee to raise the rest of the funds we will need to pay for this critical project. We are currently recruiting members for this committee. The kick-off date for the campaign will probably be in early October. I will keep you informed.Please pray for the success of this very important work! 

In Him,
Fr. Liam

August 9, 2018

Prayer at OMGC

Here at Our Mother of Good Counsel, each Monday through Saturday morning, we celebrate Morning Prayer in common following the 8:00am Mass. Everyone is invited (around 8:30am) to join us in the daily chapel for this beautiful way to begin the day!

Parish Reminders

Food Allergies

Please do not bring food that contains peanuts, nuts, peanut products or nut products inside the church. Someone sitting near you may have a serious allergy. Thank you for honoring this request.

 

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