Next Sunday at the 10:30 Mass, Matthew Morelli will preach his first homily as a deacon of the Church. It is wonderful to have Matthew as part of our parish. I encourage you to come and hear him and then gather in the school cafeteria immediately after Mass for a light reception. May we have many more vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and religious life from our parish!
The former parish office space (we still need a name for it!) has been painted and new carpet installed. We will begin to use this space by mid-November for parish ministries and organizations. The rooms will be:
When you are booking rooms, keep the number of people in your group in mind. We won’t know what to do with all this new space! (Only kidding… I know we will!)
*Note: Room information can be found on our parish website under the parish menu by selecting “Facilities & Scheduling”.
I am very pleased to announce we have a new Director of Music here at Saint Joan of Arc. Mike Davis will take this position in mid-November. He was a long-time music teacher in the Hershey School District and Director of Music at Saint Joseph Parish in Mechanicsburg. He is excited about working here in Hershey and I know that he will add so much to our music ministry. Welcome aboard, Mike!
I want to thank in a very special way Kit Ryan and Mary Catherine Tierney who have been so generous with their time and talent during this transition period. They have been wonderful. I also want to thank the choir for being patient…and faithful…to the music ministry here at the parish during this time. There are transitions in life and we always need fidelity and patience to get through them!
God bless you and let’s all look forward to making beautiful music here at Saint Joan’s for the glory of God!
Father Al's weekly message from this past Sunday:
This weekend at the noon Mass we are kicking off our celebration of the 90th Anniversary of Saint Joan of Arc Parochial School. Ninety years is quite a milestone in any lifetime but ninety years for a Catholic School is quite an accomplishment. I was reading the initial letter from our first pastor, Father Phelan, to the bishop at the time, Bishop Philip McDevitt, asking for permission to build a Catholic school here in Hershey. He gives all the reasons why it would be advantageous and then comes to the point of his letter: May we please borrow $4000 to build the school! $4000!!! To build a school!!! Ah, those were the days!
Our school has had an illustrious history with thousands of alumni coming through our doors. This year we have 352 students in Pre-school through 8th grade. For the entire ninety years we have had the privilege of having the Daughters of Our Lady of Mercy as teachers and principals in our school. What a blessing! Our school has taught the Catholic Faith year in and year out for 90 years. What a special privilege to bring the love and mercy and teaching of Jesus Christ to the children of our parish! Ad Multos Annos! To many more years!
*Reminder: Father Al's message is posted each week on our parish blog (parish website - www.stjoanhershey.org)
Next week we celebrate Our Annual Eucharistic Devotions here at St. Joan of Arc. Known also as “Forty Hours”, we come together as a parish family to recognize the great gift we have in the Holy Eucharist. Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament on the altar calls us to take time from our busy schedule, make a visit to the church during this time and, if possible, make the evening devotions. Please sign up for a half hour of adoration at the back of the church.
Starting on October 6th, we will have our First Friday Exposition in the Saint Lucy Chapel in the new parish Center. Immediately after the nine o’clock Mass we will gather in the chapel and expose the Blessed Sacrament. We will continue with Evening Prayer and Prayer for the Sick at 7:00 pm and Night Prayer at 9:45 pm. We will do this during October, November and December and then assess how it is working for the new year. There are two reasons why we are doing this: first, the chapel is a much more intimate space and, second, there are times when no one is in the church when the Blessed Sacrament is on the altar which is strictly forbidden by the Church. In the Parish Center, there are people around all the time which is necessary for prolonged adoration.
We really have a week dedicated to the Holy Eucharist! Stop in and make a visit!
*Note: The photo above of the painting reflects the images on the opposite sides of they are on the actual painting.
Last week we unveiled the painting that will grace the chapel in our new Parish Center. Entitled “Sacra Conversazione”, it is an image of the Communion of the Saints. Surrounded by heavenly, golden light, at its center is the Madonna and Child. Mary, clothed in red, the color of the Holy Spirit of whom she was overshadowed at the Incarnation, sits on a marble plinth on which is carved a “fleur-de-lis”, the “flower of the lily”, a symbol of her purity. She presents to the saints below and to us, Jesus, her Son and our Lord, who opens his arms in a loving embrace. To the left of the painting we see Saint John the Evangelist (the original patron of our parish) holding the Gospel. At his feet is the golden eagle, a symbol of him and his high-flying Christology. Below is Saint Lucy (in honor of Saint Lucy’s chapel in Waltonville). She holds her martyr’s palm and her own eyes, cruelly removed in her martyrdom. She now sees with a celestial light (her name means “light”). At her feet to the right we see our own patroness, Saint Joan of Arc. Her helmet removed and her sword pointing down, she has put her earthly battles behind her and now enjoys eternal life. Standing above her is Saint Stephen, wearing his deacon vestments, his hair in the tonsure of a cleric. He holds the symbols of his martyrdom - the stones which took his life. Following the tradition of Renaissance art, a reference to the donor of the painting is included in the art. Saint Stephen is a reference to the parishioner who donated this beautiful work of art, who wishes to remain anonymous.
Please come to the chapel to gaze upon this piece of sacred art. May you recognize that you too are called to be part of the “sacred conversation” with the saints in heaven and, especially, with our Lord and his Mother!
Happy Labor Day! As we (hopefully) take a rest from our labors this weekend, we give thanks for the ability to work. Although the Book of Genesis tells us that labor is a result of the fall, Saint John Paul II reminded us in his encyclical Laborens Exercens that work gives our lives meaning and is a way of building God’s kingdom here on earth.
I want to thank all those who labored mightily to renovate the former convent into our new Parish Center. In a special way, I thank Dr. Barbara Hasson, our parish manager who retired on Friday, and Matt Dunkle, our parish Maintenance Supervisor, who did a great job in coordinating the work that needed to be done. The Parish Center is looking great. We will be having an Open House for the Parish Center and the new convent (directly behind the Parish Center) on the weekend of September 16-17. Please feel free to tour both places after all Masses that weekend. I am sure that you will agree that both are jobs well done!
Lots of changes taking place in the parish this week!
The parish staff has moved into the New Parish Center. Most meetings with the staff can now take place in our new offices (this includes meeting with the priests and Deacon Mortel). Susan Robison, our parish secretary, will still be available in the former office space but will definitely be in place in the New Parish Center after Labor Day.
Beth Palmer, our parish Director of Music, has resigned her position at Saint Joan of Arc. We thank her for sharing her musical talents with us and wish her only the best in future endeavors.
Dr. Barbara Hasson, our Parish Manager, is retiring after many years of service to the Church. We are truly grateful for the many gifts she brought to this position and she will be missed. We wish Barbara many years of happy retirement and thank her for all she did for our parish!
May God reward both Barbara and Beth for their service!
Next weekend we will have our annual Missionary Co-Operative Appeal. This year we have Father Paul Prabel from the Diocese of Lexington, Kentucky. The missionary activity involves working with some of the poorest individuals and families in the United States. This former bishopric of our own Bishop Gainer is set in the heart of Appalachia. Our own missionary efforts from our parish through the Father Beiting Mission helps us realize how desperate the needs are of our brothers and sisters in Kentucky. When I was there last year I was shocked at the amount of poverty right in our own country. Please be generous this year. The sacrifice you make can do major good for people whose lives are so different from our own. Remember the words of Jesus as you make your contribution this year: “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers or sisters, so you do unto me!”
You can learn more about this mission here.
Just a bit of mid-summer news:
We got occupancy on the new parish center around two weeks ago and the staff is presently beginning to move into the newly renovated building. It looks great and I think many of you will especially enjoy the chapel. It is going to be a very special sacred space. The goal is to have everything up and ready for the parish office to be officially opened immediately after Labor Day. We will all have to start remembering to drive to the OTHER side of our parish campus to do
business. It will take a while to get used to it but what wonderful new space! The present offices will be used for parish ministries, organizations and meetings starting after Labor Day as well. You will be able to book those rooms as well starting soon. By the way, along with the names of Saint Margaret, Saint Catherine and Saint Michael for our new meeting spaces, the large space where Susan worked as secretary will now be called Our Lady of Grace!
Also, just a reminder that we now have five new parking spaces on Glen Avenue near the handicapped entrance. These are reserved for those with handicapped parking stickers. Please be mindful of the disabled! I will be talking about future projects here in the parish this coming fall. Stay tuned!
Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. May we always be grateful for this most precious gift and also for the gift of the priesthood. It is through the hands of a priest that the Holy Eucharist is given to us. May we always pray for our priests!
Tomorrow, June 19th, the rectory will be a hub of activity as moving day for priests is upon us! We say good-bye to Father Michael Opoki, chaplain at the Hershey Medical Center, and wish him all of God’s greatest blessings as he leaves to become pastor of Mary Help of Christians in Lykens and Sacred Heart Mission in Williamstown. We welcome Father Dijo Thomas, MSFS who will take Father Michael’s place at the medical center. Father Anthony Dill, the new pastor at Holy Spirit Church in Palmyra, will also be in residence at Saint Joan of Arc while his rectory is being prepared for him to live there full-time. It is like a monastery here in Hershey! It is a good thing when priests live in community and whether our stay is long or short, it is a blessing from God. Thank you for all of your support of our priests and for the many kindnesses you show us all! God bless you!
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