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Open House at the Peter Bressi Senior Center

The Peter Bressi Senior Center, 4744 Frankford Avenue is welcoming new members! Anyone over the age of 60 is most welcome. I visited there on Friday afternoon and found that there’s much happening there!
 
Jim Crawford is the Director and Blair Jordan is the Program Coordinator. Blair invited me to come over to hear about some of what they’re planning. Kathleen B. is one of the seniors who has stepped up to get involved in planning, too!
 
Janet Emily Bernstein, President, The Frankford Garden Club was there giving them advice on beautifying their outside patio space which is quite spacious. Staff wanted to involve members in choosing and planting seeds and plants, then caring for them, too! It’s really a nice space. There is a parking lot that you enter on Griscom Street.
 
In talking with Jim, he told me that their Center has a greater number of “younger” seniors and many are men. A free lunch is available daily. The facility is great.
 
But don’t take this just from me. This Friday, May 25, there is an Open House beginning at 10:00 AM with prizes, games and food. So, kick off your holiday weekend with a visit to get the “scoop” about a “hangout” for folks our age!
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Offering Rehabilitation Services That Respects the Individual; Not Just the Law

We attended the press conference concerning one of our area’s needs – tighter regulations and control over the recovery facilities which we know are very plentiful in the Frankford area. The press conference was held at the offices of State Representative Jason Dawkins in the Daral Building, 4667 Paul St., 19124 on Tuesday, December 19.

State Representative Angel Cruz was also there as both Jason and he were instrumental in forming what would become SB 446 which amends the Administrative Code to require the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs to license or certify drug and alcohol recovery houses which receive public funding.

Together, with State Representative Aaron Kaufer these “bills” (ideas) became amendments that were added to SB 446 that State Senator Thomas McGarrigle will introduce for Senate hearings.

State Representative Cruz explained that benefits should only be used by facilities who respect those in need of recovery services. Sometimes facilities use single family homes that don’t have enough space for those they claim they want to help. Safe havens is what is needed, says Cruz.

State Representative Dawkins acknowledged that this is an ongoing effort. We first have to define what is a recovery house? Dawkins also made the analogy that homicides by overdose has increased in the last four years and overshadows even the deaths we are seeing due to gun violence. He was pleased his colleagues wanted to address these issues and was happy to work with them. ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliance is important as well.

We know and see this epidemic, a scourge that is taking the lives of our people, especially the young, and must treat it as the disease it is. Once you contract, it is so very, very hard to escape its grasp. No one should be profiting. It’s time for tighter regulations. Thank you to St. Reps. Jason Dawkins and Angel Cruz for taking steps to bring this topic into the light to improve services to those in need of them. That is simply what it’s all about!

Stephanie Scully, CEO and Founder of the Joy of Living Recovery Program, is held in high esteem here in Frankford. Establishing her first recovery home in 2005, she now oversees 10 facilities. The Joy of Living Recovery Program focuses on providing a safe haven where those seeking rehabilitation feel secure, learn how to structure their days and discover that the “joy” you find in helping others becomes a large part of your own “joy”. The Joy of Living Recovery Program provides volunteers all the time and is willing to support the community whenever and wherever there is a need. We can attest to their great generosity of heart. We had a chance to talk with Stephanie after the press conference. Thank you, Stephanie, your staff and residents for lifting Frankford up each and every day! May you continue to be even more successful in 2018.

 

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Giving Hearts!

The Morgan Stanley Foundation is supported by each of the departments within Morgan Stanley. The Foundation has given Keep the Faith in Frankford much needed donations over the past two years.

Those donations go directly to helping us feed those in need through the Northeast Committee on the Homeless’ Dining with Dignity Program that operates at St. Mark’s Church. We have prepared and served over 500 people a hot meal and and have sent them home with dinner bags because of these donations.

There are very good people in our community who don’t need accolades nor do they want them. They genuinely care for others and do the right thing. Morgan Stanley does that, too! They encourage their employees to get involved in their communities and they support their efforts with matching grants and additional monies.

To our unsung hero at Morgan Stanley whose heart is in our Frankford community, thank you for all that you do! We also thank Morgan Stanley for acknowledging your efforts with their generous donations to Keep the Faith in Frankford!

 

 

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Turning Points for Frankford!

IMG_6365As a St. Joachim parishioner, I’m glad an organization such as Turning Points for Children has rented our rectory for its programs. You can read more about their mission here. This is a good purpose for our now vacant rectory.

Bob and I recently attended the grand opening of the new community emergency food pantry for families living in the 15th Police District. Notice that it is for emergency needs mainly. It was my pleasure to meet two volunteers there when we went. One is Louise Bundy and the other is Latasha Sloan. These women are very happy to assist families and children who are struggling during hard times for many.

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(l-r) Pat Smiley, Louise Bundy, Latasha Sloan

FAWN also supplies nutritional information and infant formula and diapers for families meeting income guidelines. You can make an appointment to use the pantry by calling 267.236.1558. Use is by appointment only. Located at 4346 Frankford Avenue, Unit 2 (in the shopping center with Quickie Mart Express and PNC bank), FAWN is open Wednesdays, 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM, Thursdays and Fridays, 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM.

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St. Joachim – In the Shadows No More

WMF icon What follows is a letter written by a member of St. Joachim Parish, who is himself also a grandfather like St. Joachim, explaining his thoughts following the unveiling of the World Meeting of        Families’ Holy Family Iconic Painting. Jack was also inspired to write a hiaku about this matter:

Holy Family Icon

“Where is Grandfather?”

“He’s hidden in the shadows.”

Humility rocks!

As a grandfather, it was good to see St. Joachim included in the portrait of the Holy Family by Neilson Carlin. Unfortunately, he seemed to be standing in the shade. In the Inquirer photo of the painting (September 8, 2014), he disappeared completely. Perhaps the artist could touch up his image a bit and bring him out of the shadows.

As a member of St. Joachim’s Parish, I am more concerned to bring his namesake church out of the shadows where it was consigned by Archbishop Charles Chaput in May of 2013. Since then, despite being designated a “Worship Site” of Holy Innocents Parish, only two feast day Masses and a few funerals and weddings have been celebrated at St. Joachim’s. The statue of Mary in her father’s courtyard stands solemnly behing the chained and padlocked gates.

By his decree, Archbishop Chaput and his Pastoral Commission did not meet their responsibility for the spiritual welfare of St. Joachim’s people and effectively closed what had been a vibrant (and financially stable) Catholic community.

St. Joachim’s neighbor, Mater Dolorosa parish has been closed as well, leaving the historic neighborhood of Frankford without a Catholic presence for the first time since 1845. Many other parishes have also been closed or merged. Some of these actions may have been justified, but the process by which the Commission and the Archbishop reached their conclusions was flawed and both secretive and capricious.

Our group, Keep the Faith in Frankford, has appealed the decree, first to the Archbishop, then to the Vatican Supreme Court where the merits of our case will be examined for the first time.

It would not be good for Pope Francis to find an Archdiocese that is abandoning its poorest neighborhoods. Families, neighborhoods, our nation and our world would benefit from a truly, holy, compassionate Catholic Church. Let’s start by getting St. Joachim out of the shadows.

Jack Hohenstein, September 10, 2014