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.”
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
What’s the hottest ticket in town? No, it’s not along the Avenue of the Arts! It’s the ticket for tonight’s presentation at the Historical Society of Frankford, 1507 Orthodox St. See you there! The most fun for $5 you can have anywhere!!!!
On July 4th, while celebrating the day of our nation’s independence, residents came together for the now annual, Frankford Community Spirit Day Honoring Al Stark, Jr. The event was organized by local non-profit Keep the Faith in Frankford and entertained the masses with fun, games, and remembrance.
Spearheading Keep the Faith in Frankford, organizer Pat Smiley expressed her wish to have a day for families who were not on vacation during the holiday to have fun in their own community. Many families attended including the Hohensteins who have members of the Frankford community for years. Jack Hohenstein, also a member of Keep the Faith in Frankford says the organization’s goals are not limited to the dealings with the church but they also aim to bring the community together. The charity also participates in the NECH Dining with Dignity Program that operates out of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church where Al Stark’s event was held.
Mr. Stark, a father, husband, and devout member of St. Joachim Church and the Frankford community, passed away recently. During the event, named in honor of him and his family’s contributions, everyone gathered to remember his life and legacy. Pat Smiley spoke heartfelt words and recounted fond memories of Stark as she presented his family with a certificate of appreciation. Though tears were shed, there was clearly a silent consensus amongst the attendees that this was a celebration of his life, more than a mourning of his death.
Along with celebration of the holiday and life of Al Stark, came games and fun. A water balloon tossing tournament was moderated by Joe Hohenstein and brought smiles to everyone’s face. Carnival inspired fun took place in the parking lot and children did not go home empty handed. Gift bags were also given out to all. The event, which proved successful, shall continue with this new tradition for many years to come.
RAIN or SHINE! This Saturday afternoon, Keep the Faith in Frankford is sponsoring a Frankford Community Spirit Day Honoring Al Stark, Jr. at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 4442 Frankford Avenue., 19124 from 2 PM until 4:30 PM. Al Stark, Jr. was an active and vital member of St. Joachim Church and of our nonprofit, Keep the Faith in Frankford, who passed away recently. A very good man who worked tirelessly for God, his church and his community. We miss him dearly and felt that naming this event in his honor was a perfect tribute. Keep the Faith in Frankford started after St. Joachim Church was closed by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia last June. Here’s a link if you would like to volunteer. We have many jobs for many of you! See you on Saturday! Come out and see some old friends and make some new ones.