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Sisters of Saint Joseph Serving at Saint Bridget Parish

This article comes from the SSJ newsletter.

Sunday morning, September 8, 2013, dawned beautiful, bright and sunny… perfect weather to mark a significant moment in the history of Saint Bridget Parish in Philadelphia. One hundred twenty-five years ago the Sisters of Saint Joseph began their ministry here in this picturesque locality of the Falls of the Schuylkill.
In 1884, Reverend William Walsh, pastor of Saint Bridget Parish,  recognized the need for a school and procured land on Stanton Street for this purpose. The cornerstone was laid in October 1887, and the school, dedicated by Archbishop Patrick Ryan, opened in September 1888.
The staff consisted of a band of eight Sisters of Saint Joseph. Since the convent was not completed, the sisters traveled each day by train and horse and buggy from Saint Michael Convent at Second and Jefferson Streets and Old Saint Joseph’s at Fourth and   Alley. The group included the superior, Mother Angela and the
following sisters: Sister Regina, Sister Laurentina, Sister Joachim, Sister Sabina, Sister Natalie, Sister Celestine and Sister Assunta. Since those original eight, 271 Sisters of Saint Joseph have ministered at Saint Bridget Parish and School.
Gratitude and love for the Sisters of Saint Joseph were evident as the congregation gathered for the 11:00 a.m. Liturgy, presided over by the pastor, Reverend Joseph P. Devlin.  The historic church was filled with parishioners, families, friends, and sisters. Many sisters who had been missioned there returned for the celebration, as well as sisters who entered the congregation from Saint Bridget Parish.  Among those in attendance was Sister Clare Annice White SSJ who entered the Sisters of Saint Joseph in 1936 from Saint Bridget Parish.
Among those in attendance was Sister Clare Annice White SSJ who entered the Sisters of Saint Joseph in 1936 from Saint Bridget Parish. She was thrilled to be there and proud to share that her father had done the original landscaping when the church was built. As the hymn, “Glorious Father Dear Saint Joseph,” was sung by the congregation, one could sense the pride, joy and memories that will always remain precious to the parishioners of Saint Bridget Parish and the Sisters of Saint Joseph.
Although the school is now closed, the presence of the Sisters of Saint Joseph continues through the dedication and ministries of Sisters Dorothy Crowley, Patricia Egan and Margaret Jude Sullivan, who minister at Saint Bridget Parish, and Sister Rosanne Orchon who is in residence. It would be difficult to describe the great good that has been accomplished and the many graces received over the past 125 years at Saint Bridget Parish. As Sisters of Saint Joseph, we are grateful for the opportunity and privilege of continuing to serve alongside our dear neighbors—the people of East Falls.


De-coding Francis: Vatican media adviser offers “10 things to know”

Posted on October 22, 2013 by Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY — If people are still unsure about what to make of Pope Francis, the Vatican’s media adviser offered his take on decoding the pontiff.

Greg Burke, media adviser to the Vatican, participating in a Vatican press conference Dec. 3, 2012. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

“Pope Francis is not a politically-correct pope,” rather, he is “a loyal son of the church” who presents the hard truths with a heavy dose of mercy, said Greg Burke, senior communications adviser to the Vatican’s Secretariat of State.

The former U.S. journalist, who’s been based in Rome the past 25 years, gave a behind-the-scenes talk last week to hundreds of benefactors celebrating the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums.

U.S. Msgr. Peter Wells — another top official at the Secretariat of State — also spoke at the same Oct. 18 event in the apostolic palace, where he gave his take on the reform of the curia and how they counteract secular media manipulating the pope’s message.

In trying to describe his papally-appointed role as the Vatican’s chief media strategist, Burke (an unabashed soccer fan) said, “We kick the ball to Francis and Francis scores the goals.” “We let the pope do his thing.”

He said Pope Francis clearly knows how to communicate and his effectiveness comes from his authenticity. “It’s not charm. It’s Christian charity, which is a whole lot more attractive than charm.”

He also said “Pope Francis is not a politically-correct pope, in my opinion.”

Pope Francis greeting people in wheelchairs after celebrating Mass in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican June 16. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

There’s been a lot of spin in the press about what the pope has been saying, but “I believe the pope wants to get beyond left and right” by getting people to focus on the Gospels, on God and his truth and mercy.

“He’s a loyal son of the church” who sees its task as being like “a field hospital” that runs to and helps people who are hurting, he said.

The pope is not advocating a “feel-good” religion of “I’m OK-you’re OK-Catholicism,” but talks about the truth of the Gospel that includes mercy and forgiveness.

“The Gospel is not there to make us feel good. The Gospel is there and makes very practical demands on us,” and one of those demands is to “tell people the truth and walk with them to the Lord,” Burke said.

Burke said, “the pope’s picture should have one of those warning labels” on it, much like a pack of cigarettes does, but with the words: “Danger: This man could change your life.”

Here’s Burke’s Top Ten List to describe and better understand the Argentine pontiff:

Pope Francis greeting a man at Rio de Janeiro’s St. Francis of Assisi Hospital — a clinic for recovering drug addicts. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) (July 24, 2013)

1. Mercy — The story of the Prodigal Son is a recurring theme and the pope repeatedly says that God never tires of forgiving and welcoming his lost children back home.  “The church is waiting here for you with open arms,” is the message, Burke said.

2. Moxie/courage — “We’re all going to get challenged by Pope Francis. Get ready!” People who live comfortably or live in developed nations will be especially challenged, Burke said, adding, “This is good. This is the Gospel.”

3. Margins, missions — Francis is continuing with his predecessors’ criticism of a world divided by haves and have-nots. The pope “is not a fan of cheap grace and feel-good religion. He wants to see Christians who are not afraid to get their hands dirty,” Burke said.

A woman in prayer as Pope Francis led a vigil to pray for peace in Syria in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Sept. 7. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

4. Prayer — Non-believers often don’t notice how important prayer is for religious life. For example, Blessed Mother Teresa was often looked upon by the secular press as “a social worker wearing a habit.” But, Burke said, the pope has constantly been stressing the importance of prayer and urging people to pray.

5. Encounter — The pope is asking people to embrace a “culture of encounter” where they experience God and meet with others, including non-believers. This attitude of encounter and communion also starts at home, with your family, Burke said.

Pope Francis giving a thumbs up after celebrating Palm Sunday Mass at the Vatican March 24. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

6. Joy — The pope “gets a thumbs’ up on that,” he said, as he’s able to show his joy so plainly. He said that according to Pope Francis, the biggest dangers and temptations in life are “discouragement, discord, the doldrums and the devil.”

7. Service — By paying his hotel bill in person (even though he had just been elected pope), phoning people who write to him and other do-it-yourself tasks, the pope is leading by example with the message that “it’s not about power or privilege; if we’re here, we’re here to serve.”

Pope Francis stepping off a plane after returning to Rome July 29 from his trip to Brazil. (CNS photo/Alessandro Bianchi, Reuters)

8. Simplicity/Humility — Living in a Vatican guest house instead of the apostolic palace, carrying his own briefcase on a trip… that’s just how the pope is and people will have to “get used to it because we’ll see more of it,” Burke said.

9. Compassion — Burke, who’s a numerary member of Opus Dei and went to Jesuit-run St. Louis University high school in St. Louis, said he used to joke with people “that everyone should have a Jesuit education. Now with Pope Francis, everyone is getting the benefits of a Jesuit education.”

“Compassion and suffering with others is something Pope Francis has a knack for” and it’s especially evident when he embraces people and is totally present one-on-one with an individual, even in large crowds.

10. Energy — Burke said for a 76-year-old, the pope “has a lot of energy and we’re going to be in for an interesting ride!”


Information for the Fall Festival

October 26th after the 4PM Mass

Children may wear appropriate costumes to Mass
We are expecting 40 children to participate in the Trick-or-Treat Parade.  We are asking for a team effort to make this great Parish gathering.

Trick-or-Treat Parade begins at 5:30 PM:  

Children will decorate treat bags as soon as they enter the Hall. Bags will be used to collect their treats from Parishioners, as we did last year.

After the Parade:

Children will be able to make Halloween crafts and participate in games with prizes.

Parish will be providing:

Tomato Pie, Pretzels, Chicken Nuggets, and Hoagie Trays.

We are asking everyone to contribute something to the food/drink tables:

Parishioners with the last name A-L: Please bring a drink to share, for example a 2 liter of soda, or 12 waters or juice boxes

Parishioners with the last  name M-Z: Please bring a snack to share, for example a bag of chips or a dozen cupcakes.

Together we will make this a great Parish event


Please RSVP or Volunteer via EMAIL:, or via FACEBOOK: St. Bridget Catholic Community, or by PHONE: Sister Margaret 215.844.4126 x103

Service Credit is given to children who need CYO, School, or Organization Service Hours:


(all materials are provided)
Ghost/Tissue taffies
Haunted House pictures w chalk and black construction paper
Halloween Tattoos
Coloring Pages
Treat Bags Renee Kyle moderator


Spinning Wheel w prizes
Pumpkin Bowling:  Amanda Flanagan moderator
Witch Hat Ring Toss
Bean Bag Toss
Please RSVP or Volunteer via EMAIL:, or via Facebook: St. Bridget Catholic Community, or by Calling: Sister Margaret 215.844.4126 x103

October Newsletter

St. Bridget Parish–a people called  to know Jesus, to love Jesus, and to serve Jesus.

“How beautifully leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days.” 



October 26, 2013


After the 4PM Mass
Please join us in the Parish Hall for games, crafts, and of course TREATS!


Trick or Treat parade will take place at 5:30 PM.

Parishioners are asked to bring a candy or treat to hand to the trick-or-treaters during the parade.
St. Bridget Parish will provide light food, we are asking Parishioners to contribute to the event:
  Parishioners with the last name beginning with A-L please bring a drink to share
 (for example a 2 liter of soda or 12 juice boxes or bottles of water)
  Parishioners with the last name beginning with M-Z bring a snack or dessert to share
(for example a bag of chips or a dozen cupcakes)

Children are able to wear their Halloween costume to Mass for the event.


November 3, 2013

Guest Speaker: Louise Feder, “Discovering Grace”

Ms. Louise Feder will be coming to represent the Michener Museum and give a presentation on Princess Grace Kelly and her relationship to St. Bridget Parish.
Please join us in Church after the 11 AM Mass.
Click here to familiarize yourself with the topic:



NOVEMBER 15, 2013


Children in Kindergarten thru 4th grade are invited to join us in Saint Brendan’s gathering space Friday, November 15, 2013 from 6:30-8:00 PM. Children will be read a story and relate it to Scripture,  complete a craft, and sing a song complementing the story. It will be a great time to meet or reconnect with other children in the Parish. Look for more details in the Parish Bulletin and our facebook page and website.  All children are asked to bring a drink, snack will be provided.




Over 30 people attended the special devotion to Our Lady of Fatima. Please view pictures of this prayer service here:


Father Noone graciously blessed the family pets of East Falls on October 6th. Click here for the album of this event.



Many parishioners have been touched by the life of Dr. Bartuska. Our Saint Bridget family was at the Drexel School of Medicine to see a Memorial bench, plaque, and tree dedicated in Dr. Bartuska’s honor.
Here are some pictures of the event to view:



 This  month the Food for Thought section of the website contains a reflection on the name Mary and Pumpkin Reflections.
You will find the articles on the drop down menu here:





Casserole pans for St. John’s Hospice will be available on October 26/27.
Pans can be delivered on Sunday, November 3rd  from 9 am until noon. St. John’s will pick them up on Wednesday, November 6th.


RCIA classes have begun.  If anyone is still interested please contact Tony Wzorek at 215-844-7746, Sister Margaret at 215-844-4126 ext 103   as soon as possible.



Mother’s Home in Darby, PA is a residential maternity shelter for women ages 18 and older with their babies. To help with the operating costs of this home, we are asking St. Bridget Parishioners for your assistance. Empty bottles may be taken from the back of church to be filled with any possible money donations. Bottles may be returned to the container in back of church any time until November 17.
Thank your for your support and generosity.



Prayer Shawl Committee:

Next Meeting Sunday, Oct. 20, 2013 after the 11 AM Mass in St. Brendan’s Meeting Rooms.

Adult Choir:

Choir continues every Monday night in church.  There is still time to come and join us.


For more Parish information, our weekly parish bulletin can be found on the website under Parish Life News drop down menu or by clicking here: