Fr AndrewOn June 19, Fr. Andrew Labatorio, our parochial vicar since July of 2019, was appointed by Archbishop Perez as the pastoral administrator for Our Lady of Hope Church in Philadelphia.  Our Lady of Hope was established in 1993 with the merger of three parishes in what is known as the Lower North East section of Philadelphia: Saint Stephen (founded in 1843), Holy Child (founded in 1909) and Our Lady of the Holy Souls (also founded in 1909).  Beginning on Wednesday, July 8, Fr. Andrew has taken on new responsibilities as the pastoral leader of this multi-cultural community which serves African-American, Filipino, and Hispanic Catholics.

All in Saint Elizabeth Parish are deeply grateful to Fr. Andrew for his warm, engaging personal manner, his prayerful spirit, and his genuine pastoral care for our parishioners during his year of priestly service here at Saint Elizabeth, an all-too-short stay with us, to be sure. May God bless Fr. Andrew and his ministry among the people of Our Lady of Hope Church in the months and years ahead!

As Fr. Andrew prepared to move to Our Lady of Hope Church, he offered these words of farewell and thanks to the staff and people of Saint Elizabeth Church:

In his appointment letter to me last year, Archbishop Chaput wrote: “As a Parochial Vicar (of Saint Elizabeth Parish), you are called to know and to love the people whom you serve…”  I hope that I have been able to fulfill his words during this past year here with you.

Your prayers and your generous support are so humbling to me and help me a lot as I strive to continue growing in holiness. For this, I will be forever grateful.

I am grateful to Fr. Mullin, for helping me to grow in priestly ministry and showing me a great example to follow as I accept the responsibility of shepherding the faithful of Our Lady of Hope; to the parish and school staff, who have shown that friendship and kindness can go a long way in our efforts to attend to people's pastoral needs; and to all of you, the people of Saint Elizabeth, I am truly indebted.

It was my honor and privilege to serve you. Thank you for allowing me to share in your faith journey. And for times that I may have offended you in any way, I ask for your forgiveness. Please know that my only hope and intention is to bring you and me closer to God.

May our Blessed Mother continue to guide and inspire us to love and serve others tenderly!

-Father Tom Mullin

julie iafolla double rainbow

CAPTION: Double Rainbow over Saint Elizabeth on June 25, 2020. Photo by Julie Iafolla.

This past July 1, in the midst of the ongoing social restrictions of the coronavirus pandemic, our parish community quietly marked the 20th anniversary of the founding of Saint Elizabeth Church, without the festive celebration one might associate with an emerald anniversary.

Nevertheless, our 20th anniversary as a parish community provides me a fitting opportunity to express my gratitude and appreciation to all the individuals, couples and families of Saint Elizabeth who have so generously given of their time, talent and treasure to the mission and ministry of our parish community during the past 20 years.

By the grace of God, all of us have come together throughout these years to bring our church to life on Fellowship Road.  Our Parish Vision reminds us that we are called by Jesus Christ to grow as a community of disciples, to deepen our faith in God, and to live each day as grateful stewards of God's gifts.

So let us not grow weary, but remain strong in the Lord! May God bestow many blessings upon all in our parish community in the years ahead and bring to fulfillment in Christ Jesus the great work which the Lord began among us back in July of 2000!

And may the Holy Spirit continue to lead us in sustaining a holy, faithful and vibrant Catholic community, deeply rooted in the Word of God and the Sacraments, and equally committed to caring for one another and to serving the needs of others, for unless the Lord build the house, they labor in vain who build it. (Psalm 127:1)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                   - Fr. Tom Mullin    

SAMCAPTION: Through the Senior Adult Ministry, senior parishioners come together for social opportunities, faith formation and service.

Saint Elizabeth Parish Senior Adult Ministry (SAM) started in 2010 with just a few inaugural members. Now a decade later, SAM is thriving with more than 50 regular members. The goals of the organization include faith formation, responding to human needs, and providing social opportunities for our senior parishioners (60+ years of age).

“I joined SAM a number of years ago and have enjoyed helping the group expand both in the number of attendees and the diversity of programs,” said Fidel Verdugo, one of SAM’s early members. “My wife Mary and I have made some wonderful friends who are all at a similar stage of life. We always look forward to our SAM gatherings – especially the end-of-year field trip.”

SAM offers a range of free activities, starting each September and concluding with an annual field trip in June. Members are welcome to attend all activities or just a few. One of SAM’s regular programs is the monthly “Lunch and Learn,” which consists of a short presentation by a volunteer speaker and/or a video on a given topic, followed by a luncheon. The Lunch and Learn programs begin at 10:30 AM in the parish ministry center.

Here is what’s in store this spring:
March 12 Speaker: Tom Beccone; Music
April 2 or 16 Speaker: Lindsey & Erik Ranstrom; God’s Call to Seniors
May 14 Speaker: Jim Murray or Action News Speaker; TBD

In addition to Lunch and Learn programs, SAM offers a number of fun activities.

 Game Days – On the 4th Thursday of each month, join new and old friends to play board games. Go back to a time when this was how we passed a rainy or snowy day. Play or learn new card games, Scrabble, Monopoly, and Trivial Pursuit (we skip Operation!) while enjoying treats and laughs. Mark your calendars: March 26, April 23, May 28, and June 25.

 Field Trips – Our last event of the year is always a blast. Last year, SAM visited a Chester County treasure—the Antique Ice Tool Museum in West Chester, which was founded by the Stack Family who had been involved in the ice business for over three generations.

This year, SAM is considering several possibilities including Springton Manor Farm in Glenmoore, historic churches such as the original chapel at Saints Philip and James in Exton and St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church at Ludwigs Corner, or the Saint Padre Pio Shrine.

Most importantly, SAM is a wonderful way to spend time with old friends and meet new friends while getting out of the house for an enjoyable morning or afternoon. In fact, the writers of this article reconnected after many years through SAM and have been rekindling a beautiful friendship ever since! You could be next.

For more information on SAM, please contact the parish office, visit the website, or simply drop by our next gathering. We hope to see you soon!

~ Isabel Day Jones
Suzanne Wickersham

Ciarlone0010CAPTION: The Ciarlone/Till family serves Saint Elizabeth parish with a tradition of stewardship and active church participation.

Jackie Till graduated from Syracuse University and moved to Pennsylvania from Lake Panamoka, Long Island, NY, where she grew up in a family of five daughters. Tom Ciarlone, a Villanova graduate, grew up in Downingtown and attended Saint Joseph Church. The two were introduced by mutual friends, married in 1994, moved to Chester Springs and have been Saint Elizabeth parishioners since its founding in July 2000.

Tom and Jackie have raised four children: Lucy, Caroline, Randolph, and their youngest, Will, who was baptized at Lionville Middle School during our first year as a parish community. Three of the Ciarlone children have been altar servers. Randolph and Will attended Saint Elizabeth Parish School and played SEAM/CYO basketball and baseball. Tom served on the Parish Stewardship Council and the whole family has participated in the Stewardship Day of Service; their favorite activities have been cleanup work at Camilla Hall on the Immaculata University campus and packing food for Burkina Faso. Lucy, also a Villanova graduate, is an emergency room nurse in Manhattan. Caroline, a Saint Joseph University graduate, works in Philadelphia. Randolph is a junior at Immaculata University, and Will is a Saint Joseph University freshman.

“We love the priests, parishioners and all the opportunities to give back to the community that our parish provides,” said Jackie.

Jackie’s parents, Grace and Randy Till, came to live with the Ciarlone’s four years ago, after living in Long Island all their married life. They met in 1954, were married at Saint Catherine Church in Franklin Square, NY, and will celebrate their 63rd wedding anniversary this June! Their five married daughters have given them 19 grandchildren, and they are now awaiting their 8th great-grandchild. Being retired and loving life at Saint Elizabeth parish, they find the community to be warm and welcoming. They are active here, as they were in their former parish. For example, Randy continues his 50-year membership in the Knights of Columbus, and Grace participates in several parish ministries, including Women at the Well, making casseroles for the Saint John Hospice collections and cleaning altar server robes. Both are part of the Senior Adult Ministry (SAM) and enjoy socializing with other seniors.

The Tills are grateful to Jackie and Tom for welcoming them into their home and introducing them to the parish. Grace and Randy encourage other families to join a parish ministry, believing it to be rewarding for any Catholic. Grace summed up her feelings saying, “To be able to help out at Mass and join groups makes us feel needed and appreciated.”

As the Ciarlone/Till family continues to serve Saint Elizabeth parish, their family tradition of stewardship and active church participation sustains the entire community.

~ Lisa Sheronas

Deacon Alec Father AndrewCAPTION: Deacon Alec and Father Andrew talk about how they respond to God’s call to their particular vocation.

Have you ever considered that you have been called to a specific vocation? The Catholic Dictionary defines a vocation as “a call from God to a distinctive state of life, in which the person can reach holiness.” As Catholics, we experience married life, religious life, ordained life, and the single life as four unique ways to live out our individual vocations.

Father Andrew Labatorio and Deacon Alec Sasse offered additional insight on vocations.

Father Andrew works with the Saint Elizabeth Vocations Committee. The group’s purpose is to provide opportunities for parishioners to discern their individual vocations through prayer and fellowship, with a major focus on assisting young men who are considering a possible vocation to the priesthood.

“Each vocation is a response to God’s desire for us to love both Him and our neighbor,” said Father Andrew. “Through a vocation, individuals pledge a specific way of loving as commanded by God. The life and future of the Church depend on how we respond to our individual calling, and all vocations are needed and important.”

In February, the committee hosted a Vocation Awareness Night. Panelists with vocations to the priesthood, permanent diaconate, religious life, missionary life, and married life shared personal stories about their journey and how they responded to God’s call to their particular vocation. Participants left the evening with a new understanding of vocation as an active response to the call to love within the Church.

“When people hear the word ‘vocation,’ often the first thing that comes into their minds is the priesthood or the religious life,” added Father Andrew. “We are teaming up with the Parish Youth Ministry Team to explore ways to reach out to younger members of the parish during the time of their discernment. We hope our young people will consider seriously and respond generously to a call to these vocations.”

Deacon Alec, who will be ordained as a priest in Lincoln, Nebraska this May, found his vocation in Catholic high school. “I started to take my faith more seriously: going to daily Mass, frequent confessions, spending time with friends who were good influences, and learning to pray more deeply under the guidance of my pastor,” he explained. “As I spent more time speaking with God, I began to feel a yearning, and decided to enter the seminary. Honestly, I thought I would just go for a year and then move on with my life. Luckily, I was wrong and God has continued to reveal His love to me through this vocation.”

“Parishioners can help to promote vocations through prayer and fasting,” added Deacon Alec. “Just ‘ask the Lord to send workers into His harvest.’ If you think a man could have a vocation to the priesthood, then be bold and tell him. It really makes a difference!”

“My advice for someone consider-ing the priesthood is go to confession each week and start to spend at least 30 minutes in front of the Blessed Sacrament each day. The Lord will speak to you from there,” said the deacon. “Most men in the seminary are looking for a faith that is serious, sacrificial and a total commitment. The seminarians are drawn to the priesthood as a challenge and a complete gift of self. We want to be spiritual fathers who lead people down the often difficult path of Christian living.”

Whether we are called to married life, the single life, religious life or ordained life, may we all respond generously to God’s call and continue to pray for each other.

~ David Guthrie

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