Arlene Edmonds Tribune Correspondent – May 5, 2017
The Men of St. Raymond of Penafort Church in Mount Airy raised money by holding a jazz night. — TRIBUNE PHOTO BY ARLENE EDMONDS
The St. Raymond of Penafort Church in Mount Airy raised monies through its men’s ministry for the independent St. Raymond Mission School. This was the first of two sold-out, back-to back benefits for the church located at 1350 E. Vernon Road. The Men of St. Raymond held a jazz night in the school hall recently. The following afternoon the church hosted “An Evening of Mahalia Jackson” featuring singer Joilet Harris in the sanctuary.
The Rev. Christopher M. Walsh, pastor of St. Raymond’s, was pleased with the overwhelming response for the events. Together they raised thousands of dollars for the church ministries.
“The parish is most grateful to all those who have worked so generously to raise funds for our hall renovation recently,” Walsh said. “Mary Jones and Pat Brockington along with a very large crew of helpers raised more than $1,400 with their Good Friday fish fry. Joanne Evans, along with her very able team, raised more than $3,500 through the Mahalia Jackson tribute concert.”
The men’s ministry raised even more money from the jazz event. Otis Wilson said that they reached their goal of at least $1,000. He said that the monies will be used for some much needed upgrades at the school that serves children in the surrounding community from kindergarten to eighth grade. The school is no longer under the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, so the resources are welcome.
“We are fundraising for the school and this is clearly a success,” said Wilson, one of the coordinators of the event. “I’ve been a member of this church for 40 years and with this ministry about 20. We are just pleased with the turnout.”
Steve Mathis, a longtime member of the St. Raymond men’s ministry, was pleased with the turnout for the event. He readily admitted that having two musical fundraising events on successive days at the church could have proven to be a challenge. But he said St. Raymond’s parishioners do come out to support their church. He said the men’s group takes hospice trips to St. John’s Center, hosts soup kitchens, and have taken children to basketball games or engages in days of service.
“It takes many hands to put this together,” Mathis said. “The men of St. Raymond are involved in many other activities. Another ministry did the other concert, and they also do well as far as turning people out.”
Steve Lawrence, who has been with the men’s group for five years, added that the organization has also had many previous fundraisers to raise scholarship dollars and support the parochial schools.
“We just raised monies with our fish fry during Lent,” said Lawrence. “We know how to have a good time. We do this all out of love.” There are many ongoing ministries at St. Raymond. They launched a new Mom’s Café for mothers with children at home to gather for a conversation over coffee. The first session took place April 29. They will continue the last Saturday of every month from 10 a.m. to noon. Also, the church has Bible study every Tuesday at 1:30 in the lower level Rosemary Room. There is an evening Bible study that resumed Wednesday at 7 p.m. This is a seven-week series that focusing on the theme, “Who am I to judge?” It will explore the ways Christians can handle the many moral issues in today’s world, according to Walsh.
Fundraising for St. Raymond’s parochial school is ongoing. “In June and July we will give our school hall a serious makeover,” Walsh said in a statement in the church’s April bulletin. “Consider purchasing a leaf on our giving tree in honor of or memory of a loved one or friend.”