Our Lady of Lourdes Parish Celebrates a Century in New Holland

Nestled in “Pennsylvania Dutch Country,” among Amish homesteads and Baptist churches, Our Lady of Lourdes Parish has been a bastion of the Catholic Church for a century.

For 100 years, parishioners have upheld the parish’s mission of living “the Catholic Tradition of Word, Sacrament, social justice, and respect for life” while welcoming all into “a believing, worshiping, loving, and serving community.”

A Love to Set the World on Fire

Just after Easter, I received a card from one of the readers of The Catholic Witness. The cover of the card featured a reproduction by Virginia Thomas of the Apparition of Jesus to St. Margaret Mary. In this rendition of the apparition, St. Margaret and Mary and Jesus’ glances are completely enwrapped in each other. In her writings, St. Margaret Mary said of her experience of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, “One day, as I knelt before the Blessed Sacrament exposed on the altar, … Jesus Christ, my sweet Master, presented Himself to me, … with His five wounds shining like so many suns. From all parts of His Sacred Humanity there issued flames but especially from His adorable breast, which was like a furnace. Opening it, He showed me His loving and lovable Heart as the living source of those flames. Then he revealed to me all the unspeakable marvels of His pure love… .”1

St. Rita Parishioners Unite for Parish Centennial

Rooted in a faith foundation grown a from a small chapel in the pastoral land of southern Franklin County a century ago, the Catholic community at St. Rita Parish in Blue Ridge Summit is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

Several decades before St. Rita Parish was formally established, Catholics in the area of the Pennsylvania-Maryland border attended Mass in St. Joan of Arc Chapel – the first Masses regularly celebrated in Blue Ridge Summit.

Catholic Charities’ Foster Care Program Seeks Parents to Provide Meaningful Influences in Children’s Lives

An ornamental stone in Susan Betcke’s home is decorated with the names of each child she has fostered for the last seven years. The keepsake is also adorned with drawings of things the children’s favorite things, like animals and hobbies.

There are currently 27 names on the stone, a reminder of the lives Betcke has helped to change as a foster mother with Catholic Charities’ Specialized Foster Care and Adoption Services.

Golden Anniversaries Serve as a Testament for Marriage

The year was 1969. Apollo 11 landed on the moon, Sesame Street debuted, gas was 35 cents a gallon and Woodstock attracted more than 350,000 rock and roll fans. The year also saw the marriage of more than 340 couples in the Diocese of Harrisburg.

More than 100 of those 347 couples were recently recognized during a special Mass celebrated by Bishop Ronald Gainer. The 50th Anniversary Mass, annually hosted by the Diocesan Office of Family and Respect Life Ministries, the Harrisburg Diocesan Council of Catholic Women and the Senior Adult Ministry, was celebrated at Good Shepherd Church in Camp Hill on Sunday, July 14. Surrounded by family members, friends and other loved ones, the golden anniversary couples took this opportunity to renew their commitments to each other, to God and to the Church.

Young Women Consider God’s Call during Fiat Days

Fiat Days is a retreat for young Catholic women, ages 15-25, who want to learn more about consecrated life, to deepen their faith, and to better discern God’s call in their lives. Held annually at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md., the retreat drew nearly 40 young women to participate in many activities to assist them in their discernment.

Activities during the week included the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, night prayer, talks from religious sisters about vocation discernment and their communities, recreation and sports, great food and discussions.

2019 Matthew 25 Grants Awarded

Food. Clothing. Shelter. We may often find ourselves taking these three basic needs for granted, never having to wonder when we will eat again and where we will sleep. But for far too many men, women, children and families throughout the Diocese of Harrisburg, these three basic needs are challenging to meet.

That’s where the generosity of supporters of the Matthew 25 Grant Program fill in the gaps, providing much needed and, in some cases, life-saving support.