Dear Friends in Christ,
It is a joy and privilege to greet you as the new parochial administrator of Saint Francis de Sales Parish! I am grateful for Archbishop Perez for appointing me to this new ministry in such a vibrant, diverse community of faith in West Philadelphia.
You’ll learn more about me in the weeks and months to come, but here are some of the basics: I grew up in South Philadelphia, where my parents and brother and sister still live (yes, they are excited that I am returning to the city). I attended Epiphany of Our Lord School, and then Roman Catholic High School for Boys. I then began studies at the University of Pennsylvania. I had already heard about Saint Francis de Sales through Fr. John Pidgeon, who was pastor of Epiphany when I was in high school and who served here for a number of years. So while living in West Philly during my college years, I was happy to get connected with Sr. Fran Small, IHM. I partnered with her in teaching citizenship classes at the IHM Literacy Center for a number of years. I also volunteered occasionally at de Sales School through the Fox Leadership Program at Penn.
All this is to say that I arrive not a complete stranger to the wonderful parish that is Saint Francis de Sales. Many people ask “What is your agenda? What are your goals?” The answer is simply to be a faithful, energetic, and holy priest for all of you who call de Sales home. A great parish is a center of worship, evangelization, and service. So if I have any “goals,” they would be simply to build upon the solid foundations which have been here long before I was born, foundations which express themselves in worship, evangelization, and service. These are the good fruits which emerge when the Word falls on good soil, as our Lord tells us in the Gospel today.
May God be blessed! Saint Francis de Sales, pray for us!
– Fr. Eric Banecker