A Word from our New Parochial Administrator, Fr. Eric Banecker

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

June 28, 2020: Thirteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

We must take up our crosses and follow Him! Whoever would lose his life will find it; he who would save it will lose it. This is our last prerecorded Mass; Philadelphia enters into the Green Phase on July 3. Mass will celebrated publicly according to a “normal” schedule from here on out: 5 pm on Saturdays and 7 am and 10:15 am on Sundays. The obligation for Catholics to attend is still suspended in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Church remains open throughout the day Sunday for private prayer; confessions will be heard in the garden from 12-1 pm. Remember to practice responsible social distancing!

Please consider donating to St. Francis de Sales Parish. In the absence of a Sunday collection, we rely on your contributions to provide service to our community. Donations may be made online through Parish Giving, PayPal, Venmo (@SFDSPhiladelphia), or CashApp ($SFDSPhiladelphia). Checks may be dropped off or mailed at our address: Saint Francis de Sales Parish, 4625 Springfield Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19143.

This Mass was prerecorded on June 28, 2020.

From Fr. Matt regarding his new assignment

Dear Parishioners,

On Friday, June 19th, Archbishop Nelson Perez appointed me to serve at the parish of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Doylestown. Unfortunately, that means my time of service here at Saint Francis de Sales will end.

My brief stay here was an extraordinary time in my life. When Archbishop Chaput appointed me on February 11 I was thrilled knowing that I was going to serve at the parish my mom worshipped in and where my parents married. Little did I realize just how exciting these past five months would be!

I cannot tell you just how beautiful this experience has been for me. My brother John said he had never seen me happier. And he has said it on a few occasions. Everyone on our parish staff has been supportive and I am grateful.

Back in March, when the lockdowns began, we assembled a Crisis Response Team consisting of seven parishioners (in addition to myself). I cannot thank them enough.

Terence Sweeney, a parishioner and a member of our parish staff, mentioned that he wished I had seen our parish function in normal times, without a lockdown. I understand his sentiment and, to a great extent, I share it.

But I think I’ve seen the best of our community during these trying times. I’ve seen a staff work hard to preserve the community we love. I’ve seen people reach out to me to help. I’ve seen the IHM Sisters and our teachers adapt to new ways of teaching so that young people can continue to learn. I’ve seen the Assumption Sisters continue to perform works of charity in very trying circumstances. I’ve seen a church at maximum capacity on the first weekend we were allowed to worship as a community.

I really do believe that, as beautiful and magnificent as our church building is here, our people are even MORE beautiful and magnificent!

I’ll begin my new mission on July 8th. But I will NEVER forget this one.

Father Matt

June 20, 2020: Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time

We now enter into ordinary time–the “season of the year” in which our lives as Christians is called to flourish and grow and build up the Kingdom. Not even the fall of a sparrow escapes the Father’s attention, so we should not fear!

Please note: Mass is now celebrated weekly at 5 pm on Saturdays and 10:15 am on Sundays; daily Mass during the summertime is at 9 am. Please join us if you are able, though the obligation to attend Mass is still suspended.

The upper church today will be open after Mass. If you choose to make a visit to our Lord, please practice responsible social distancing. Confessions will be available AFTER MASS with Fr. Matt in the garden from 12-1 pm.

Please remember that during Philadelphia’s Yellow Phase, extra precautions remain in effect during the Mass, and that the Sunday obligation to attend Mass is still suspended. Be safe out there!

Donations may be made online through Parish Giving, PayPal, Venmo (@SFDSPhiladelphia), or CashApp ($SFDSPhiladelphia). Checks may be dropped off or mailed at our address: Saint Francis de Sales Parish, 4625 Springfield Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19143.

This Mass was prerecorded on June 20, 2020.