Message from the Archbishop of Philadelphia
Charles J. Chaput O.F.M. Cap.
The Sodalitum Christianae Vitae (SCV) community has brought a wonderful new energy to the life of St. Agatha/St. James Parish. I'm very grateful to Father Carlos Keen, Adam Ureneck and their SCV brothers for the excellent work they do not only in the parish, but also in the Penn/Drexel Newman apostolates. Students at Drexel University and the University of Pennsylvania are among the finest young leaders in the United States. The Newman Center at St. Agatha/St. James, the oldest in our nation and richest in its traditions, is vitally important to the Church in reaching these young student leaders and supporting them in their Catholic faith.
Message from Fr. Carlos
Pastor of the Parish
This year has been exceptionally special for me because it was my first year as Pastor. The challenge was great: new parish (with so many different aspects: youth, poor, adults), new language, new city, new country! I was nervous, anxious, and worried about what I would do. But, I put myself into the hands of the Good Shepherd asking Him to guide me. I was so happy to arrive to a loving and welcoming community, which was willing to encourage me, challenge me and forgive me. Thank you for that! This year I have seen so many fruits that give glory to God, which fill my heart with joy!
The Marian Procession
On Sunday, November 1st, around 100 people from the Parish, Penn, and Drexel Community athered for the Marian Procession through University City. Participants prayerfully walked alongside the tatue of the Blessed Mother while praying for special intentions and singing hymns. The event was a beautiful reminder of our Lady’s role in evangelization as well as a concrete witness of community, love, and sacrifice that concluded in the church and was followed by dinner and conversations.
"When I first started attending Saint Agatha & Saint James in 2013, I was a Lutheran who had been interested in conversion for years, but had yet to find a fully supportive and engaging community. This is it. Though not a Philadelphia local, I was led to this parish by my then-boyfriend, Mike, who had attended during his college years. Interestingly, I ended up attending the Pre-Cana course before the RCIA course, because Mike proposed!" I couldn't be happier with the way Saints AJ has been foundational in my Catholic conversion. The new brothers are enthusiastic to meet people and develop meaningful relationships. The programs are led by a wide variety of energetic parishioners, all of whom care deeply and reach out intellectually in inspiring and supportive ways.
Associate Secretary Emeritus of the University of Pennsylvania
"Father Carlos, the brothers, and the whole Newman leadership cadre has enriched undergraduate intellectual and civic life not only for Catholic students at Penn, but also for students of all faiths and of no faith both at Penn and at Drexel. Special kudos to them for partnering with the Penn-affiliated Collegium Institute for Catholic Thought & Culture, and for supporting and sustaining world-renowned paleontologist and Penn Professor, Dr. Peter Dodson, and others with the Circle of St. Bede. They have worked closely and well with the Office of the Penn Chaplain to promote inter-faith dialogue and to forge a lively, faithful intellectual life on Penn's campus; they were even there to co-sponsor numerous lectures and theatrical events with the more than 80 Chinese national students that visited Penn in the summers of 2014 and 2015! They are a blessing to and a bridge between the Penn and Drexel communities."
John J. Dilulio Jr.
Frederic Fox Leadership Professor, Professor of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania
180 Degrees Consulting
180 Degrees aims to offer high-quality consulting services to non-profits, social enterprises, and socially minded businesses. In order to offer custom solutions to such organizations without the usual price tag, 180 Degrees connects untapped capabilities of university students with the unmet needs of socially conscious organizations. This semester, Penn’s 180 Degrees team had the pleasure of working with the Newman Center/Parish to help the organization evaluate their asset allocation as well as help improve organizational structure to maximize efficiency and cross team synergies. Our team hopes the work we have accomplished will align with the Newman Center/Parish’s mission statement and help improve the effectiveness of the organizations impact.