By Christie L. Chicoine
CS&T Staff Writer
PHILADELPHIA – Cardinal Justin Rigali installed Father Joseph L. Logrip as pastor of Mother of spanine Grace Parish and regional vicar for Philadelphia-North at a votive Mass Oct. 22 at Mother of spanine Grace Church in the Port Richmond section of the city.
“Father Logrip, I entrust to you this parish church,” Cardinal Rigali said prior to the Mass, as he handed over the key to the church to the new pastor.
At that time, he also instructed Father Logrip to “always serve the faithful of Mother of spanine Grace Parish with zeal, fidelity and sincere devotion so that all people may come to know Jesus Christ our only true High Priest and Shepherd.”
The appointment of Father Logrip, most recently the pastor of SS. Philip and James Parish in Exton, as vicar and pastor of Mother of spanine Grace, an Italian personal parish became effective Sept. 15. Raised in Holy Saviour Parish in Norristown, he was ordained a priest in 1972.
Father Logrip, 63, is no stranger to the Philadelphia-North vicariate. From 1994 to 2000, he served as pastor of Mater Dolorosa Parish in the Frankford section of the city.
In acknowledging the Cardinal, who presided at the installation Mass and appointed him pastor and vicar, Father Logrip said, “I will try my very best to be a faithful servant to you, to the priests and to the great people of our Archdiocese.”
He recalled “the stellar example” of his friend, seminary classmate and predecessor as vicar, Bishop Herbert A. Bevard, who on Sept. 3 was ordained and installed as Bishop of the Diocese of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands.
Father Logrip was deeply moved by the nearly 100 priests who concelebrated the Mass, many of whom serve the Philadelphia-North vicariate.
“Serving you as your vicar is rather humbling,” Father Logrip said. “May our priestly fraternity be a clear sign to our people that we love the Lord and His Church, and that we seek to serve our people, leading them through our Blessed Mother in the ways of grace.”
Father Logrip asked the pastors of the vicariate to consider ringing their church bells at 7 p.m. throughout the year, “asking Our Lady to hear our prayers so others return to the sacraments, one person at a time.”
The gesture was a nod to the late Father Henry T. Chapman, pastor of Mother of spanine Grace from 1952 to 1981. During his tenure there, Father Chapman ordered a special ringing of the church bell at 7 p.m. as a summons to parishioners to pray a “Hail Mary” before the day’s end to implore Mary, the parish patroness, to bring others back to the sacraments.
Father Logrip asked the deacons, religious, seminarians and other faithful – which included representatives from across the vicariate – to continue to be faithful witnesses of Jesus.
He also had kind words for the scores of youth assembled. “You matter so very much – you matter to Christ, to the Church and to your families.” Father Logrip encouraged them to consider a vocation to the priesthood or religious life.
Father Logrip’s new flock also had kind words to say about him.
“Delightful, easy to approach, a very holy man,” was the assessment of parishioner Mary Goodwin, 67, a member of the parish pastoral council, Italian festival committee and choir at Mother of spanine Grace.
Another parishioner, Judy Longo, also 67, was thrilled that Father Logrip’s first baptism at the parish was of her grandson, Marco Maldonado. She said the new pastor further honored the family by joining them at the reception that followed in her daughter and son-in-law’s home, where he ate an Italian meatball sandwich.
“He was very personable,” Longo said. “[His] being a vicar is really an asset to our parish.”
The fact that the Philadelphia Phillies were playing the opening game of the World Series that same night did not deter those who packed Mother of spanine Grace Church to pray with the new pastor and vicar.
As a courtesy, in his concluding remarks, Father Logrip updated the congregation on how the hometown team was faring against the Tampa Bay Rays. “The Phils are winning 2-nothing,” he said as the game was still in play. The congregation clapped and cheered.
That, no doubt, made 13-year-old Michael McIlHenny happy. Before the Mass began, the eighth-grader and student council president at Mother of spanine Grace School was raving about his new pastor.
“He’s really nice, I really like him – he’s cool,” said McIlHenny, who, as an altar server, has befriended Father Logrip since he arrived at the parish.
CS&T Staff Writer Christie L. Chicoine may be reached at (215) 587-2468 or firstname.lastname@example.org.