By Lou Baldwin

Special to The CS&T

PHILADELPHIA – You’ve heard the saying, “If you want something done, give it to a busy man.” At St. Cecilia Parish in the Fox Chase section of the city, that busy man is usually John Doherty. Other than celebrating liturgies, there aren’t many activities he or members of his family aren’t somehow involved with.

He’s a member of the parish pastoral council and both the pre-Cana and pre-Jordan teams. He’s parish C.Y.O. athletic director and he’s assistant director of athletic ministry, Region 1, C.Y.O. He’s involved with both the Boy Scouts and the Cub Scouts, and he’s facilitator for the parish Safe Environment Program.

“I’ll put light bulbs in, clean toilets, get a squirrel out of the gym, anything they ask me to do,” he said.

His professional life is just as involved. Employed in the engineering department at PECO Energy, he also has a small computer repair business on the side and a thriving candle business. “Welcome Home Scents” ( sells thousands of candles he crafts himself, especially for group fundraisers.

Originally from St. Timothy Parish and a 1978 graduate of Father Judge High School, Doherty continued his studies at Drexel University. He met Joann Berg as a teen; he was working at a local supermarket, she at Dunkin Donuts. They wed at St. Jerome Parish in 1985 and are the parents of five children (three still in St. Cecilia School), Shawn, John, Patrick, Joseph, and Ryan. The three middle children are boys, the bookends are girls.

You can usually find them along with John and Joann in the front pew at Sunday Mass, and they have a lot to do with his parish activities. “I kind of like being with my five kids,” Doherty said. “I’ve coached them all. I’ve coached T-ball, pitch league, baseball, softball, soccer and basketball.”

“I’m busy, but it keeps me happy and all of us happy. My wife is busy too and very active with the parish,” he said. Yes, doing all of these things for St. Cecilia Parish, not to mention a host of community activities, does involve sacrifice, and not only by himself.

“My wife and kids sacrifice a lot, but they are with me and get a lot out of it too,” he said. For instance, there really was a squirrel in the school gym and it was Patrick who helped him lure the critter out. “The kids are with me and kind of enjoying the same things,” he said.

Faith definitely enters into it.

“For me, the whole experience is humbling,” Doherty said. “If you are trying to imitate Jesus and follow Him, it isn’t easy. That’s what I try to do, just go in the direction Jesus points me to. He does it all the time.”

Lou Baldwin is a member of St. Leo Parish and a freelance writer.