Beginning & Ending the Week with Bethesda’s Ministry to the Homeless

Fr. Joseph Serano, O. Praem. may be the Abbey’s treasurer, but we hardly confine him to a desk all day! Below are some notes from Father on his ministry to the Church at large.


Writing for a blog is new to me, but I’m happy to share a bit of “reporting” on what has been happening in my ministry.

Last week, I attended a fund-raiser held at the (donated) VIP lounge at the Phillies stadium; it was for Bethesda Project, a ministry to the homeless in Philadelphia, founded by our Fr. Domenic and the Abbey Prayer Group in 1983. I am about to finish my second nine-year term on the Board of Directors and its Finance Committee. What makes Bethesda more than just a “place” where one can get a bed and a meal; makes it a “home” and indeed “family for those who have none”; is the generosity of thousands of mostly small donors  (of which I am happy to be one!). While final numbers aren’t in yet, we think we made over $200,000 at the event. Amazing!

As usual, I had morning Mass at two local parishes during the week. I really enjoy the chance to pray with good people and to share some thoughts in a homily. On April 24, I celebrated the Abbey’s Mass, which I always find a special joy. I know much of the congregation and they know me, which makes it “easier” to preach. The homily (looking more closely at the phrase “Love one another AS I HAVE LOVED YOU”) is available on our website [click here to listen].

This past Sunday, I visited a group of Sisters outside Gettysburg. We shared Reconciliation and then Eucharist, after which I had an hour or so to spend with one of these fine women who is my spiritual director.

Before that, on Friday evening and all day Saturday, I joined almost 50 of our Abbey’s Lay Associates for their annual overnight retreat. Our theme for the year has been the Ongoing Call to Holiness. Fr. Domenic gave three conferences sharing his own vocation story, especially as it connected to Bethesda and the service of the marginalized. It was a blessed time. Hope to talk to you again next week.