Faith Life & Theology
Our Mother of Perpetual Help Catholic Church
320 Church Avenue, Ephrata, PA 17522 • (717) 733-9641
Prayer is an integral part of every day at OMPH School. We celebrate Mass as a School Family every Friday and on the Holy Days of Obligation, with a different grade planning and participating in the Mass each week. We begin all activities and classes with a prayer, and hold seasonal prayer services (Advent, Stations of the Cross, etc.). Our School Choir (grades 4-8) and our School Cherub Choir (grades Kindergarten-3) life prayers up in song during our school Liturgies and our special events.
Learning about Catholic History & Traditions
OMPH Students have Religion classes daily, with topics including Sacramental preparation, the lives of the Saints, Christmas and Lenten practices, and much more. Once a week, OMPH Parish Priests visit our 8th grade class to delve into deeper subjects, such as morality. Students have access in their classrooms to Catholic books and Religious art to keep them wanting to learn more about their Faith. Catholic traditions, such as Saint Nicholas’ visit and the Blessing of Throats on the Feast of St. Blaise, are a part of every school year at OMPH.
Experiencing Christ’s Way in Ordinary Living
Keeping Christ as the center of our students’ lives is achieved in the daily happenings at OMPH School, whether it be through prayers for our benefactors and the sick of our Parish community or retreats for our Middle School students. Our Prayer Pal program matches each younger student with a partner in an older grade; these prayer pals share time during the school year working on crafts and learning the Catholic faith together. We encourage our students to live out our annual school themes in all they do in the classroom, at home, and in the community.
The Redemptorist Fathers at OMPH Parish are involved in everyday activities at our school, whether it be stopping in to pray with our classes or playing soccer with students at recess. We hold a Vocation Day during the school year, where priests and sisters from various Religious Orders share their vocation stories with our students. Lessons on vocation awareness are taught throughout the year during Religion classes.
Fr. John Murray, C.Ss.R.
I am from Flushing, Queens, NYC., where I attended Catholic parochial school and public high school. I entered the Redemptorist Seminary in Suffield, Ct. in 1985 and was ordained a priest at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC in 1994.I began my ministry as a Redemptorist missionary working in the foreign missions on a beautiful island country called Dominica in the West Indies. I have served the last fifteen years of my Redemptorist life in what was formerly called, the Vice Province of Richmond - better known as the ‘south.’ I look forward to being back up in the ‘north.’ My parishioners here in South Carolina tell me I’m going to have to trade my sandals in for a pair of shoes (and socks).A few personal things about me - I come from three generations of police officers in NYC. I almost became a NY State Trooper, but God had other plans. Although I am from Flushing, Queens - the home of the NY Mets - I am a die hard NY Yankee fan. What are my hobbies? I enjoy hiking, kayaking and photography. In the outdoors I experience God in all his beauty and grandeur. From what I hear the rivers and lakes of Lancaster county are magnificent - I can’t wait!I received the phone call from my superior that I was transferred to the Church of Our Mother of Perpetual Help on the day of my mother’s funeral. I could see my mother smiling as I received the news. Since I first laid eyes on the icon in 1984, the role of Mary as our spiritual mother has taken on special significance in my life. Now I will have the privilege of serving the community of Our Mother of Perpetual Help.I look forward to meeting you and working with you as fellow disciples of the Lord Jesus.
Fr. Jim Szobonya, C.Ss.R.
I’m amazed how life-giving children are to me: they are such a precious gift and mystery. After 30 years of working with them, I continue to discover new things! Welcoming them at their arrival brightens my whole day! My day’s highlight is playing with them at recess; that’s why it’s so hard to see them leave! Yes, they demand me to grow (especially in patience, sacrifice, understanding), but that’s how they keep bringing the best out of me! I feel so privileged to nurture the faith and love of Jesus and Mary in them, and then watch them grow spiritually. There is nothing better I would rather be doing! That’s why I’m so excited about our new full day preschool and OMPH School’s growth!