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 then served the next fifteen years of my Redemptorist life in what was formerly called, the Vice Province of Richmond. I spent my last four years serving in a parish in Columbia, South Carolina. Here in the Deep South at Our Lady of the Hills, I experienced firsthand the expression, ‘southern hospitality,’ - I was accepted immediately. I have been here at OMPH for three years now, and although the first years were challenging, I have come to appreciate the resilience and dedication of the OMPH parishioners. I have enjoyed working with the students and staff at our Catholic school, and I look forward to the new year. A few personal things about myself - I come from three generations of police officers in NYC. I almost became a NY State Trooper, but God had other plans. Although I grew up in Flushing, I’m a die-hard NY Yankees fan. My hobbies - I enjoy kayaking, hiking, and photography. In the outdoors I experience God in all his beauty and grandeur. We are so fortunate to have a Catholic school as part of our parish. Our school adds a wonderful source of vitality and energy to our parish life. I want to take this opportunity to thank all those who have supported our Catholic school and continue to do so.
God bless, Fr. John
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!