His Excellency, Bishop Joseph C. Bambera, announces the following appointment, effective as indicated: 


Reverend Gerard M. McGlone has been appointed Dean of the Carbondale Deanery, effective June 25, 2018.

July 24-26 – CADEIO-SEIA Summer Institute, Washington, D.C.

July 26 – Closing Mass, Saint Ann’s Novena, Saint Ann’s Basilica, Scranton, 7:30 p.m.

August 4 – Catholic Charismatic Renewal Mass, University of Scranton, 3:15 p.m.

August 5 – Mass – Saint Augustine Church, Diocese of Scranton 150th Anniversary, (Oldest Church in the Diocese of Scranton), Silver Lake, 10:30 a.m.

August 8 – Seminarian Summer Gathering Mass, Jesuit Retreat Center, Chapman Lake, 5:00 p.m.


SAN JUAN, Texas (CNS) – In less than 48 hours, a group of Catholic bishops saw the faces of triumph and relief from migrants who had been recently released by immigration authorities, but ended their two-day journey to the border with a more “somber” experience, visiting detained migrant children living temporarily within the walls of a converted Walmart.

During a news conference after the second and last day of their visit July 2, they stressed the “urgent” need to do something to help the migrant children.


“The children who are separated from their parents need to be reunited. That’s already begun and it’s certainly not finished and there may be complications, but it must be done and it’s urgent,” said Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, USCCB vice president, celebrated Mass in Spanish with about 250 children at the facility on what once was the loading dock of the superstore.

“It was, as you can imagine, very challenging to see the children by themselves,” Archbishop Gomez said during the news conference. “Obviously, when there are children at Mass, they are with their parents and families … but it was special to be with them and give them some hope.”

He said he spoke to them about the importance of helping one another.

The visit to the facility known as Casa Padre capped their brief journey to the border communities of McAllen-Brownsville near the southern border. Casa Padre gained notoriety earlier this year because it houses children separated from their families, as well as unaccompanied minors in a setting with murals and quotes of U.S. presidents, including one of President Donald Trump saying, “Sometimes by losing a battle you find a new way to win the war.”

The facility is run by Southwest Key Programs, a nonprofit that operates it under a federal contract. Bishop Joseph C. Bambera of Scranton, Pennsylvania, along with Auxiliary Bishop Robert J. Brennan of Rockville Centre, New York, also were part of the delegation July 1 and 2, led by Cardinal DiNardo.

The building houses about 1,200 boys ages 10-17, said Bishop Bambera, and though the care they receive seems to be appropriate – it’s clean, they have access to medical care, and schooling and recreational facilities – it was clear that “there was a sadness” manifested by the boys, he said in a July 2 interview with Catholic News Service.


“We can provide the material environment to care for a person and it’s provided there, but that doesn’t nurture life. That takes the human interaction with the family or a caregiver,” he said.

Though many of the boys held there are considered “unaccompanied minors,” some were separated from a family member they were traveling with, said Bishop Bambera. And when you see them, “those boys bear clearly the burden of that” separation, he said.

Bishop Bambera said the boys listened intently during Mass and seemed to have a particular devotion and piety, one not seen in children that age. During Mass, “I saw a few boys wiping tears,” he said.

Bishop Daniel E. Flores of Brownsville, head of the local Brownsville Diocese, accompanied the delegation, which included a visit on the first day to a humanitarian center operated by Catholic Charities. He said there’s a need to address the “push factors” driving immigration from Central America, a place where migrants are fleeing a variety of social ills, including violence and economic instability.

The U.S. border bishops have frequent communication with their counterparts in Mexico and Central America on a variety of topics, he said during the news conference, but the problems driving immigration to the U.S. are complex.

He said he has spoken with parents in Central America about the danger of the journey but recalled a conversation with mothers in places such as Honduras and Guatemala who have told him: “My son will be killed here, they will shoot him and he’s 16. What am I supposed to do?”

“These are extremely complex and difficult situations,” he said. “This is a hemispheric problem, not just a problem on the border here.”

 Press Conference Video with Bishops Available Online

The press conference held July 2 with Bishop Bambera and fellow U.S. Bishops who are visiting the border crossing with Mexico in the area of the Diocese of Brownsville, Texas, can be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4CNCftPSAE

The press conference was held on July 2 with Bishop Bambera and fellow U.S. Bishops who visited the border crossing with Mexico in the area of the Diocese of Brownsville, Texas.

By Rhina Guidos Catholic News Service

MCALLEN, Texas (CNS) – Some had been on the road for weeks, others for days, and some entered looking haggard and sunburned with little more than the clothes they were wearing, some holding the hands of their children as a group of Catholic bishops joined a chorus of hands applauding in welcome.
Sister Norma Pimentel, a member of the Missionaries of Jesus, who is executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, asked the bishops visiting the center during the arrival of the recent immigrants July 1 if they could help serve food to the children, whose eyes lit up when they saw fruit or soup and the smiling faces of volunteers replenishing their dishes and asking questions.


“Does the soup taste good?” Bishop Daniel E. Flores of Brownsville asked in Spanish, as some children shyly nodded toward the prelate.
Nearby, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston carried a tray with bowls of soup into the room filled with children’s voices. Cardinal DiNardo was leading the delegation of bishops toward the border communities in the Brownsville-McAllen area close to the southern border with Mexico July 1 and 2.
The visit to what’s known as the respite center run by Catholic Charities in downtown McAllen quickly took the prelates into the heart of the human drama of migration and its human toll.
A woman traveling with a 3-year-old said that along the way she’d heard children were being taken away from parents and she prayed that it wouldn’t happen to her because returning to her home country of Guatemala was not an option — either way she risked losing her child.
But immigration authorities were kind and humane when she checked in, she said, and allowed her and her child to go free after filling out paperwork and a short detention. Then the welcome she received at the respite center, she said, was a sign to her that “God is so great and never abandons us.”
The center is a first stop for immigrants like her, fortunate enough to have a place to go to, such as the one in McAllen, after being released by immigration authorities. It, too, was a first stop for the bishops looking to understand the situation of family separation and other immigration issues along the border.
Cardinal DiNardo, along with Auxiliary Bishop Robert J. Brennan of Diocese of Rockville Centre, New York, and Bishop Joseph C. Bambera of Scranton, Pennsylvania, took the opportunity to speak with as many as they could in the room, addressing topics such as why they left home or simply asking the migrants where they were headed and how they were doing.


A 12-year-old girl sitting with her father nearby asked Bishop Brennan about snow because she had never seen it. He asked where they were headed and the father responded: “Philadelphia.”
“Vas a ver la nieve,” he told her in Spanish, telling her she would see snow.
Then they asked him about New York.
“Do you know the Yankees? And the Mets?” Bishop Brennan asked. And the father answered “yes” with excitement.
The girl’s father, who traveled from Honduras mostly by foot, later said he was grateful for the great kindness the bishops had shown, how they had treated him and his daughter as human beings and it made him feel that his load had finally lightened after a long and hard journey.
Bishop Bambera said he found hope in hearing the people in the room talk about what’s ahead. They didn’t speak of making money but of finding safety for their children, he said, driven by “the most basic instinct to protect your family.”
Though the room held a lot of smiles and optimism, there was a silence about the journey that had gotten them there but whose details many of the sojourners were not yet ready to share, said Bishop Brennan. He found the experiencing “very moving,” he said, and it made him think of those he knows in New York “who’ve come on the other side of that journey.”
“This gives me a deeper understanding of the experience that many of our folks went through to get the point where I’ve come to know and love them on Long Island,” he said.
Volunteers, which included many young adults, zigzagged through the room during the visit, handing out clothes, playing with the children, showing those who had recently arrived the shower, giving out water and heating a home-cooked meal for them.
“In this room is the core of Catholic social teaching: the dignity of life,” said Bishop Bambera.


William Canny, executive director of Migration and Refugee Services for the U.S. bishops’ conference, who also accompanied the bishops on their visit, said the welcome was “a phenomenal act of charity by the church, to receive these people released by the government and helping them go onward to family and friends.”
“This is what we call welcoming, this is the act of welcoming that we all like to see,” he said, especially knowing about the incredibly difficult journey they had just made.
“It’s the moment when our American, our human values come forward and it was nice to watch, people were extremely grateful,” he said.
It was uplifting to see a group of people who’ve had a lot of bad things happen to them, “get a dose of good,” he said.
“It’s a moment when they’re feeling a small sense of safety. They’re also realizing that they’ve left people behind,” Canny said.
But few will forget that warm welcome, the cheers, the applause, the food and smiles, and the bishops who happened to be there that day to feed them and to ask them how they were doing. Along with others, they shared their migration journey that day in exactly the fashion Pope Francis has called for, Canny said, referring to a campaign by the Vatican that calls on Catholics and others of goodwill to build bridges of understanding and hospitality with migrants and refugees.
“It was heartening to see people of all ages come, the volunteerism, young and more experienced people, reaching out and sharing the journey as the Holy Father has asked us to do,” Canny said, recalling the images of the visit. “People stepping forward, welcoming, glasses of water, sandwiches, shampoo … and listening to their stories.”

Bishop Joseph C. Bambera is one of five U.S. bishops on a mission to encounter people who have entered the country at a border crossing from Mexico into Texas.

The delegation from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops arrived July 1 in the Brownsville-McAllen area of Texas, one of the regions on the southern border where parents or family members without legal documentation have been separated from their children.

Catholic bishops have for weeks expressed concern about the separation of families and the well being of the children.

The delegation is being led by Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. In addition to Bishop Bambera, it includes Bishop Daniel E. Flores of Brownsville and Auxiliary Bishop Robert J. Brennan of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, New York. Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, who is vice president of the USCCB, is expected to join the delegation.

The bishops celebrated a morning Mass at the Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle-National Shrine near McAllen. Later in the day they visited a respite center that serves refugees and immigrants released from detention centers.

Tomorrow they plan to visit a center for migrants run by Catholic Charities and a facility where children are being held. They also plan to meet with authorities near the border.

“While it is important for us to protect our borders in a just and fair manner, we also must be aware of the plight of so many of the families who are fleeing violence and chaos in their homelands,” Bishop Bambera said.

“In listening to their stories, parents are simply trying the best they can to protect their children and provide them with a safe and secure home. For all that they have suffered on their journeys, they are incredibly grateful for what we can share.”