Photo: A makeshift memorial forms on April 27 near the shooting scene at the Congregation Chabad Synagogue in Poway, California. (CNS Photo/John Gastaldo, Reuters)


“Unfortunately, once again, I stand in shock, sorrow and sadness because of another hate-fueled attack at a house of worship. Exactly six months after the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, this time it was at Chabad of Poway Synagogue in California on the last day of Passover.

Synagogues, mosques, and all churches should be places of hope and healing. Anti-Semitism and hatred have no place in our society.

With every senseless act of violence – we ask the question – when will it end?

It must.

Each and every one of us must use our voices to speak out loudly and decry this madness while committing ourselves to work for peace.

Please pray for the victims of this shooting. We stand in solidarity with our Jewish brothers and sisters here at home, as well as around the world.”


HAZLETON, PA (APRIL 25, 2019) – Bishop Joseph C. Bambera held a blessing ceremony today at the Catholic Social Services complex, 214 West Walnut Street, Hazleton, to celebrate the opening of the permanent Divine Providence Homeless Shelter and the new Bridge to Independence Program. Both are programs of Catholic Social Services of the Diocese of Scranton.

Joined by the Governing Board of Catholic Social Services and other local dignitaries, Bishop Bambera acknowledged how this important project will directly impact the lives of people in southern Luzerne County.

“The Catholic Social Services complex in Hazleton serves a vital role in providing much-needed stability to individuals needing housing assistance,” Bishop Bambera said. “One of the core missions of the Diocese of Scranton and of Catholic Social Services is to serve people in poverty and hardship, as called by Christ, and respond compassionately to their needs.”

The new, permanent Divine Providence Homeless Shelter can host up to 20 clients each night. The shelter opens at 7 p.m. and is available to both men and women. The homeless shelter program in Hazleton first started in February 2016, initially rotating its home, from week to week, among area churches. Since its inception three years ago, the shelter has already helped more than 500 people.

The Bridge to Independence Program is a young adult residential program which serves people from ages 18 to 26. The new facility includes eight private bedrooms, a community room, as well as a common kitchen, dining room, laundry facility and office with computers. The goal of the Bridge to Independence Program, as its name implies, is to help develop and enhance life skills that will enable program participants to live independently and attain self-sufficiency.

“When I assumed responsibility for Catholic Social Services in January 2016, I quickly developed a healthy respect for the culture of Hazleton. The individuals living in this town truly understand the meaning of ‘taking care of each other.’ As a result, I wanted to find a way to infuse resources which would allow Catholic Social Services of the Diocese of Scranton to expand its ability to serve those in need,” said Mary Theresa Malandro, Diocesan Secretary for Catholic Human Services and Chief Executive Officer of Catholic Social Services. “With the support of Bishop Bambera, Monsignor Thomas Muldowney, the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, the Luzerne-Wyoming Counties Mental Health and Developmental Services, and several other community contributors, my vision has come to fruition!”

Catholic Social Services partnered with Luzerne-Wyoming Counties Mental Health and Developmental Services to create the Bridge to Independence Program. Funding, which totaled $1 million, helped renovate the former CSS building and annual support is being provided toward the operation of the program.

A grant from the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, in the amount of $525,000, helped fund renovations to the part of the building that includes the Divine Providence Shelter and to the adjacent Family Center which houses Saint Joseph’s Food Pantry. The entire renovation project also received financial support from several other charitable foundations and community organizations.

In addition to renovations at the West Walnut Street facility, which was the original home of the Our Lady of Mount Carmel School and rectory, the complex also houses the Catholic Social Services Family Center in the former Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church. The Catholic Social Services offices are also now located directly across the street in the original convent. Thus, the entire original Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish grounds now serve as a complete centralized campus for Catholic Social Services of the Diocese of Scranton, serving the Greater Hazleton Area.

“The support of the community at large to make this become a reality has been both humbling and inspiring,” said Neil Oberto, program manager of Catholic Social Services of the Diocese of Scranton’s Counseling Services, serving the Greater Hazleton Area. “It is especially exciting to know that the buildings which served as Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish – and the church itself since 1907 – are now refurbished to continue service. There is no doubt ‘divine providence’ has been guiding this whole process.”

Shown, from left are Bob Miller, Diocesan Secretary for Financial Services and Chief Finance Officer; Barbara Maculloch, PA President of Community Bank N.A. and Jim Bebla, Diocesan Secretary for Development.

Community Bank N.A. recently made a contribution to the Diocese of Scranton Scholarship Foundation in support of need-based tuition assistance for students attending a Diocesan Catholic school. This donation is part of the Pennsylvania Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program operated by the State’s Department of Community and Economic Development.

Community Bank presented the Diocesan Scholarship Foundation with a $55,000 gift through the EITC program and a $15,000 gift through the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC) program.  Since the tax credit program began, Community Bank (the former First Liberty Bank & Trust) has donated more than $1 million to Catholic education in the Diocese of Scranton.

“We appreciate the continued generous support of Community Bank. This commitment has a significant impact in the lives of our Catholic school families,” said Jim Bebla, Diocesan Secretary for Development.



April 29, 2019

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


Reverend Donald J. Williams to Administrator, Christ the King Parish, Archbald, effective April 26, 2019.  Father Williams will continue to serve as Diocesan Director of Seminarians and Vocations.

Leave of Absence

Reverend Paul C. Fontanella, from Pastor, Christ the King Parish, Archbald, to Leave of Absence, for personal reasons, effective April 26, 2019.



Dear friends,

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to represent the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops at the National Workshop for Christian Unity.  For all of the many encouraging messages that were shared during the meeting, for me, its most memorable moments came during prayer times, which were led by members of the Taize community in France.

These words, written by Brother Roger of Taize, speak profoundly of the miracle of Easter that we celebrate during these sacred days.  “Ever since he rose from the dead, Christ’s presence has been made tangible through a communion of love which is the Church.  …  Credibility can be reborn when that communion which is the Church becomes transparent by striving with its whole soul to love and to forgive, when, even with a minimum of resources, it becomes welcoming, close to human suffering.  Never distant, never on the defensive, freed from all forms of severity, it can let the humble trusting of faith shine right into our human hearts.”

For many of us, this moment in the life of the Church has proven to be one of the most challenging in its history and has indeed tested its credibility in the eyes of many.  Despite the powerful words of faith that we read in the scriptures and proclaim whenever we gather for the celebration of the Eucharist, at times our experience of the life of the Church can consume us with disappointments and grief, fear, pain and even anger.  Indeed, sometimes we can become so overwhelmed by the brokenness of our world and even the members of our Church that we underestimate God’s power to transform our lives.

Yet in such moments, from the earliest days of the Christian community to the present, the sublime gift of God’s love, manifested in the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus, turns the logic of our world upside down.  And the Church, the body of believers in and through which the risen Christ is present in our world through the power of the resurrection, continues to be our greatest hope – not because of our righteousness but because of the richness of God’s mercy.

“Why do you seek the living one among the dead?  He is not here, but he has been raised.”  These words from Saint Luke’s gospel were proclaimed during this year’s great Vigil of Easter.  They are the first words that invite the confused and grieving followers of Jesus to confront the reality of Jesus’ resurrection and the miracle of Easter.  They are also words that have endured for two millennia and that have provided hope and consolation to all who have turned to the Church – the blessed People of God – to encounter God’s mercy and to find a way forward in the midst of a broken, suffering world.

One of the greatest signs of the Church’s credibility is the presence of those who have responded to the Lord’s call and opened their hearts to the life giving waters of Baptism and a renewed sense of determination to walk in the footsteps of Jesus.   On Holy Saturday night, 178 catechumens and candidates from throughout the Diocese of Scranton were baptized into the life, death and resurrection of Jesus and presented themselves for full communion in the Catholic Church.  These catechumens and candidates – our relatives, neighbors and friends – joined with tens of thousands of catechumens and candidates from around the world to publically profess their faith in Jesus Christ and to assume their place in his body, the Church.  Their very presence in our midst affirms the reality of the living God continually working in and through his daughters and sons, who proclaim his word, experience his life in the sacraments and live his gospel in humble service.

Sisters and brothers, we are blessed beyond measure by the merciful presence of God that abounds in our world.  Thank you for your dedicated service to the Gospel and for all that you do to build up the local Church of Scranton and to serve one another in the spirit of the Risen Christ.  Your faithful and selfless ways, your prayers of support for the innocent who have suffered, and your service of one another are visible signs to our world that Christ’s presence has indeed been made tangible through the communion of love, which is our Church.

This is the day that the Lord has made.  Let us rejoice and be glad!

Faithfully yours in the Risen Christ,
Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, D.D., J.C.L.
Bishop of Scranton

Queridos amigos,

Hace unas semanas tuve la oportunidad de representar a la Conferencia de obispos católicos de Estados Unidos en el taller nacional de Unidad Cristiana. Para todos los muchos mensajes alentadores que se compartieron durante la reunión, para mí, los momentos más memorables vinieron durante tiempos del rezo, que fueron conducidas por miembros de la comunidad de Taizé en Francia.

Estas palabras, escritas por el hermano Roger de Taizé, hablan profundamente del milagro de la Pascua que celebramos en estos días sagrados. “Desde que se levantó de entre los muertos, la presencia de Cristo se ha hecho tangible a través de una comunión de amor que es la iglesia. … Credibilidad puede renacer cuando esa comunión que es la iglesia se convierte en transparente esforzándose con toda su alma para amar y para perdonar, cuando, incluso con un mínimo de recursos, llega a ser acogedor, cercano al sufrimiento humano. Nunca lejano, nunca a la defensiva, liberado de todas las formas de gravedad, puede dejar la humilde confianza de fe brille en nuestros corazones humanos. ”

Para muchos de nosotros, este momento en la vida de la iglesia ha demostrado para ser uno de los más difíciles de su historia y de hecho ha probado su credibilidad ante los ojos de muchos. A pesar de las poderosas palabras de fe que leemos en las escrituras y anunciar cada vez que nos reunimos para la celebración de la Eucaristía, a veces nuestra experiencia de la vida de la iglesia puede consumirnos con decepciones y dolor, miedo, dolor e incluso ira. De hecho, a veces nos podemos ser tan abrumados por el quebrantamiento de nuestro mundo e incluso los miembros de nuestra iglesia que subestimamos el poder de Dios para transformar nuestras vidas.

Sin embargo en esos momentos, desde los primeros tiempos de la comunidad cristiana hasta el presente, el don sublime del amor de Dios, que se manifiesta en el sufrimiento, muerte y resurrección de Jesús, vira la lógica de nuestro mundo al revés. Y la Iglesia, el cuerpo de creyentes en y a través de que Cristo resucitado está presente en nuestro mundo a través del poder de la resurrección, sigue siendo nuestra mayor esperanza, no por nuestra virtud de justicia, sino por la riqueza de la misericordia de Dios.

“¿Por qué buscáis al que vive entre los muertos? Él no está aquí, ha sido levantado”. Estas palabras del Evangelio de San Lucas se han proclamado durante la gran vigilia de la Pascua de este año. Son las primeras palabras que invitan a los seguidores confusos y doliente de Jesús para hacer frente a la realidad de la resurrección de Jesús y el milagro de la Pascua. También son palabras que han perdurado durante dos milenios y que han aportado esperanza y consuelo a todos los que han mirado a la Iglesia el pueblo bendito de Dios para encontrar la misericordia de Dios y encontrar una manera de avanzar en medio de una, mundo de sufrimiento.

Uno de los mayores signos de credibilidad de la iglesia es la presencia de aquellos que han respondido a la llamada del Señor y abrieron sus corazones a la vida las aguas del bautismo y un renovado sentido de determinación de caminar tras las huellas de Jesús. El sábado Santo por la noche, 178 catecúmenos y los candidatos a lo largo de la diócesis de Scranton fueron bautizados en la vida, muerte y resurrección de Jesús y se presentaron para la plena comunión en la Católica Iglesia. Estos catecúmenos y candidatos nuestros familiares, vecinos y amigos se unieron a decenas de miles de los catecúmenos y candidatos de todo el mundo a profesar públicamente su fe en Cristo Jesús y asumir su lugar en su cuerpo, la iglesia. Su presencia entre nosotros afirma la realidad de la vida continuamente trabajando en y a través de sus hijas e hijos, que proclaman la palabra de Dios, experimentar su vida en los sacramentos y vivir su evangelio en el servicio humilde.

Hermanos y hermanas, somos bendecidos sin medida por la presencia misericordiosa de Dios que abunda en nuestro mundo. Gracias por sus servicio al Evangelio y por todo lo que hacen para edificar la Iglesia local de Scranton y servir unos a otros en el espíritu de Cristo resucitado. Sus maneras fieles y desinteresados, sus oraciones de apoyo a los inocentes que han sufrido y su servicio de uno a otro son visibles a nuestro mundo que la presencia de Cristo ha sido hecha tangible a través de la comunión de amor, que es nuestra iglesia.

Este es el día que el Señor ha hecho, sea nuestra alegría y nuestro gozo!

Fielmente suyo en Cristo resucitado,
S.E.R. Joseph C. Bambera, D.D., J.C.L.
Obispo de Scranton



Bishop Joseph C. Bambera of the Diocese of Scranton is welcoming Churches around the 11-county Diocese to ring their bells today to show solidarity with the people of France.

People across the country watched the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on Monday with shock and sadness and Bishop Bambera believes the ringing of the bells will be a tribute of faith and a sign of hope.

The Bishop is encouraging Churches to ring their bells at 12:50 p.m. this afternoon, the same (local) time as the fire started on Monday evening.

The Cathedral of Saint Peter in downtown Scranton, the Mother Church of the Diocese of Scranton, will be just one of the places participating by ringing its bells for a period of five minutes.


Flames and smoke billow from the Notre Dame Cathedral after a fire broke out in Paris April 15, 2019. Officials said the cause was not clear, but that the fire could be linked to renovation work. (CNS photo/Benoit Tessier, Reuters)

“The tragic fire at Notre Dame Cathedral strikes the hearts of not only the worldwide Catholic community, but of all people of faith and good will, as this treasured house of worship that has seemed so timeless in its enduring presence is changed forever.

I was privileged to visit Notre Dame Cathedral with my mother and father in 1993 and again with several priests of the Diocese of Scranton in 1997.  The loss of this grand and noble sacred place in so many respects is a reminder of just how important our own parish churches are to us as we journey through life.

For as devastating as this loss may appear to be, as Christians we profess that there is always hope through our faith in Jesus’ life, death and resurrection – the same faith that gave the great Notre Dame Cathedral its soul and life!

Please join me in praying for the protection of the firefighters and first responders in Paris who are working to battle the fire. Our prayers also go out to the Church and our brothers and sisters in the Archdiocese of Paris.”

Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, D.D., J.C.L.

Flames and smoke billow from the Notre Dame Cathedral after a fire broke out in Paris April 15, 2019. Officials said the cause was not clear, but that the fire could be linked to renovation work. (CNS photo/Benoit Tessier, Reuters)

April 15, 2019

WASHINGTON—Amidst the devastating fire taking place at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Pairs, Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement to the people of Paris.

The full statement follows:

“The horrific fire that is engulfing the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris is shocking and saddens us all, for this particular cathedral is not only a majestic Church, it is also a world treasure.  Noble in architecture and art, it has long been a symbol of the transcendent human spirit as well as our longing for God.  Our hearts go out to the Archbishop and the people of Paris, and we pray for all the people of France, entrusting all to the prayers and intercession of the Mother of God, especially the firefighters battling the fire.  We are a people of hope and of the resurrection, and as devastating as this fire is, I know that the faith and love embodied by this magnificent Cathedral will grow stronger in the hearts of all Christians.”

Holy Week Schedule



The solemn observances of Holy Week, which recall the passion and death of Jesus Christ, begin on Palm Sunday, April 14. The Masses on Palm Sunday will include the blessing and distribution of palm branches, which play a symbolic role on this day since they were first used to commemorate the triumphant entry of Jesus Christ into the city of Jerusalem. The Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, D.D., J.C.L., Bishop of Scranton, will celebrate a Pontifical Liturgy at 12:15 p.m. at the Cathedral of Saint Peter, Scranton. Weather permitting, this Mass will begin in the Cathedral Prayer Garden with a blessing of palms and a Gospel reading, followed by a procession into the Cathedral.

Palm Sunday Masses at the Cathedral will also be celebrated at 4 p.m. on Saturday and 6:30 a.m., 10 a.m., and 5 p.m. on Sunday. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament begins at 6 p.m., followed by Evening Prayer and Benediction at 6:30 p.m. 


Priests serving throughout the Diocese will gather at the Cathedral on Tuesday, April 16, at 4 p.m. for the Solemn Pontifical Chrism Mass, at which the Holy Oils used during the conferral of sacraments throughout the Church year will be blessed. Bishop Bambera will be the principal celebrant and homilist. Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus John M. Dougherty will concelebrate the Mass along with all priests from the Diocese.

During this Mass, priests and deacons, along with lay representatives from Diocesan parishes, acknowledge the Bishop’s role as the unifying symbol for Church governance and pastoral guidance. Priests will renew their ordination promises. After Mass, they will receive the Sacred Chrism, Oil of the Sick, and the Oil of Catechumens, which are used in the celebration of Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Orders, the Anointing of the Sick, and the Rites of the Catechumenate. The deacons of the Diocese will assist in the blessing of the holy oils.


The three most sacred days of the Church’s liturgical year, known as the Sacred Paschal Triduum, begin on Holy Thursday, April 18, with the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper. During the Triduum (Latin for “three days”), the Church solemnly celebrates the greatest mysteries of our redemption, keeping by means of special celebrations the memorial of the Lord, crucified, buried and risen.

Holy Thursday marks the day on which Christ instituted the Holy Eucharist and the priestly Order and gave us the commandment concerning fraternal charity. At the Cathedral, Morning Prayer will be at 8 a.m. The Pontifical Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper will begin at 5:30 p.m., with Bishop Bambera serving as the principal celebrant. During the Mass, there will be the rite of the Washing of Feet, which re-enacts Christ’s washing of the feet of his apostles at the Last Supper. Following this Mass there will be the transfer of the Most Blessed Sacrament to the place of repose. Adoration will continue until 10 p.m., when Night Prayer will be celebrated.


On Good Friday, April 19, and the following day (up to the Easter Vigil Mass), by a most ancient tradition, the Church does not celebrate the sacraments at all, except for Penance and Anointing of the Sick. At the Cathedral, Morning Prayer for Good Friday will be at 8 a.m. The Commemoration of the Passion and Death of the Lord celebrated by Bishop Bambera will begin at 12:10 p.m. This solemn liturgy consists of three parts: the Liturgy of the Word, the Adoration of the Cross, and Holy Communion. In addition, the Stations of the Cross will be prayed at 5 p.m. Good Friday is a day of fast and abstinence.


Holy Saturday, April 20, is the day that the Church waits at the Lord’s tomb in prayer, meditating on his passion and death and on his descent into hell, and awaiting his resurrection. Morning Prayer will be at 8 a.m. at the Cathedral, followed by a retreat for those preparing to be baptized and received into full communion with the Catholic Church. The blessing of Easter Baskets will take place at 1 p.m. in the Cathedral.

The Vigil in the Holy Night of Easter is the night of keeping vigil for the Lord (Exodus 12:42), in which following the Gospel admonition (Luke 12:35-37), the faithful, carrying lighted candles in their hands, should be like those looking for the Lord when he returns, so that at his coming he may find them awake and have them at his table. This night’s vigil is the greatest and most noble of all solemnities in the Church. Although celebrated entirely at night, this Mass of the Vigil is the first Mass of the Sunday of the Resurrection, and it is the center of the Sacred Paschal Triduum.

Bishop Bambera will be the principal celebrant and homilist of the Easter Vigil Mass at the Cathedral, beginning at 8 p.m. on Saturday, April 20. This liturgy is arranged in four parts: 1) the Lucernarium (a service of light) and Easter Proclamation; 2) the Liturgy of the Word, in which the Church meditates on the wonders God has done for his people from the beginning, trusting in his word and promise; 3) the Liturgy of Baptism and Confirmation in which new members of the Church are reborn; and 4) the Liturgy of the Eucharist, in which the Church is called to the table the Lord has prepared for his people, the memorial of his death and resurrection until he comes again.

On the Holy Night of Easter, 174 people who have participated in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) will become fully initiated Catholics by the celebration of their Baptism, Confirmation, and reception of the Eucharist for the first time. This will take place during Easter Vigil Masses celebrated in parishes throughout the Diocese. They join tens of thousands of other individuals throughout the world who will become members of the Church that night.


Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord is the most joyous day in the Church year. This joy overflows into the 50 days of the Easter season, which concludes on Pentecost Sunday. On Easter Day, April 21, Bishop Bambera will celebrate a Pontifical Mass at 10 a.m. at the Cathedral. Additional Masses during the day will be at 6:30 a.m. and 12:15 p.m.

Since Christ accomplished his work of human redemption and of the perfect glorification of God through his Paschal Mystery, in which by dying he has destroyed our death, and by rising restored our life, the Sacred Paschal Triduum shines forth as the high point of the entire liturgical year. Therefore the preeminence that Sunday has in the week, the Solemnity of Easter has in the entire year.

SCRANTON, PA (APRIL 11, 2019) – The Diocese of Scranton is warning its parishioners to be on alert, and not fall victim, to a new scam that has popped up.

On Wednesday, April 10, 2019, two employees from the Diocese of Scranton received text messages on their cell phones from someone claiming to be one of our priests and asking that the recipients buy gift cards for him.

While neither employee fell victim to the scam, a similar situation was also reported recently in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and some Diocesan parishioners reported getting text messages as well.

The Diocese of Scranton reminds everyone if you are ever concerned about a message that you receive, whether by text message or email, verify it before you take any action. In the instances reported this week, the person impersonating a priest asked each recipient to purchase $500 in gift cards for his niece as a birthday present because he was checking on a friend in the hospital.

Additional reminders for the public to not fall victims to a scam include:

  • Don’t click on any links or open attachments in unsolicited texts or emails
  • Be extremely cautious when dealing with anyone you’ve only met by social media or text message if you don’t know who they are
  • Don’t be pressured to act immediately

For more information, contact:

Eric Deabill
Secretary for Communications
Diocese of Scranton
Office: (570) 591-5001
Cell: (570) 237-6508