Pictured with Bishop Bambera at Candidacy in August 2018 L-R: Seminarians Shawn Simchock, Jonathan Kuhar and Kevin Miller.

Entering final year of formation for Priesthood

(MAY 23, 2019) – Jonathan P. Kuhar, Kevin M. Miller and Shawn M. Simchock will begin the final step of their formation for the priesthood when they are ordained to the transitional diaconate by Bishop Joseph C. Bambera at a Mass on Saturday, May 25 at 10:00 a.m. in Saint Jude Church, Mountain Top. All are welcome to participate in this celebration.

Ordination as a transitional deacon generally occurs after a seminarian has completed at least three years of study in theology and takes place usually one year prior to priestly ordination. A deacon will be an ordinary minister of Baptism, and will be able to preside at weddings, assist the priest at Mass, proclaim the Gospel and preach, as well as preside at wakes and funeral services.

Mr. Kuhar is from Saint Jude Parish in Mountain Top and is studying at Saint Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore, Maryland. Mr. Miller is from Saint Nicholas Parish in Wilkes-Barre and Mr. Simchock is from Queen of Heaven Parish in Hazleton. Both Miller and Simchock study at Pope Saint John XXIII National Seminary in Weston, Massachusetts.

The three seminarians will also take part in a program with the young people of the Church in the Diocese of Scranton on Friday, May 24 at 6:30 p.m. at Saint Faustina Parish, Nanticoke.

For more information contact:
Eric M. Deabill
Secretary for Communications, Diocese of Scranton
Cell: (570) 237-6508
Office: (570) 591-5001

KINGSTON TOWNSHIP, PA — After more than a year of planning, ground has been broken and work is officially underway on a new Mausoleum at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Kingston Township, Luzerne County.

Bishop Joseph C. Bambera visited the site and participated in a ceremonial groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday, May 21, 2019.

The beautiful new Mount Olivet Cemetery Mausoleum will offer space for people who wish to be entombed in an above-ground setting. The building of granite and marble will accommodate caskets and cremains, providing a final resting place in pleasant landscaped surroundings easily accessible to family and friends.

Taking part in the ceremonial groundbreaking on Tuesday, May 21 was Dominic Rinaldi, Director of Catholic Cemeteries, Bishop Joseph C. Bambera and John Gabriesheski, Superintendent of Mount Olivet Cemetery


The Mount Olivet Mausoleum will also feature companion crypts which accommodate placement of two caskets with one plaque for engraving of both names of the deceased interred therein.

Construction on the new Mausoleum is expected to cost roughly $350,000 and be completed by August.

One of life’s most difficult decisions should be made before the need arises – while those concerned are able to consult and discuss options together.

The Mausoleum at Mount Olivet may provide an appropriate, attractive and affordable memorial for your family’s needs in the following ways:


  • Mausoleum entombment eliminates many expenses associated with traditional in-ground burials
  • Options may be available to exchange existing plots for crypts
  • Individuals of all faiths are welcome to be interred at Diocesan cemeteries
  • Burial plots and cremation niches are also available

If you’d like more information on the new Mausoleum, you can contact the Mount Olivet Cemetery staff at (570) 696-3636 or visit www.dioceseofscranton.org.

If you’d like information regarding any other Diocesan cemetery, contact:

Calvary Cemetery, Route 309, Drums, (570) 788-2150

Cathedral Cemetery, 1708 Oram Street, Scranton, (570) 347-9251

Holy Cross Cemetery, Oak & Keyser Avenue, Old Forge, (570) 347-9251

Saint Catherine’s Cemetery, Route 435, Covington Township, (570) 842-8411

Resurrection Cemetery, 4323 Lycoming Mall Drive, Montoursville, (570) 347-9251


DUNMORE, PA (MAY 21, 2019) – After several rounds of competition, the verdict is in, the Holy Cross High School Mock Trial Team is one of the Top Ten teams in the nation!

During the National High School Mock Trial Competition from May 16-18 in Athens, Georgia, the Holy Cross High School Mock Trial Team finished in ninth place overall.

“It was such a phenomenal time. Winning the state championship and then placing ninth in the national competition was everything I could have asked for!” Holy Cross High School Senior and Mock Trial Co-Captain Nicholas Klein said.

During the National High School Mock Trial event, the team from the Lackawanna County school took part in several rounds of competition. The students from Holy Cross unanimously beat teams from Delaware and Kentucky, while also competing against teams from Texas and South Korea.

“I am very proud of our small team from Holy Cross. We learned a whole new case in one month and we ended the year with a bang. It just feels amazing to have placed ninth overall against such distinguished American and international teams!” Holy Cross High School Senior and Mock Trial Co-Captain Lauren Palmiter said.

During a mock trial competition, students are given the opportunity to argue both sides of a case in an actual courtroom. The students, who play the roles of lawyers, witnesses, plaintiffs and defendants, are assisted by teacher coaches and attorney advisors.

Each year, approximately 30,000 students participate in local high school mock trial competitions across the United States, Guam, South Korea and the Northern Mariana Islands. The national competition highlights the best teams around the nation.

“Somewhere between writing arguments, memorizing lines, and attending daily practices, these students truly became a team, dependent on one another to succeed. They have exemplified excellence, professionalism, collaboration, and poise both in and out of the courtroom throughout this entire competition, and now they have a national trophy to show for it!” attorney advisor Francesca Kester said.

For the students involved in the Mock Trial team, representing their school on a national level was an honor.

“Getting to have that team camaraderie, making friends, being together for so long, it has been such a great time,” Klein said.

The Holy Cross High School Mock Trial Team that attended the national competition included: Elizabeth Arbie, Maggie Arcuri, Serge Grega, Nicholas Klein, Caroline Kranick, Jordan McAndrew, Sarah Mies, Lauren Palmiter, Gianna Sacchetti, Mia Sandy and Olivia Zehel. The teacher coach is Janine Wetter. The attorney advisors are Francesca Kester and Jim Wetter.

For more information contact:
Eric M. Deabill
Secretary for Communications, Diocese of Scranton
Cell: (570) 237-6508
Office: (570) 591-5001


May 21, 2019

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

Assistant Pastor

Reverend Dominic Obour, from Assistant Pastor, Christ the King Parish, Archbald, to further studies for the Diocese of Sunyani, effective May 31, 2019.

Reverend Clement Kwabena Amankwah Yeboah, from further studies for the Diocese of Sunyani, to Assistant Pastor, Christ the King Parish, Archbald, effective May 31, 2019.


SCRANTON, PA (MAY 15, 2019) – Bishop Joseph C. Bambera announces the selection of Mrs. Kristen Donohue as Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Scranton. Mrs. Donohue will begin her position on July 1, 2019.

“I am genuinely excited and very much looking forward to serving all of the students and community as the Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Scranton,” Donohue said. “It is an honor to be part of a dedicated team of professionals working to provide the best, faith-based education for our students.”

For the last eight years, Mrs. Donohue has served as Principal of Western Wayne Middle School, taking on the dual role of Curriculum Director for the Western Wayne School District since 2017. In addition to her administrative roles at both the high school and intermediate levels, Mrs. Donohue brings nearly a decade of teaching experience to her new position.

As Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Scranton, Mrs. Donohue will be tasked with ensuring the academic excellence of the more than 4,500 students in the Diocese’s school system by enhancing current curriculum, implementing innovative technology programs and fostering professional development within a faith-based model.

The Diocese of Scranton currently operates 20 Catholic schools across its 11-county Diocese, of which 16 are elementary schools and four are high schools.

“Her passion and commitment for our mission and her desire to ensure excellence for our students both academically and spiritually is exactly what is needed to move our schools forward,” Jason Morrison, Secretary of Catholic Education/Chief Operating Officer said. “Mrs. Donohue’s breadth of experience will allow her to bring new, innovative curriculum enhancements that will ensure our students experience the best educational opportunities available within all of Northeastern and North Central Pennsylvania.”

In her new position, Mrs. Donohue will report directly to Mr. Morrison who is responsible for all administrative aspects of Catholic Education in the Diocese of Scranton, including enrollment, development, academic success and financial stability. The Diocese of Scranton has implemented this new, innovative model for Catholic Education to better position its schools for the future.

At a time when schools are being forced to scale-back programs, Diocesan Catholic Schools will be investing in curricular enhancements, including moving towards the “STREAM” model of education (“STREAM” is an acronym for Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics). This will be complemented by programs that build critical thinking and writing skills, like the Collins Writing Program.

“As Superintendent, I am committed to ensuring that the rigorous education we provide is aligned to the Catholic mission of our schools, while also preparing our students with the 21st century skills needed to be successful in college and beyond,” Donohue said. “Our Catholic identity is what sets us apart from other educational institutions and it is important that our students have a genuine understanding and appreciation for the application of their Catholic education in their daily lives now and ultimately as productive members of society.”

Mrs. Donohue was selected for the Superintendent position after a nationwide search. In addition to the leadership of the Diocese, applicants were vetted by a search committee. Members included Mr. Donald Bayzick (retired Hazleton Area School District Assistant Superintendent and retired Holy Family Academy, Hazleton, Principal), Lois Draina, Ph.D. (retired Dean of the College of Education and Human Development at Marywood University, who previously spent more than 20 years as an administrator and educator in Catholic Schools including Superintendent in the Diocese of Richmond) and Father Joseph Verespy (Pastor, Saint Nicholas Parish, Wilkes-Barre).

“My Catholic grade school, high school and college experience provided me a phenomenal, faith-based education that prepared me to be thoughtful and reflective in my personal and professional life. My husband, Patrick, and I chose Catholic school for our children because we not only believe in the core values of the Catholic Church, but also because we wanted the best education available, just as our parents had done for us,” Donohue said. “I am excited to contribute to the great work happening in our Diocesan schools and will continue to promote a truly excellent Catholic school experience for our students.”

Mrs. Donohue is a graduate of the University of Scranton, receiving a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education and Spanish and a Master of Science in Educational Administration. She is currently on track to receive her Superintendent Certification from Wilkes University this summer.

Mrs. Donohue, her husband, and three children reside in Clarks Summit. Her school-age children attend Our Lady of Peace School, and they are parishioners of Saint Gregory’s Parish in Clarks Green.


For more information contact:

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

SCRANTON, PA (May 10, 2019) – The Diocese of Scranton today is providing information concerning the first 90 days of operations for the Independent Survivors Compensation Program.

The Program, launched on January 22, 2019, provides financial support to victims of clergy sexual abuse and promotes their healing and recovery. The Program is purely voluntary and open to individuals who submitted a complaint of sexual abuse to the Diocese before the Program was first announced as well as individuals who had not previously submitted a complaint.

The Program operates independently of the Diocese. It is administered by Kenneth Feinberg and Camille Biros, two nationally recognized experts with the full authority to provide assistance to survivors based on the circumstances of each case. The Program’s operations are monitored by an Independent Oversight Committee comprised of Robert Gillespie, Jr., former Luzerne County District Attorney, Ralph H. Meyer, President and Chief Executive Officer Emeritus with Guthrie Healthcare System, and Robin Engels, MA, MSW, LCSW, a licensed clinical social worker.

“We know that no amount of money will be able to take away the pain that a survivor of sexual abuse has faced, but I was pleased to learn from the Administrators that, in just a few short months, the Program has been able to bring swift justice for many victims. We look forward to its continued success,” Bishop Joseph C. Bambera said.

In the first three months of the Program’s operation, 49 claims have been submitted by individuals who had previously raised claims of abuse. Feinberg and Biros have completed their review of nearly two-thirds of these claims and sent determination letters – containing offers of payment — to 31 individuals totaling $3,640,000. Seventeen claimants have accepted the offered compensation and have been paid more than $2,155,000. The fourteen others have not yet indicated if they will accept the offer. No claimants have rejected the offered compensation.

In addition, during the same period, 54 previously unknown persons have come forward with allegations and registered on the Program website. Of these new claim registrants, 51 have been accepted into the Program. One remains under consideration. Two were deemed ineligible to participate in the Program because they did not meet the Protocol criteria – specifically: one registrant was not a minor and the other was not subjected to sexual abuse. These new claims – which must be registered by July 31st – will be processed by the Administrators after they complete processing the previously-known claims.

“We are very pleased with the progress and success of the Scranton Independent Survivors Compensation Program. We will continue to work with all those individuals submitting claims and appreciate the ongoing full support and cooperation of the Diocese of Scranton,” Camille Biros, Co-Administrator of the Scranton Program said.

The Program is not only open to survivors of abuse committed by priests from the Diocese of Scranton, but also survivors of abuse committed by members of religious communities as well as lay employees of the Diocese. Even survivors who have previously settled claims against the Diocese have been able to participate in order to ensure that they are treated as favorably as the claimants in the Program.

There is no monetary cap on any claims, either in the aggregate or for any individual.

The first claims were submitted to the Program on January 29th, within a week of the announcement of the Program. Claims for previously-known claims are handled in the order they are received and are typically processed within thirty days. Individuals who have previously raised complaints have until September 30, 2019 to file claims. Individuals who have not previously raised a complaint must register to participate by July 31, 2019. These registrations will be reviewed in the order in which they are received.

The Diocese and the Program’s Independent Oversight Committee urge all people who have interest in participating to visit www.ScrantonDioceseISCP.com for more information.

This Program is one of many steps the Diocese has taken to assist survivors of abuse. Survivors can continue to receive assistance from the Diocese including counseling or spiritual direction and referrals to support groups. The Diocese strictly adheres to a zero tolerance policy and immediately notifies law enforcement, the District Attorney and child protective services when abuse is reported. When an allegation of abuse appears credible, the Diocese removes the priest from ministry pending an investigation. The Diocese fully cooperates with law enforcement for any necessary investigation.


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

SCRANTON, PA (MAY 10, 2019) – The annual Mother’s Day Adoption Mass will be celebrated on Sunday, May 12, at 10:00 a.m. at the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Scranton. This liturgy recognizes all mothers, with a special emphasis on adoptive and foster mothers. Bishop Joseph C. Bambera will be the principal celebrant.

Planning for the Mass is coordinated by the Diocesan Office for Parish Life, and Saint Joseph’s Center in Scranton. All are welcome to attend.

CTV: Catholic Television will broadcast the Mass live.




Bishop Joseph C. Bambera of the Diocese of Scranton celebrated Mass and helped dedicate the new Monsignor F. Allan Conlan Religious Education Center at Saint Eulalia Parish on Sunday, May 5, 2019.

After years of planning and a full year of construction and renovation, the new facility is already being used to help educate the next generation of children in the Catholic faith.

The new religious education center has nine new classrooms in addition to remodeling eight existing classrooms. It also features new gathering spaces for youth groups, music ministers, meetings and other celebrations. As part of the roughly $2 million renovation project, the Parish Center was also remodeled and its kitchen updated. The Choir Loft inside the Church was also expanded to provide music ministers comfortable space to lead liturgical celebrations.

“These resources will be a vibrant center for parish activities, a place where community and church come together, a place where people get to know one another and give witness to faith in Christ, and our children learn the teachings of our faith,” Monsignor John W. Jordan, Pastor, Saint Eulalia Parish said.

Described by Parish members as the “Third Cornerstone Project,” planning for the new religious education center began in 2014 when it became apparent more space was needed. A groundbreaking ceremony was held in 2017.

Saint Eulalia Parish currently has more than 1,100 families with more than 350 children enrolled in its youth programs. When the Church on Blue Shutters Road was first dedicated in 1984, the Parish consisted of 300 families with 75 kids in youth programs.

“This is a wonderful day for the people of the North Pocono region! This new religious education center is a tremendous sign of growth in the Church and I am so thankful to those who invested their time and talent to make it a reality,” Bishop Joseph C. Bambera said.

The new religious education center is named in honor of Monsignor F. Allan Conlan, pastor emeritus of Saint Eulalia Parish who died in 2012.

“He loved the children. There wasn’t anything that he wouldn’t do for the children. He was a teacher. He came and he made it comfortable,” Elizabeth Strasburger, Director of Religious Education said. “If he were here today he would be very, very proud. He would be humbled to think anything was named after him.”


SCRANTON, PA (MAY 6, 2019) – Bishop Joseph C. Bambera will present the Bishop’s Youth Awards to 774 eighth-and-twelfth grade students representing parishes and Catholic schools throughout the Diocese of Scranton during Masses at the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Scranton on Tuesday, May 7, and Thursday, May 9.

Awards will be given out during Masses that begin at 7:00 p.m. on both Tuesday and Thursday.

Since 1996, the Bishop’s Youth Award has recognized young people of the Diocese of Scranton for their commitment to faith and service in their parishes and schools.

Nominated by their pastors, parish life coordinators, principals, directors of religious education and/or youth ministers, these young people have been described as devoted to the parish, natural servant-leaders and excellent examples to their peers and others.

The Bishop’s Youth Award recipients are young people who serve their parishes and schools as altar servers, lectors, music ministers and cantors. Many are actively involved in parish youth groups. They are integral to the life of the parish, volunteering for missionary service, guiding younger students who are preparing for Confirmation, and assisting in such activities as Vacation Bible School and summer picnics. They serve the poor in many ways and touch the lives of those around them.

The Bishop’s Youth Award was developed by the Office for Parish Life and the Office for Catholic Schools. This award is the highest recognition offered to Catholic youth of the Diocese of Scranton.


For more information contact:
Eric M. Deabill
Secretary for Communications
Diocese of Scranton
Cell: (570) 237-6508
Office: (570) 591-5001


PHOTO CAPTION: From left: Cathy Fitzpatrick, Grants and Scholarship Manager, Scranton Area Community Foundation; Mary Theresa Malandro, Diocesan Secretary for Catholic Human Services; Sandra Snyder, Diocesan grant writer; and Laura Ducceschi, President & CEO, Scranton Area Community Foundation, administrator of Robert H. Spitz Foundation.

April 30, 2019 

The Robert H. Spitz Foundation, administered by the Scranton Area Community Foundation, supported Catholic Social Services of the Diocese of Scranton with a $7,500 grant to assist with case-management expenses in the battle against local poverty.

The grant helped Catholic Social Services increase its ability to offer one-on-one counseling services to Scranton clients who are homeless or on the verge of homelessness or eviction.

“Effective case-management services that aim to move clients toward permanent shelter and self-sufficiency as soon as possible help us make the greatest impact on those facing homelessness,” said Mary Theresa Malandro, Diocesan Secretary for Catholic Human Services. “Our case managers are educated, highly trained and certified but often see their lives as a calling, and the services they provide for our most vulnerable neighbors are invaluable.”

Case management is among Catholic Social Services’ highest priorities, especially as the problem of hidden homelessness grows in Scranton.

Hidden homelessness, as opposed to visible homelessness, manifests itself off the streets and

finds people in hardship staying on friends’ couches, hopping from residence to residence, sleeping in vehicles or using other temporary accommodations. With proper case management, those experiencing hidden homelessness have the possibility to become high-functioning and self-sustaining.

CSS case managers help clients create and stick to workable household budgets, open and manage bank accounts, manage rent or mortgage payments and determine the affordability of housing in relation to other expenses, identify and eliminate unnecessary expenses and make proper use of surpluses by using savings accounts.

For more information about the program, contact Steve Nocilla, Diocesan Director of Housing and Residential Programs, at 579-209-9200, ext. 2103, or snocilla@cssscranton.org.