September 25, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C.- The Vatican’s World Day for Migrants and Refugees will be held this Sunday, September 29, 2019. The theme for this year’s celebration is, “It is not just about migrants.” Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration, noted of the celebration:

“This year’s theme for the World Day for Migrants and Refugees is an opportunity to look at the migration issue from the lens of humanity, of caring for and walking with our brothers and sisters. The World Day for Migrants and Refugees reminds us that it is not about where people come from but their unique God-given human dignity.” Vásquez noted. “It reflects our call as people of faith to welcome our brothers and sisters, promote their well-being, protect them from cruelty and human indifference, and assist in their integration into our community.”

Support for migrants and refugees is particularly vital in this moment as the world is in the midst of the greatest global forced displacement crisis on record. We must continue to embrace love for our neighbor to counter the growing throwaway culture which disregards the human dignity of migrants and refugees.”

Educational resources related to the upcoming World Day for Migrants and Refugees can be found by visiting the Justice for Immigrants website.



SCRANTON, PA (September 23) – In an ongoing effort to best prepare students for the 21st century and beyond, the Diocese of Scranton has been developing a new vision for Catholic Education.

One of the key components of this new vision will be the integration of the STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) model of learning into the curriculum of all schools in the Diocese of Scranton Catholic School System beginning this academic year.

In order to equip educators with the tools necessary to be successful, the Diocese of Scranton is announcing an investment of $1 million to incorporate STREAM into the curriculum of all 20 Catholic schools by May 2022.

“STREAM is forward thinking, student-centered and cross-curricular,” Jason Morrison, Diocesan Secretary of Catholic Education/Chief Executive Officer, said.  “It goes beyond traditional STEM programs.  By including the Arts and Religion, we are adding creativity, communication and social responsibility rooted in our Catholic identity.”

Several resources have already been purchased for the initial implementation phase of the new STREAM initiative. BeeBots and Spheros have been purchased to provide students an opportunity to practice computer coding and each school has already received PadCaster technology which will allow students to use an iPad to engage in video production, journalism and public speaking.

“National research has shown that the top areas of focus for K-12 schools are encouraging individual and critical thinking, preparing children to successfully enter the job market as well as preparing students for college,” Kristen Donohue, Superintendent of Catholic Schools, said. “STREAM will accomplish this goal for our students and more. Through a hands-on, project based approach students will also develop the critical skills of working collaboratively and effective communication.”

Over the course of the summer, many Diocesan teachers have already received professional development and training in STREAM-related concepts.

“As we officially launch our STREAM initiative, I am confident that this effort will fulfill our promise of excellence and allow each of our students to achieve his/her God-given potential,” Bishop Joseph C. Bambera, Diocese of Scranton, said.

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. Approximately 4,500 students are currently enrolled in the Diocese of Scranton’s Catholic School System for the 2019-2020 academic year.



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

Reverend Richard Rojas, priest of The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, from Chaplain, Mercy Center, Dallas, to ministry within the Ordinariate of The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, effective September 22, 2019.

 Reverend Alfred J. Vito, from Leave of Absence, to Chaplain, Mercy Center, Dallas, effective September 23, 2019.


SCRANTON, PA (September 20) – Nearly 200 young adults from across the Diocese of Scranton are expected to get their hands dirty and make their communities a better place during the 2019 Diocesan Day of Service scheduled for Saturday, September 21, 2019.

Students from parishes, Catholic high schools and local colleges have all volunteered to take part in various projects across the 11-county Diocese.

This is the third year for the Diocesan Day of Service. Service projects will be taking place in four different regions across the Diocese: Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, East Stroudsburg and Williamsport. The Day of Service in each region will begin with a Mass, followed by volunteer opportunities at varying sites. The Day of Service will conclude in each region with lunch, prayer and reflection on the experience.

Media members are invited to cover service projects in any of the varying region. The best time for visuals/interviews will typically be between 10:00 am and Noon. For best location of service projects during that time frame, contact the region coordinator for exact locations.

Scranton Region
Service Sites include: IHM Center at Marywood University, Nay Aug Park, Saint Joseph’s Center, Lackawanna River Clean-up 

Wilkes-Barre Region
Service Sites include: Wyoming Valley Catholic Youth Center, Ruth’s Place, Dorothy Day Farm 

East Stroudsburg Region
Service Sites include: Habitat for Humanity, Stony Acres, Notre Dame High School, Garden of Giving 

Williamsport Region
Service Sites include: Family Promise, Expectations, Sojourner Truth, Williamsport Cemetery



SCRANTON — As the Church continues to respond to the tragic reality of sexual abuse of minors by clergy, for the second year in a row, the Diocese of Scranton held a Mass for Atonement and Healing.

Bishop Joseph C. Bambera was the principal celebrant and homilist for the Mass, which was held on Monday, September 16, 2019 at 12:10 p.m. at the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Scranton.

The Mass is held near the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows, which recognizes the Blessed Mother’s intense suffering and grief during the passion and death of our Lord.

During his homily, Bishop Bambera reflected on the year since the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report was released in 2018. He once again asked for God’s healing, mercy and forgiveness, calling what happened one of the darkest moments in the history of the Catholic Church and certainly in our 150 year history as a Diocese.

“One year later, I can stand before you and tell you that we have done a lot to change and to continue to create a safe place in the Church, especially for our young people. We’ve trained over 30,000 staff and volunteers and continue to cooperate with law enforcement. We attempt to be as transparent and open in our actions as we possibly can be and we have established a fund to compensate, in some small way, survivors of abuse,” Bishop Bambera said.

“Yet, one year later, there is still pain. A year can’t change a lifetime of suffering. Survivors of abuse continue to be burdened by the ramifications of such inhuman behavior on the part of those who should have been trustworthy,” the Bishop added.

“None of us will ever know the depth of the pain that survivors endure.  Yet, in courageously sharing their pain, so many of them with whom I’ve spoken this past year have taught me a great lesson.  They’ve taught me that if the Church is truly intent upon creating safe environments for its children and all of God’s people, we (the Church and especially Church leaders) must never forget or allow time to numb us to the pain that was so willfully inflicted on innocent lives by those who postured themselves as God’s representatives and ministers of his love and mercy.  Indeed, an authentic recognition of the pain of that cross is the only thing that can truly prompt us to change and to create a Church deserving of people’s trust.”

The Mass for Atonement and Healing wasn’t just focused on the survivors of sexual abuse, the Bishop prayed for all people who suffer, whether it be from cancer or other illnesses or other types of abuse.

“God could have chosen to save the world in any way he wanted.  Yet he chose to relate to it – to us who are made in his very image and likeness – through his son Jesus, who took on human flesh and substance.  He chose to have Jesus carry a cross so that we, in our suffering, might discover a God who understands because he too carried a cross – a God who suffers with us – and a God who overcomes suffering with resurrection and life,” Bishop Bambera said.

While noting that the sexual abuse crisis has understandably caused some people to step away from the Church, the Bishop ended with a pledge.

“As Bishop of this local Church, I deeply apologize for the pain that has been inflicted upon far too many of you by leaders of our Church.  Once again, I ask for forgiveness from the countless numbers of you who have suffered so much.  I pledge to continue to do all within my power to create a safe place for our children and for all of our people to worship, to pray, to learn and to grow in their faith. I pray that we will all find hope in those wonderful words from Saint Paul’s second letter to the Church at Corinth as he speaks to us of the treasure of faith:

We hold this treasure in earthen vessels that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us.  We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body. (II Corinthians 4:7-11)

If you would like to read Bishop Bambera’s full homily from the Mass for Atonement and Healing, visit



The internationally-acclaimed forty voice chamber choir from Slovenia, Megaron, will perform at St. John the Evangelist Church, 35 William Street, Pittston, on Sunday, September 29 at 7:30 p.m. The concert is free and open to the public.

Megaron was founded in October 2003 by Damijan Mocnik, composer and conductor, and is compromised of former music students from the Diocesan Classical Gymnasium at St. Stanislav’s Institution in Ljubljana, Republic of Slovenia. In the years since its founding, Megaron has evolved into a high-quality choir performing regularly in Slovenia as well as in Austria, Italy, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Poland, Canada, and the United States, thus earning a stellar reputation at home as well as abroad.

The choir is noted for its rich sound and exciting interpretations of music from different stylistic periods. It prides itself on numerous awards received at various national as well as international choral competitions.

For more information, please contact St. John the Evangelist Parish office at 570-654-0053 or email


From left: Joe Montagna, Wells Fargo branch manager; Kristen Bolin, Wells Fargo banker; Sandra Snyder, Diocese of Scranton grant writer; Mary Theresa Malandro, diocesan secretary for Catholic human services and CEO of Catholic Social Services; Oiram Santos, district manager, Wells Fargo.

The Wells Fargo Foundation supported Catholic Social Services of the Diocese of Scranton with a $2,000 grant to offset expenses related to its financial literacy case management services in Lackawanna County.

Through two offices, in Scranton and Carbondale, Catholic Social Services, as part of its Relief Assistance Program, helps nearly 2,000 clients per year re-examine their financial resources and create individualized financial recovery plans. CSS case managers work with financially struggling clients who often find themselves threatened with homelessness or are living in substandard housing.

The Relief Assistance program began in 1929 and has continued to grow each year.

“Case-management services that focus on financial literacy are important in positioning our clients to move toward permanent housing and long-term self-sufficiency,” said Mary Theresa Malandro, Diocesan Secretary for Catholic Human Services. “Case management is among Catholic Social Services’ core services, especially in an era of hidden homelessness, and we are grateful to the Wells Fargo Foundation for recognizing its importance in our community.”

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

Financial literacy case management is offered at 516 Fig St. in Scranton and 34 River St. in Carbondale. Walk-in or by-appointment services are available.

For more information about the program, contact Stephanie Miller, program manager, community services, at 570-207-2283 or


Left to Right (1st Row) Ed Weihbrecht, Trustee Plymouth Council 984, Rick Korpusik, Faithful Navigator Pittston Council 372, Rev. John Terry, Pastor, Our Lady of Hope Parish, Christopher Calore, Plymouth Council 984 and Rosary Rally Chairperson, Deacon Joseph DiVizia, James Mazeitis, Past Grand Knight Council Assumpta Council 3987, Sir Joseph Pikaitis, Assumpta Council 3987. (2nd Row) Mike Radzwilla, Grand Knight Plymouth Council 984, George Grantkuskas, Past Grand Knight Plymouth Council 984, Matt Owazany, District Deputy Plymouth Council 984, Charles Jankoviak, Lector Swoyersville Council 12976, David Miller, Recorder Swoyersville Council 12976, Tom Havrilak, Grand Knight Assumpta Council 3987, John Bankus, Sr., Trustee Swoyersville Council 12976.

The combined Knights of Columbus Councils of Wyoming Valley will host their 43rd annual Rosary Rally on Sunday, October 6th, at Our Lady of Hope Parish, 40 Park Ave., Wilkes-Barre, where Father John Terry is Pastor.

The Knights of Columbus will begin a Rosary Procession from the Church at 2 pm., with the Our Lady of Fatima Pilgrim Virgin Statue, followed by the participating faithful.

The Rosary Rally is dedicated to prayer and sacrifice in reparation for sin and for the salvation of souls as Our Lady has requested at Fatima, Portugal. Those unable to process are invited to go directly to the Church at 3 pm., at which time the Knights will lead the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary.

Sunday’s Eucharistic Liturgy will be celebrated immediately following the Rosary, and refreshments will be served after Mass in the Parish School.  Shown are Knights of Columbus members from Councils throughout Wyoming Valley.



Built of Living Stones

CLARKS GREEN, PA (SEPTEMBER 3, 2019) – After years of discussion and planning, the Church of Saint Gregory will dedicate a multimillion dollar renovation and expansion project this weekend.

Bishop Joseph C. Bambera will celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving, Blessing and Dedication on Saturday, September 7, 2019 at 5:00 p.m. The media is cordially invited to attend.

Originally dedicated in 1976, parishioners at the Church of Saint Gregory launched a building campaign to meet the needs of its evolving parish community.

“I believe with all my heart the parish is, first, a people, and the most effective instrument of evangelization is the parish’s visible hospitality, its vitality, and its own faithfulness to Christ,” Father John M. Lapera, Pastor, Church of Saint Gregory said. “The Church of Saint Gregory stands ready to build on some forty years of life and experience and recommit itself to the all-important ministry of Evangelization in the 21st century.  We are a people called together by God to build for God’s community as stewards of God’s gifts.”

The parish expansion is designed to enhance the spiritual life of our parish family in areas of Worship, Word, Community and Service.  The Church of Saint Gregory will now benefit from additional space which is flexible for various configurations of both large and small gatherings.

In addition to the Ministry Center expansion, the current Church has received renovations, including the expansion of choir area, new carpet, garden restoration, new organ and tabernacle along with provisions for seating in the Narthex of the Church for special occasions and overflow crowds.

“As wonderful as the space will be, even more important are the individuals, families, and friends of the Church of Saint Gregory — the living stones — who have so generously contributed prayer, service, and sacrificial gifts to the building project,” Father Lapera added.

The cost of the renovation and expansion project is $3.5 million. Two-thirds of that money has been raised by parishioners.


DICKSON CITY, PA (September 6, 2019) – Public safety and emergency staff and their families have been invited to gather for prayer at the Church of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary as the Church conducts its annual Blue Mass this Sunday, September 8, at 10:30 a.m.

Bishop Joseph C. Bambera will celebrate the Mass. The public is invited to participate.

The Blue Mass, named for the traditional color of the uniform worn by many public safety personnel, provides an occasion to recognize the dedication and self-sacrifice of police, fire and emergency personnel, including paramedics, ambulance and life support system operators, emergency 911 dispatchers, volunteer agencies and units. During the liturgical celebration, their work in rendering assistance to others is recognized and affirmed.