A Haitian woman does laundry Sept. 2, 2019, in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian in Marsh Harbour, Bahamas. (CNS photo/Dante Carrer, Reuters)


As Hurricane Dorian continues to impact the southern United States, you may have already seen some of the heartbreaking images from the Bahamas where the Category 5 storm made landfall on September 1, bringing record wind, rain and storm surges.

We pray for all our Bahamian brothers and sisters who have been affected by Hurricane Dorian. We ask Our Lord to be with the responders and rescue crews and that all those in harm’s way be given the help they need.



If you are looking for ways to help, donations are being accepted by Catholic Relief Services and Catholic Charities USA.

People gather outside the Marsh Harbour Medical Clinic Sept. 4, 2019, in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas. (CNS photo/Dante Carrer, Reuters)

Supporting these organizations will help people through the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Dorian and will continue to help them as they work through the long process of recovery.

Online donations for Catholic Relief Services can be made at https://support.crs.org/donate/hurricane-dorian and Catholic Charities USA at https://app.mobilecause.com/form/RTKRvQ?vid=1snqm




CARBONDALE, PA (September 4, 2019) – With an influx of dozens of new families to its food pantries in Lackawanna County in August, Catholic Social Services of the Diocese of Scranton is now asking for the public’s help to assist our neighbors in need.

The shelves at both the Carbondale and Scranton facilities are nearly empty as the summer nears an end and students return to school.

A severe shortage of food forced the Scranton food pantry location, 638 Hemlock Street, to cancel its one-day-a-week service on Tuesday, September 3, 2019.

In Carbondale, just in the month of August 2019, the Catholic Social Services Food Pantry assisted 81 new families as well as 621 households including 477 children.

The Diocese of Scranton Office for Parish Life has reached out to parishes in the region and many have started to collect food for the two locations. Any assistance from the public is also appreciated.

Donations of any non-perishable food items is welcome, including pasta, pasta sauce, macaroni and cheese, tuna, canned vegetables, instant potatoes, chili, jelly, breakfast items, cereal, pancake mix or oatmeal.

Donations can be dropped off during the week at the following locations:


Catholic Social Services Scranton                              Catholic Social Services Carbondale

516 Fig Street, Scranton                                                34 River Street, Carbondale

9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.                                                     8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.



ROARING BROOK TOWNSHIP – With religious education classes poised to resume at many parishes in the coming weeks, the Diocesan Office for Parish Life provided catechists the chance to come together and learn new faith formation tools earlier this month.

Catechist Camp 2019 took place during the week of August 3-9, 2019 at various parishes in every region of the Diocese of Scranton.

Jacki Douglas, the new Diocesan Director of Word and Lifelong Faith Formation, says the one-day events focused on empowering those involved in catechetical ministry or family-oriented faith formation.

“Being a catechist is a tough ministry because you don’t always work on yourself,” Douglas said. “What we are trying to do here is give them a day to work on their faith journey and while they’re working on their faith journey, bring back practical things they can do in the classroom with their kids.”

Dozens of people took part in the varying Catechist Camp sessions, which were held at Resurrection Parish in Muncy, Saint John Parish in East Stroudsburg, Saint Eulalia Parish in Roaring Brook Township and Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Swoyersville.

“While we’re trying to make their job a little bit easier, we’re also trying to fill them up and give them a day to have an encounter with Christ,” Douglas said. “What is better than to talk with somebody that knows exactly what you’re going through? They know your struggles but they know your joys!”

At the session at Saint Eulalia Parish, catechists from a number of parishes in Lackawanna and Wayne counties got a chance to take part in interactive sessions.

“I usually learn at least one or two really important aspects that I can take back and share with my catechists and it invigorates me. It gets me started for the new year. It energizes me! It gets me back on track,” Mary Kennedy of Blessed Virgin Mary Queen of Peace Parish in Hawley said.

Kennedy said she came to Catechist Camp looking for inspiration and confidence and learned a lot from the event.

“There’s a lot of sharing that goes on. People will give ideas or suggestions that I may not have thought of because we’re all so diverse. I learn as much from the other people attending as I do from the presenters!” Kennedy added.

As she gets ready for her second year teaching religious education, Becky Rinella of Saint Thomas More Parish in Lake Ariel decided to attend Catechist Camp.

“It’s nice to see what other people do, get some more input and different ideas,” Rinella said.

Rinella, who also teaches high school, attended Catechist Camp because she wanted to meet new people and get some questions answered.

“I came last year and it was a lot of fun. It’s nice to see what other people do and you can always learn something new!” Rinella said.

Some of the breakout sessions during this year’s Catechist Camp focused on social justice issues like the death penalty, creating mission trips with a purpose and finding the extraordinary in ordinary life.

Father Brian J.T. Clarke also presented a general session to all attendees titled, “To Every Creature: Preaching the Good News to All.” Father Clarke highlighted the upcoming Extraordinary Mission Month in October. The theme chosen by Pope Francis is “Baptized and Sent: The Church of Christ on Mission in the World.”

“We’re hoping this is something the catechists and DRE’s (Directors of Religious Education) really embrace. They can really take what Father Clarke is speaking about and really bring it back and really make it an important month in the curriculum year for their classes,” Douglas said.

As the new year of religious education begins for the region’s youth, catechists like Mary Kennedy say she feels blessed to work with children.

“It is truly a gift from God and he has called me to do it and I am honored and thrilled to have the opportunity,” Kennedy said.





SAYRE — Margaret Barry and her husband, Joseph, appreciate the value of Catholic education for their children.

“My family has a long history with Epiphany School. I graduated in 1984 from Epiphany. I think the most important thing Epiphany offers is an education where faith is in action everyday,” Margaret Barry said.

As the 2019-2020 school year gets underway across the 20 Catholic schools in the Diocese of Scranton, the Barry family is just one of many that are thankful for the opportunities available.

“It’s obviously a great academic education but it definitely provides an opportunity for our students to live their faith,” Margaret Barry added.

“The financial sacrifice is worth it because the students here get a great education, starting in kindergarten through sixth grade. They go from learning about history as early as kindergarten and first grade with Sister Ann, all the way up through fourth, fifth and sixth grade with the national parks and STREAM programs and just great science and arts programs,” Joseph Barry said.

With the new school year beginning, the Diocese of Scranton welcomes Mrs. Kristen Donohue as its new Superintendent of Catholic Schools. Donohue assumed her new role in July and will be responsible for ensuring the academic excellence of the more than 4,500 students in the Diocese’s school system.

As she waited for the school year to begin, Donohue used the summer months to visit every building, meet with administrators and focus on new technology initiatives that will be rolled out in the coming months.

“Principals and teachers have been completely immersed in the new initiatives over the summer and are really excited to be able to share these learning opportunities with our students,” Donohue said.

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

Mrs. Donohue will work collaboratively with Mr. Jason Morrison, Diocesan Secretary of Catholic Education/Chief Executive Officer, who is responsible for all administrative aspects of Catholic Education in the Diocese, including enrollment, development, academic success and financial stability.

“The model that the Bishop has developed for the Diocese as it relates to our leadership is working exactly as it should. Kristen’s experience and especially her depth of expertise in academics, I see it every day and it really will make us much better!” Morrison said.

The new school year brings new and exciting opportunities for students in every building. Each Diocesan school has received a new Padcaster, which transforms an iPad into an all-in-one mobile production unit. Complete with microphones, a portable green screen and teleprompter, the students will be able to capture their activities and share them.

“Parents will be able to see first-hand how their students are taking part in promoting the education they’re receiving in the Diocese,” Donohue said.

During the summer months, administrators and faculty members were involved in numerous days of training and professional development.

Representatives from all 20 schools attended the NCEA New Directions STREAM 3.0 Conference in June in Parsippany, New Jersey.

“What is really important to us is not just that we have the technology but that we use it,” Morrison said. “Our goal is to ensure that the technology is utilized to enhance growth and educational outcomes for our students.”

Another key area of change during the 2019-2020 school year will surround student assessment.

The Catholic School System in the Diocese of Scranton has partnered with NWEA (Northwest Evaluation Association) to measure student growth and proficiency in subject areas including reading, math and science.

“Our teachers will have the opportunity to use data that speaks to the individual student in order to really drive instruction that is meaningful and rigorous,” Donohue said.

The new assessments will help provide feedback to teachers to address the needs or concerns for students who may need additional help, while also challenging students who have proficient understanding of the subject material.

“It looks not just at assessment but it looks at growth for students which is really differentiating and honing in on the individual as opposed to how we’re doing across the board,” Morrison said.

“All teachers who teach the student will have the opportunity to look at this data and use it for their instruction so even if they’re teaching social studies, they’ll have the ability to know what each student is capable of and where to really hone in on helping each student,” Donohue added.

As the school year begins, school administrators are excited to welcome students back.

“We’re grateful and we understand and appreciate the sacrifice that parents make to send their children to our schools,” Morrison said. “Our promise is to allow all children to achieve their God-given potential!”

While the Diocese has schools located in varying geographic regions, from Sayre to Stroudsburg, Williamsport to Jessup, Donohue believes that is a strength and sets the Diocesan education system apart.

“It’s a unique, advantageous opportunity to have all the schools in the different geographic areas because it speaks to the importance of understanding the value that each community can bring,” Donohue said.

Our schools welcome the opportunity to show anyone firsthand the outstanding facilities and committed faculty that strive to help students become life-long learners. For more information on our schools, including how to enroll and tuition assistance, you can contact the Catholic Schools Office at (570) 207-2251 or visit www.dioceseofscranton.org/catholicschools