SCRANTON — Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, served as principal celebrant and homilist for the annual Diocesan Teachers Institute Mass on Monday, Sept. 27, 2021, at the Cathedral of Saint Peter.

During the Eucharistic liturgy, which is traditionally held at the beginning of each academic year to celebrate Catholic education in the Diocese of Scranton, six educators in the Diocesan School System were honored for their commitment to being faith-filled examples to young people.

Each of the honorees received special recognition by being bestowed the Saint John Paul II Award for 25 or more years of dedicated service to Catholic education in the Diocese.

The award recipients included: Robert Andrews, Holy Cross High School in Dunmore; Daniel Banicky, Our Lady of Peace School in Clarks Green; Ann Innocenti, La Salle Academy in Jessup; Jennifer Jones, Good Shepherd Academy in Kingston; Mary Elizabeth “Betsy” Kozak, Holy Rosary School in Duryea; and Janice Puhak, Holy Family Academy in Hazleton.

In welcoming the faithful to the afternoon liturgy, Kristen Donohue, Superintendent of Catholic Schools, said, “As we gather for today’s Mass to celebrate the dedication and commitment of the teachers, staff and administration of the Diocese of Scranton, we also reflect on God’s strength and support for the many blessings and good health we have been afforded to do this great work.”

Donohue noted that the Diocesan Teachers Institute being held throughout the day afforded an opportunity for reflection on the untiring efforts within the various roles in the 19 Catholic schools throughout the Diocese.

“This day offers us a unique learning experience which ultimately creates the opportunity for growth,” she said.

As he announced the recipients of the Saint John Paul II Award, Diocesan Secretary of Catholic Education/Chief Executive Officer Jason Morrison lauded all Catholic school educators for creating an environment where students grow and learn.

“Most especially, they are witnesses to the faith, serving as sharers in the mission of Jesus Christ by leading young people to know, love and serve God,” he said.

Those Catholic school teachers who were on hand to receive their award from Bishop Bambera all concurred they feel blessed and honored to have been called to the “education vocation.”

“It truly is a ‘calling,’” Andrews said about his role as a geometry teacher at Holy Cross High School. “I never feel like it’s a job. I really love what I do and look forward to every day.”

Innocenti, who teaches third grade at La Salle Academy, said she is living a “wonderful vocation.”

“I loving being with the children,” she remarked, quickly adding that is of utmost importance to always bear in mind that God is “our Master Teacher. He is always with us.”

As a seventh and eighth grade instructor of science and social studies at Our Lady of Peace School, Banicky remarked, “I totally enjoy teaching.”

“There’s a new adventure every day,” he said. “No two days are alike.”

Her fellow educators and award-recipients echoed Kozak’s comments when she offered, “It’s a blessing to be able to do what we do.”

They were also in total agreement with the Holy Rosary School fifth grade teacher’s strong belief that each Diocesan Catholic school and its students form a unique, close-knit community. “We are really like an extended family,” she noted.


HARRISBURG – More than 3,000 pro-life supporters gathered at the Pennsylvania Capitol on Sept. 27 to send a strong message to state lawmakers, urging them to protect unborn children by passing legislation to further restrict abortion. Many elected leaders in attendance say the crowd was among the largest they have seen in recent memory.

“Life is sacred and we need to fight for the right to live, the right to be born,” Gabriel Petrofsky of Wellsboro, Tioga County, said.

The crowd came from every corner of the Commonwealth, including many from the 11 counties of the Diocese of Scranton.

“I volunteer at the Pregnancy Resource Center of Greater Hazleton and our director asked if we wanted to come and I wanted to bring my son so he could be more involved as well,” Grace Bott of Nuremberg, Luzerne County, said. “We came with a bus group. There are several of us from the Resource Center that are here as well.”

The crowd was so large that the group not only filled the Capitol steps and surrounding lawn, anti-abortion activists spilled out onto North 3rd Street. The Pennsylvania Family Institute, based in Harrisburg, partnered with March for Life to host the rally.

Many in the crowd had very personal reasons for attending the event.

“The doctor told my parents that I wasn’t alive several months before I was born and they chose to not listen to the doctors,” Kevin Costello of Tunkhannock, Wyoming County, said.

Costello took the day off from work so he could drive more than two hours to attend the rally. He was excited to see such a large crowd of people dedicated to respecting life.

“They’re here because their heart is moved to support the most precious and vulnerable population we have, which is the unborn,” Costello added.

Carol Carlini of McElhattan, Clinton County, took a bus to the Capitol with a group from the Williamsport area.

“I thought the crowd was tremendous. It’s wonderful to feel the spirit of Jesus here with so many people, honoring what he said and that is ‘do not kill.’ We just don’t want to see abortion go on any longer,” she explained.

Carlini attended the rally with her adopted daughter Madison.

“God put our family together. Her mother, who was a college student, could have aborted but she didn’t. She carried Madison for nine months and I’ll forever be grateful,” she said. “We have a family because that woman decided to carry her. I’m just forever praising Jesus and letting everyone out there know there are options, there is help, there are other choices to abortion.”

Prior to marching around the Capitol, numerous speakers addressed the crowd.

Surrounded by members of the Republican caucus, House Speaker Bryan Cutler, R-Lancaster, took the stage at the rally to loud cheers as he said, “We hear you loud and clear. Life begins at conception.”

He was joined by Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward, R-Westmoreland, who reaffirmed her stance for protecting life by leading the crowd in large cheers of “We are pro-life.”

Pennsylvania currently allows abortions up to 24 weeks of pregnancy for any reason except to select a gender. Anyone under the age of 18 is required to have permission of a parent or guardian.

Pennsylvania Republican lawmakers have introduced numerous anti-abortion bills during the last legislative session. Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, has vowed to veto any bill that restricts a woman’s reproductive rights.

In response to rally and March, Wolf tweeted the first-ever Pennsylvania March for Life was just an anti-woman rally by a different name.

“As I have said before, so called ‘pro-life’ policies are actually anti-choice,” Wolf added in a written statement. “As governor, I have vetoed three anti-choice bills that have come to my desk. Make no mistake, I will veto any others.”

As the thousands of marchers took to the street, they were undeterred in having their voice heard.

“There are a lot of people who value what God values, which is every life, from the start of conception to the end,” Lauren Owlett of Morris Township, Tioga County, said.

“This is a government by the people and for the people and they need to start listening to the people and doing what the people desire. I believe across this nation, God is moving mightily and he wants abortion to stop,” Carlini added.


WASHINGTON (CNS) – As part of the Year of St. Joseph declared by Pope Francis, the U.S. Catholic Church’s annual Respect Life Month celebration in October “highlights the example of that great saint” as protector of life, said the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ pro-life committee.

“As the faithful protector of both Jesus and Mary,” St. Joseph is “a profound reminder of our own call to welcome, safeguard and defend God’s precious gift of human life,” said Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas.

“Despite the mysterious circumstances surrounding Mary’s pregnancy, St. Joseph took her into his home at the word of the angel,” and like the saint, “we are also called to care for those God has entrusted to us — especially vulnerable mothers and children,” the archbishop said.

The prelate, who is chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, made the comments in a Sept. 27 statement.

During October, Respect Life Sunday is observed on the first Sunday of the month, which this year is Oct. 3.

To join in prayer for the intercession of St. Joseph, defender of life, visit

Various resources for celebrating Respect for Life Month — including dozens of articles, prayer cards, prayers for life, a toolkit for parish pro-life leaders, homily helps and other resources can be found online at

As the Holy Family’s protector, St. Joseph “guided their journey to Bethlehem, found shelter and welcomed the infant Jesus as his son,” Archbishop Naumann said. “When Herod threatened the life of the Christ Child, St. Joseph left his homeland behind and fled with Jesus and Mary to Egypt.”

“We can follow in the footsteps of St. Joseph as protector by advocating against taxpayer-funded abortion, which targets the lives of millions of poor children and their mothers here in the United States,” he continued.

“We can imitate his care and provision by helping to start Walking with Moms in Need at our parishes, ‘walking in the shoes’ of mothers experiencing a difficult pregnancy, especially low-income mothers in our communities,” he said.

In March 2020, the USCCB’s pro-life committee asked all U.S. Catholic bishops to invite the parishes in their dioceses to join a nationwide effort called “Walking With Moms in Need: A Year of Service,” which began March 25 of that year.

But “like everything else, the roll out of Walking with Moms in Need was dramatically impacted by COVID-19,” Archbishop Naumann noted in a Sept. 21 address to a Nebraska pro-life conference.

He said the pro-life committee “is renewing our efforts to encourage every diocese and parish to implement the Walking with Moms in Need process.”

Walking with Moms in Need asks every diocese and parish to make an assessment of the resources available to assist mothers experiencing a difficult pregnancy.

The program seeks to identify gaps in available services and then encourage dioceses and parishes to find ways to fill those gaps. Walking with Moms in Need also includes efforts to communicate better available resources and to encourage every Catholic to support Pregnancy Resource Centers.

The program has its own website,, with resources, outreach tools and models to assist parishes in this effort.

Also, Archbishop Naumann in his Sept. 27 statement urged Catholics to learn more about preventing taxpayer-funded abortion by visiting

“At times, we may feel uncertain of our ability to answer the Lord’s call. But he invites us to faithfully respond, despite our own fears or weaknesses: ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness’ (2 Cor 12:9),” the archbishop said.

“May we imitate St. Joseph’s faithful trust and courage as we work to uphold the dignity of every human life,” he added. “St. Joseph, defender of life, pray for us!”


People pray the rosary in this illustration photo. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

WASHINGTON (CNS) – The leaders of three U.S. Catholic organizations hope to have a million people pray and promote the daily rosary during the month of October for “the end to legal abortion in America and an outpouring of support for expectant mothers,” according to their announcement on the joint effort.

The three leaders – Michael Warsaw, CEO of EWTN; Father Francis J. Hoffman, CEO of Relevant Radio; and Tim Busch, CEO of Napa Institute – launched the joint effort on their organization’s respective websites.

In the U.S. Catholic Church, October is observed as Respect Life Month and the first Sunday of the month is Respect Life Sunday, which this year is Oct. 3.

In addition, the month of October each year is dedicated to the rosary. The feast of Our Lady of the Rosary is celebrated Oct. 7.

“With the Supreme Court of the United States taking up the Dobbs case in December that could lead to overturning Roe v. Wade, the justices will need the grace of wisdom and courage to confront the issues honestly,” said the announcement from Warsaw, Father Hoffman and Busch.

On Dec. 1, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in an appeal from Mississippi to keep its ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, and supporters of the law are urging the court to reexamine its previous abortion rulings, including 1973’s Roe v. Wade ruling legalizing abortion nationwide.

The CEOs said they hope many other Catholic organizations “will join this effort by praying and promoting the daily rosary in October for this intention, and thus mobilize millions of Americans in prayer.”

This year’s Respect Life Month, promoted by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, highlights the example of St. Joseph as part of the Year of St. Joseph declared by Pope Francis.

“As the faithful protector of both Jesus and Mary,” St. Joseph is “a profound reminder of our own call to welcome, safeguard and defend God’s precious gift of human life,” said Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, who is chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities.

For more information on the effort to have a million people pray the rosary, go to,, and

SCRANTON – When Thomas and Stephanie Dzwonczyk talk about the importance of the 2021 Diocesan Annual Appeal, they speak from a personal perspective. Their son is a seminarian for the Diocese of Scranton who recently started his second year at Saint Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore, Md.

Through their son, Tom and Stephanie have met all nine of the current seminarians for the diocese. This year, the Dzwonczyks are one of six local couples serving as regional chairs for the Appeal.  “These pious, dynamic, engaging and talented young men give us great confidence in the future for the Diocese of Scranton and the Catholic Church as a whole,” Thomas said. “They will one day lead us in worship, administer the Sacraments and preside over the weddings and funerals of those we love.”

Gifts to the 2021 Diocesan Annual Appeal have a wide-ranging, significant impact throughout not only the diocese but also all 11 counties of northeastern and north central Pennsylvania.  Assisting seminarians who are in priestly formation is just one of the many things that the Appeal supports.

“No one with a true calling to the priesthood should be turned away for lack of funds,” Thomas added.

The 2021 Diocesan Annual Appeal: Rising Together in Christ began in all parishes in the Diocese of Scranton the weekend of Sept. 18 and 19. This year’s goal is $4.5 million.  Six regional videos have been produced to feature ministries funded by the Appeal in each area of the diocese. The videos are all available on the Annual Appeal website at

“The last 18 months have been challenging for all of us. One of the many things the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us is just how interconnected we are and how much we need one another,” the Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, said. “Through the generosity of Diocesan Annual Appeal donors, we have been able to touch thousands of lives – serving the poor, educating our children and spreading the Gospel message.”

Gifts to the 2021 Diocesan Annual Appeal support Seminarian Formation and Retired Clergy, Catholic Social Services, Catholic Education, the Diocesan Office for Parish Life, Catholic Media & Communications as well as Social Justice and Faith Formation Grants for parishes. Donors to the Appeal may designate their gift to any of the ministries listed above.

To make a donation online, please visit

Gifts may also be made by calling the Diocesan Development Office at (570) 207-2250.

Donations may also be sent to: Diocesan Annual Appeal, 300 Wyoming Avenue, Scranton, PA, 18503.

WASHINGTON (CNS) – In a 218-211 vote Sept. 24, the U.S. House passed what opponents consider one of the most extreme abortion bills ever seen in the nation — the Women’s Health Protection Act.

“This bill is far outside the American mainstream and goes far beyond Roe v. Wade,” Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., co-chairman of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, said in remarks ahead of the vote. “This bill constitutes an existential threat to unborn children and to the value of life itself.”

H.R. 3755 codifies the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion nationwide. The measure establishes the legal right to abortion on demand at any stage of pregnancy in all 50 states under federal law.

“For the first time ever by congressional statute, H.R. 3755 would legally enable the death of unborn baby girls and boys by dismemberment, decapitation, forced expulsion from the womb, deadly poisons or other methods at any time until birth,” he said,

“A significant majority of Americans are deeply concerned about protecting the lives of unborn children,” the Catholic congressman said.

He pointed to a 2021 Marist Poll that found 65% of Americans want Roe v. Wade “reinterpreted to either send the issue to the states or stop legalized abortion.”

The bill nullifies: requirements to provide women seeking abortion with specific information on their unborn child and on alternatives to abortion; laws requiring a waiting period before a woman receives and abortion; laws allowing medical professionals to opt out of providing abortions; and laws stating that only licensed physicians can perform abortions.

“This deceptively named bill is the most extreme pro-abortion bill our nation has ever seen,” Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ pro-life committee, said Sept. 24. “H.R. 3755 is not about the health of women, but only about eliminating any and all protections for unborn children — including baby girls.”

If it became law, “it would lead to the deliberate destruction of millions of unborn lives, leaving countless women with physical, emotional and spiritual scars,” he said in a statement.

“This bill assumes that abortion can be the only, or best, solution to a crisis pregnancy” and “is built on a false and despairing narrative that utterly fails women,” he continued. “In treating abortion as the moral equivalent to the removal of an appendix, this proposal is radically out of step with the American public.”

“As a nation built on the recognition that every human being is endowed by its Creator with the unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, this bill is a complete injustice,” Archbishop Naumann said.

“Congress should embrace public policy that respects the rights of mothers, their children and the consciences of all Americans,” he added, “not advance a radical ‘abortion on demand until birth’ policy that is completely out of step with our country’s principles.”

The Senate version of the Women’s Health Protection Act, S. 1975, is not expected to pass, but sponsors of the House bill said their vote still sends a message about the outrage they say has been felt by women over the new Texas law banning abortion after six weeks.

The vote also comes ahead of the Dec. 1 oral arguments to be heard by the high court in in an appeal from Mississippi to keep its ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Supporters of the law are urging the court to reexamine its previous abortion rulings, including Roe.

“In the United States, the tragically pervasive acceptance of abortion has resulted in more than 62 million abortions since Roe v. Wade,” Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Arlington, Virginia, said in a statement.

“Still, today the U.S. House of Representatives voted to impose abortion on demand nationwide — and thus double down on daily murder of the defenseless — by passing the false and deceptively named ‘Women’s Health Protection Act,'” he said Sept. 24.

“Let us be clear: Abortion harms women and ends the life of a child; it is not health care, and it protects no one,” he said. “Health and protection are about healing, defending and saving lives, not destroying them.”

National pro-life leaders were quick to respond to the House vote, including Jeanne Mancini, president of March for Life, who said that “pro-abortion Democrats have revealed their true vision for abortion policy in America” by pushing legislation she also called “deceptively named.”

All House Democrats but one voted for H.R. 3755; Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, was the lone Democrat opposed to it. No House Republicans voted for the measure.

If President Joe Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., “and their allies get their way, the United States will soon be indistinguishable from North Korea and China on the human rights issue of abortion,” Mancini said.

Biden and Pelosi are both Catholics who support legal abortion and have vowed to see Roe codified in federal law.

Regarding the bill’s provision invalidating all state laws, National Right to Life’s president Carol Tobias noted that “the 10th Amendment, which gives each state the right to set its own policy, is in the U.S. Constitution. Abortion is not.”

“Only abortionists and abortion providers like Planned Parenthood benefit from this legislation,” she said in a statement. “Tragically, the losers in this debate are the mothers and their unborn babies.”

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, in a conference call with reporters ahead of the vote called the House action a “completely extreme approach at the moment the country is moving in the opposite direction.”

Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, also decried the House vote, adding: ““We are grateful that the U.S. Senate will be a firewall against this radical bill, and grateful for the role of the filibuster in saving America from such dangerous legislation.”

In a tweet Sept. 25, Bishop Donald J. Hying of Madison, Wis., said: “With the full support of our Catholic president, our Catholic speaker of the house, and scores of Catholic representatives, the most radical pro-abortion bill was passed by the House of Representatives, claiming that any restrictions on abortion are misogyny.”

In Virginia, Richmond Bishop Barry C. Knestout called on U.S. senators “to direct our government’s resources toward policies that support both mothers and their children. Reverse the extremely dangerous and deadly course you are charting. Do not allow this legislation to pass in your chamber!”

He asked Virginia Catholics to contact their senators to vote no on their version of “the most radical abortion bill of all time.”

“Together, all of us, including our elected officials, must reject abortion and welcome, protect and defend life every day through the decisions we make and the lives we live,” Bishop Knestout said.

A few days before the House vote, San Francisco’s archbishop said the Women’s Health Protection Act allowed “nothing short of child sacrifice.”

The “misnamed” measure “shows to what radical extremes the supposedly ‘pro-choice’ advocates in our country will go to protect what they hold most sacred: the right to kill innocent human beings in the womb,” Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone said in a Sept. 21 statement.

Denver Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila also weighed in with a statement a day later, echoing the San Francisco prelate in urging the bill be defeated.

“Today, the abortion industry and its supporters are pushing one of the most extreme national abortion bills this country has ever seen, and doing it under the lie that abortion is a form of health care that must be protected and promoted,” he said.

Early Sept. 24, Archbishop Cordileone tweeted: “Morning Prayer: On this day when our U.S. Congress votes on whether to strip all the unborn of all protections in all fifty states, May the Martyrs of Chalcedon, who refused even a pinch of incense to the Pagan God of War, Pray for us.”


Last Friday was a very dark day as the House of Representatives voted to pass the most radical abortion bill ever. The so-called Women’s Health Protection Act, H.R. 3755, would:

  • Allow abortion on demand nationwide throughout EVERY STAGE of pregnancy
  • BAN pro-life laws in every state and local government
  • Force Americans to support abortions with their tax dollars
  • Likely eliminate conscience protections for doctors—among other extreme actions


Of those present, all but one House Democrat voted for the bill and all House Republicans voted against. The single House Democrat to vote against the bill was Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas. You can see how your representative voted here.

In his statement responding to this vote, Archbishop Joseph Naumann, Chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities, called this bill “the most extreme pro-abortion bill our nation has ever seen.”

Please contact your Representative today either to thank him/her for voting against H.R. 3755 or to express strong, but respectful, disagreement with their vote for the bill while urging him/her to reconsider support for this radical bill.

In addition, we believe it is likely that the Senate will also vote on this bill in the very near future. So, please also contact your two Senators to strongly urge their opposition to the Senate version of this bill (S. 1975) when it comes up for a vote.


As always, we are grateful for any action you can take on this matter and for all you do to proclaim the Gospel of Life. Please also join us in praying that our nation and its leaders will fully embrace this Gospel.


Dear Friends,

This year, as we traditionally set aside the month of October to reflect upon the sublime treasure that is ours in the gift of human life, we are invited to focus upon Saint Joseph and his place within the Holy Family. As the great defender of the life of our Savior, Jesus, and of Mary, his mother, we implore his intercession as we seek to live as disciples of Jesus who treasure God’s gift of life.

In the gospel of Saint Matthew, Saint Joseph is described as a man of deep faith, who, despite his uncertainty about the events surrounding the birth of Jesus, is willing to set aside his own judgments and instead place his trust unwaveringly in the power of God. For Saint Joseph, God was in control and that was all that mattered.

During the course of the past year and a half, our world has battled the coronavirus that has taken the lives of over 4.5 million people throughout the world, including over 650-thousand Americans. For all of the different perspectives that have been brought to bear upon this pandemic, one thing is clear. Despite our creativity, our ingenuity and our resolve to care for our world and to determine our future according to our own plan, we are not in control!

That power, as Saint Joseph reminds us, belongs to God.

Sadly, however, we haven’t yet learned this valuable lesson as we continually fail to fully appreciate the treasure that we have been given in the gift of life. It is rather paradoxical that in reflecting upon all of the efforts being engaged to confront a virus that has the potential to destroy life, we’re often conflicted in our perspective upon this unique and singular gift of God. In the midst of the current health crisis, we continually set aside convenience and personal comfort and go to great lengths to protect our children, our families and our neighbors. And so we should! Yet, at the same time, many of us fail to acknowledge or care that the very foundational building blocks of a just world for all forms of human life are being undermined at an alarming rate.

Threats to human life increasingly abound in our world today, most notably the taking of innocent life through the scourge of abortion.

Yet, we’re also confronted with proposals and policies that favor assisted suicide, euthanasia, infanticide and human cloning. These too are dire threats to our belief in the dignity and value of the human person – as are the death penalty, human trafficking, unjust immigration laws and the dire consequences of war.

Sadly, while many of us as Catholics and people of good will are deeply committed to the protection of life in its earliest moments at conception, we can often be somewhat arbitrary in our assessment of other lives and their value and worth.

Unfortunately, brothers and sisters, such an approach towards the sanctity of human life has consequences. We’ve experienced the slippery slope that ensued following the legalization of abortion almost 50 years ago. When we rationalize why the taking of one life should be allowed, every life is in jeopardy.

Several months ago, in reflecting upon the growing lack of respect for our global environment, Pope Francis linked his concerns for our common home to an ever-diminishing sense of respect for the gift of human life.

Pope Francis stated, “Everything is connected. It is the same indifference, the same selfishness, the same greed, the same pride, the same claim to be the master and despot of the world that lead human beings, on the one hand, to destroy species and plunder natural resources, and on the other, to exploit misery, to abuse the work of women and children, to overturn the laws of the family cell, to no longer respect the right to human life from conception to natural end.”

Brothers and sisters, as Pope Francis has noted so well, we are all “connected” and we are all a part of one – and the same – human family. As such, may we be humble enough to set aside the divisions that separate us and to embrace the lessons that we have learned during the course of the global pandemic that continues to ravage our world.

Though well beyond our ability to determine or control, life, from the moment of conception to natural end, is a gift to treasure and respect. We do so, however, not solely through the words we speak or by our self-righteous criticisms of those whose beliefs may appear to be different from our own. We treasure and respect life best when we set aside our differences and, within the lived experiences that we’ve been given, begin to treat one another with reverence and dignity as children of one and the same God.

Saint Joseph, defender of life, pray for us!

Faithfully yours in Christ,

Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, D.D., J.C.L.
Bishop of Scranton



September 21, 2021

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

Reverend Richard J. Cirba, to Dean, Wilkes-Barre Deanery of the Diocese of Scranton, effective September 20, 2021.  Father Cirba will continue to serve as Pastor, Saint Robert Bellarmine Parish, Wilkes-Barre, and Pastor, Exaltation of the Holy Cross Parish, Hanover Township.

Reverend Joseph J. Evanko, to Episcopal Vicar, Southern Pastoral Region of the Diocese of Scranton, effective September 20, 2021.  Father Evanko will continue to serve as Pastor, Saint Jude Parish, Mountain Top, and Pastor, Saint Mary, Help of Christians Parish, Dorrance.

Priest Personnel Board:

Reverend Andrew S. Hvozdovic, Pastor, Gate of Heaven Parish, Dallas, and Our Lady of Victory Parish, Harvey’s Lake, appointed to a 3 year term, effective September 20, 2021.

Reverend Jonathan P. Kuhar, Assistant Pastor, Saint John Neumann Parish and Saint Paul of the Cross Parish, Scranton, appointed to a 3 year term, effective September 20, 2021.

Reverend John S. Terry, Pastor, Our Lady of Hope Parish, Wilkes-Barre, re-elected to a 3 year term, effective September 20, 2021.

Reverend Seth D. Wasnock, Pastor, Saint Maria Goretti Parish, Laflin, elected to a 3 year term, effective September 20, 2021.


HARRISBURG – March for Life, partnered with the Pennsylvania Family Institute, will host the first ever official Pennsylvania March for Life on Monday, September 27, 2021, in Harrisburg, PA. The event will take place on the Pennsylvania House of Representative’s first day back in session when marchers will rally at the front steps of the state capitol to call on legislators to protect unborn children. It will feature a compelling lineup of renown national and local pro-life leaders.

“We are proud to host this first-ever Pennsylvania March for Life and to be joined by so many remarkable pro-life leaders who in their own ways work daily to build a culture of life. We hope this event will energize the people of Pennsylvania to help shape local policies that respect the rights of the unborn,”  said Jeanne Mancini, President of March for Life Defense and Education Fund.

“Since the 1973 Roe v. Wade U.S. Supreme Court abortion decision, well over two million unborn babies have lost their lives to abortion in Pennsylvania alone,” said Michael Geer, president of Pennsylvania Family Institute. “Every day in our commonwealth, the lives of over 80 unborn babies are taken through abortion. And that’s why we march. It’s time for this to end.”


Speakers and participants in the rally will include:

PA House Rep. Kathy Rapp, 65th District

Speaker of the House. Rep. Bryan Cutler, District 100

Majority Leader, Senator Leader Kim Ward, District 39

Ryan Bomberger, president of the Radiance Foundation

Abby Johnson, And Then There Were None, Pro Love Ministries

Jeanne Mancini, president of March for Life

Toni McFadden, Founder of Relationship’s Matter

Michael Geer, president of Pennsylvania Family Institute

Elena Liguori – U. of Pittsburgh Alumni 2020, Current Masters of Science in Bioengineering/Medical Product Engineering at U. of Pittsburgh, December 2021

Bishop Gainer, Diocese of Harrisburg

Covenant Christian Academy Choir

Herb Lusk III, Greater Exodus Baptist Church


11:00 AM – Rally w/ speakers (listed above)

12:00 PM – March around PA State Capitol Building


The Rally will take place on the front steps of the State Capitol Building at 501 N 3rd Street, Harrisburg, PA 17120. (corner of 3rd Street and State Street)


SCRANTON – It took 923 days in all – but the Saint Patrick’s Parade Day Mass finally returned to the Cathedral of Saint Peter on Sept. 18, 2021.

“We give thanks for the great blessing of faith that has sustained us since we last gathered,” the Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, said in welcoming the crowd to the special 10 a.m. Mass which preceded the 59th annual Saint Patrick’s Parade in Scranton.

The Electric City’s last Saint Patrick’s Parade was held on March 9, 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the parade in March 2020 and led to it being pushed back six months this year.

“In so many respects, the message of the saint whom we honor today couldn’t be more timely and meaningful to our lives,” Bishop Bambera noted. “We’ve faced uncertainty and fear, loneliness and pain, and for some of us sickness and the grief that comes from loss, all because of a once-in-a-century pandemic.”

The bishop continued, “I’d suggest that we’ve also come to understand something that Saint Patrick learned centuries ago when he walked the green hills and valleys of Ireland. For all that we are capable of controlling and determining through our expertise, our ingenuity and our determination, none of us can ultimately control life and death. That is left to a power bigger than ourselves – a power we know as God.”

Members of the Saint Patrick’s Parade Association of Lackawanna County, Society of Irish Women, Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick, Ancient Order of Hibernians, Irish American Men’s Association, Irish Cultural Society and Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians all attended the Mass and listened to the bishop’s message which emphasized the faith that is celebrated.

“For all of the challenges of life and the struggles that we face in our families, neighborhoods, our Church and our world – especially in the midst of a global health crisis – this day taps the roots of faith that were planted in the hearts of the people of Ireland. It celebrates our shared belief that God is with us, carrying us through life – not a life free from pain nor a life unfamiliar with storms and upheaval – but a life that ultimately brings us to peace,” Bishop Bambera said.

The bishop encouraged those gathered to look at one of the stained glass windows on the side of the Cathedral of Saint Peter that features an image of Saint Patrick teaching the people of Ireland.

“He wasn’t telling them that if you prayed, you’d never have a cross to carry or a burden to bear. He wasn’t telling them that if you have faith, you’ll get everything you ask for and more,” Bishop Bambera explained. “He was telling them that if you have faith, you will be able to weather every storm that comes your way with a sense of peace, knowing that God walks with you.”

As his homily concluded, the bishop reminded those in attendance that God’s love sustains us during challenges times and reminds us that we have a responsibility to care for one another.

“May the great Saint Patrick guard you wherever you go, guide you in whatever you do, and may his loving protection be a blessing to you always,” the bishop ended with.