People have their Green Pass, signifying vaccination against COVID-19 or a negative test taken within 48 hours, checked before entering the Vatican Museums at the Vatican in this Aug. 6, 2021, file photo. Beginning Oct. 1 the Vatican will require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test from most people wanting to enter Vatican territory or offices. People attending Vatican liturgies are exempt from the requirements. (CNS photo/Guglielmo Mangiapane, Reuters)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Visitors, tourists and employees who want to enter Vatican territory will be required beginning Oct. 1 to show proof of vaccination, recovery from the coronavirus or a negative COVID-19 test.

The anti-COVID ordinance, which was approved by Pope Francis and signed by Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, president of the commission in charge of Vatican City State, was released by the Vatican press office Sept. 20.

The only exemption in the order is for people entering Vatican territory for the sole purpose of attending a liturgical celebration; in that case, they will have access only “for the time strictly necessary” for the liturgy and if they follow the health measures already in force: mandatory masking, temperature checks and social distancing.

The ordinance did not specify whether the pope’s weekly general audiences on Wednesdays or his midday recitation of the Angelus on Sundays would be treated like a liturgy or like entrance to the Vatican Museums, which has been requiring proof of vaccination for admittance since early August. Even with the vaccination proof, visitors undergo a temperature check before admittance and are required to keep a mask over their nose and mouth throughout the visit.

The Vatican police, known as the gendarme, will be charged with checking the documentation.

The ordinance specified that it applies to all Vatican “citizens, residents of the state, personnel in service at any level in the governorate of Vatican City State and in the various organisms of the Roman Curia and the institutions tied to it, to all visitors and beneficiaries of services.”

Italy requires foreign visitors to have vaccination proof and a negative COVID-19 test to enter the country. The vaccination pass or a negative test are required to enter restaurants, museums, gyms, indoor pools, cinemas, theaters and to visit patients in a hospital or nursing home. Beginning Oct. 15, Italy also will require the pass to fly or take long-distance trains or buses and to enter workplaces.


Migrants take shelter along the Del Rio International Bridge in Del Rio, Texas, Sept. 19, 2021, as they await to be processed after crossing the Rio Grande. (CNS photo/Adrees Latif, Reuters)

WASHINGTON (CNS) – The chairman of the U.S. bishops’ migration committee and the head of Catholic Charities USA issued a joint statement Sept. 22 urging humane treatment of Haitians and other migrants as their numbers grow in southern Texas at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Thousands of Haitians have made their way across the Rio Grande from Mexico and illegally entered the United States at the Del Rio Sector of the border, roughly 145 miles west of San Antonio.

The Haitians and other migrants have been living under the Del Rio International Bridge awaiting processing, while coping with temperatures exceeding 100 degrees and limited access to food, water and shelter.

“We call on the U.S. government to reassess its treatment of migrants in Del Rio and elsewhere along the U.S.-Mexico border, especially Haitians, who face life-threatening conditions if returned to Haiti and possible discrimination if expelled to third countries,” said Auxiliary Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville of Washington and Dominican Sister Donna Markham.

The bishop is chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration and Sister Markham is president and CEO of Catholic Charities USA.

“As a church at the service of all God’s people, we embrace Christ’s call to welcome the newcomer and accompany them wherever they may be,” they said.

During this National Migration Week, observed Sept. 20-26, “we are especially mindful of that obligation and saddened to see such a disregard for human dignity,” the two Catholic leaders said. “It is in the face of each migrant that we see the face of Christ.”

The Biden administration announced Sept. 18 it would quickly begin deporting the Haitians back to Haiti, even though a majority of them did not arrive at the border recently from their homeland. News reports said many have been living in or traveling through Latin America for varying periods of time after fleeing widespread violence, political turmoil, natural disasters and economic stagnation in Haiti.

The Biden administration has been deporting asylum-seekers using Title 42, despite criticism for doing so from advocates for migrants and a court battle over it.

Title 42 is a provision of U.S. public health law that was activated by the Trump administration to expel migrants at the border, with the exception of minors, over COVID-19 concerns.

Bishop Dorsonville and Sister Markham criticized policies such as Title 42 and expedited removal because “all too often” they “deny the reality of forced migration, disregard the responsibilities enshrined in domestic and international law, and undermine the vulnerability of those against whom they are applied.”

“These are not hallmarks of a ‘fair, orderly and humane’ immigration system,” they said.

Other groups calling for humane treatment of Haitians and other migrants by the Biden administration include the Sisters of Mercy and Network, a Catholic social justice lobby.

“The Sisters of Mercy of the Americas join with people worldwide in expressing outrage over the shocking treatment of Haitian asylum-seekers trying to enter the United States in Del Rio, Texas,” the religious order said in a Sept. 22 statement. “Haitian women, children and men are among our most vulnerable sisters and brothers.”

“We call on the Biden administration to immediately end deportation flights to Haiti and to undertake measures to assure that all Haitian asylum-seekers have the right to make their case. This right is guaranteed under both domestic and international law,” it said.

The Sisters of Mercy noted Haiti in recent months “has experienced a political assassination, a massive earthquake and a fierce hurricane.”

“These catastrophic events further burden a nation with a long history of political upheaval and widespread, grinding poverty, conditions often exacerbated by U.S. policy over the years,” the statement said.

The executive director of Network, Mary J. Novak, accused the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents and the Biden administration of abusing Haitian asylum-seekers, calling it “unacceptable.”

Novak didn’t describe the abuse, but news reports claimed Border Patrol officers on horseback were whipping some of the Haitians as they tried to control the crowd. CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility was investigating the incident, but agents said they were using long reins to control their horses as they tried to control the crowd.

She also criticized “the continued misuse of Title 42,” saying it “relies on the false idea that we have to choose between welcoming people fleeing violence and protecting communities from the pandemic. We can do both.”

“The Biden administration must end Title 42 immediately and welcome immigrants and asylum-seekers with dignity,” she said.

In May, those Haitians who currently reside in the United States under Temporary Protected Status were told they could apply for an 18-month extension of that status so long as they meet eligibility requirements.

TPS grants a work permit and reprieve from deportation to certain people whose countries have experienced natural disasters, armed conflicts or exceptional situations so they can remain temporarily in the United States.

Pro-life advocates participate in a 40 Days for Life vigil near the entrance to a Planned Parenthood center in Smithtown, N.Y., March 19, 2020. The Texas-based 40 Days for Life organization started its fall campaign to end abortion in over 1,000 cities Sept. 22, 2021, with participants planning to pray and fast 24/7 outside abortion facilities. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)

BRYAN, Texas (CNS) – The national 40 Days for Life organization launched its fall campaign Sept. 22, with volunteers in over 1,000 cities across the country planning to pray, fast and hold 24-hour vigils outside abortion clinics.

They also participate in outreach to the community to promote awareness about abortion and outreach directly to women considering abortion.

“With the changing abortion landscape, as well as things happening legislatively in the states and nationally in the Supreme Court, there has never been a greater time for this coordinated pro-life movement in our nation,” said Shawn Carney, president and CEO of the Texas-based organization.

“Great strides are being made to end abortion, and we know these peaceful vigils make a difference,” Carney said in a statement.

Regarding this “changing” landscape, he pointed to “the national angst and protests related to abortion, specifically concerning the Texas ‘heartbeat bill,'” which bans abortions in the state after six weeks of pregnancy and allows an exception only in the case of a medical emergency.

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.

Carney said the goal of the 40 Days for Life event, which will end Oct. 31, “is threefold.”

The aim is “to empower pregnant women to choose life for their babies, to inspire abortion workers to step away from their industries, and to work toward closing abortion facilities in our country and around the world,” he said.

According to 40 Days for Life, about 25% of those leading the campaign are women who previously had abortions “and now want to empower women to choose life.”

“We have heard story after story of women choosing life due to the outpouring of love and truth seen through the 40 Days for Life campaigns,” said Carney. “So many lives have been saved through the efforts of our volunteers and the passion and purpose they have to end abortion.”

The organization has a list of participating cities and locations in those cities posted on its website at

Since going national in 2007, 40 Days for Life has carried out more than 6,000 campaigns in 64 countries and “saved 19,198 lives, contributed to the closing of 112 abortion centers and helped 221 workers quit the abortion industry,” according to a news release from the organization.

All of this has been accomplished, it said, “by holding community-led peaceful prayer vigils outside local abortion facilities twice a year worldwide.”

In addition to its regular campaigns each spring and fall, the Texas pro-life organization launched its first 40 Days for Life 365 campaign late last year after years of development. It’s being rolled out in various locations around the nation.

One of those places is the Denver Archdiocese, where Planned Parenthood operates the nation’s second largest abortion clinic, and the new campaign began this year on Aug. 14.

“We believe this will be a historical day that marks ‘the beginning of the end of abortion'” at Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains in Denver’s Stapleton area, said Maria Elisa Olivas, community coordinator for Catholic Charities of Denver.

“This will be the day that the Christian community of Denver pledges to have someone praying for the unborn not just 40 days, but every day” this facility is open, she said in a statement issued as the campaign began.


The Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, will celebrate a Pontifical Mass in Spanish on Saturday, Sept. 25 in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.

The Mass will begin at 6:30 p.m. and take place at the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Scranton. All are invited to attend.

The Mass will joyfully celebrate the cultural richness and special gifts that Hispanics bring to the life of the Church in the Diocese of Scranton.

Each year, the United States observes Hispanic Heritage Month from Sept. 15 – Oct. 15. Hispanic
Heritage Month is a national celebration to honor the history, culture and influence of past generations who came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

The observation of Hispanic Heritage Month began in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President
Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period. It was enacted into law on Aug. 17, 1988.


Pilgrimage to the National Shrine of Divine Mercy
Stockbridge, Massachusetts

Saturday, November 6​, 2021

  • Presentation by Father Chris Alar
  • Tour the grounds
  • Mass
  • Eucharistic Adoration
  • Fabulous gift shop

​Bus leaves Montage Mall Parking Lot (located near DSW store)  at 7:00am.

Returns at 7:00pm

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included.

​$80 per person



September 20, 2021

WASHINGTON— National Migration Week 2021 starts today and will conclude on September 26 in solidarity with the Holy See’s observation of the World Day for Migrants and Refugees (WDMR) on September 26.

The theme for this year’s WDMR is “Towards an Ever Wider ‘We’,” which Pope Francis drew from his encyclical Fratelli tutti. He emphasized in his annual WDMR message that such a focus calls on us to ensure that “we will think no longer in terms of ‘them’ and ‘those,’ but only ‘us’” (Fratelli tutti, no. 35) and this universal “us” must become a reality first of all within the Church, which is called to cultivate communion in diversity. In general, National Migration Week is meant to emphasize the ways in which the migration question is important for the Catholic Church in the United States.

“The migration story is one of compassion, welcome, and unity,” said Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration. “It is about opening our hearts to others, and at this critical juncture, we do not have to look far to see its practical application or find those with a need to migrate. The Holy Father calls us to embrace and express the Church’s catholicity—her universality—‘according to the will and grace of the Lord who promised to be with us always, until the end of the age.’ Let us, the Catholics of the United States, join together to answer his call and be especially mindful of it during this upcoming week.”

In previous years, National Migration Week was observed in January, but it was changed recently by the USCCB to align with the Vatican’s observation of the World Day of Migrants and Refugees. Educational materials and other resources for National Migration Week are available for download on the Justice for Immigrants website.


CARBONDALE – Catholic Social Services of the Diocese of Scranton is continuing its outreach to the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A free food distribution event will be held on Wednesday, September 29 from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. at the Catholic Social Services Carbondale Office, 34 River Street, Carbondale.

No pre-registration is necessary.

Anyone in need is welcome to either drive-up or walk-up for assistance.

Catholic Social Services and the United Methodist Church in Carbondale are sponsoring this event.

This special food distribution is in addition to the normal hours for the Catholic Social Services Carbondale food pantry, which are Monday, 9:00 a.m.-Noon; Tuesday and Wednesday, 9:00 a.m.-Noon and 1:00-4:00 p.m.; Thursday, 1:00-4:00 p.m.; and Friday, 9:00 a.m.-Noon.

During the most recent special food distribution in Carbondale, held on Aug. 26, a total of 122 children, 246 adults and 162 seniors received assistance.

SCRANTON – When Thomas and Stephanie Dzwonczyk talk about the importance of the Diocesan Annual Appeal, they speak from a personal perspective. Their son, Thomas, 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 Diocesan Annual Appeal have a wide-ranging, significant impact throughout not only the diocese but also the entire community of northeastern and north central Pennsylvania. Providing assistance to 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 will begin in all parishes in the Diocese of Scranton on Sept. 18 and 19. This year’s goal is $4.5 million.

An Appeal video will be shown at Masses and made available on parish websites and Facebook pages. Six regional Appeal videos have been produced to feature ministries funded by the Appeal in each area of the diocese. The videos are all now available on the Diocese of Scranton website.

“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.”

Because of the pandemic, the traditional In-Pew Commitment Weekend for the Appeal will take place differently. Pledge envelopes will be mailed to parishioners’ homes and donors will be asked to bring the envelopes to their churches on the weekend of Oct. 16 and 17.

This year, for the first time, the Diocese of Scranton will also be participating in the national #iGiveCatholic campaign, a special Thanksgiving-season campaign that concludes on Giving Tuesday and allows donors an easy and convenient way to donate.

Gifts to the Appeal have a significant impact to help diocesan ministries serve an increasing number of people in need and provide opportunities to offer programs and services in different ways in response to the pandemic.

There are hundreds of stories of how Appeal funds make a difference throughout the community.

In Pike County for example, Saint Patrick Church in Milford and Saint Joseph Church in Matamoras receive Social Justice Grants to support important projects. One of several causes the two churches support is Pike County Hands of Hope, a Christ-centered organization dedicated to providing compassion and hope to homeless families by meeting their basic needs of food, clothing and shelter.

With no homeless shelters in Pike County, volunteers respond to dozens of calls for help to their “Hopeline.” Since 2016, the Hopeline has received an average of 249 calls per year. During the pandemic, that number increased significantly. Behind each call is someone needing assistance.

“We really appreciate the Diocesan Annual Appeal for helping us so much,” Anne French, Pike County Hands of Hope volunteer, said.

In addition to Social Justice Grants that funnel back directly to parishes – donations to the Annual Appeal support many different Diocesan ministries.
Catholic Social Services of the Diocese of Scranton serves hundreds of thousands of individuals, families and seniors through its kitchens, food panties and shelters each year. During the pandemic, the agency met the needs of clients by holding several extra food distributions outside normal food pantry hours.

Appeal gifts also support Diocesan Catholic School teachers and staff as they make the significant changes that are needed to continue to provide a quality, in-person education to our students in the safest possible way.

Donations to the Appeal support the Diocesan Office for Parish Life in its efforts to develop new ways to connect to parishes and reach out to parishioners. In an effort to reach out to our Hispanic brothers and sisters, the Hispanic ministry office recently launched a weekly Spanish Catholic radio show on LaMega Radio, which broadcasts in Scranton and Wilkes-Barre.

Thousands of the faithful who are not able to attend Mass in person continue to watch the broadcast and livestream Masses from the Cathedral of Saint Peter. Since the beginning of the pandemic, and the launch of Mass broadcasts on the weekends, viewership of Catholic Television has increased by ten times online alone. The Catholic Light and information provided on the Diocesan website are also funded by donations to the Appeal.

In addition to assisting our seminarians, gifts to the Appeal also provide care and support for retired and ill Diocesan priest who have dedicated their lives in faithful service to parishioners throughout the diocese.

Donors to the Appeal may designate their gift to any of the ministries listed above.

For more information on the Diocesan ministries supported by gifts to the Annual Appeal, to view one of the regional videos or to make a donation online, visit Gifts may also be made by calling the Diocesan Development Office at (570) 207-2250 or by sending a donation to: Diocesan Annual Appeal, 300 Wyoming Avenue, Scranton, PA, 18503.

To make an online gift now visit:


SCRANTON – Better late than never.

The annual Saint Patrick’s Parade Day Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 18, at the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Scranton. All are welcome to attend.

The liturgy is traditionally celebrated in March in conjunction with the city of Scranton’s annual Saint Patrick’s Day Parade – but because of the COVID-19 pandemic – the event was pushed back six months.

Following the Mass, the Saint Patrick’s Parade is expected to take to the streets of the Electric City beginning at 11:45 a.m.

The Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, will be the principal celebrant and homilist for the Mass. Concelebrants will be priests from the Diocese of Scranton.

The Mass will be broadcast live on CTV: Catholic Television of the Diocese of Scranton and will be rebroadcast on Tuesday, Sept. 21, at 8 p.m., and Wednesday, Sept. 22, at 10:30 a.m. It will also be available for viewing on the Diocese of Scranton’s YouTube Channel.

This year marks the 59th Anniversary of the Saint Patrick’s Parade in Scranton.

Saturday’s Mass is being offered in memory of all those members and friends who passed away since the last Mass was celebrated, including John Klikus, Frank Brazill, Pat Sweeney, Brian Craig, Attorney Robert Munley and Patrick Dougher.

Albert O’Donnell, President, Saint Patrick’s Parade Association of Lackawanna County, will serve as lector for the Mass and Frank Jones will serve as cantor.

The Offertory gifts will be presented by Dorothea Crowley, President, Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians of Lackawanna County; W. David Fitzpatrick, M.D., President, Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick of Lackawanna County; Jeff Sears, President, Ancient Order of Hibernians of Lackawanna County; and Lori Wagner, President, Society of Irish Women.