Pope Francis waves as he arrives for a meeting with thousands of young people taking part in a pilgrimage organized by the Italian bishops’ conference in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican April 18, 2022. (CNS photo/Remo Casilli, Reuters)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Young people should not allow the darkness of fear to overwhelm them and instead allow the light of Easter to illuminate their lives and give them courage, Pope Francis said.

Fears “must be brought to light. And when fears, which are in darkness, come into the light, the truth bursts out. Do not be discouraged: If you are afraid, put it to the light and it will do you good!” the pope told thousands of young men and women gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

The April 18 event, titled “Seguimi” (“Follow Me”), was organized by the Italian bishops’ conference and brought young teens from all of Italy for a prayer vigil in Rome. While initial projections expected 57,000 people at the event, the Vatican said an estimated 100,000 young people were present.

It was the first large-scale gathering of its kind in St. Peter’s Square since the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered all public events in the country in 2020.

After riding around and greeting the crowd on his popemobile, Pope Francis welcomed them and said the “square has long been waiting to be filled with your presence, your faces, and your enthusiasm.”

“Today, all of you are together, coming from Italy, in the embrace of this square and in the joy of the Easter that we have just celebrated,” he said.

However, the pope said that although Jesus’ resurrection “conquered the darkness of death,” there are still dense clouds “that darken our time.”

“In addition to the pandemic, Europe is experiencing a terrible war, while injustices and violence continue in many regions of the earth that destroy humankind and the planet,” he said. “Often it is your peers who pay the highest price: Not only is their existence compromised and made insecure, but their dreams for the future are trampled on. Many brothers and sisters are still waiting for the light of Easter.”

Reflecting on a Gospel reading from St. John, in which the risen Christ appears to his disciples while they were fishing on the Sea of Galilee, the pope said young people, like the disciples, can experience moments in life that “put us to the test” and “make us feel naked, helpless and alone.”

In those times of uncertainty, he continued, young people must not keep to themselves, because “fears must be said, fears must be expressed in order to be able to drive them away.”

“Darkness puts us in crisis; but the problem lies in how we manage this crisis,” the pope explained. “If I keep it only for myself, for my heart, and I don’t talk about it with anyone, it doesn’t work. In times of crisis, you have to talk, talk with the friend who can help, with your dad, your mom, your grandfather, your grandmother, with a person who can help. Crises must be illuminated to overcome them.”

He also encouraged the young men and women present to not be afraid of life and all that it entails but instead to be afraid “of the death of the soul, of the death of the future, of the closure of the heart.”

“Life is beautiful, life is meant to be lived and to give it to others; life is meant to be shared with others, not to close it in on itself,” he said.

Like children who call on their mother when in need, Pope Francis said Christians can call upon Mary who, in her adolescence, “accepted her extraordinary vocation to be the mother of Jesus.”

“May Our Lady — the mother who was almost your age when she received the angel’s announcement and became pregnant with him — teach you to say: ‘Here I am!'” the pope said.

Holy Cross Father Patrick Peyton takes part in a broadcast for Family Theater Productions with actors Bobby Driscoll and Rita Johnson in this undated photo. Irish-born Father Peyton, a candidate for sainthood, founded the catholic production company in 1947 and worked with numerous Hollywood celebrities for radio shows and later film and television programming. (CNS photo/courtesy Family Theater Productions)

WASHINGTON (CNS) – Family Theater Productions is marking its 75th anniversary with just one event, a dinner at a Hollywood hotel April 27, because the folks there are just too busy to do more.

Family Theater wants to start production on, among other things, an animated series based on a popular children’s book series and a holiday-themed film, said Holy Cross Father David Guffey, national director of Family Theater Productions.

The anniversary, to be celebrated at the iconic Roosevelt Hotel on Hollywood Boulevard, is a tribute to the “humble beginnings rooted in prayer” of Holy Cross Father Patrick Peyton, the Catholic production company’s founder, and his “faith and trust in God,” Father Guffey said in a statement ahead of the event.

“The 75th anniversary is also a tribute to the ways Hollywood and entertainment have changed,” he said, from radio production to TV and films and now social media, apps and video.

Back in 1947, when Father Peyton founded Family Theater Productions, it was a relative snap to get that era’s stars on a stage or behind a microphone. Those stars included Bob Newhart, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Loretta Young and Lucille Ball, among many others.

Now “it takes two to six years to get a film made,” Father Guffey told Catholic News Service during an April 14 phone interview from Hollywood. The process, he noted, starts with getting the script written, then comes casting and financing, plus many other things in between.

Back then “there were only a few distribution patterns, but there was a great need for this content,” Father Guffey said. “People were hungry to deal with Catholics.”

Now, there are seemingly limitless distribution networks — Father Guffey cited YouTube and Vimeo as just two. But also today, “sometimes it can be harmful to a mainstream career if you participate in a Catholic project,” he added.

In 1947, when radio was king and broadcast television was in its infancy, word got out — and fast — about something airing coast-to-coast. Today, those things “go viral,” but the audience is more diffuse.

Father Guffey said anyone with a smartphone is able to access content. “There are a lot of great things created every single day. The single biggest thing is finding our audience, letting your audience know about it,” he added, noting he had found something recently, but “I feel I’ve discovered something that’s been out for a year.”

In addition to new projects, Family Theater Productions is still finding outlets for two of last year’s projects: “The House That Rob Built,” about a women’s college basketball coach, and “Pray: The Patrick Peyton Story.”

Family Theater made a deal with UP TV to debut “Pray” over Easter weekend, and to offer it UP’s streaming service starting in June.

Other streaming deals are done “on a case-by-case basis,” Father Guffey told CNS.

With Family Theater Productions now having 75 years under its belt, there’s a five-year plan afoot.

“We have a direction that we’re headed,” Father Guffey said. “We really believe that great stories unlock the heart and open up people’s heart to the possibility of love and faith in new ways. We believe in the power of narrative, either in a document or a scripted film.”

Those would come in the form of feature films and possibly a limited television series “to bring beauty from the Catholic tradition to audiences throughout the world,” he said. “We’ll always be involved in Catholic content creation.”

That “throughout the world” phrase has its origins in 1958, when Family Theater made its first films. It was a 15-part series on the mysteries of the rosary, which was Father Peyton’s focus. The Irish-born priest, who is a candidate for sainthood, was known as the “rosary priest” for his dedication to spreading love of the rosary and family prayer.

“Our first effort to get it (the series) to the world was what we called a mission kit,” Father Guffey explained. “We sent the mission a mission kit — 15 reels, a film projector with a speaker and a screen you could put against the wall.” He added that for some of the Catholic faithful in places like Peru and Chile, it was “perhaps the first film they ever saw.”

“It’s become so much easier now, the whole world has access to YouTube” and a host of streaming platforms, he said. “We make an effort to make that popular. We’ve done this through the last 30 years. We dub into Spanish but we also have subtitles in French and Portuguese and sometimes other languages as well.”

In a throwback moment, the anniversary dinner will feature a live performance of a vintage Family Theater radio drama.

Father Guffey found a director who specializes in radio dramas, and someone to do sound effects live as they did in the old days. Starring in the reenactment will be Clarence Gilyard (“Walker, Texas Ranger”) and Michael Harney (“Orange Is the New Black”).

At the same time, Father Guffey is keeping an eye on the success of “Father Stu,” the new movie starring and produced by Mark Wahlberg.

“God bless Mark Wahlberg, a big risk to his career, and I hear he financed much of it. If it does well, there is an audience for faith-based content,” he said. “People tell me they want more of it. Then we’ll share it and see that they can make more of it.”

Pope Francis greets the crowd during his Easter message and blessing “urbi et orbi” (to the city and the world) delivered from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican April 17, 2022. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – The joy of Christ’s resurrection is needed now more than ever in a time when war in Ukraine and other parts of the world makes the hope for peace seem like an illusion, Pope Francis said before giving his Easter blessing.

Like the disciples who were at first doubtful of Jesus rising from the dead, “our eyes, too, are incredulous on this Easter of war,” the pope said as he prepared April 17 to give his Easter blessing “urbi et orbi” (“to the city and the world”).

“We have seen all too much blood, all too much violence. Our hearts, too, have been filled with fear and anguish, as so many of our brothers and sisters have had to lock themselves away in order to be safe from bombing,” he said.

Nevertheless, Christ’s victory over death “is not an illusion” and the world needs “the crucified and risen Lord so that we can believe in the victory of love, and hope for reconciliation.”

Earlier in the day, the Vatican said an estimated 55,000 pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square in the first outdoor Easter Mass since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020. A vast floral arrangement adorned the steps leading to the basilica, highlighting the festive atmosphere.

According to Vatican News, the display of flowers, imported from the Netherlands, featured more than 40,000 individual flowers, plants and trees, including tulips, daffodils, and birch trees that accented the joyful celebration of Christ’s resurrection.

Pope Francis did not deliver a homily during the Mass; instead, a hushed silence filled the packed square for several minutes of quiet, prayerful reflection.

As Mass progressed, tens of thousands more began lining the streets outside the square. The Vatican said police estimated 100,000 people had gathered for the post-Mass blessing.

Before the blessing, the pope, standing on the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica, addressed the crowd. However, due to knee problems that have caused him difficulty walking and standing for long periods of time, the pope sat and spoke for part of his address.

In his address, the pope said the joyous announcement of Jesus’ resurrection is sorely needed “at the end of a Lent that has seemed endless.”

“We emerged from two years of pandemic, which took a heavy toll,” the pope said. “It was time to come out of the tunnel together, hand in hand, pooling our strengths and resources.”

However, the pope said that instead of unity, the world has shown that “we still have within us the spirit of Cain, who saw Abel not as a brother, but as a rival, and thought about how to eliminate him.”

Only Christ, he added, who bears the wounds inflicted “upon him by our sins, by our hardness of heart, by our fratricidal hatred” has the right “to speak to us of peace.”

“The wounds on the body of the risen Jesus are the sign of the battle he fought and won for us, won with the weapons of love, so that we might have peace and remain in peace,” the pope said.

Continuing his address, Pope Francis prayed for peace in Ukraine and for its people who have been “sorely tried” by the “cruel and senseless war into which it was dragged,” and he urged world leaders to listen to the “people’s plea for peace.”

“May there be an end to the flexing of muscles while people are suffering,” the pope said. “Please, let us not get used to war! Let us all commit ourselves to imploring peace, from our balconies and in our streets!”

The pope also prayed for the countless Ukrainian refugees forced to flee the horrors of war, especially children who were left orphaned.

“As we look at them, we cannot help but hear their cry of pain, along with that of all those other children who suffer throughout our world: those dying of hunger or lack of medical care, those who are victims of abuse and violence, and those denied the right to be born,” he prayed.

Pope Francis also prayed that the war in Ukraine may make the world more aware of the suffering caused by war in other parts of the world, especially in the Middle East, which has been “racked by years of conflict and division.”

The pope prayed for peace in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, as well as the Holy Land.

“May Israelis, Palestinians and all who dwell in the holy city, together with the pilgrims, experience the beauty of peace, dwell in fraternity and enjoy free access to the holy places in mutual respect for the rights of each,” he said.

He also called for peace in Myanmar, Afghanistan, Libya and Yemen, a country he said “suffers from a conflict forgotten by all, with continuous victims.”

The pope prayed that Jesus would bring peace to the African continent “so that the exploitation it suffers and the hemorrhaging caused by terrorist attacks — particularly in the Sahel region — may cease, and that it may find concrete support in the fraternity of the peoples.”

He also prayed that Ethiopia may continue on the path of reconciliation and dialogue and for an end to violence in Congo. The pope also expressed solidarity for the people of South Africa who have suffered due to devastating floods in the eastern part of the country.

Turning his attention toward Latin America, Pope Francis prayed for its people “who have seen their social conditions worsen in these difficult times of pandemic, exacerbated as well by instances of crime, violence, corruption and drug trafficking.”

He also prayed the Indigenous people of Canada, whom he met earlier in the month to apologize for the church’s role in running residential schools, where many children suffered abuse.

“Let us ask the risen Lord to accompany the journey of reconciliation that the Catholic Church in Canada is making with the Indigenous peoples. May the spirit of the risen Christ heal the wounds of the past and dispose hearts to seek truth and fraternity,” he said.

Standing up from his seat before delivering his blessing, Pope Francis said that while the world suffers the consequences of war, the resurrected Christ who conquered death “exhorts us not to surrender to evil and violence.”

“May we be won over by the peace of Christ! Peace is possible; peace is a duty; peace is everyone’s primary responsibility!” the pope said.

Pope Francis baptizes a new member of the church during the Easter Vigil celebrated by Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican April 16, 2022. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – The joy of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead gives joy and strength to those who are called to bring peace, reconciliation and justice to the suffering and the downtrodden, Pope Francis said.

“Let us make Jesus, the Living One, rise again from all those tombs in which we have sealed him,” the pope said in his homily April 16 during the Easter Vigil in St. Peter’s Basilica.

“Let us bring him into our everyday lives: through gestures of peace in these days marked by the horrors of war, through acts of reconciliation amid broken relationships, acts of compassion toward those in need, acts of justice amid situations of inequality and of truth in the midst of lies. And above all, through works of love and fraternity,” he said.

Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, dean of the College of Cardinals, was the main celebrant at the Mass, and Pope Francis delivered his homily from a chair in front of the altar. While the Vatican gave no explanation why Pope Francis did not preside, he has had difficulty walking recently, and he recently told journalists he had a knee problem.

However, Pope Francis baptized and confirmed seven adults who were entering the Catholic Church. The five men and two women included an American man identified as Taylor Pescante, as well as four Italians, an Albanian and a Cuban.

At the end of his homily, Pope Francis directly addressed Ivan Federov, the elected mayor of the Russian-occupied city of Melitopol, Ukraine. Federov, who was captured and later released by the Russians in a prisoner exchange, was in Rome and met earlier in the day with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state.

Looking at Federov, the pope said the darkness of night also symbolizes “the darkness of war, of cruelty.”

“We are all praying. We are praying for you and with you, we are praying for so much suffering,” the pope said in Italian. “We can only give you our accompaniment, our prayer and tell you, ‘Courage,’ and accompany you. And to also tell you the greatest thing that we celebrate today,” he said, switching to Ukrainian: “Christ is risen.”

According to the Vatican press office, before the vigil, the pope also met briefly with Federov as well as with representatives of “the local government and the parliament of the country.”

The vigil, the first open to the public in three years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, began in the atrium of St. Peter’s Basilica, with the blessing of the fire and lighting of the Easter candle. A deacon carried the candle into the semi-darkened basilica, lit Cardinal Re’s candle and began sharing the light with the thousands of people in the congregation.

Symbolizing Christ’s resurrection dispelling the darkness of death, little by little the basilica was filled with the light of the candles held by the estimated 5,500 people present. Seated in a white chair, the pope sat silently, holding a small lit candle.

In his homily, he reflected on the Gospel scene of the women going to Jesus’ tomb and what “they saw, they heard and they proclaimed.”

The women, he said, expected to find Jesus laid in his tomb and ready to be anointed. The empty tomb, however, not only subverts expectations but also “comes with the gift of a hope that surprises and amazes us,” though “it is not easy to welcome.”

“At times — we must admit — this hope does not find a place in our hearts. Like the women in the Gospel, we are overtaken by questions and doubts, and our first reaction before the unexpected sign is one of fear,” the pope explained.

People today, he continued, often “look at life and reality with downcast eyes” and “halt before the tomb of resignation and fatalism.” Nevertheless, Pope Francis said Jesus’ resurrection allows for all men and women to look at life through “different eyes” so that “we can make the leap from nothingness to life.”

“True, death can fill us with dread; it can paralyze us,” the pope said. “But the Lord is risen! Let us lift up our gaze, remove the veil of sadness and sorrow from our eyes, and open our hearts to the hope that God brings!”

Reflecting on the angel telling the women that Jesus was not there at the tomb, the pope said the angel’s words, “He is not here,” should be repeated often, especially when “we think we have understood everything there is to know about God” and “pigeonhole him in our own ideas and categories.”

Christians also should repeat the angel’s question to the women about why they sought the living among the dead, because it serves as a reminder that “we cannot celebrate Easter if we continue to be dead; if we remain prisoners of the past.”

Easter cannot be celebrated, he added, if “we reduce faith to a talisman, making God a lovely memory from times past, instead of encountering him today as the living God who desires to change us and to change our world.”

“A Christianity that seeks the Lord among the ruins of the past and encloses him in the tomb of habit is a Christianity without Easter,” he said.

The women proclaimed the joy of the resurrection not just “to console those who mourned the death of Jesus” but to “open hearts to the extraordinary message of God’s triumph over evil and death.”

The pope said that although they expected the disciples to “think they were mad,” the women “were not concerned for their reputation, for preserving their image; they did not contain their emotions or measure their words.”

“How beautiful is a church that can run this way through the streets of our world! Without fear, without schemes and stratagems, but solely with the desire to lead everyone to the joy of the Gospel,” Pope Francis said.

“That is what we are called to do: to experience the risen Christ and to share the experience with others; to roll away the stone from the tomb where we may have enclosed the Lord, in order to spread his joy in the world,” he said.


KINGSTON – May 11, 2022 – For the first time since 2014, the acclaimed Bratislava Boys Choir from Bratislava, Slovakia will return to Northeastern Pennsylvania for concerts in Kingston and Scranton.

The first performance is scheduled for St. Ignatius Church, 339 N. Maple Ave., Kingston on Wednesday, May 11 at 7:00 p.m. A second will be held at St. Peter’s Cathedral, 315 Wyoming Ave., Scranton on Thursday, May 12 at 7:00 p.m. Both concerts are free and open to the public. Donations will be accepted.

While in Northeastern Pennsylvania, the boys – ranging in age from ten to eighteen – will experience local history and culture as they spend two nights with host families and enjoy visits to Steamtown and the Lackawanna Coal Mine Tour.

Founded by Dr. Magdaléna Rovňáková in 1982, the Bratislava Boys Choir is part of a private music school enrolling about ninety students ages seven through twenty-eight. The choir’s repertoire features a wide variety of both sacred and secular works including Gregorian chant, Renaissance polyphony, concert Masses, arrangements of folk songs, and works by contemporary composers. The widely traveled choir has collaborated with the Slovak Philharmonic, the Vienna Symphony, and the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra in addition to recording seven compact discs. The boys have been featured in the soundtracks of several films.

The Bratislava Boys Choir’s visit to Northeastern Pennsylvania is presented by the Slovak Heritage Society of Northeastern Pennsylvania in cooperation with World Artists Experiences and the Embassy of Slovakia.

For more information, contact Michael Stretanski at 570-817-3430, Raphael Micca at rdmicca@aol.com, or visit www.facebook.com/worldartistsNEPA.



The Saint Francis of Assisi Kitchen in Scranton will mark the conclusion of its 2022 Host‑for‑a‑Day campaign with a Virtual Celebration highlighting the mission of the Kitchen and those who make it possible.

The Kitchen serves a free, hot, nutritious meal to approximately 200 men, women and children each day at lunchtime and three evenings a week. This includes those who are offered weekly meals through the Mid Valley Outreach Program at parish locations and high-rise housing buildings in Carbondale and Olyphant. In addition, the Kitchen operates a Client-Choice Food Pantry and Free Clothing Store that serve hundreds of families and individuals each month.

The Host‑for‑a‑Day campaign is the primary source of financial support for these programs. For a donation of $100 or more, an individual, family, business, community organization or faith-based group can help to sponsor the day’s meal. In effect, each contributor becomes a “host” for a day.

Out of continuing concern for the health and safety of benefactors, the typical Appreciation Reception that concludes the campaign will again be marked with a Virtual Celebration consisting of a brief pre-recorded program.

According to Melissa Pavlowski, president of the Kitchen Advisory Board, and Maria McCool, a Board member who is chairing the Host‑for‑a‑Day campaign, this year the Virtual Celebration will honor Monsignor Constantine V. Siconolfi, who founded the Kitchen in 1978, and the management and employees of Toyota of Scranton for their continuing outstanding support.

The Virtual Celebration video will be presented on www.stfranciskitchen.org and www.facebook.com/stfranciskitchen. It will debut on Wednesday, April 27, at 6 p.m. and will remain online so it can be viewed any time after that.

The Host‑for‑a‑Day campaign still needs donations to meet its goal. Contributions can be made by calling the Kitchen at 570-342‑5556, or sending a check to Saint Francis of Assisi Kitchen, 500 Penn Avenue, Scranton PA 18509. Donations can also be made online at: www.stfranciskitchen.org.

Those who would like to sponsor the Virtual Reception are asked to call the Kitchen at 570-342‑5556.


“Bishop Dougherty’s passing brings to a close a rare example of priestly ministry and service so generously shared for 65 years as a priest and 27 years as a bishop. While Bishop Dougherty’s retirement was accepted a year before my appointment as Bishop of Scranton, his willingness to continue to be of service to the faithful of our Diocese never diminished throughout his almost 90 years.

“Bishop Dougherty will be remembered as a thoughtful, quiet presence in the administrative mission of the Diocese of Scranton, having tirelessly served my four predecessors as Chancellor, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop. His greatest legacy to this local Church, however, won’t be as a leader in the spotlight but as a pastor – a servant in the shadows – visiting hospitals in the middle of the night, feeding the poor, sharing the sacraments and offering hope to broken souls who looked to him for help.

“Until his final days of life, even while challenged with diminishing health, Bishop Dougherty never shrank for a moment from his priestly ministry to the People of God, regardless of the situation or circumstance. His deep respect for both the leadership of the Church and for every baptized soul was evident in his words, his demeanor and in his willingness to assume any position of service with humility and grace.

“Bishop Dougherty was one of a kind, with an unexpected dry wit that could fill your heart with laughter in an instant and a selflessness that made the greatest to the least feel at home in his presence.

“Above all else, Bishop Dougherty was a good and faithful priest who served God and the people given to his care with every fiber of his being. May God give him the rest and peace that he so richly deserves.”


SCRANTON – The Most Reverend John M. Dougherty, D.D., Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of Scranton, died April 16, 2022, at his family’s home in Scranton.

He was born April 29, 1932, in Scranton, the son of the late Edward A. and Irene C. Kern Dougherty. He was installed as the sixth auxiliary bishop of Scranton on March 7, 1995, and served until August 31, 2009, when Pope Benedict XVI accepted his resignation two years after reaching the mandatory retirement age.

As a member of Saint Paul Parish, Scranton, Bishop Dougherty attended the parochial grade school and graduated from Saint Paul High School in June 1949. In September of the same year, Bishop Dougherty entered Saint Charles College, Catonsville, Md., where he studied for two years.

In the spring of 1951, Bishop Dougherty applied to become a seminary student for the Diocese of Scranton. He began his priestly studies on September 19, 1951, at St. Mary’s Seminary, Baltimore, Md. Bishop Dougherty earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Mary’s in June 1953. Three years later, he received a Master of Arts in Philosophy from the University of Notre Dame. Bishop Dougherty returned to further studies at St. Mary’s where he earned a Licentiate in Sacred Theology in 1957.

Bishop Dougherty was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Scranton in the Cathedral of Saint Peter, Scranton, on June 15, 1957, by Bishop Jerome D. Hannan.

On June 29, 1957, Bishop Dougherty was appointed assistant pastor of Saint Ann Parish, Tobyhanna, a community he served for more than seven years. In preparation for the opening of St. Pius X Seminary, Dalton, in September 1962, he was named Professor of Ascetical Theology by Bishop Hannan on March 28, 1962.

Bishop Dougherty was given an additional responsibility in September 1964, which brought him to his first post in the Chancery. He was appointed Director of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith by Bishop Hannan.

On May 19, 1968, Pope Paul VI named Bishop Dougherty a Chaplain of His Holiness with the title of Monsignor. In the same year, he was appointed Vicar for Religious by Bishop J. Carroll McCormick. Four years later, Bishop McCormick appointed him Assistant Chancellor of the Diocese. A further responsibility was placed on Bishop Dougherty when he assumed the duties of the Diocesan Pro-Life Director in February 1976.

The following year, on September 6, 1977, Bishop Dougherty was appointed Chancellor of the Diocese of Scranton by Bishop McCormick.

He was named a Prelate of Honor on November 2, 1978, by Pope John Paul II. On June 7, 1984, the day of Bishop James C. Timlin’s installation as the Eighth Bishop of Scranton, Bishop Dougherty was appointed Vicar General, Moderator of the Curia and Diocesan Consultor.

Bishop Dougherty was named pastor of Saint Patrick Parish, Scranton, on September 4, 1985. The parish community included the churches of Saint Patrick, Holy Cross, Saint John the Baptist and Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Pope John Paul II named Bishop Dougherty the Titular Bishop of Sufetula and Auxiliary to the Bishop of Scranton on February 7, 1995. His episcopal ordination took place on March 7, 1995, in the Cathedral of Saint Peter, Scranton, with Bishop James C. Timlin serving as consecrator.

At the time of his Episcopal Appointment, Cardinal John O’Connor, seventh Bishop of the Diocese of Scranton, lauded Bishop Dougherty’s wisdom, pastoral concern, deep spirituality and profound respect for every human person, saying no one was more respected or admired by the priests, deacons, religious and people of Scranton.

On June 30, 1995, Bishop Dougherty was appointed Rector of Villa Saint Joseph, Dunmore, a position he held for nearly nine years. On March 1, 2004, Bishop Joseph F. Martino gave him significant additional collaborative responsibility in the daily administration of the Diocese by naming him Vicar for Administration, a newly created central administrative post at the time.

Bishop Dougherty continued his service to the Diocese through appointments on the Council of Priests and Board of Consultors between 2005 and 2010. Even after retirement, as Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus, Bishop Dougherty served in residence at Christ the King Parish in Archbald prior to Bishop Joseph C. Bambera appointing him to serve as Administrator, pro tem, at Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish in Jermyn in June 2019.

Since his ordination to the priesthood in 1957 and the various pastoral, teaching and administrative positions within the Diocese, Bishop Dougherty also was a member of the American Catholic Historical Association and was elected by Catholic Distance University in Hamilton, Va., to serve on its board of trustees.

Details of funeral arrangements are pending and will be communicated once finalized. A memorial page is available on a special section of the Diocese of Scranton website at dioceseofscranton.org. This page will also have the latest information on funeral arrangements.

Franciscan Father Francesco Patton, custos of the Holy Land, sprinkles holy water during a baptism ceremony by the Jordan River near the West Bank city of Jericho Jan. 9, 2022. Catholics the world over have been urged to contribute to the 2022 Good Friday Collection that continues to support the work of the Franciscans of the Holy Land. The collection is taken up in most parishes on Good Friday, which this year is April 15. (CNS photo/Raneen Sawafta, Reuters)

WASHINGTON (CNS) – In an economy hit hard by the pandemic and the lack of pilgrimages and other tourism for two years, Christians in the Holy Land “are in desperate need of support,” said an April 5 news release about the 2022 Good Friday Collection that continues to support the work of the Franciscans of the Holy Land.

The Washington-based Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America issued the release about the collection taken up at the request of the Holy Father in most parishes around the world on Good Friday, which this year is April 15.

Cardinal Wilton D. Gregory of Washington shared a video encouraging support of the collection.

“Without pilgrims for the past two years, our sisters and brothers in the Holy Land have particularly suffered,” he said in his message. “What’s at stake is not only the dwindling number of Christians in the Holy Land, but also the preservation of the very places made holy by the life, death and resurrection of Our Lord, Jesus Christ.”

He urged all Catholics to donate to the collection at their local parish church the Friday before Easter.

The collection is administered by the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land and the Congregation for Eastern Churches.

The funds collected are used to pay salaries of Custody employees — including teachers; maintain Franciscan sanctuaries; support tuition subsidies at the Custody’s schools; and provide university scholarships. The funds also support projects in the Holy Land, Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Turkey, Iran and Iraq.

SCRANTON – After six weeks of friendly competition, the Diocese of Scranton’s inaugural cooking fundraiser, Rectory, Set, Cook!, came to an end on Sunday, April 10, raising more than $170,000 for parishes in the Diocese of Scranton and anti-hunger initiatives sponsored by Catholic Social Services.

More than 2,700 donors voted for their favorite “pastor chef.” Thank you to everyone who participated!