The Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, delivers the homily during the Healing Mass for Survivors of Abuse April 7 at the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Scranton.

SCRANTON – Acknowledging that most people will never know the depth of pain that survivors of sexual abuse endure, the Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, presided at a Healing Mass for Survivors of Abuse on April 7. The liturgy was held at the Cathedral of Saint Peter.

“As Bishop of this local Church, I continue to apologize for the pain that has been inflicted upon far too many of you by leaders of our Church. I once again ask for forgiveness from the countless numbers of you who have suffered so much,” Bishop Bambera said. “And as I have shared many times before, I pledge to do all within my power to keep our Churches and schools safe for our children and for all of our people to worship, to pray, to learn and to grow in their faith.”

The Diocese of Scranton has celebrated a Healing Mass for survivors of abuse for four years.

“It is vital that we continue to pray for survivors of abuse. Why? Because there is still pain. A few years of public prayer can’t change a lifetime of suffering. So many survivors continue to be burdened by nightmares of inhuman behavior on the part of those who should have been trustworthy but were not,” the bishop continued.

The Healing Mass took place at the beginning of April, a month dedicated to child abuse prevention efforts. During the Mass, the faithful prayed for church leaders to continue working to protect the most vulnerable from harm and for those who have suffered abuse that they may have the courage to tell their story and find the necessary support.

During his homily, the bishop explained some of the lessons he has learned from his conversations with abuse survivors.

“They’ve taught me that if the Church is truly intent upon creating safe environments for its children and all of God’s people, the Church – and especially Church leaders – must never forget or allow time to numb us to the pain that was so willfully inflicted on innocent lives by those who postured themselves as God’s representatives and ministers of his love and mercy,” Bishop Bambera said.

He continued, “While the Church has become much more cognizant of the need to eradicate this horrific behavior from its ranks once and for all, this crisis is not over! Far too many of our members continue to suffer. And only our recognition and acknowledgement of their pain can truly prompt us to change and to create a Church deserving of people’s trust.”

Emphasizing that “time doesn’t always heal,” the bishop encouraged anyone who is struggling to give God room to step into their lives.

The Diocese of Scranton’s Child Protection and Safe Environment Policy requires mandatory reporting of suspected child abuse and the immediate removal of someone credibly accused of abuse. It also emphasizes transparency and pastoral case in abuse cases.

The policy also requires that all clergy, employees and volunteers who will encounter children while working or volunteering for any diocesan institution and/or program will undergo the relevant state and federal criminal background checks. The policy also includes ongoing education for children and youth, as well as for adult staff members and volunteers, designed to help prevent abuse from happening.

Information on the Diocese of Scranton’s Child Protection and Safe Environment Policy can be found online at

SCRANTON – The Diocese of Scranton continues to listen to your thoughts and opinions as we answer the call of Pope Francis to participate in the local listening phase of the 2023 Synod on Synodality. It is our hope that you will prayerfully consider each question and offer feedback about your experience as a member of the Diocese of Scranton.

The Synod survey is available on the “Synod on Synodality” page of the Diocese of Scranton website ( through April 29, 2022.

Since last October, thousands of people in all 11 counties of the Diocese of Scranton have participated in the online synod survey or individual parish listening sessions.

If you have already taken the survey, please spread the word – including to family and friends that may no longer attend Mass. A key component is listening to those voices who are easily ignored or marginalized.

Lainey Conway listens as Wilkes-Barre mayor George Brown reads a proclamation in her honor on April 7, 2022. (Photos/Eric Deabill)

WILKES-BARRE – Four students from Holy Redeemer High School received recognition April 7 for their quick thinking and bravery after coming to the aid of their bus driver who had a medical emergency last month.

Kaden Ayre, Lainey Conway, Max Filchak and Ryan Martinelli each received keys to the city of Wilkes-Barre, along with proclamations from the Pennsylvania Senate.

“We gather today to celebrate you and to publically acknowledge our pride in your actions,” Holy Redeemer principal Doreen Dougherty said in welcoming everyone to the ceremony. “Not only did you chart a course on March 21 during the bus incident but you blazed a trail, recognizing an issue existing, you acted decisively, definitively, cooperatively in the midst of a hazardous situation.”

On March 21, a total of 13 high school and elementary school students from Holy Redeemer and Saint Nicholas/Saint Mary School were on a Rinehimer bus, headed from Wilkes-Barre to Mountain Top, when the driver began experiencing a medical emergency on Blackman Street in Wilkes-Barre Township.

That is when the four Catholic school students jumped into action.

“We worked almost like it was rehearsed, everyone just got to work,” Conway, who was responsible for calling 911, explained. “Kaden and Ryan went to help the driver; they unbuckled him so they could get to the brake. We started rolling backwards so they stepped on the brake. We hit the car behind bus but we would have kept rolling if they didn’t step on the brake.”

Martinelli, 17, a junior, was sitting in the very back of the bus listening to music when the emergency started to unfold. His first instinct was to assist the driver as he dashed to the front of the bus.

“I loosened his jacket, took off his seat belt to see if he could get some air because it looked like he was having trouble breathing and then apply pressure to the brake to stop us from rolling backwards because we had hit the car behind us at that point,” he said.

Martinelli is a member of the United States Navy Sea Cadet Corps. Prior to the incident, he had received training on responding to car accidents that was held by both active and retired police officers.

“I felt calm during the event,” he added.

Scott Henry of Rinehimer Bus Lines presents a framed newspaper article to Ryan Martinelli as a gift for helping his bus driver.

While Martinelli was attending to the driver, Ayre held the brake pedal down to keep the bus from rolling backward.

“Buses don’t have park on them, it’s only a foot brake. We didn’t know that until we had the bus driver out of the seat,” Ayre said. While the incident lasted only about a minute, the teen added, “I think God was with us that day.”

While Ayre and Martinelli were attending to the driver, Filchak got the other students off the bus and out of danger.

“I didn’t really think at all, I was just on my toes,” Filchak explained.

Family members of each student, along with classmates, lawmakers and the media attended the recognition ceremony.

“It is such an honor and privilege to join you today in what I deem a celebration of community, a celebration of the Holy Redeemer School, a celebration of faith and a celebration of young men and a young woman who showed us all what it is to be a true hero,” Sen. Lisa Baker, R-Lehman Township, said.

“The courage that you showed on March 21, I want you to continue that through your high school education, through your college education if you go to college, or in the military, whatever your chosen field is, continue that courage and as you get out into the workforce, continue that courage,” Wilkes-Barre mayor George Brown added.

Kristen Donohue, Catholic Schools Superintendent in the Diocese of Scranton, also lauded the students’ actions.

Max Filchak recieves a “Key to the City” of Wilkes-Barre from Mayor George Brown during a ceremony at Holy Redeemer High School.

“I know God’s presence was working through you, as your quick thinking and calm approach to an extremely complicated situation kept your classmates safe and provided the rapid medical attention for the bus driver,” Donohue stated. “Your teamwork and confidence is truly remarkable. We are incredibly proud of each of you.”

Scott Henry of Rinehimer Bus Lines also attended the recognition ceremony. He said the bus driver is recovering thanks to the valiant efforts of the students.

“My brother and I were raised Catholic. We’re thanking Saint Christopher for putting you guys on the bus that day,” Henry said.

While each of the students say they appreciate the attention and recognition they’re getting, they don’t belief their actions were “heroic” in nature.

“We just did what we had to do,” Conway said.

“I don’t know if I deserve it. I just did what I thought was right. I reacted to the situation how I knew how to,” Martinelli added. “I’m confident that many of my peers would do a similar thing if they were in that situation.”

Kaden Ayre, one of four students who jumped into action to help his bus driver on March 21 discusses the events with media members.

WILMINGTON, Del. – The Most Rev. William E. Koenig, Bishop of Wilmington, Del., celebrated the Rite of Institution to the Ministries of Lector & Acolyte on Saturday, March 19 at Saint Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore, Maryland.

Jan Carlo Perez received Ministry of Lector.

William Asinari, Thomas Dzwonczyk, and Andrew McCarroll received Ministry of Acolyte.

Lectors proclaim the Scriptures at liturgical celebrations and serve as catechists. Acolytes serve at Eucharistic celebrations and bring the Eucharist to the sick and homebound.

Please keep them in your prayers as they continue their formation to serve our local Church as a Diocesan Priest!

Andrew McCarroll (kneeling left), a member of Saint Robert Bellarmine Parish in Wilkes-Barre, receives Ministry of Acolyte.
Jan Carlo Perez (kneeling right), a member of Saint Matthew Parish in East Stroudsburg, receives Ministry of Lector.
Thomas Dzwonczyk (kneeling left), a member of Saint John Vianney Parish in Montdale, receives Ministry of Acolyte.
William Asinari (kneeling left), a member of Saint John the Evangelist Parish in Honesdale, receives Ministry of Acolyte.





SCRANTON – From our earliest memories, we can all remember being taught those precious words, “Hail Mary, Full of Grace.” This year’s Catholic Women’s Conference will delve deeply into the meaning and beauty of those words and the special relationship all women have with Mary, the Mother of God. We pray to her for the safety of our children and our families, to protect the unborn, to guide us as we navigate an increasingly complex and harsh world. The conference will help attendees explore their own special relationship with Mary and realize the beauty and grace of being a woman in modern times.

This year’s keynote speaker, Colleen Carroll Campbell, will share her incredible journey of success as a presidential speech writer, the youngest op-ed columnist for the St. Louis Post Dispatch as well as her numerous appearances in television, radio and print to being a sleep deprived mother of twins wondering if she could do it all.

Her spiritual journey led to her acclaimed book, “The Heart of Perfection.” In her work she explores the perfectionism that was almost her downfall.

‘Tiger Moms,’ ‘Helicopter Coaches,’ and ‘Work Martyrs,’ along with today’s social media where everyone seems to have a perfect life, people are stressed and unhappy, feeling that imperfection is failure. In exploring how to be kinder and gentler with herself and her family, she discovered that she had become a spiritual perfectionist. By studying scriptures and the lives of the saints, she found the tools to live a grace-filled life that is the gift of God’s love.

As mothers and caregivers, women say a prayer to the holy mother each time their children leave the house, pick up the car keys, or leave for college.

For most, those prayers are answered with the safe return of our children, the sound of the car pulling in the driveway, the quick text from a college freshmen telling us everything is ok. Featured speaker Debra Hadley was living such a life when tragedy struck. Her young adult daughter died of a sudden epileptic fit. While trying to process her own grief and that of her family, her teenage son was killed in an automobile accident with three of his friends, throwing not just Deb into despair, but her whole community. Deb will share her heartfelt message of love and her journey from the depths of despair to rediscovering her faith and restoring her will to live and to reach out to others.

Dunmore native Megan Murphy, a Catholic speaker, teacher, and evangelist will talk about the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary, which all focus on Our Mother, Mary. As each prayer of the rosary is said, a candle will be lit. When the rosary is completed, the room will be aglow with an illuminated candlelit rosary. Guiding the participants through the day will be Olyphant native and founder of the “15 Minute Rosary” Natalie Gubala-Magdon. Mass will be celebrated by the Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton. Worship artist Molly McManus will provide inspirational music throughout the day. Participants can also enjoy a continental breakfast, lunch and shopping at the Catholic Vendor Marketplace.

Cost to attend the conference is $45 for in person ($50 after May 29). Student tickets are $20, and women religious are welcome free of charge.

Volunteers are always needed and those who sign up for four hours at the conference will receive a free ticket. For more information and to register, visit


Theresa Maxis, Torn Woman, a portrait of Mother Theresa Maxis, foundress of the Congregation of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, was unveiled at Marywood University on April 5, 2022. (Photo/Eric Deabill)

SCRANTON – Even though she has been deceased for more than 125 years, the life and memory of Mother Theresa Maxis lives on at Marywood University.

Dozens of people gathered April 5 for the official unveiling of Theresa Maxis, Torn Woman, a portrait created by Sister Helen David Brancato, IHM.

“We’ve known about this portrait for many, many years because we know the sister from the IHM Congregation in Philadelphia who actually did the portrait,” Sister Mary Persico, IHM, President of Marywood University, said.

Born of unwed parents in 1810, Mother Theresa Maxis co-founded the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM), together with Father Louis Florent Gillet, a Redemptorist priest from Belgium, to educate girls of the Michigan frontier.

“She suffered from classism, she suffered from racism, she suffered from sexism,” Sister Mary Persico added. “We can join her sufferings to the sufferings of people all over the world today.”

In 1829, she became a founding member of the Oblate Sisters of Providence, the first congregation of African American women religious in the United States. Despite poverty, Mother Theresa Maxis and her IHM Sisters established schools and sheltered orphans. Under her leadership, the IHM order and its social services expanded from Michigan and Pennsylvania. She died in 1892.

“We have such an affinity here at Marywood for Theresa Maxis and all the good that she has done in the world,” Persico added. “She really worked for the empowerment of women and Marywood was founded as a university for women. We thought this would be a really good place to have her portrait.”

Mother Theresa Maxis’ legacy lives on today in North America, South America and Mexico with close to 1,000 IHM Sisters and more than 240 associates who labor in her spirit, committed to the eradication of the oppression of women, the shaping of just social justice and the building of a culture of peace.

The portrait, which was unveiled at Marywood University, is on display to the public in the Archives Room, Second Floor of the Learning Commons, on the University’s campus.

SCRANTON – The Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, will offer Holy Week liturgies at the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Scranton beginning with Palm Sunday on April 10, and culminating with the celebration of Easter on April 17.

The faithful of the Diocese of Scranton are welcome to attend all of the Masses and services of Holy Week and the Paschal Triduum in person. All of the Masses will also be broadcast by CTV: Catholic Television of the Diocese of Scranton and livestream on the Diocese of Scranton website, YouTube channel and social media platforms.

“During this Holy Week, I pray that we will all come to appreciate more deeply than ever the fact that we are indeed blessed in more ways than we might believe or imagine. May we trust in God’s promise to sustain us and dispel our deepest fears,” Bishop Bambera said. “May we open our hearts to the risen Jesus and allow him to fill them with his love and peace.”

Palm Sunday through Easter is the holiest week of the Catholic calendar. Holy Thursday through Easter Sunday (known as the Paschal Triduum) commemorate Jesus’ sacrificial suffering, death and Resurrection. Christians believe that Jesus died in their place to atone for their sins, rose from death to show He had broken death’s power, and called His followers to share His love with others.


On this day, the Church remembers Christ’s entrance into Jerusalem. This commemoration, with the blessing of palms, is not a historical re-enactment; rather it is a ritual action that marks our own entry into Holy Week.

Bishop Bambera will celebrate a Pontifical Mass for Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion on Sunday, April 10, at 12:15 p.m. at the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Scranton.


The Chrism Mass will be celebrated at the Cathedral of Saint Peter at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, April 12. Bishop Bambera cordially invites the presbyterate, permanent deacons, and lay faithful to participate in this joyous celebration.

During the Chrism Mass, the bishop will bless three oils – the oil of catechumens, the oil of the infirm, and holy chrism – which will be used in the administration of the sacraments throughout the Diocese for the year.

Every parish in the Diocese has been invited to send representatives to the Cathedral to attend the Chrism Mass.

The Chrism Mass is typically the largest gathering of clergy in any diocese throughout the year.


Lent ends with the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper, the principal liturgy of this day. In the Sacred Triduum, the Church celebrates the greatest mysteries of our redemption, keeping by means of special celebrations the memorial of her Lord, crucified, buried and risen.

The washing of the feet (“mandatum”) is an act of humility and service, which inspires the community to do the same.

Bishop Bambera will celebrate a Pontifical Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, April 14, at 5:30 p.m. at the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Scranton.


On this day, the Church does not celebrate the Sacraments at all, except for Penance and the Anointing of the Sick.

During the Commemoration of Good Friday, the faithful are encouraged to venerate the Cross, which can be done this year with a bow or a genuflection.

Bishop Bambera will commemorate Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion on Friday, April 15, at 12:10 p.m. at the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Scranton.


By most ancient tradition, this is the night of keeping vigil for the Lord in which, following the Gospel admonition, the faithful, carrying lighted lamps, should be looking for the Lord when he returns, so that at his coming he may find them awake and have them sit at his table.

The Easter Vigil begins at a time that allows the new fire to break the darkness of night. Holy Saturday includes the Blessing of the Fire and Preparation of the Paschal Candle.

Bishop Bambera will celebrate the Vigil Mass of Easter on Saturday, April 16, at 8:00 p.m. at the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Scranton.


Easter is the celebration of Christ’s Resurrection from the dead. It marks the end of Holy Week, the last day of the Easter Triduum and is the beginning of the Easter season of the liturgical year.

Jesus’ Resurrection marks the triumph of good over evil, sin and death. It is the singular event which proves that those who trust in God and accept Christ will be raised from the dead. Since Easter represents the fulfillment of God’s promises to mankind, it is the most important day on the Christian calendar.

Bishop Bambera will celebrate a Pontifical Mass of Easter on Sunday, April 17, at 10 a.m. at the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Scranton.

CARBONDALE – Catholic Social Services of the Diocese of Scranton is continuing its outreach to families, seniors and those in need in our community this Easter Season.

A free food distribution event will be held on Thursday, April 14, 2022, from 1:30 – 3:30 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.

The normal hours for the Catholic Social Services Carbondale food pantry 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.


Pope Francis speaks during the Way of the Cross outside the ancient Colosseum in Rome in this March 25, 2016, file photo. The pope has asked several families to write the meditations for his 2022 Way of the Cross service at the Colosseum on Good Friday. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Pope Francis has asked several families to write the prayers and meditations for his Stations of the Cross service at Rome’s Colosseum on Good Friday.

The request comes during the year Pope Francis asked Catholics to dedicate to families and to a rereading of “Amoris Laetitia,” his exhortation on the family, which was published in 2016.

The authors of the texts to be used for the nighttime service April 15 are “families linked to Catholic volunteer and assistance communities and associations,” said Matteo Bruni, director of the Vatican press office.

Families also will carry the cross between the stations at the Colosseum, he said. Those chosen will reflect the focus of each prayer and meditation — for example, migrants and refugees or the elderly or those caring for a person with a disability.

In 2020 and 2021, the service was scaled down and held in St. Peter’s Square because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the pope still used the prayers and meditations of special authors. In 2020, they were written by inmates at an Italian prison and in 2021 by Scouts and other children at a Rome parish.

Pope Francis greets Andrii Yurash, Ukraine’s ambassador to the Holy See, during a meeting for the ambassador to present his credentials to the pope at the Vatican April 7, 2022. In the background is a Ukrainian icon from the 17th or 18th century that was hidden from the Soviets by making it part of a cupboard door in a church in the town of Popeliv. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Andrii Yurash, Ukraine’s ambassador to the Holy See, presented his credentials to Pope Francis April 7. He also met with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state.

Vatican Media images from the meeting showed Yurash presenting the pope with several gifts, including a traditional Ukrainian decorated round loaf of bread and a sheaf of wheat wrapped in a ribbon of the colors of the national flag: blue and yellow.

Ukraine, known as the “breadbasket of Europe,” is the fifth largest exporter of wheat; Russia is the world’s largest. Together, the two countries provide 19% of the world’s barley supply, 14% of wheat and 4% of corn, making up more than one-third of global cereal exports, according to the European Commission’s spring 2022 report.

The meeting marked the official beginning of Yurash’s tenure, even though, as an exception to protocol, he had been functioning as ambassador since early March. His appointment had been announced in mid-December.

He has been providing images and details of his many meetings, interviews and diplomatic efforts in Rome on his Twitter feed @AndriiYurash.

After his meeting April 7 with the pope, he tweeted that it was an “incredible honor & privilege” to present his credentials and that he had an “inspiring & extremely motivating conversation” with the pope and Cardinal Parolin.

He said it has shown him yet again that the Vatican is a “sincere partner” of Ukraine “doing everything possible to stop the war.”

Born Jan. 17, 1969, in central Ukraine, he has a degree in journalism and taught journalism at Ivan Franko National University of Lviv, including teaching in the department of radio broadcasting and television. He earned his doctorate in political science in 1996.

He served as vice-director, then director, of the department of religious and ethnic affairs of Ukraine’s Ministry of Culture from 2014 to 2020. He then led the department of religious affairs concerning the freedom of thought, conscience and religion, at the secretariat of the cabinet of ministers from 2020 to 2022.

He is a member of the All-Ukrainian Association of Religious Scholars and is a co-founder of the International Association for the Study of Religion in Central and Eastern Europe (ISORECEA).