“The challenge that awaits us, then, is to communicate by encountering people, where they are and as they are.”
—Pope Francis, World Communications Day, 2021
Parishes in the Diocese of Scranton will conduct a second collection on the weekend of May 28-29 for the Catholic Communication Campaign (CCC).
Fifty percent of the funds collected remain in the Diocese to support local communications projects. Funding collected during the campaign help to support The Catholic Light newspaper and CTV: Catholic Television of the Diocese of Scranton which provides Daily livestream and broadcast Masses from the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Scranton, as well as numerous other special events and programs.
The other half support the collective communication work of the bishops of the United States as well as other national projects in the United States and around the world.
In 2020 and 2021, Dioceses across the United States used social media platforms and livestreams as a way to access the Mass and engage with their parish communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. With funding from the Catholic Communication Campaign, the Communications Department of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) worked with social media companies, dioceses, and parishes to bring livestreamed Masses into homes during the pandemic.
CCC funds made available bishop-led roundtables on important issues of racism, gun violence, and care for creation online and through Catholic TV and Catholic Faith Network broadcasts. The thoroughly redesigned, mobile-friendly USCCB website—launched in late 2020—was made possible with crucial funding from the campaign.
Each day, hundreds of thousands of users visit the USCCB website to find the daily Mass readings, view the daily reflection videos, and get news and resources that strengthen their lives of discipleship.
When you support the Catholic Communication Campaign, you make vital resources like the daily readings available at no charge to hundreds of thousands of people who rely on them each day. Your contribution helps build Christian community, especially in times like today, when digital communications are critical to how we remain connected.
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Saying his heart was broken at the news of at least 19 children and two adults being shot and killed at a Texas elementary school, Pope Francis said it was time to say “Enough!” and enact stricter laws on gun sales.
At the end of his weekly general audience May 25, with thousands of people gathered in St. Peter’s Square, the pope prayed publicly for the victims of the shooting the day before at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.
“With a heart shattered over the massacre at the elementary school in Texas, I pray for the children and adults who were killed and for their families,” the pope told the crowd.
“It is time to say, ‘Enough!’ to the indiscriminate trafficking of guns,” the pope said. “Let’s all work to ensure that such tragedies never happen again.”
Shortly before the audience, Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller of San Antonio, an archdiocese that includes Uvalde, tweeted: “Holy Father Pope Francis, say some prayers for the souls of our little ones killed today and two teachers. Uvalde is in mourning. The families are having a very dark time. Your prayer will do good to them.”
Local authorities said the children and adults were killed by an 18-year-old student from a high school nearby. He also was reported dead and at least three children remained hospitalized for injuries suffered in the attack.
WASHINGTON (CNS) – When news broke of the May 24 school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, San Antonio Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller was in a meeting with about 150 archdiocesan priests.
The meeting was rescheduled and several priests left right away to be with people in the Texas town about 100 miles west of San Antonio and close to Mexico’s border.
The archbishop also went directly to Uvalde where a teenager had killed 19 students and two elementary school teachers at Robb Elementary School before he was shot and killed by police.
Archbishop García-Siller’s first stop was the hospital to meet with families of those wounded in the shooting, followed by a visit to the town’s civic center where families awaited news of their loved ones. He then celebrated Mass at Sacred Heart Church in Uvalde and spoke with family members and then reporters after Mass before heading home around midnight.
The following day, he spoke to Catholic News Service while in a car riding back to Uvalde to be at Robb Elementary School with other civic and faith leaders before going back to the civic center.
He said it was important to be with the people suffering from this tragedy to remind them they are not alone, give them the support they need and most of all just show them “love, love, love.”
He said those in the congregation during the May 24 evening Mass at Sacred Heart included some who had been directly impacted by the school shooting, including the person who called 911 about the shooter and someone who had brought wounded schoolchildren to the hospital.
The altar server was a 10-year-old girl, around the age of many of the students shot that day.
The archbishop, filling in for the pastor who was out of town, said the congregation was numb. They just couldn’t talk, he said, because they were so shocked by what had happened or still unsure of what this meant for their own families and the community at large.
He urged them to greet one another at the start of Mass as a sign of their shared humanity and to express “what is hard to articulate.”
He hoped the readings, music and Communion would provide a balm for the families there but also help them to “build strength” for what is ahead.
Two priests spoke during the Mass about their visits to the hospital that day with shooting victims and family members. One said he visited a girl whose face was still bleeding and when he asked her what was on her heart she simply said: “My friends, nothing but my friends.”
Archbishop García-Siller said he mentioned in his homily and has been telling reporters about the different levels of focus right now in the wake of the school shooting.
The first priority is those who were affected. He said they need all possible help on both a practical level and also spiritually in the prayers they have asked for. He also said the local community needs to be strong, “for the journey will be a long road ahead.”
The other key focus right now, he said, is to challenge local, state and federal leadership about gun control, noting that this shooting is “another example that we have failed. We have failed because we don’t have people as the center.” He also stressed that more people need to take responsibility for what happened, emphasizing that it was “not an isolated event.”
Catholic Charities of San Antonio began providing crisis relief at Robb Elementary School May 25 with grief counselors and legal services available as well as emergency financial assistance for family members who need to travel to Uvalde.
In the days ahead, the doors to Sacred Heart Church will be open and its Catholic school also will have counselors on hand.
The archbishop wrote to Pope Francis May 24 about the school shooting, which took place just days before the school’s summer recess, asking for his prayers. The next day he received a telegram from Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s secretary of state, expressing the pope’s condolences.
The message said the pope was “deeply saddened to learn of the tragic shooting that took place” and assured those “affected by this attack of his spiritual closeness.” He also commended the souls of those who died to God’s mercy and “implored the divine gifts of healing and consolation upon the injured and bereaved.”
The pope prayed that those “tempted to violence will choose instead the path of fraternal solidarity and love.”
Archbishop García-Siller said he had seen many moments of grace in the 24 hours since the attack and noted that many people were trying to do something good in response to the crisis. This outreach, he said, will not be difficult in the current moment.
The challenge, he said, will be how to overcome current divisions. “This will take a long, long time.”
But he added to that a last word of hope that he also has been sharing in Uvalde, emphasizing: “We know in whom we have placed our trust.”
WASHINGTON (CNS) – Several U.S. bishops spoke out against the easy accessibility to guns in the country following a May 24 rampage that left at least 19 children and two of their elementary school teachers dead in Uvalde, Texas.
“Don’t tell me that guns aren’t the problem, people are. I’m sick of hearing it,” Bishop Daniel E. Flores of Brownsville, Texas, tweeted May 25. “The darkness first takes our children who then kill our children, using the guns that are easier to obtain than aspirin. We sacralize death’s instruments and then are surprised that death uses them.”
The comments came hours after Texas authorities said an 18-year-old with two assault weapons evaded police after crashing his truck near an elementary school close to the U.S-Mexico border and entered the school building at around noon armed with what seemed to be a rifle.
“There was several law enforcement that engaged the suspect but he was able to make entry into the school where he did go into several classrooms and, unfortunately, he did fire his firearm,” Sgt. Erick Estrada, of the Texas Department of Public Safety, told CNN late May 24.
A Border Patrol unit subsequently arrived and one of its officers shot and killed the shooter in the classroom full of fourth graders.
In addition to the dead, reports say 15 children were injured as well as the two law enforcement officers who initially attempted to stop him. Authorities named Salvador Ramos as the shooter and said that prior to arriving at the school, he shot his grandmother, who remains in the hospital.
San Antonio Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller comforted families outside a local civic center in Uvalde as they waited for news. Along with priests from the Archdiocese of San Antonio, he spent much of the day tending to parishioners and others who needed comfort after the horrific day.
“When will these insane acts of violence end?” the archbishop later said in a statement. “It is too great a burden to bear. The word tragedy doesn’t begin to describe what occurred. These massacres cannot be considered ‘the new normal.'”
“The Catholic Church consistently calls for the protection of all life; and these mass shootings are a most pressing life issue on which all in society must act – elected leaders and citizens alike,” he said. “We pray that God comfort and offer compassion to the families of these little ones whose pain is unbearable.”
He confirmed to a CNN reporter that there’s an effort to connect with Ramos’ family and said he would show them gestures of “tenderness, compassion because they are suffering, too.” He said Ramos’ actions were evil but said he didn’t agree when he heard someone say “that man is evil.”
“No, they were evil actions. Everyone has dignity and the family is suffering, too,” he said. “It’s easy to make remarks that destroy people’s lives … there’s already enough destruction.”
Chieko Noguchi, director of public affairs for the U.S. Conference of Catholic bishops, said the organization joined Archbishop García-Siller in prayers for the community.
“There have been too many school shootings, too much killing of the innocent. Our Catholic faith calls us to pray for those who have died and to bind the wounds of others,” she said in a statement. “As we do so, each of us also needs to search our souls for ways that we can do more to understand this epidemic of evil and violence and implore our elected officials to help us take action.”
In a statement, the Diocese of El Paso, Texas, suggested that a course of action from the Catholic Church could come “in findings ways to more effectively identify people at risk of such behavior and to push for reasonable limits to the proliferation of firearms.”
From Rome, Pope Francis also weighed in, saying: “It’s time to say ‘Enough’ to the indiscriminate trade of weapons!” and encouraged all to be committed in the effort “so that tragedies like this cannot occur again.”
Chicago Cardinal Blase J. Cupich in a May 24 tweet said the right to life trumps the right to have weapons and that “the Second Amendment did not come down from Sinai.”
“The right to bear arms will never be more important than human life,” he said. “Our children have rights too. And our elected officials have a moral duty to protect them.”
In an address to the nation, President Joe Biden recalled his time as vice president when he could not get enough members of Congress to agree on gun control legislation in 2013, a year after 26 people, including 20 elementary school children, were fatally shot by a gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
“As a nation, we have to ask: When in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby? When in God’s name will we do what we all know in our gut needs to be done?” the president said.
Cardinal Cupich, in his tweets, implored people, not just to lament, but to act.
“We must weep and soak in the grief that comes with the knowledge that these children of God were cut down by a man who was just a few years their senior. But then we must steel ourselves to act in the face of what seems like insurmountable despair,” he tweeted. “As I reflect on this latest American massacre, I keep returning to the questions: Who are we as a nation if we do not act to protect our children? What do we love more: our instruments of death or our future?”
The USCCB has consistently called for gun control.
In a presentation titled “Responses to the Plague of Gun Violence” he delivered Nov. 11, 2019, during the U.S. bishops’ fall general assembly, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, then chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, spelled out the bishops’ support for a ban on assault weapons, universal background checks, a federal gun trafficking bill, regulations on sales of handguns, improved mental health interventions, safety measures and “an honest assessment of violent images and experiences in our society.”
Like much of the American public voicing frustrations after the mass shooting in Texas, Bishop Mark E. Brennan of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia, said the country “must now do more than offer prayers and support.”
He called on all, but particularly on lawmakers and gun owners “to work together and take action to ensure the safety of our children, our schools, our churches and our communities.”
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Pope Francis and Ukrainian families in Rome will gather May 31 before a statue of Mary, Queen of Peace, to recite the rosary for peace in Ukraine and in other places at war.
Pope Benedict XV had the statue placed in Rome’s Basilica of St. Mary Major in 1918 as a sign and pledge of people’s prayers for an end to World War I.
“At the end of the Marian month, Pope Francis wants to offer a sign of hope to the world, which is suffering from the conflict in Ukraine and deeply wounded by the violence in the many theaters of active war” around the world, said an announcement from the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization.
For the evening recitation of the rosary, the council said, Pope Francis will be joined not only by Ukrainian families, but also by members of the Scouts, young people who have recently received their first Communion or confirmation, Italian young adults belonging to a Marian prayer group, military chaplains and representatives of the three Queen of Peace parishes in Rome.
The rosary will be livestreamed from Rome and shown in: the Cathedral of the Mother of God in Zarvanytsia, Ukraine; the Syriac Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady of Deliverance in Baghdad; the Melkite Cathedral of Our Lady, Queen of Peace, in Homs, Syria; and the Cathedral of Our Lady of Arabia in Awali, Bahrain.
The world’s most famous Marian shrines, including Our Lady of Czestochowa in Poland, Our Lady Lourdes in France, Our Lady of Knock in Ireland and Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico, also are expected to join in, the council said.
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Pope Francis encouraged Catholics to work together in taking care of creation.
After he led the recitation of the “Regina Coeli” prayer with visitors in St. Peter’s Square May 22, the pope invited everyone to take part in “Laudato Si’ Week,” which runs May 22-29.
The special week is an opportunity “to listen ever more attentively to the cry of the earth, which urges us to act together in taking care of our common home,” he said. He thanked the Vatican office promoting the initiative, the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, and other organizations taking part.
Laudato Si’ Week is a yearly event marking the anniversary of Pope Francis’ encyclical, “Laudato Si’: on Care for Our Common Home.”
Global, regional and local events include celebrating the progress made in bringing Laudato Si’ to life and promoting increased efforts through the Laudato Si’ Action Platform, promoted by the dicastery at laudatosiactionplatform.org. The platform is meant to inspire, coordinate and guide Catholic institutions, communities and families to fully implement Laudato Si’.
Events can be found on LaudatoSiWeek.org. Topics to be explored include: how Catholics can fight biodiversity collapse; the role of fossil fuels in conflicts and the climate crisis; and how people can embrace the poor in daily life.
May 25, 2022
His Excellency, Bishop Joseph C. Bambera, announces the following appointments, effective as indicated:
Reverend Patrick L. Albert, from Pastor, Our Lady of the Lake Parish, Lake Winola. Father will remain Pastor, Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish, Tunkhannock, with care of St. Joachim Church, Meshoppen, effective July 26, 2022
Reverend Robert J. Antonelli, from Senior Priest, St. Boniface Parish, Williamsport and St. Lawrence Parish, South Williamsport, to Administrator pro tem, St. Boniface Parish, Williamsport and St. Lawrence Parish, South Williamsport, effective May 31, 2022.
Reverend William D. Corcoran, from Pastor, St. Boniface Parish, Williamsport and St. Lawrence Parish, South Williamsport, to retirement, effective May 31, 2022.
Rev. Gerald J. Gurka, to Pastor, All Saints Parish, Plymouth, effective July 26, 2022. Father will remain Pastor, St. John the Baptist Parish, Larksville.
Rev. Edward L. Michelini, from Pastor, Saints Peter and Paul Parish, Towanda and Administrator pro tem, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish, Wyalusing, to Pastor Emeritus, effective July 26, 2022.
Reverend Joseph J. Mosley, from Pastor, St. Peter Parish, Wellsboro and St. Thomas Parish, Elkland, to Senior Priest, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, Carbondale and St. Rose of Lima Parish, Carbondale, effective July 26, 2022.
Reverend Alex J. Roche, S.T.L., from Administrator pro tem, St. Maria Goretti Parish, Laflin, to Pastor, St. Maria Goretti Parish, Laflin, effective May 17, 2022. Father Roche will remain Director of the Office for Vocations and Chaplain, Misericordia University, Dallas.
Reverend Arbogaste Satoun, to Pastor, Our Lady of the Lake Parish, Lake Winola, effective July 26, 2022. Father will remain Pastor, Our Lady of the Abingtons Parish, Dalton and St. Patrick Parish, Nicholson.
Monsignor John J. Sempa, from Administrator pro tem, St. Barbara Parish, Exeter, to Pastor, St. Barbara Parish, Exeter, effective May 17, 2022. Monsignor will remain Pastor, Corpus Christi Parish, West Pittston.
Reverend Stephen J. Stavoy, from Pastor, St. Thomas More Parish, Lake Ariel, to retirement, effective July 26, 2022.
Rev. Rawel Toppo, from Assistant Pastor, Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish, Brodheadsville, to Assistant Pastor, Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Parish, Freeland and Good Shepherd Parish, Drums, effective May 31, 2022.
Priest Personnel Board
Reverend Joseph P. Elston, Pastor, St. John the Evangelist Parish and St. Joseph Morello Parish, Pittston, elected to a 3 year term, effective July 1, 2022.
Reverend Michael J. Kloton, Pastor, Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Parish, Freeland and Good Shepherd Parish, Drums, elected to a 3 year term, effective July 1, 2022.
On Tuesday evening, May 24, 2022, the Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, released the following statement on the School Shooting in Uvalde, Texas:
“My heart aches for all of those impacted by today’s senseless school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, especially the young, innocent victims, as well as their parents, families and the entire community. The only way to describe what manifested itself today at Robb Elementary School is unspeakable evil.
“There are far too many families in our nation who have sent their children off to school in the morning yet they never return home in the afternoon.
“I ask all people in the Diocese of Scranton to join me in prayer as we mourn the victims of this terrible tragedy. I ask that we pray also for the wisdom and courage to discover ways to end such senseless violence that has enveloped our land. May the love of Jesus comfort all those who are suffering and in pain.”
BUFFALO, N.Y. (CNS) – Bishop Michael W. Fisher of Buffalo joined mourners outside a Tops grocery store where 10 people were killed and three others were injured in what law enforcement authorities said was a racially motivated crime.
Placing flowers and a handwritten note remembering “the souls of our brothers and sisters lost to the acts of violence and racism” at a growing memorial outside the store, Bishop Fisher paid his respects to the victims May 17, the Western New York Catholic reported.
Cheryl Calire, director of pastoral ministries for the Buffalo Diocese, told the Buffalo diocesan news outlet that the bishop’s visit was a way to offer a “prayerful, peaceful way of being present” with others who had gathered at the site.
Bishop Fisher talked with police and fire department officials who were coordinating the investigation at the crime scene as investigators combed the store and surrounding area for evidence that could be linked to the suspect in the mass killing, 18-year-old Payton S. Gendron of Conklin, New York.
All of those who died were Black as was one of the three who were injured.
Police said Gendron, who is white, allegedly was wearing tactical gear and armed with an assault weapon when he entered the supermarket around 2:30 p.m. May 14 and began shooting people he encountered. He has been charged with first-degree murder and remained in custody without bail.
Gendron has entered a plea of “not guilty.” He is scheduled for another court appearance May 19.
Authorities said they discovered a chilling 180-page manifesto that was posted online in which Gendron allegedly stated he wanted to “kill as many Blacks as possible” and claimed some groups are trying to replace white people in the U.S. with people of color.
Accompanied by Calire, Bishop Fisher visited the scene after President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden left the area. The Bidens also laid a bouquet of flowers at the makeshift memorial and grieved with family members of the victims.
In a speech during his visit, the president vowed that “white supremacy will not have the last word.”
Also at the memorial site were Father Paul Seil, pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Buffalo and a chaplain for the Buffalo Fire Department, and Felician Sister M. Johnice Rzadkiewicz, executive director of the Response to Love Center on the city’s east side.
Father Seil met with two deputy fire commissioners, the Western New York Catholic reported. Police officers led Bishop Fisher and Father Seil through part of the crime scene as well.
Bishop Fisher also briefly met with other religious leaders who were at the scene.
“It was a good pastoral visit,” Calire said. “People were coming up to him and asking him to pray for them. It was so nice to see a shepherd in his element. That’s what he has been called to do. And he was on the street with the people bringing comfort just by his presence.”
Shortly after the shooting, Bishop Fisher condemned on Twitter “the scourge of senseless gun violence that has taken the lives of so many across our nation and changed the lives of countless innocent men, women and children must come to an end.”
On May 17, he later updated his remarks saying that innocent people were victimized in the killing spree. “No love was shown in this rampage, only the deepest of hate,” he said.
“This country has struggled for years with the practice of racism and white supremacy that has victimized communities of color and has weakened us all. My hear is so heavy, and I pray for the victims, their families, friends and this community traumatized by this tragedy,” he said in a statement.
“Faith,” he continued, “compels us to reject the abject evil of racism and white supremacy, and to say ‘no’ to terror, and ‘no’ to the intent to silence Black and Brown voices.”
The bishop will host an interfaith prayer service May 23 at St. Martin de Porres Church, located near the grocery store.
Religious communities and individuals participated in an online prayer service May 17 organized by #Onebody, a diverse ministry that addresses racial and social justice.
SCRANTON – Michael Boris, a native of Dallas, will be ordained a deacon for the Diocese of Scranton by the Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, on Saturday, May 28, 2022, at the Cathedral of Saint Peter. The ordination Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m.
The public is invited to attend the Ordination Mass, which is a very important event in the life of the Diocese. The Mass will be broadcast live on CTV: Catholic Television of the Diocese of Scranton and livestream on the Diocese of Scranton website and across all social media platforms.
Boris will be ordained for service as a transitional deacon, the ordination serving as the last major step before ordination to the priesthood, which typically occurs a year later after additional pastoral, liturgical and educational preparation.
Once ordained as a deacon, Boris will assist the bishop and his priests in ministries of the Word, Liturgy and Charity. This includes proclaiming the Gospel, leading intercessions, preaching, preparing the altar, celebrating baptisms, leading the faithful in prayer, distributing holy communion, witnessing marriages and conducting wake and funeral services. Deacons also identify the needs of poor and underserved, and shepherd the Church’s resources to meet those needs.
Boris, 26, is the son of Joseph and Susan Boris. He is a graduate of Holy Redeemer High School and King’s College where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Theology and Philosophy. Boris entered Saint Mary’s Seminary and University in the fall of 2018. In 2019, he served a summer assignment in the parish communities of Holy Cross Parish, Olyphant, and Blessed Sacrament Parish, Throop. Boris also served a pastoral year (2020-2021) in the parish communities of Saint Rose of Lima Parish and Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, both in Carbondale.
“It is hard to believe that it is time to make the official and full commitment but I have experienced such grace in prayer over the past few months and a lot of peace, a sense that God has been journeying with me the whole time,” Boris said when discussing his upcoming ordination with The Catholic Light.
While admitting a little nervousness and anxiousness, Boris feels spiritually ready for this next step.
“I think God made me ready over the past year,” he said.
Boris said he never had any serious consideration about the priesthood until he was a senior in high school and Father Don Williams, Vocations Director for the Diocese of Scranton, met with potential candidates recommended by teachers.
Following that conversation, Boris began attending more discernment events, followed by a retreat and ultimately made the decision to enter seminary.
“Midway through high school, I was convinced I was going to work with cars in some way, either a mechanical engineer or race car driver,” Boris explained. “But it felt like I was forcing that interest. I wasn’t asking God what he wanted me to do. I really didn’t know what I wanted to do and that is when Father Don showed up at the school. It was good timing on God’s part!”
Boris said his experience in seminary has been very formational and helped him to “listen to God.”
“The seminary provides a really good environment for praying and discerning because you’re with a bunch of brothers who are all discerning the same questions,” he said.
During his time in seminary, Boris also developed a love of playing the drums. He discovered his new passion almost accidentally when he heard someone talking about a music room on campus.
“One day, I decided to watch a YouTube video about how to play your first drum beat and it was kind of contagious once you get the hang of it,” he said. “Then you want to try something new and the next thing you know you’re playing a lot.”