Last week, dozens of young people learned more about their faith during Vacation Bible School at St Catherine of Siena Church in Moscow. The theme for this year’s camp was “Rocky Railway…Jesus’ Power Pulls Us Through.”

The parish invited CTV: Catholic Television to learn more about the week’s interactive program, which all of the students enjoyed.


On Sunday, July 17th, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish in Carbondale celebrated its 50th annual Feast of the Lady of Mount Carmel.

Following the feast day Mass celebrated by Bishop Joseph C. Bambera, the statue of Our Lady of Mount Carmel was carried through the streets of Carbondale’s Westside.

The parish holds this procession each year to bring Our Lady of Mount Carmel out for the entire community to see, especially for those living in nursing homes and those who are homebound.

The procession on Sunday marked the end of the parish’s weekend-long festivities leading up to the feast day procession.


On Sunday, July 10th, members of the Mary, Mother of God Parish Community in Scranton gathered on the Rectory lawn to celebrate “Glad to Be…MMOG”.

The Family Picnic was a time to enjoy some great food and fellowship, but at the same time it was a chance for parishioners to learn more about the various ministry opportunities that the parish offers.

SCRANTON — Not unlike the rest of the world, the 2022 Solemn Novena to Saint Ann is slowly but surely returning to resemble its venerable self when COVID-19 was unheard of.

The 98th annual Solemn Novena at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Saint Ann in West Scranton, honoring of the mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary, will begin on Sunday, July 17, and continue for nine days, culminating with the celebration of the Feast of Saint Ann on Tuesday, July 26.

Very Rev. Richard Burke, director of the Saint Ann National Shrine Basilica, announces the guest preacher for this year’s Novena will be Passionist Father Paul Fagan.

Since the outbreak of the global pandemic two years ago, Saint Ann’s Novena continued to be offered to devotees of the grandmother of Jesus, although in a mitigated, shortened manner.

“Last year we were able to be a little more expansive,” Father Richard said. “This year we are moving far ahead toward normalcy.”

Signs of the easing of restrictions and guidelines the coronavirus imposed include the restoring of outdoor tents and seating for the celebration of outside Masses and Novena services on the Basilica grounds. Preferred parking at the entrance of the Basilica plaza for the sick, infirm and those unable to leave their vehicles is also returning.

Also, Confessions will again be available before and after each service.

“Our priests and brothers will bring Communion and blessings to each car during the services,” Father Richard noted, indicating that, once again, individual blessing with the Saint Ann relic will be available for those who desire it.

“We will continue to take important precautions including hand-sanitizing in the Basilica and the use of disinfectant wipes for cleansing relics between each blessing,” the Passionist superior remarked. “We also encourage everyone to consider wearing a face mask for services, especially those who are more vulnerable to the virus.”

Saint Ann Novena devotions will include outdoor Masses and Novenas (weather permitting) at 8 a.m., 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. The 11:45 a.m. Mass and Novena will be celebrated indoors, except on Sundays, and the 3:30 p.m. Novena service is offered inside the main Basilica church.

Special spiritual services highlighting this year’s Novena to Saint Ann include the Divine Liturgy of the Byzantine Rite on Tuesday, July 19, at 5:30 p.m., celebrated by Bishop Kurt Burnette. On that day there will be no Mass and Novena at 7:30 p.m.

A Mass with Anointing of the Sick will be offered on Thursday, July 21, at 1:30 p.m., with the Sacrament of the Sick available to all elderly and infirm and anyone who wishes to receive the sacrament. On Saturday, July 23, the Novena will include a special blessing service for all infants and children at 10 a.m.

The following day, Sunday, July 24, all Eucharistic liturgies will honor and bless grandparents in observance of World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly.

Bishop Joseph C. Bambera will celebrate the Solemn Closing of the Novena on the Feast of Saint Ann, July 26, at 7:30 p.m. The Mass in Polish will be celebrated at 1:30 p.m., featuring Polish hymns.

Father Richard noted that Passionist Father Rick Frechette was also scheduled to preach this year’s Solemn Novena but is unable to leave his doctoral duties at Saint Damien’s Hospital for Children outside of Port au Prince, Haiti, due to the high incidence of violence in the area.

“Father Rick was instrumental in ransoming two of his kidnapped staff doctors as well as a Jesuit priest with whom he works,” Father Richard explained. “Conditions are such that he cannot leave the island at this time. He and the Haitian people need our prayers in a profound way.”

SCRANTON – With sincere thanks to the more than 20,000 supporters of the Diocesan Annual Appeal, the Diocese of Scranton joyfully announces that the $4.5 million goal for 2021 has been surpassed.

This is the first time since 2018 that the diocese has reached its fundraising goal. More than half of parishes, 57 in total, reached their goals as well.

“This overwhelming support for the Annual Appeal, its ministries and programs, is an expression of our parishioners’ belief in sharing God’s mercy and love,” the Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, said. “I am continually uplifted by the depth of their faith and generosity.”

Appeal funds help the Diocese of Scranton provide valuable services to the most vulnerable in our community, while simultaneously spreading the good news of the Church.

Now that the 2021 Diocesan Annual Appeal has closed, the Diocese also looks forward to the new fundraising year, which began on July 1. Parishioners and supporters will notice a new look for some materials, as well as an effort to collect funds earlier than in previous years.

“Our goal is to put our benefactors’ gifts to work as soon as possible while running a cost effective campaign,” Luciana C. Musto, Interim Director of Development, said. “The Diocese of Scranton simply cannot do God’s work without the generosity of our donors and we are grateful for their unwavering support through difficult times.”

Donor outreach will be a focus this coming year. All donors with an email address will receive special communications from the bishop throughout the year. The emails will include stories about how Appeal funds are being used, exciting opportunities, and special prayers.

Gifts of all sizes are welcome. A great option is a monthly recurring gift on a credit card, which can be worked into a donor’s budget at a small amount.

For example, just $10 a month becomes a $100 gift when given over a ten month period.

“Monthly giving is both a manageable and easy way to make your support of the Diocesan Annual Appeal fit into your budget,” Musto said.

The Diocesan Annual Appeal is a major source of revenue for many ministries and agencies of the Diocese of Scranton. Gifts made to the Appeal support Catholic Social Services, Catholic Education, Catholic Communications, Parish Life, Vocations and Retired Priests, and Social Justice Grants.

If you wish to make a gift to the 2022 Diocesan Annual Appeal, kindly donate online at, call the Diocesan Development Office at (570) 207-2250 or send a check with “Diocesan Annual Appeal” and the name of your parish on the memo line to: Development Office, Diocese of Scranton, 300 Wyoming Avenue, Scranton, PA 18503.


Bishop Bambera carries a monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament in Howard Elmer Park in Sayre on June 25, 2022. (Photo/Eric Deabill)

SAYRE – As dioceses around the country begin a multi-year National Eucharistic Revival, parishioners of Epiphany Parish wasted no time in putting their faith on full display.

On Saturday, June 25, 2022, more than 100 people participated in a Eucharistic Procession that began inside the Bradford County church and went down Elmer Avenue to Howard Elmer Park where three altars were set up to honor the Blessed Mother Mary, Saint Joseph and the Precious Blood of Jesus.

“When we first talked about doing this, we were all very excited that we were going to have the opportunity to present this to the community, to walk outdoors with our Lord in the monstrance and share that experience with people in the community,” parishioner Kate Gabb said.

“It is a wonderful thing, as far as letting the community see that Jesus is real. That is what we celebrate in Corpus Christi, His real presence in the Blessed Sacrament,” parishioner Patricia Reid added.

The Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton; Rev. Daniel A. Toomey, Pastor, Epiphany Parish; and Rev. Jose Joseph Kuriappilly, Assistant Pastor, Epiphany Parish, led the Eucharistic Procession.

“Eucharistic processions are such a blessing to the area, to the parish boundaries, to the community,” Father Toomey explained. “People that are not Catholic may not have an awareness of it but those who are Catholic know this is us reaching out to the community.”

On a warm, sunny afternoon, the procession did get numerous onlookers, especially since there was another large community event taking place in Sayre on the same day.

“I’m hoping we can do this every year,” Reid said.

The Catholic Community of the Epiphany in Sayre has a long tradition of celebrating the Real Presence of our Lord in the Holy Eucharist. The parish just marked 30 years of Eucharistic Adoration at its perpetual adoration chapel. The chapel opened on Holy Saturday, April 18, 1992.

“We are so blessed to have this here. We have so many people from different walks of life that come and worship,” Gabb explained. “It is such a peaceful time, for one hour, to spend in the presence of the Lord. We encourage as many people as we can, all the time, to come and join us.”

“I feel like it’s the heartbeat of this parish, just having the Eucharistic Adoration Chapel, we’ve been very blessed to have it for 30 years,” Reid explained.

During the procession, the faithful joined in singing Immaculate Mary, The Table of Plenty and Gift of Finest Wheat. As they returned to Epiphany Parish, the faithful sang Amazing Grace.

Upon returning to the church, Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament was offered.

Calling the Eucharistic Procession “beautiful,” Bishop Bambera said it served as a great witness to our world.

“We seek to rejuvenate the appreciation and the depth of the gift that we’ve been given of the Lord Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. We give thanks for that. What a powerful witness that is to our world, as simple as it may seem. Never underestimate the power of your lives coming to pray before the Blessed Sacrament and walking in a simple procession to remind our world of the heart of our belief as Catholic Christians, that we do not walk alone but Jesus walks with us, in one another and most especially in this great gift,” Bishop Bambera said.

Bishop Bambera blesses the faithful with the Eucharist.

SCRANTON – Following the 12:15 p.m. Mass June 19, several hundred people streamed out of the Cathedral of Saint Peter’s front doors and onto Wyoming Avenue behind a canopy carried over a monstrance bearing the body of Christ.

The procession made its way to the front steps of the Cathedral rectory, where there was a period of adoration and the Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, held the monstrance aloft to bless the faithful.

The procession marked the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, also known as the feast of Corpus Christi, as well as the nationwide launch of the National Eucharistic Revival, a three-year initiative of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to revitalize Catholics’ understanding of and love for Jesus in the Eucharist.

“During this treasured time, we will contemplate and proclaim the doctrine of the Real Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, a belief that has sustained countless numbers of Catholic Christians throughout two millennia, yet a belief that, sadly, many have lost over the years,” Bishop Bambera said. “Our hope for these years of revival is that we are able to reclaim and fortify this sublime gift of God through the truth of our Church’s teaching, the beauty of our Catholic worship and the goodness of lives of service that flow from the life and presence of Jesus, given to us in the Eucharist.”

Through the Eucharist, the bishop reminded the faithful that we are bound together as brothers and sisters in Christ, we remember the promise of Christ’s second coming in glory and are sent forth on mission – to be the living presence of Jesus in our world today.

Hundreds of people filled Wyoming Avenue during a Eucharistic Procession in downtown Scranton on Sunday, June 19, 2022.

“While we find great consolation and peace in adoring Christ present in the Sacrament of His Body and Blood, our time with Christ is never meant to end in adoration. Such treasured moments are always given to us to fortify us to go forth on mission,” he explained.

Saint Paul also reminds us to never take the gift of the Eucharist for granted or never see it as a routine element of our worship.

“We who are privileged to receive Christ must become Christ and take Him into our world so desperately in need of God’s presence, God’s grace and God’s mercy,” Bishop Bambera ended his homily saying.

STROUDSBURG – Members of the Polish community celebrated the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi) on June 19, 2022, at Saint Luke Parish.

After the celebration of Mass in Polish, the community honored the Blessed Sacrament with a Eucharistic Procession and Prayers of Thanksgiving. The people of the Polish community remembered their Catholic heritage in Poland and processed around the church building stopping at altar shrines to pray.

Before Mass, members of the congregation made four altars each honoring the Body of Christ. Each of these altars were beautifully decorated with many flowers, banners and pictures meant to honor Jesus Christ in this sacrament of the Eucharist.

Many ethnic groups from Poland came to the celebration with their respected attire from each region as Polish Highlanders or Cracovian. The Mass ended with all the faithful walking in procession to each of the altars, ringing bells and throwing flower petals as they solemnly moved along.

Father Sylwester Pierzak, a Polish priest from the Diocese of Paterson, N.J., presided at Mass and led the procession while carrying the monstrance that enshrined the Blessed Sacrament. He is one of a small team of Polish priests who come to serve the growing Polish population in the Poconos.

WASHINGTON (CNS) – The U.S. bishops’ pro-life chairman said it is “deeply disturbing and tragic” that President Joe Biden has chosen to use his power as the nation’s chief executive “to promote and facilitate abortion in our country” than support resources for pregnant women in need.

Biden is “seeking every possible avenue to deny unborn children their most basic human and civil right, the right to life,” said Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities.

“Rather than using the power of the executive branch to increase support and care to mothers and babies, the president’s executive order seeks only to facilitate the destruction of defenseless, voiceless human beings,” he said in a July 9 statement.

A day earlier, Biden signed an executive order to safeguard access to medication abortion and emergency contraception, protect patient privacy, launch public education efforts as well as strengthen “the security of and the legal options available to those seeking and providing abortion services.”

Before signing his executive order, Biden condemned what he called the “extreme” Supreme Court majority for overturning Roe v. Wade.

Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life, said Biden’s executive order “confirmed the White House is working to appease the abortion lobby to the detriment of women and their unborn children.”

“On no other issue, from inflation to high gas prices, have President Biden and pro-abortion Democrats put forward so much effort as they have on abortion,” she said in a July 8 statement.

Biden “seems to think that Americans’ problems can only be solved by killing (the nation’s) children by abortion,” she said.

Pro-life demonstrators in Washington celebrate outside the Supreme Court June 24, 2022, as the court overruled the landmark Roe v. Wade abortion decision. (CNS photo/Evelyn Hockstein, Reuters)

SCRANTON — It was a win for the ages…and the “pre-ages.”

Pro-life perseverance and patience paid off on June 24, 2022, when the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that virtually erased and rendered mute the Court’s landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion on demand in America.

Catholics throughout the Diocese of Scranton were quick to note the high court’s reversal on the abortion issue was the answer to a half-century of prayers, coming — “God-incidentally” — on the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and the birth date of the late Nellie Gray, foundress of the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., and the first to coin the term “pro-life.”

Maryann Lawhon, president of the Hazleton Area Chapter of Pennsylvanians for Human Life (PHL), witnessed firsthand the horrors of legalized abortion in 1977 when, as a young nurse working in the obstetrics unity of a West Virginia hospital, she stumbled upon an abandoned newborn — completely unaware the Supreme Court’s Roe decision made the atrocity legal.

After being reprimanded for bringing the revelation to the staff’s attention, and against instruction to “do nothing,” she held the infant, baptized him and declared, “I name you John. I will tell the world what I saw here today. I will be your voice.”

“Promise kept,” Lawhon proudly noted, referring to her “Voice of John” respect life educational apostolate based in Hazleton. “My immediate reaction was of absolute joy, a victory for the child in the womb!”

Lawhon said she shed “tears of joy” during the “surreal moment,” recalling decades of pro-life marches, peaceful protests outside of abortion clinics, prayer chains and carnation sales in defense of the right to life.

“Justice for the 63 million children who have died,” she continued. “A victory for humanity!”

So, mission accomplished?

“No,” Lawhon explained. “God has a plan, so this is a time to listen to the fears and address the concerns of a society which has known a world where abortion has been both justified and normalized.”

Maria Lutz Barna chimed in, “My mother (Katherine Lutz), Mary Farley Pane and Loretta McNellis are dancing in heaven,” referring also to the two original founders of the Grassroots Hazleton Chapter.

“Today, the ‘voice of John’ has been heard,” Sugarloaf resident Caroline Cummins said in reaction to the monumental Supreme Court decision.

“No more Roe. God’s will was done on June 24, 2022. Praise the Sacred Heart of Jesus!” Jean Klingerman of Drums exclaimed.

Eternal gratitude punctuated the post-ruling comments of longtime pro-life activist Ada Magni.

“This law is now in the ash heap of history,” she said, while noting abortion continues to be legal in Pennsylvania through the first six months of pregnancy for any reason, except the sex of the baby. “Now that the power has been turned over to the states we must put pressure (on legislators) to pass the Life Amendment so we the people have a voice in protecting the unborn in our state. Pray we must to make abortion illegal in Pennsylvania.”

At 93, Betty Caffrey has served as president of the Wyoming Valley PHL Chapter for the past 47 years and spearheads the Human Life Resource Center in Wilkes-Barre.

“After almost 50 years of waiting to hear Roe was no more, I thanked God for the victory but I know that the battle has just begun,” Caffrey began in her response to experiencing history. “Those who oppose us will never mention the baby. We must as Catholic Christians become ‘warriors for life.’ We will all be held accountable to God for what we did not do. No excuses.”

She continued, “We will be held responsible for every life taken. Now is the time as Catholics of this diocese to become active in defending life. We need leadership in every pulpit and pew.”

“God will bless our efforts once again, and the killing of the unborn will cease only if we work to make the truth known. When the babies’ lives no longer matter, then who is next?” Caffrey concluded.

Her PHL Chapter vice president, Chris Calore, lauded the overturning of Roe v. Wade as a great victory for America and all unborn threatened with abortion.

“The good Lord answered the prayers and the good works of the many who have worked in defense of the most vulnerable,” Calore stated. “Thanks to Nellie Gray and to the countless souls whose efforts contributed to this blessed Supreme Court decision. It is a time to celebrate; however, our work for the pro-life cause is never over.”

One of the diocese’s most visible and vigilant stalwarts in the nearly half-century battle against abortion has been Helen Gohsler, who served as president of the Scranton Chapter of Pennsylvanians for Human Life for nearly 40 years before stepping down from the high-profile post.

Reacting to the long-awaited Supreme Court decision nullifying Roe v. Wade, Gohsler added her voice to the joyful chorus of longtime colleagues and ardent pro-life patriots who have passionately dedicated much of their lives to protecting the sanctity of all human life, with special thanks for area clergy.

“I believe I speak for the Scranton Pennsylvanians for Human Life chapter when I say we are most grateful to those priests and pastors who, over the years, have responded to the cries of the unborn and have supported us in our prayers and efforts on their behalf,” she remarked.

Sarah McNellis has been active in the pro-life cause since its inception 49 years ago and founded the Saint Gabriel’s Pro-Life Movement in Hazleton in 1973.

“At the first March for Life in Washington organized by Nellie Gray, I marched with 20,000 other pro-lifers from the Wyoming Valley area,” McNellis explained.

As a registered nurse and the mother of five children, she recalled the impact of the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize abortion in the United States on Jan. 22, 1973.

“We marched on January 22, 1974,” McNellis proudly stated. “From that moment on I joined the pro-life movement to reverse this awful (court) decision. That decision was reversed on June 24, 2022, on Nellie Gray’s birthday. How wonderful and appropriate!”

Having been involved in pro-life work for so many years, Hazleton PHL Chapter vice president Carol Matz was uncertain she would ever see Roe v. Wade overturned in her lifetime.

“When the landmark ruling was announced I was elated,” Matz said, “and to know that I and many others were part of this was quite humbling.

“So while we celebrate, we also are aware that the fight continues. We need to look to state legislation and push for more protection statewide for unborn children, while at the same time looking for more ways we can assist mothers in need so they do not feel alone, unloved or unsure of how they will be able to care for a baby.”