A Rachel’s Vineyard Post-Abortion Healing Retreat is schedule to take place Nov. 4-6, 2022.

This weekend retreat provides a compassionate and confidential opportunity to those suffering from the impact of abortion to encounter our God of Mercy on a journey of spiritual and psychological healing.

For information contact denisemengaklcsw@gmail.com or leave a message at (570) 239-6173.

Parishes around the Diocese of Scranton are also being encouraged to consider scheduling a “Night of Hope and Healing.”

Our Diocesan Rachel’s Vineyard Post-Abortion Healing Ministry Team is available to host a “Night of Hope and Healing” event in your parish.

Speakers who have personally encountered God in their healing journey from loss through abortion, stillbirth and miscarriage share messages of hope and reconciliation. Music and Prayer conclude with an opportunity to write their children’s name in the Book of Life. For information contact denisemengaklcsw@gmail.com or call (570) 239-6173.

DUNMORE — Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, served as principal celebrant of a concelebrated Pontifical Mass of Christian Burial for Father Kenneth G. Kizis on July 1 at Saint Mary of Mount Carmel Church in Dunmore.

Father Kizis, who was pastor emeritus of the former Saint Michael the Archangel Parish in Olyphant, died June 28 at Allied Services Meade Street Skilled Nursing, Wilkes-Barre, at the age of 89.

Born in Pittston on May 19, 1933, son of the late George and Ann Machonis Kizis, Father Kizis received his early education at Saint Mary of the Assumption School, Pittston, and graduated from nearby Saint John High School.

Father Kizis attended Christ the King Seminary at Saint Bonaventure, N.Y., where he completed his preparatory studies for the priesthood. He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Scranton on May 23, 1959, in the Cathedral of Saint Peter by the late Most Rev. Jerome D. Hannan, fifth Bishop of Scranton.

Following ordination, Father Kizis served as assistant pastor at the parishes of Saints Peter and Paul, Hazleton; Saint Joseph, Scranton; Saints Peter and Paul, Towanda; and Immaculate Conception, Scranton.

He received his first pastoral assignment on Sept. 2, 1980, at All Saints Parish in Dunmore, and was subsequently appointed pastor of Saint Catherine of Siena Parish, Moscow, in 1985.

On June 20, 1991, Father Kizis assumed the pastorate of Saint Michael the Archangel Parish, Olyphant, where he remained until retirement from active ministry and his appointment as pastor emeritus of Saint Michael’s on April 23, 2003.

In addition to his parochial duties, Father Kizis was the chaplain at Saint Joseph’s Hospital, Carbondale, and also served as diocesan director of Catholic Charities in Carbondale and moderator of the Carbondale Chapter of the Nurses Guild.

Father Kizis would serve as both vice president and principal of Dunmore Central Catholic High School, which later became Bishop O’Hara High School, and as chaplain for the Marywood Novitiate in Dunmore.

As homilist for the Mass of Christian Burial for his priest friend, Father Phil Sladicka began by noting the mortal remains of Father Kizis, placed before the altar, were central to the funeral celebration.

“As we celebrate this funeral liturgy, we remember with gratitude the life of Father Ken Kizis,” Father Sladicka remarked. “We thank God for the gifts of a priest who is also a loving son, brother, relative and friend to all of us who are here today.”

He continued, “I remember with gratitude our friendship. Retreats, monthly visits, conversations, and times we celebrated the Sacrament of Reconciliation,” fondly recalling Father Kizis’ 60th anniversary of ordination three years before. “I thank God for (his) 89 years of life — a gift from God. I thank God today for (his) 63 years of priesthood, lived in fidelity to God’s people.”

The homilist later referred to the Gospel selected for the funeral Mass and Jesus’ words: “Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.” (John 12:24)

“Father Kizis had a gospel vision of humility, love and service that helped him to live day by day, walking in the footsteps of Jesus, allowing the grain of wheat to fall to the ground and die,” Father Sladicka offered. “It helped him to stay on track and to move forward with an intentional attitude in his vocation.”

“My final thought is that Father Ken Kizis, present at the altar today, preaches a homily stronger than I could preach. With great devotion we bid (him) farewell,” Father Sladicka said in conclusion. “We ask the Good Shepherd in the words of Psalm 23 to lead Father Ken into green pastures and beside still waters, that with His rod and staff He will lead Father Ken over the waters of death and into the brightness of eternal life.”

He was also preceded in death by two brothers, Joseph Kizis, and his wife, Elaine; and Leonard Kizis, and his wife, Agnes.

Interment was held at Saint Michael’s Byzantine Cemetery, Dunmore.


A closing Mass for Saint Andre Bessette Parish in Wilkes-Barre was celebrated on Sunday, June 19, 2022. (Photo/Eric Deabill)

WILKES-BARRE – Saint Andre Bessette Parish proudly proclaimed itself as a community of hospitality, healing and holiness. As the faithful of the parish gathered to celebrate a closing Mass on Sunday, June 19, 2022, all three virtues were on full display.

As they walked through the front doors of their church one final time, a special slideshow greeted all parishioners. The presentation highlighted the history of Saint Andre Bessette Parish, featuring hundreds of pictures of people happily serving their community, building up the Kingdom of God and simply having fun.

Even though a closing Mass is bittersweet, the occasion did not stop a normal occurrence for the faithful. More than 200 people joined together reciting the Rosary together before the start of the closing Mass at 11 a.m.

“As with anything in life comes change and right now we’re experiencing that as a parish family and community. We are bidding farewell to our beloved parish of Saint Andre Bessette but look forward to the future with hope that we can all build roots in our new parish communities,” parishioner John Morris said.

Father Kenneth Seegar, who served as pastor for the community for more than a decade, celebrated the closing Mass. In January 2022, Father Seegar was transferred to a new parish assignment in Hazleton and Monsignor Jack Bendik was called out of retirement to serve as administrator pro tem.

During his homily, Father Seegar thanked all those who gave of their gifts and talents to build up the parish since its founding when several churches came together in 2011 and 2012.

“Today is not a day for us to mourn or weep, but rather, it is a day for us to be grateful,” Father Seegar explained.

Father Seegar encouraged the faithful to look to Scripture for guidance and direction as they embrace the future. He explained that in the early days of the Church, men and women from Jerusalem needed to separate and spread out to build up other faith communities. He said that is what God is now asking of the people in this Wilkes-Barre community.

“We have done a great many things here in the past 11 years. We have built up a community of faith, we have built up a family, supporting one another in times of sorrow, sharing with one another in times of joy,” he said. “Now, God is asking us to go to other places, among other people and bring with us the fire that burns here within us, so that we can build up other communities, we can strengthen other people.”

In recent years, the parish of Saint Andre Bessette suffered a diminishing number of faithful whose donations have helped to sustain the parish. Demographic changes, due to an aging population, also resulted in a continued decrease in Mass attendance and sacramental participation.

The parish also has significant unpaid financial obligations and faced infrastructure challenges, which include an aging asbestos roof and a structurally unsound retaining wall surrounding the church that would be expensive to replace.

In the spirit of the Vision 2030 pastoral planning process, conversation and consultation between the Diocese and parishioners began in March 2022. At the prompting of parish leaders, the possibility of closing Saint Andre Bessette was discussed and ultimately approved.

Following the closing Mass, Saint Andre Bessette Parish was suppressed by an extinctive union with Saints Peter and Paul Parish, Plains. That means that parishioners previously belonging to Saint Andre Bessette Parish will now belong to Saints Peter and Paul Parish and the geographic territory of Saints Peter and Paul Parish will reflect the change.

In addition, Saint Stanislaus Kostka Church, 668 North Main Street, which was the main worship site for the parish will be closed (defined in canon law as ‘relegated to profane but not sordid use’). Saints Peter and Paul Parish will determine the future of the property in consultation with the Diocese.
As he closed his homily, Father Seegar said each person must ask God to continue to give him or her strength.

“Each one of you is a credit to this parish. Each one of you helped to build this community. Now, each one of you is tasked with going out and doing that again – in new places and new beginnings – so the Word of God can continue to grow and thrive,” he said.

Young men who participated in the 2022 Quo Vadis Days pose with priests and seminarians from the Diocese of Scranton.

DUNMORE – From what college they want to attend or what job they are looking for, high school students face many questions about their future.

Each summer, the Diocesan Office of Vocations helps young men in high school explore vocational opportunities at Quo Vadis Days, a three-day camp that gives each person the opportunity to ask where God is calling them. In Latin, “Quo Vadis” means, “Where are you going?”

This year’s camp was held June 19-21 at Marywood University.

“I don’t want to leave. I’m enjoying it a lot,” Matthew Sanchez, 14, said on the final day of Quo Vadis Days this summer.

The Stroudsburg teenager, who is a parishioner of Saint Matthew Parish, said the camp helped him grow in confidence.

“Today I got the courage enough to read at the Mass so that helped me a lot. People said I did well,” he explained.

Throughout the three days, speakers visit to talk about the priesthood, religious life and marriage. Campers also participate in Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer, Mass, Adoration and more. The students also have plenty of free time to play pool, foosball, capture the flag, football and soccer.

“These are kids who want to learn about Jesus and want to figure out where God is calling them. For most people, that is not to the priesthood, but this is also a place where they can discern and talk about what it means to date as a Christian, what marriage looks like, how they should live their faith right now in high school,” Father Alex Roche, Diocesan Director of Vocations and Seminarians said.

Liam Barry, 16, who is going to be a sophomore, is interested in the priesthood.

“I do volunteering at my church and I like to serve people and I like to talk about my faith and spread it,” Barry explained.

The Sayre-native said he enjoyed getting to talk with many of the priests and seminarians from around the Diocese of Scranton and hear about all of the steps of becoming a priest.

“It’s a lot more complicated than I thought. I thought it was just like going to college and then you get ordained. That’s not how it goes at all,” he added.

After attending Quo Vadis Days for several years as a high school student, Dominic Tavani, 20, is now serving on the young adult team that helped plan all the activities.

He said the three-day retreat helps young people to see priests as real people.

“Priests are human beings too. They love to play games. They were playing Ultimate Frisbee with us. They love to be around us and want to help us,” he explained.

Seminarian Harrison Rapp, who participated in all of the activities along with the high school students, said Quo Vadis Days gives him a lot of hope for the future of the church.

“I think this is a great opportunity for the Lord to place seeds in their heart, even if they don’t realize it, I think they’ll leave here and recognize that was a good experience for me and hopefully it will be something they cherish as they go forward in their faith,” Rapp said.

All of the participants interviewed by The Catholic Light say they are walking away with new friendships from this year’s event. That is exactly what Father Alex Roche wanted to hear.

“I want those sorts of relationships to build up around the diocese because that is what is going to help the church to come alive for the next generation,” he said.

Deb Hadley addresses the Women’s Conference.

DUNMORE – After losing not one, but two children in less than a year, unbearable pain and suffering could have consumed Deb Hadley.

Instead, she turned that deep suffering into an opportunity to find God’s love and help others.

“In every situation, you can choose to turn toward God or you can choose to turn away. We have a choice. I had to turn toward him if I was going to live,” Hadley said as she addressed a crowd of more than 300 people at the 2022 Catholic Women’s Conference on Saturday, June 11, 2022.

Women from around the Diocese of Scranton and beyond filled the gymnasium at Marywood University to listen to inspirational speakers and deepen their faith.

“It is really in the pains of hell, when you’ve been knocked down so low, that you have to surrender everything you have to God. There is something really beautiful about being that raw and vulnerable,” Hadley stated.

During her hour-long speech, Hadley explained the circumstances of losing her daughter, Kaylie, in 2013 to SUDEP (Sudden Unexpected Death from Epilepsy) and her son, Tyler, a little more than nine months later.

She discussed her “survival guide,” which included attending daily Mass, working on her relationship with the Lord, focusing on her blessings and making good things happen.

More than 300 women participate in the Opening Mass.

“Faith doesn’t exempt us from difficulties,” Hadley told the women attending the conference.

Pati Pawlik, a parishioner of Saint Eulalia Parish, Roaring Brook Township, was deeply moved by Hadley’s talk.

“I think many of us have suffered loss in our lives,” Pawlik said. “Speakers who speak on loss and grieving and the perils of going through grief show us that there’s hope in God and hope in Jesus and that there’s other people who have been down that road and we don’t have to travel those roads alone.”

Author, former presidential speechwriter and mother, Colleen Carroll Campbell, was keynote speaker for the conference. Her talk centered on her personal struggle with spiritual perfectionism. By studying scripture and the lives of the saints, she has found the tools to live a grace-filled life that is the gift of God’s love.

“Spiritual perfectionism is rooted in the unspoken belief that we can earn God’s love,” she told the crowd.

Instead, Campbell told her audience that God is longing to embrace each one of us and we have to stop running from his mercy.

During a break in between speakers, conference attendees got a chance to shop at the Catholic Marketplace and make new friends. (Photos/Mike Melisky)

“Jesus isn’t just willing to overlook our imperfections, he’s burning to submerge them in the ocean of his love,” she stated.

Conference attendee Teresa James walked away from the 2022 Women’s Conference with that message in her mind.

“I think Colleen Carroll Campbell’s message about spiritual perfectionism struck a chord with me, trusting in God’s mercy and also looking at our lives and all the little things we do and offering small sacrifices up to God and seeing that he loves us so much and he has so much love in his heart for us,” James explained.

The theme of this year’s Women’s Conference was “Full of Grace” in honor of Mary, our Blessed Mother. As he celebrated the opening Mass of the conference, the Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, focused his homily on Mary.

“Mary has known all of life, as you and I experience it,” the bishop said. “We call her blessed – not because she reigns today as our Queen of Heaven – but because she walked our world and embraced it fully as a woman of faith and a disciple of her son, Jesus. Never forget that Mary’s ‘yes’ to participate in God’s plan of salvation didn’t guarantee her a perfect world, free from suffering and pain.”

In addition to Mass, women attending the conference also participated in Eucharistic Adoration, recited the Rosary, had the opportunity for the Sacrament of Reconciliation and could shop at the Catholic vendor marketplace.

Mary Labar described the conference as “incredible, amazing and uplifting.”

Bishop Joseph C. Bambera celebrates Mass which opened the 2022 Conference at Marywood University.

“This is what we need, the community of faith, to come together and praise Jesus and the Blessed Mother,” she explained.

Conference organizers say the Holy Spirit filled the Marywood gymnasium.

“It is very inspiring that all these women came out today. We hope that they tell a friend next year and we double the amount of people that are here,”

Deborah Kennedy, chair of the 2022 Catholic Women’s Conference, said.

Women are already being encouraged to save the date of next year’s conference, June 10, 2023, in which the theme will be, “With the Holy Spirit.”

Chandra Sitaula, President of the Bhutanese Cultural Foundation, stands next to the table he set up during the 2022 World Refugee Day event which was held June 18, 2022, at YMS of R Grove in Scranton. (Photo/Eric Deabill)

SCRANTON – Hundreds of people came together last month to celebrate their unity through diversity.

Catholic Social Services of the Diocese of Scranton and the Church of Saint Gregory in Clarks Green were two of the primary sponsors of World Refugee Day 2022. The event was held on Saturday, June 18, 2022, at YMS of R Grove in Scranton.

Ushu Mukelo, who has lived in Scranton for the last seven years, shared his story of fleeing the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“We had a war in our village and we had to move to Uganda. We ended up in a refugee camp where we lived for over 12 years,” Mukelo said.
It took Mukelo more than four years to be able to come to the United States.

“It was a lot of interviews and making sure there was consistency. We had to go through medical check-ups and more. We had a one week orientation,” he explained.

When Mukelo moved to Scranton, he had no family or friends to assist him, but found the community to be very welcoming.

“Besides non-profits that work with refugee families closely, we also had a lot of individuals volunteering to help our families in a lot of ways – whether it was taking children to schools to register them or it was helping us to apply for public benefits – we have not had any bad treatment,” he explained.

World Refugee Day honors the strength, resilience and courage of millions of refugees throughout the world. The event in Scranton helped individuals share the rich cultural heritage of many refugee communities that have settled in northeastern Pennsylvania.

“I think it reiterates our sense of togetherness. We are people that want to be together,” Mukelo said. “For us, it reminds us of the life we lived before the war broke out in the country and it’s the life where you know who is close to you.”

Those who attended World Refugee Day enjoyed food, cultural music, dancing as well as activities and games. The Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, was one of many people who attended the event, saying that refugees are simply seeking a better life for their families and children.

“We want you to feel at home here and we will do whatever we can as a Catholic community to help that happen,” Bishop Bambera said. “We are blessed by your presence. You make our community stronger, better and richer.”

Chandra Sitaula, President of the Bhutanese Cultural Foundation, also spoke to those gathered on behalf of the many people he represents.
“We are a growing community. We have thousands of people living in Scranton, in the South Side, in West Side,” Sitaula said.

Sitaula, who fled Bhutan in 1990, first settled in the Bronx and Queens before moving to Scranton.

“This country looks a lot like our country – up and down with mountains,” Sitaula said.

Since settling in Scranton, Sitaula has launched a non-profit organization, the Bhutanese Cultural Foundation Scranton Association, which is currently located on Pittston Avenue. It helps refugees find employment, learn English and get other assistance that they need.

“We’re not only helping all the Bhutanese, but we’re helping other people also,” he added.

(CNS photo/Vatican Media)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – The more Catholics and Pentecostals understand each other and bear witness to Jesus’ call for his disciples to be one, the more effective they can be in sharing the Gospel, Pope Francis said.

Marking the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Commission for Catholic-Pentecostal Dialogue July 12, the pope said that through dialogue and reflection commission members have built “bonds of friendship, solidarity and mutual understanding between Catholics and Pentecostals.”

“It is my hope that this important anniversary will strengthen these bonds and renew your zeal to proclaim, as missionary disciples, the joy of the Gospel in the ecclesial community and in society as a whole,” the pope said in his message.

“Bearing witness to the Lord’s prayer that all may be one,” he said, “you will be able to help our brothers and sisters experience in their hearts and lives the transforming power of God’s love, mercy and grace.”

Members of the dialogue commission were meeting in Rome July 8-14 to continue discussions on “lex orandi, lex credendi,” usually translated and explained as, “what the church prays is what the church believes.”

The co-chairs of the dialogue commission are the Rev. Cecil M. Robeck of Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, and Bishop Joseph C. Bambera of Scranton, Pennsylvania. The dialogue is staffed by the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity and by the Christian Unity Commission of the Pentecostal and Charismatic Churches of North America.


July 6, 2022

His Excellency, Bishop Joseph C. Bambera, announces the following appointments, effective as indicated:

Reverend Andrew Amankwaa, to Parochial Vicar, Our Lady of the Snows Parish, Clarks Summit, effective July 6, 2022.  He will temporarily continue in Residence, Christ the King Parish, Archbald.

Reverend Sean G. Carpenter, from Pastor, Saint Maximilian Kolbe Parish, Pocono Pines, to Pastor, Resurrection Parish, Muncy, effective August 16, 2022.

Monsignor Michael J. Delaney, from Pastor, Our Lady of the Snows Parish, Clarks Summit, to Administrative Leave of Absence, effective July 1, 2022.

Reverend John M. Lapera, to Administrator pro tem, Our Lady of the Snows Parish, Clarks Summit, effective July 1, 2022. He will continue to serve as Pastor, Saint Gregory Parish, Clarks Green.


SCRANTON – Nearly 150 couples who are celebrating milestone anniversaries in 2022 were recognized at the Cathedral of Saint Peter on Sunday, June 26, 2022.

The Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, served as principal celebrant and homilist for the Diocese of Scranton’s annual Wedding Anniversary Mass that honors married couples who are celebrating their 25th and 50th anniversaries this year. Two couples in attendance even celebrated 65 years of marriage!

“I was excited about being part of this Mass because I’m grateful for all the gifts that God has given us,” Beverely Dench said. “Faith is what is going to get you through, the good times and bad.”

Beverely and Tim Dench are celebrating 50 years of wedded bliss this year. They have known each other since they were teenagers and say they always got along, even while owning a business.

“It is unbelievable how fast 50 years went,” Jim said. “It was the blink of an eye. I was thinking about all the struggles we went through, all the hard times, the good times, I’m grateful!”

Joan and Vince Narcoonis are also celebrating their Golden anniversary this year. Both said to make a marriage last, it takes hard work and dedication.

“Patience, for one thing,” Joan said. “Kindness, caring, love, understanding. There are so many different things that you have to have to keep a marriage together. Don’t let anyone think it is not work, because it is work! You just have to enjoy each other’s company and have love beyond anything else.”

“Just being able to say, ‘yeah, okay, you’re right,’” Vince added with a smile. “It is harmony. Without harmony it will not work.”

During the special liturgy, Bishop Bambera led all of the couples in renewing their Matrimonial Commitment before the Lord.

Rufino Cano, who is celebrating 25 years with his wife, said that moment was extremely special.

“I remembered when we just got married. I went back in time and said it’s unbelievable that 25 years later we’re here renewing our vows,” he said.

As parishioners of Saint John Neumann Parish, Rufino and his wife, Liliana, often talk with young couples who are living together but choosing not to get marriage. They are hoping to change that.

“If you put your faith in God, he’ll guide you through, Liliana said she explains to those couples. “Don’t be afraid. With God, you can do it.”

As he began his homily, Bishop Bambera first noted the importance of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which was handed down just 48 hours earlier.

“We all need to be thankful to God and so many that the Justices recognized the sanctity of human life, one of the fundamental teachings of our Church,” the bishop said to applause when he initially brought up the topic.

As he focused on the Word of God, the bishop turned to reflections on love – which he says never gives up.

“What we celebrate today in your marriages, is not merely endurance and determination but the mystery of God’s love for us – and at work in our lives,” Bishop Bambera said.

Calling marriage an “incredible institution,” he added that each couple provides hope to the world.

“Your marriages endured not because the years together have been perfect but because you have come to see your marriage as part of something much bigger than yourselves – the mystery of God’s love woven into your lives, your family and your marriage. Don’t think for an instant that you – or any of us – are here but by the grace of God and that is the reason we give thanks,” he continued.

As he concluded his homily, he asked each couple to look at one another.

“Realize how blessed and sacred your relationship is,” the bishop noted. “For all that you have been through, realize how blessed you are to have each other and for as familiar as those eyes may be, see through them to discover the abiding face of God, present with you on the journey, a presence that ultimately has brought you to this day.”

July 6, 2022

His Excellency, Bishop Joseph C. Bambera, announces the following appointments, effective as indicated:

Reverend Andrew Amankwaa, to Parochial Vicar, Our Lady of the Snows Parish, Clarks Summit, effective July 6, 2022.  He will temporarily continue in Residence, Christ the King Parish, Archbald.

Reverend Sean G. Carpenter, from Pastor, Saint Maximilian Kolbe Parish, Pocono Pines, to Pastor, Resurrection Parish, Muncy, effective August 16, 2022.

Monsignor Michael J. Delaney, from Pastor, Our Lady of the Snows Parish, Clarks Summit, to Administrative Leave of Absence, effective July 1, 2022.

Reverend John M. Lapera, to Administrator pro tem, Our Lady of the Snows Parish, Clarks Summit, effective July 1, 2022. He will continue to serve as Pastor, Saint Gregory Parish, Clarks Green.