STROUDSBURG – A former Monroe County pastor will spend five years on probation after being sentenced on child sex charges.

On Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2022, the Honorable Jonathan Mark, Common Pleas Court Judge of Monroe County, sentenced Gregory Loughney at the Monroe County Courthouse in Stroudsburg.

Loughney, the former pastor of Most Holy Trinity Parish, Cresco, was arrested in Oct. 2021 by the Pocono Mountain Regional Police Department. He was accused of exchanging explicit messages – and trying to meet – a 15-year-old boy who was actually a member of an online predator catchers group.

Loughney pleaded no contest in July 2022 to charges of attempted indecent assault and attempted corruption of minors.

“There is no question his conduct was aberrational,” James Swetz, an attorney representing Loughney, said at the sentencing hearing. “He has paid a severe price for it and will continue to pay a price.”

In addressing the judge before sentencing, Assistant District Attorney Michael Rakaczewski said that law enforcement analyzed both Loughney’s cell phone and computer following his arrest. He believes this situation was an “isolated matter.”

In handing down his sentence, Judge Mark called what took place “very significant” and “distressing for the community,” but also acknowledged there was “nothing indicating this happened on more than one occasion.”

Upon learning of the allegations, the Diocese of Scranton immediately removed Father Loughney from active ministry and notified the parishes, schools, and other diocesan facilities where Father Loughney had ministered. The Diocese also cooperated fully in the law enforcement investigation.

When asked about his employment by Judge Mark, Loughney himself addressed his position.

“I will not be returning to any formal ministry,” Loughney told the judge.

When allowed to address the judge before sentencing, Loughney later only added, “I am looking forward to turning the page” and getting this incident behind him.

In addition to serving five years on probation, the judge also imposed several other conditions upon Loughney, including a requirement to be on the Megan’s Law registry for 15 years.


The Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, released the following statement on the Oct. 19 sentencing:

“The details of this case and the behavior with which Father Loughney was charged were extremely troubling and unsettling. I am so sorry and deeply regret the harm that has been done, which extends to parishioners, to our priests who serve with great integrity, and to the entire community of northeastern and north central Pennsylvania. I hope today’s sentencing will bring closure to this painful ordeal. I ask that our gracious and generous Lord, who is filled with love, bring healing to all those who have been hurt by this situation.

“If there is anyone with further information to share or anyone else who may have suffered harm – I strongly encourage them to report this information to law enforcement.

“The Diocese of Scranton remains committed to creating a safe environment for all children and to foster healing for those who have experienced abuse. Any individual who has been sexually abused by a priest, deacon, religious, lay employee or volunteer of the Diocese is urged to report abuse directly to law enforcement. The Diocese also offers counseling, spiritual guidance and pastoral care for anyone impacted by clergy abuse. If you have suffered abuse by clergy or anyone working on behalf of the Diocese, you are encouraged to contact Victim Assistance Coordinator, Mary Beth Pacuska, at (570) 862-7551.”









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

Reverend Sixtus Appiah Kyeremeh, from Parochial Vicar, Saint Faustina Kowalska Parish, Nanticoke, and Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, Lake Silkworth, effective November 15, 2022. Father Appiah Kyeremeh will return to ministry in the Diocese of Sunyani, Ghana.

Reverend Richard Gyansah-Tabiri, from the Diocese of Sunyani, to Parochial Vicar, Saint Faustina Kowalska Parish, Nanticoke, and Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, Lake Silkworth, effective November 15, 2022.

Reverend Binesh Joseph Kanjirakattu, from Parochial Vicar, Saint Lawrence Parish, South Williamsport, and Saint Boniface Parish, Williamsport, to residence, Ascension Parish, Forest City, and Saint Katharine Drexel Parish, Pleasant Mount, effective August 16, 2022.


Deacon Paul Brojack, from diaconal ministry, Our Lady of the Abingtons Parish, Dalton, and Saint Patrick Parish, Nicholson, to diaconal ministry, Saint Brigid Parish, Frie Most Holy Trinity Parish, Susquehanna,
effective November 15, 2022.


SCRANTON – As he left the seventh annual Leave a Mark Mass, Tommy Flynn felt energized and excited.

“I think that Leave a Mark gives a lot of young people in the Diocese the opportunity, some for the first time, to be in a church filled with other young people and to get to socialize and see people from all across the Diocese being involved in something bigger than just their parish,” he said.

Flynn, 22, was one of several hundred people to attend the Leave a Mark Mass at the Cathedral of Saint Peter on Sunday, Nov. 6, 2022.

As an active parishioner of both Saint John the Evangelist and Saint Joseph Marello Parishes in Pittston, Flynn says his faith is a sign of hope in a challenging world.

“Having faith and being active in the church really gives young people the opportunity to work through some of the issues they’re facing,” he explained.

The idea for the Leave a Mark Mass came after Pope Francis spoke to pilgrims at World Youth Day 2016 in Poland. In his address, the pope told young adults, “we didn’t come into this world to vegetate, to take it easy, to make our lives a comfortable sofa to fall asleep on. No, we came for another reason: to leave a mark.”

Father Jeffrey D. Tudgay, V.E., Pastor of the Cathedral of Saint Peter, called Pope Francis’ words not only a command and an invitation – but a “little bit of a kick in the pants” – during his homily for the Leave a Mark Mass.

“Pope Francis was very specific about what kind of mark we are to leave. We are to leave a mark that speaks to who we are,” Father Tudgay explained. “Every opportunity, every encounter is an opportunity for us to leave a mark.”

Through baptism, confirmation, reconciliation and the celebration of the Eucharist, Father Tudgay said God is constantly leaving a mark on us, and from there, we must begin leaving our mark on the world.

“The challenge of Pope Francis is a call to all of us. It’s a call to not only, in the abstract, say ‘Yes, I want to leave a mark.’ It calls for discernment. ‘What Lord, what mark do you want me to leave? What kind of mark do you want me to leave? What is the vocation, what is the specific way that I’m called to mark up the world with your love?” Father Tudgay added.

Father Tudgay’s words really touched – and challenged – Kyra Krzywicki of Kingston, who is a parishioner at Holy Family Parish in Luzerne.

“I was really inspired and just found myself really thinking about how I want to leave a mark and what that means for me specifically, in whatever vocation that God is calling me to,” Krzywicki explained.

The Leave a Mark Mass is held at the beginning of National Vocation Awareness Week, a time dedicated to promoting vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and consecrated life through prayer and education.

Diocesan seminarian Thomas Dzwonczyk, who is currently serving a pastoral year at Saint Jude Parish in Mountain Top, said the Leave a Mark Mass is always a great gathering.

“It’s great to see so many young people from throughout the Diocese and our various colleges and universities present here together, celebrating at the altar, at the liturgy at our Cathedral, and just getting to know each other,” Dzwonczyk said.

Following the Mass, young adults gathered across the street at the Diocese of Scranton Pastoral Center to enjoy food, fellowship and games.

The Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, served as principal celebrant for the Leave a Mark Mass. In his closing remarks, he urged the young adults gathered to continue being witnesses to the Gospel message.

“Continue to let the world know that you believe in Jesus Christ and the power of His Gospel that alone has the power to leave a mark in our world,” Bishop Bambera noted.

Pope Francis speaks to seminary rectors and staff members from Latin America who were in Rome for a course sponsored by the Dicastery for Clergy. The audience was in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican Nov. 10, 2022. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – The mission of a seminary “is not to form ‘supermen’ who pretend to know and control everything,” but to help seminarians become priests who are humble servants of the communities they continue to belong to, Pope Francis said.

“The Lord calls some of his disciples to be priests, that is, he chooses some of the sheep from his flock and invites them to be shepherds of their brothers and sisters,” the pope wrote in a speech prepared for a group of rectors and staff members of seminaries in Latin America.

As priests, “we are fellow disciples of the rest of the Christian faithful and, therefore, we share the same human and spiritual needs, just as we are subject to the same frailties, limitations and errors,” he wrote in the text he handed to the group Nov. 10 before speaking to them off the cuff.

The rectors and staff members were attending a course sponsored by the Dicastery for Clergy.

“The gifts of grace and the traits of a wounded nature,” marked by a tendency to sin, are normal parts of the life of every baptized person and are present in the seminarians as well, the pope wrote, so seminary training needs to help them become aware of both as they grow in faith and basic human maturity.

Pope Francis urged the rectors and seminary staff to help candidates for the priesthood learn “to read their own history” with the eyes of faith, seeing how and where God was at work and where they may have gone astray.

The rector and staff also must recognize that the way they live their own lives has a big impact on the seminarians.

Candidates for the priesthood should be able to see how “a healthy human maturation” involves overcoming difficulties and periods of crisis through a constant renewal of faith and reliance on the Lord, the pope wrote.

Since “one of the indicators of human and spiritual maturity is the development and consolidation of the ability to listen and the art of dialogue,” he said, and those “are naturally anchored in a life of prayer, where the priest enters into daily dialogue with the Lord, even in moments of aridity or confusion.”

The work of priests, especially in a seminary, is not easy, the pope said. Priests are human and experience “frustration, weariness, anger and powerlessness, which is why it is important to turn every day to Jesus, getting down on our knees and in his presence learning from him who is meek and humble of heart, so that little by little our heart learns to beat to the rhythm of the master’s heart.”

Doctors and nurses wait for patients Nov. 10, 2022, at a temporary medical clinic set up in St. Peter’s Square as part of the Vatican celebration of the World Day of the Poor. (CNS photo/Cindy Wooden)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – As part of the Vatican celebration of World Day of the Poor, a dozen doctors and nurses and 90 medical students set up shop in St. Peter’s Square.

“We know there are people who need medical care and are not getting it, so our aim is to offer exams and blood tests and make referrals to specialists,” said Dr. Giuseppe Marinaro, an emergency room physician from Padua, who was on duty in the square Nov. 10.

While the primary goal is to help the poor, especially those living on the streets around the Vatican, the presence in the square of three campers modified as clinics also is “a provocation,” said Archbishop Rino Fisichella of the Dicastery for Evangelization, which coordinates the World Day of the Poor events. “The poor exist and there are more of them than most people think. This is a reminder.”

“The poor evangelize us,” Archbishop Fisichella said. “The poor allow us all — believers and nonbelievers — to understand an essential of the Gospel, which is to serve others,” especially the most vulnerable.

The “field hospital” in the square opened Nov. 7 and was to offer free medical services to anyone who asked from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day through Nov. 13, the day the church marks the World Day of the Poor.

The all-volunteer staff — which included members of the Italian Red Cross, medical charities and Italian medical associations — were offering patients normal physical exams, electrocardiograms, ultrasounds, blood tests, flu vaccines and COVID-19 tests.

“Up to now, we have not had any emergency situations,” said Nicole Laforgia, project manager for Doctors for Africa, one of the groups on duty Nov. 10.

The exams revealed plenty of cases of diabetes and high blood pressure, but the patients already knew their diagnosis and were receiving care, she said. The Vatican clinic included a pharmacy to help those needing more medication.

All of the volunteer physicians and nurses have full-time jobs as well, Dr. Marinaro said. But “if someone wants to help, they’ll find the time.”

Pope Francis greets Ukrainian Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Kyiv-Halych during a private meeting at the Vatican Nov. 7, 2022. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Pope Francis has continued to call on Russian and Ukrainian leaders to negotiate an end to the war, but the head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church told him Russia wants only the destruction of Ukraine.

Ukrainian Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Kyiv-Halych met Pope Francis Nov. 7 at the Vatican, the first time the two have met in person since Russia started the war in late February, although they have spoken on the phone many times.

Archbishop Shevchuk gave the pope “a fragment of a Russian mine that destroyed the facade of the Ukrainian Catholic church building in the town of Irpin, near Kyiv, in March,” the archbishop’s office said. “It is a very symbolic gift, not only because Irpin was one of the first ‘martyr towns’ affected by the Russian aggression against Ukraine, but also because similar pieces of landmines are extracted from the bodies of Ukrainian soldiers, civilians and children, a visible sign of the destruction and death that war brings every day.”

Returning to the Vatican from Bahrain Nov. 6, Pope Francis had told reporters traveling with him that the Vatican is “constantly attentive” to what is happening in Ukraine and that the Secretariat of State continues to do what is possible and has worked behind the scenes to help arrange prisoner exchanges.

The pope also told reporters he thinks the cruelty of the attacks on Ukraine and its civilians is the work of mercenaries, not Russians, who are “a great people” and have a strong “humanism.”

Meeting Archbishop Shevchuk the next day, Pope Francis reiterated the Holy See’s commitment to end the fighting and find a way to obtain “a just peace,” the archbishop’s office said.

“The war in Ukraine is a colonial war, and the peace proposals coming from Russia are colonial appeasement proposals,” the archbishop told the pope, according to his office. “These proposals involve the denial of the existence of the Ukrainian people, their history, culture and even the church. It is the denial of the very right to the existence of the Ukrainian state, recognized by the international community with its sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Still, the archbishop thanked the pope for all his prayers and efforts “to stop the war and mediate peace, free hostages and prisoners and organize the universal solidarity of the Catholic Church on behalf of the suffering Ukrainian people,” the statement said.

Archbishop Shevchuk also visited with retired Pope Benedict XVI Nov. 9 in the monastery in the Vatican gardens where the 95-year-old retired pontiff lives. The archbishop said Pope Benedict assured Ukrainians of his constant prayers for peace.


Good morning.  It is a pleasure for me to affirm the good work that you and so many others have done is support of human life.

Not long ago, as he has so often done, Pope Francis affirmed that every human person has a reason to hope, because every person “has a place in God’s heart from all eternity.”  Focusing upon the weakest and most vulnerable – the sick, the elderly, the poor and especially the unborn – the Holy Father asserted that every person “has an inviolable right to life” and “is a masterpiece of God’s creation, made in his own image, destined to live forever, and deserving of the utmost reverence and respect.”

Powerful words, aren’t they?  Words that need to be seared into the hearts of every one of us – and many others as well.

Most of us appreciate the Holy Father’s words – because every one of us has been blessed with the faith and wisdom to see the value of God’s gift of life – to recognize that this gift, in whatever shape and form it takes – is not the result of an accident of creation but are the result of God creative and loving presence among us.

Sadly, however, it is quite apparent that this fundamental teaching of our faith hardly resonates with many of our brothers and sisters.  As a Church, we are grateful for the Supreme Court’s decision earlier this year to overturn its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion throughout our land.  Yet, the division that has emerged in our country these past few months is a stark reminder of the fact that so many fail to appreciate the dignity and value of all human life, especially the life of the unborn.

In response to this division, it is incumbent upon us, as a people of faith, to not merely point fingers of derision at those who fail to embrace the teaching of the gospel regarding the value of human life.  To the contrary, as disciples of Jesus, we are called to be light in the midst of darkness – a leaven to transform our misguided world.  As such, it is our responsibility to witness to our beliefs by caring for life – not merely for life in the womb but for all of life and particularly for women and the children they have carried past the time of birth.

Simply put, brothers and sisters, if we desire to live our lives as God-fearing individuals with authenticity, we have no choice.  We cannot merely speak of our respect for human life or self-righteously criticize those whose beliefs may be different from our own.  We must enliven our words with action.  We must both choose and serve life in whatever way we can.

The challenge to defend human life cannot be side stepped in an effort to create a false peace or sense of harmony.  We must be fearless in our defense of the unborn – but also mothers in need, the elderly, the sick, the poor, the disabled, the immigrant and every life that is in jeopardy.

Nor must we ever shrink from confronting life issues in our prayer, in what and how we teach as a Church and in the pastoral care that we offer.  But we must also never shrink from confronting life issues when we vote, in the initiatives and public policies that we are able to influence, in our volunteer efforts and in the daily activities and choices of our lives that can even unwittingly exploit the most defenseless among us.

So continue to embrace the noble cause of this blessed organization.  Don’t let down those treasures of life that God has woven into our lives.

Defend life, even if – and particularly when the world proclaims a different message.  ….

Our task is hardly simple and the road ahead, for all of the strides that have been made in recent years, continues to be challenging and filled with unexpected obstacles.  May we persevere in prayer and through the support of one another.

May we be encouraged by the words of the great Saint John Paul II:

Love and honor the life of every man and woman.  Work with perseverance and courage, so that our time, marked by too many signs of death, may at last witness the establishment of a culture of life, the fruit of the culture of truth and love.


SCRANTON (Nov. 3, 2022) – The Diocese of Scranton has learned in recent days that numerous parishioners have received a publication in their mailbox called the “Pennsylvania Catholic Tribune.”

Purporting itself to be Catholic, the newspaper features politically related content among its many articles. The publication also has accompanying websites, pacatholictribune and/or americancatholictribune, which appear to mention several dioceses in Pennsylvania, including the Diocese of Scranton.

It is important for all people to know that this publication and its accompanying website are neither endorsed by, nor are they affiliated with, the Diocese of Scranton or the Catholic Church.

It should be noted that Canon 216 of the Roman Catholic Code of Canon Law states that no initiative can lay
claim to the title “Catholic” without the consent of the competent ecclesiastical authority – in most cases the
local bishop.

Can. 216 Since they participate in the mission of the Church, all the Christian faithful have
the right to promote or sustain apostolic action even by their own undertakings, according to
their own state and condition. Nevertheless, no undertaking is to claim the name
Catholic without the consent of competent ecclesiastical authority.

The Diocese of Scranton also wants to assure its parishioners that the publisher did not receive mailing
information from the diocese or any of its parishes. The diocese does not sell or provide its contact
information for parishioners to any third party.

Anyone with questions about the legitimacy of a publication they receive in connection with the Diocese of
Scranton can contact Eric Deabill, Diocesan Secretary for Communications, at (570) 591-5001.


SCRANTON – Using a rosary that Father Patrick Peyton once used decades ago, Father Fred Jenga, C.S.C., President, Holy Cross Family Ministries, led the faithful of Scranton in a special recitation of the rosary on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022 at the Cathedral of Saint Peter.

Father Peyton, a candidate for Sainthood, is most known for his famous message, “The family that prays together stays together.” He traveled the world conducting hundreds of rosary rallies with more than 28 million people in attendance.

Pope Francis has declared him Venerable and a possible medical miracle is under review by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in Rome.

Reciting the rosary in Scranton is significant because Father Peyton has a special connection to the Electric City and the very Cathedral where Thursday’s rosary took place. Before being ordained to the priesthood, Father Peyton served as a sacristan at the Cathedral of Saint Peter.

“Today is a powerful, emotional day in my life,” Father Jenga said before leading the rosary. “It was in this very cathedral that an Irishman served as a janitor or a custodian and was able to rediscover his vocation to the priesthood.”

Father Jenga said after becoming a priest, Father Peyton committed years of his life going around the world encouraging people to pray in their homes.

“This is the place where it all started from,” Father Jenga said. “This very space, this man, who used to open the doors of this Cathedral … this man is on the road to sainthood now.”

Holy Cross Family Ministries continues Father Peyton’s ministry to this day, encouraging family prayer and the power of prayer in homes. The organization serves 18 counties and has 27 ministry offices around the world, including in Latin America, Africa, Europe and Canada.

“It’s the gift that this cathedral is giving to the rest of the world because we need a saint for the families and we’ve never needed a saint for the families more than how it is right now,” Father Jenga stated.

WASHINGTON – The Catholic Church in the United States will celebrate National Vocation Awareness Week, November 6-12, 2022.

Across the United States, dioceses, parishes, and Catholic organizations will host events to promote vocations to the ordained ministry and consecrated life. The faithful are encouraged during this week to renew their prayerful support for those currently discerning a vocation to the priesthood, diaconate, or consecrated life.

In his Message for the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, Pope Francis, reiterating his call for the Church to become increasingly synodal, compared the diversity of vocations in the Church to that of a beautiful mosaic. “As Christians, we do not only receive a vocation individually; we are also called together. We are like the tiles of a mosaic. Each is lovely by itself, but only when they are put together do they form a picture. Each of us shines like a star in the heart of God and in the firmament of the universe. At the same time, though, we are called to form constellations that can guide and light up the path of humanity, beginning with the places in which we live. This is the mystery of the Church: a celebration of differences, a sign, and instrument of all that humanity is called to be.”

Bishop James F. Checchio of Metuchen, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations emphasized that vocational discernment always takes place within a community. “Each year, the CCLV Committee commissions the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate to conduct surveys of those recently ordained and religiously professed in the past year. These studies consistently show that vocations are the fruit of communal accompaniment. The family, healthy and holy friendships, youth group, campus ministry, and the broader parish and diocesan community form supportive environments in which vocations are first nurtured and grown.”

Observance of Vocation Awareness Week began in 1976 when the U.S. bishops designated the 28th Sunday of the year to call attention to the importance of upholding vocations and praying for those discerning a religious vocation and celebrating those who were in ordained ministry and consecrated life. In 1997, the celebration was moved to the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord and in 2014, the USCCB’s Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations moved the observance of National Vocation Awareness Week to November to influence youth and young adults by engaging Catholic schools and colleges.