VATICAN CITY (CNS) – “War is a defeat,” Pope Francis insisted as he called for prayers for peace in Israel and Palestine.

Smoke rises following Israeli strikes in Gaza, Oct. 7, 2023. The strikes were in retaliation after Hamas breached Israeli security along the Gaza border at dawn and entered border communities amidst a barrage of over 2,000 rockets that reached into Jerusalem and the Tel Aviv. (OSV News photo/Mohammed Salem, Reuters)

Speaking to thousands of people gathered in St. Peter’s Square Oct. 8 for the recitation of the Angelus prayer, the pope said he is following events in Israel and Gaza “with apprehension and sorrow.”

A day earlier, militants in Gaza launched a massive attack on southern Israel, firing rockets and breaching the border.

“The violence has exploded even more ferociously, causing hundreds of deaths and casualties,” the pope told people gathered for the midday Sunday prayer. By the time he spoke, Israeli officials were reporting at least 250 people had been killed and officials in Gaza said the death toll among Palestinians was over 300.

“I express my closeness to the families and victims,” Pope Francis said. “I am praying for them and for all who are living hours of terror and anguish.”

“May the attacks and weapons cease,” he said. “Please!”

“And let it be understood that terrorism and war do not lead to any resolutions, but only to the death and suffering of so many innocent people,” Pope Francis said. “War is a defeat! Let us pray that there be peace in Israel and in Palestine.”

During October, the month traditionally devoted to the rosary, the pope asked Catholics to pray for Mary’s intercession “for the gift peace in the many countries throughout the world marked by war and conflicts. And let us continue to remember the dear Ukraine, which suffers so much every day, which is so battered.”

This map shows the four routes of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage to the National Eucharistic Congress in 2024. Pilgrims traveling in “Eucharistic caravans” on all four routes will begin their journeys with Pentecost weekend celebrations May 17-18, 2024, leaving May 19. They will all converge on Indianapolis July 16, 2024, the day before the five-day Congress opens. (OSV News illustration/courtesy National Eucharistic Congress)


(OSV News) – The National Eucharistic Congress is inviting young people to step out in faith — literally — by walking hundreds of miles in a major national pilgrimage.

Organizers are inviting young adults ages 19 to 29 to apply as participants in the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage, which will take place May 17 to July 21, 2024. The “Perpetual Pilgrims” will travel along four different routes throughout the country — a combined distance of 6,500 miles — to the 10th National Eucharistic Congress, set to take place July 21-24, 2024, in Indianapolis.

The (St. Junipero) Serra Route will depart from San Francisco; the (St. Elizabeth Ann) Seton Route from New Haven, Connecticut; the (St.) Juan Diego Route from Brownsville, Texas; and the Marian Route from Bemidji, Minnesota.

The experience of “coming from the four cardinal directions” to the congress promises to be “really wonderful,” Will Peterson, founder and president of Modern Catholic Pilgrim and director of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage, told OSV News.

The heavenly patrons of each route will provide inspiration, he added.

“Serra is buried not too far away (from San Francisco) in Carmel, California,” he said. “And we’re recognizing those coming from the southern border, with St. Juan Diego representing the deep roots of the Hispanic Catholic Church. St. Elizabeth Ann Seton is just a wonderful Eucharistic saint who did such great work in the (nation’s) Eastern seaboard.

“And it’s wonderful that on the northern route, we’ll get to go to an apparition site of the Blessed Virgin Mary,” he added, referencing the National Shrine of Our Lady of Champion in New Franken, Wisconsin, where Mary appeared in 1859 to a Belgian immigrant named Adele Brise. The shrine commemorates the first and only approved Marian apparition in the U.S.

Mary figures prominently in the pilgrimage, said Peterson, noting “Our Lady of Guadalupe is the patroness of the entire National Eucharistic Revival” and that it “seemed fitting to have the northern route dedicated to (her).”

Accompanied by priest chaplains, the pilgrims will cover 10-15 miles per day, passing through several major U.S. cities and stopping at a number of holy sites, while attending daily Mass and participating in Eucharistic processions. Parishes along the routes will welcome the pilgrims, providing meals, fellowship and holy hours. Pilgrims will be housed by parishes, religious orders, schools, shrines, retreat centers and host families.

Peterson admitted to OSV News that while the 65-day commitment isn’t exactly “perpetual,” participants will be “giving of themselves for two months, (which) is a long period of time, to be prayerfully journeying with the Lord.”

Applicants must be baptized, actively practicing Catholics in good physical condition, capable of walking long distances, and committed to upholding Catholic teaching during their time as pilgrims — especially since they will take on pastoral ministry roles and managing logistics along the routes. The National Eucharistic Congress will provide housing, meals and a weekly stipend for basic expenses, with pilgrims helping to raise funds prior to their journey.

Full details are available on the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage website at The deadline to apply is Nov. 28, with final selections to be announced in January 2024. Pilgrims will enter a period of formation from February to May with weekly virtual meetings and a Feb. 16-18, 2024 retreat.

That preparation will enable them to “steward that public experience of the pilgrimage,” said Peterson. “We want to make sure that they’re in a good place spiritually, physically, mentally. … This is something that we invite all Catholic young adults to consider as a way to deepen their own spiritual lives.”

October 10, 2023

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

Reverend Michael S. Drevitch, from administrative leave to Parochial Vicar, Corpus Christi Parish, West Pittston, and Saint Barbara Parish, Exeter, effective October 20, 2023.

Reverend John M. Lapera, to Pastor, Our Lady of the Snows Parish, Clarks Summit, effective January 24, 2024.  Father Lapera will remain Pastor, Church of Saint Gregory, Clarks Green.

Monsignor Joseph G. Quinn, J.D., J.C.L., from Pastor, Our Lady of the Snows Parish, Clarks Summit, to Pastor Emeritus, Our Lady of the Snows Parish and Senior Priest, Our Lady of the Snows Parish, Clarks Summit, and Church of Saint Gregory, Clarks Green, effective January 24, 2024.

Reverend Kenneth M. Seegar, from leave of absence for reasons of health to Sacramental Minister, Our Lady of the Eucharist Parish, Pittston, effective October 1, 2023.

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Pope Francis opened the work of the assembly of the Synod of Bishops asking members to meditate on ancient theological texts about the Holy Spirit, have the courage to be honest about their disagreements and focus much more on listening than on sharing their opinions.

The synodal process “is not easy, but it’s beautiful, very beautiful,” Pope Francis told some 364 other synod members and 85 non-voting experts, ecumenical delegates and facilitators the afternoon of Oct. 4 as the synod work began in the Vatican audience hall.

Participants in the assembly of the Synod of Bishops gather in the Paul VI Audience Hall at the Vatican before the first working session of the assembly of the Synod of Bishops October 4, 2023. (CNS photo/Lola Gomez)

“A certain asceticism” is needed for the synod, the pope said. He asked forgiveness from journalists trying to cover the monthlong meeting but insisted “a certain fasting from public words” would be needed to ensure the proper spiritual atmosphere for the synod members.

And, in fact, the synod rules distributed that evening said, “In order to guarantee the freedom of expression of each and all regarding their thoughts and to ensure the serenity of the discernment in common, which is the main task entrusted to the assembly, each of the participants is bound to confidentiality and discretion regarding both their own interventions and the interventions of other participants.”

Pope Francis also repeated what he has said many times: “the synod is not a parliament” where the ideas of opposing parties will be debated and voted up or down along party lines. Neither, he said, is it “a meeting of friends” getting together to exchange opinions and try to solve problems they see around them.

“The synod is a journey that the Holy Spirit makes,” he said, so constant prayer and listening are necessary to follow the path the Spirit indicates.

“The Holy Spirit triggers a deep and varied dynamism in the Christian community, the confusion of Pentecost,” when people from every nation heard the disciples speaking in their own languages, the pope said. From the experience, the Spirit creates not uniformity, but harmony.

Differences of opinion will surface, he said. “If you don’t agree with what that bishop or that nun or that lay person says, say it to their face. That’s what the synod is for. To tell the truth, not the chatter under the table.”

Pope Francis also acknowledged how people outside the synod members are offering “hypotheses about this synod — ‘But what will they do there?’ ‘The priesthood for women?’ — these are the things that are being said outside.”

But what is happening, he said, is that the universal church has gathered in Rome to pause and to listen.

“The church has stopped, as the apostles stopped after Good Friday, on that Holy Saturday,” closed in the Upper Room, he said. “But they were afraid; we are not. … It is a pause for the whole church to listen.”

Cardinal Mario Grech, secretary-general of the synod, told the members, “Today the church is at a crossroads, and the urgent challenge, strictly speaking, is not of a theological or ecclesiological nature, but how at this moment in history the church can become a sign and instrument of God’s love for every man and woman.”

“God’s love is the medicine that can heal today’s wounded humanity, and as the church our mission is to be a sign of this love,” he said.

In discerning the best ways to do that, Cardinal Grech said, participants should remember the assembly is not “an isolated act,” but part of a process that began two years ago with local, diocesan, national and continental listening sessions.

The presence of members who are not bishops — some 70 priests, religious, lay men and women — is not meant to represent “the totality of the People of God,” he said, but to “remind us with their presence” of the whole synod process and its invitation for all Catholics to participate, sharing their experiences of things that help or hinder their sense of communion, participation and mission.

Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, relator general of the synod, noted how the members were gathered at round tables in the Vatican audience hall rather than in the rows of the synod hall to promote conversation but also to remind them of similar experiences they had at listening sessions in their parishes and dioceses.

“Bishops who were not very active in the process but have been elected by their (bishops’) conferences,” he said, “may face challenges at the beginning. On the other hand, there are the members who are not bishops. Many among them were particularly involved in the continental stage of this synod and are called to testify their experience.”

In the synod discussions, he urged members to remember that each person, with his or her differences, is a Christian trying to follow the Lord.

“The church is the people of God, walking through history, with Christ in her midst,” Cardinal Hollerich said. “It is only normal that there is a group walking at his right, another at his left, while some run ahead and others lag behind.”

From any of those positions, he said, when a person looks at the Lord, “they cannot help but see the group that is doing the opposite: those walking on the right will see those walking on the left, those running ahead will see those lagging behind.”

“In other words, the so-called progressives cannot look at Christ without seeing the so-called conservatives with him and vice-versa,” he said. “Nevertheless, the important thing is not the group to which we seem to belong, but walking with Christ within his church.”

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – After warning the world against ignoring the cries of the earth and the poor with his 2015 encyclical, “Laudato Si’, On Care for Our Common Home,” Pope Francis intensified his critique with “Laudate Deum” (“Praise God”), warning against the selfish obsession with human power and the “irresponsible derision” of the reality of climate change.

“When human beings claim to take God’s place, they become their own worst enemies,” he said, explaining the title of the document released at the Vatican Oct. 4, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of ecology.

Flowers are seen in the foreground of a field while the sun sets over the Tuul River south of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, in this Sept. 1, 2023, photo. (CNS photo/Cindy Wooden)

The new document, addressed “to all people of good will on the climate crisis,” is a follow-up to “clarify and complete” his 2015 encyclical because, he wrote, over the past eight years, “our responses have not been adequate, while the world in which we live is collapsing and may be nearing the breaking point.”

The bulk of the 15-page “apostolic exhortation” is dedicated to a severe rebuke of the “resistance and confusion” regarding the global climate crisis and its link to human activity as well as of the growing “technocratic paradigm underlying the current process of environmental decay.”

“I feel obliged to make these clarifications, which may appear obvious, because of certain dismissive and scarcely reasonable opinions that I encounter, even within the Catholic Church,” he wrote.

In fact, the Pew Research Center released survey results Sept. 28 reporting that U.S. Catholics’ views on climate change are similar to those of the general public. A majority of U.S. adults — 54% — described climate change as a major threat to the country’s well-being, but it remains a lower priority than other issues, the survey showed.

“Despite all attempts to deny, conceal, gloss over or relativize the issue, the signs of climate change are here and increasingly evident,” the pope wrote, detailing the serious and irreversible damage already done and “dangerous changes” underway according to evidence supported by most scientists specializing in climate science.

“Only a very small percentage of them seek to deny the evidence,” he added.

The pope blamed the resistance and confusion about the climate crisis on the lack of information on climate science, people choosing to “deride” facts and “ridicule those who speak of global warming,” and inertia or indifference by “the great economic powers, whose concern is with the greatest profit possible at minimal cost and in the shortest amount of time.”

Consequently, the pope wrote, “a broader perspective is urgently needed, one that can enable us to esteem the marvels of progress, but also to pay serious attention to other effects that were probably unimaginable a century ago.”

People need to assume “responsibility for the legacy we will leave behind” and let go of this “technocratic paradigm” that believes “goodness and truth automatically flow from technological and economic power” and pursues “infinite or unlimited growth.”

The great problem, he wrote, is an “ideology underlying an obsession: to increase human power beyond anything imaginable, before which nonhuman reality is a mere resource at its disposal.”

“Everything that exists ceases to be a gift for which we should be thankful, esteem and cherish, and instead becomes a slave, prey to any whim of the human mind and its capacities,” he wrote.

“Never has humanity had such power over itself, yet nothing ensures that it will be used wisely, particularly when we consider how it is currently being used,” he wrote.

Pope Francis called for “rethinking our use of power,” which requires an increased sense of responsibility, values and conscience with “sound ethics, a culture and spirituality genuinely capable of setting limits and teaching clear-minded self-restraint.”

Also, unhealthy notions about hard work, talent and “meritocracy” without “a genuine equality of opportunity” can easily become “a screen that further consolidates the privileges of a few with great power,” he wrote. “In this perverse logic, why should they care about the damage done to our common home, if they feel securely shielded by the financial resources that they have earned by their abilities and effort?”

A healthy ecology requires a healthier relationship “between human beings and the environment, as occurs in the Indigenous cultures,” and a more humane economy, which is not ruled by “the mentality of maximum gain at minimal cost,” but shows “sincere concern for our common home” and assists “the poor and the needy discarded by our society,” he wrote.

The pope appealed for more effective international organizations that have the authority and power to provide for the global common good, eliminate hunger and poverty, and defend fundamental human rights.

He also called for a new kind of international, multilateral cooperation and action in which “groups and organizations within civil society help to compensate for the shortcomings of the international community.”

Pope Francis also encouraged activists from different countries put pressure “from below” on the varying elites and “sources of power.”

“It is no longer helpful for us to support institutions in order to preserve the rights of the more powerful without caring for those of all,” he added.

With world leaders set to meet at the 28th U.N. Climate Change Conference in Dubai Nov. 30-Dec. 12, Pope Francis said that “this conference can represent a change of direction, showing that everything done since 1992 was in fact serious and worth the effort, or else it will be a great disappointment and jeopardize whatever good has been achieved thus far.”

COP-28 will need to present “binding forms of energy transition” that are “efficient, obligatory and readily monitored,” he wrote, and this transition must be “drastic, intense and count on the commitment of all.”

He urged individuals and families to be active in exercising healthy pressure on leaders.

If the actions of groups “negatively portrayed as ‘radicalized’ tend to attract attention” at these conferences, he added, “in reality they are filling a space left empty by society as a whole.”

“It is necessary to be honest and recognize that the most effective solutions will not come from individual efforts alone, but above all from major political decisions on the national and international level,” the pope wrote.

He encouraged people, especially those with an “irresponsible lifestyle connected with the Western model,” to reduce pollution and waste, and “consume with prudence.” Even though these everyday actions will not produce an immediate, notable effect on climate change, “we are helping to bring about large processes of transformation” and a new culture of care.

“Let us put an end to the irresponsible derision that would present this issue as something purely ecological, ‘green,’ romantic, frequently subject to ridicule by economic interests,” he wrote. “Let us finally admit that it is a human and social problem on any number of levels.”

WASHINGTON (OSV News) – The Supreme Court’s new term begins Oct. 2, and on its docket will be legal challenges concerning both the First and Second Amendments, as well as potentially other related major cases.

Texas and Florida both have passed laws designed to combat what they alleged were social media companies’ content policies that disproportionately restricted conservatives through what critics called censoring, shadow-banning or de-platforming. Those laws are currently blocked from enforcement while the court considers the matter.

In this undated file photo, James Earle Fraser’s statue “The Authority of Law” sits at the entrance to the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington. (OSV News photo/Mark Thomas, Pixabay)

Among controversies over such allegations includes an effort by social media companies to reduce the spread of inaccurate information about the COVID-19 pandemic or COVID-19 vaccines.

John Bursch, senior counsel and vice president of appellate advocacy at Alliance Defending Freedom, told OSV News the group is interested in O’Connor-Ratcliff v. Garnier and Lindke v. Freed, the cases concerning social media accounts.

“This is an important pair of cases for the court to get right to make sure that everybody is able to freely participate in public debate,” he said.

In United States v. Rahimi, the justices will consider a challenge to the constitutionality of a federal ban on the possession of firearms by those who are under domestic violence restraining orders.

A federal law enacted in 1994 prohibits those subject to domestic violence restraining orders from possessing firearms. The case concerns Zackey Rahimi, a Texas man who was placed under a restraining order after assaulting his girlfriend in 2019 and threatening to shoot her. Rahimi later took part in crimes and was involved in five shootings, after which authorities searched his home and charged him with violating that federal ban.

But after the Supreme Court’s June 2022 decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, striking down part of New York’s handgun-licensing law, an appeals court threw out Rahimi’s conviction, arguing Rahimi still had the right to bear arms under the Second Amendment per that case.

The Supreme Court may also choose to take up a case concerning a challenge brought by a coalition of pro-life opponents of mifepristone, the first of two drugs used in a medication or chemical abortion. The coalition challenged the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval of that drug, arguing the FDA violated its own safety standards when it first authorized the drug’s use for abortion in 2000. The Justice Department and the manufacturer of mifepristone have asked the high court to take up that case.

ADF is representing the pro-life coalition in that case.

Speaking broadly on cases the group is watching, Bursch said, “the court has been very protective of free speech and free exercise rights over the last decade and a half roughly.”

He said there are “definitely more possibilities to move the law in that area and protect people’s ability to live their faith in the public square.”

Other potential cases the court may add to its docket include a federal ban on machine guns applied to bump stocks, or devices that allow semiautomatic weapons to rapidly fire multiple rounds, and school bans on students who identify as transgender using bathrooms not consistent with their biological sex.

Becket, a Washington-based religious liberty law firm, has also asked the Supreme Court to take up Vitagliano v. County of Westchester, concerning Debra Vitagliano, a Catholic sidewalk counselor challenging a New York county law prohibiting pro-life protesters from approaching people outside abortion clinics.

Her case seeks the high court to review its 2000 ruling in Hill v. Colorado, which involved a Colorado law enacted in 1993. That law regulated First Amendment activity within 100 feet of an entrance to any health care facility and prohibited approaching a person within eight feet without their consent to provide any protest materials or counseling.

“Religious liberty and free speech are central to our ability to live together in peace,” Mark Rienzi, president and CEO at Becket, said in a statement about cases the group is seeking to be considered this term. “The Court has an important role to play in protecting the First Amendment rights for people of all faiths.”

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Coming from different parts of the world and having different experiences and talents, members of the College of Cardinals are called to create a “symphony,” listening to one another and to the Holy Spirit, Pope Francis said.

Creating 21 new cardinals from 16 nations Sept. 30, the pope used the biblical story of Pentecost to remind the prelates of the roots of their faith, and he invoked the image of a symphony to emphasize their call to be both faithful and creative.

Pope Francis places a red biretta on the head of new Cardinal Christophe Pierre, nuncio to the United States, during a consistory for the creation of 21 new cardinals in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Sept. 30, 2023. (CNS photo/Lola Gomez)

On a warm autumn morning, with shrubs and flowers decorating the steps of St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis held his ninth consistory to create new cardinals. The Vatican said 12,000 people attended the ceremony.

Cardinal Robert F. Prevost, the 68-year-old Chicago-born prefect of the Dicastery for Bishops, was the only U.S. prelate to receive his red hat at the consistory. He was joined by French Cardinal Christophe Pierre, the 77-year-old nuncio to the United States.

Cardinal Luis Pascual Dri, a 96-year-old Capuchin friar from Argentina, was made a cardinal when the pope proclaimed his name at the consistory, but he did not travel to Rome to receive his red hat because of his health.

With the consistory, the College of Cardinals has 242 members from 91 nations, according to Vatican statistics; 137 of the cardinals are under the age of 80 and eligible to vote in a conclave to elect a new pope. The so-called “cardinal electors” come from 71 countries.

Italy — with 49 cardinals, of whom 14 are electors — continues to dominate the cardinal counts. The United States is second; according to the Vatican, there are 17 U.S. cardinals, including 11 electors. The total would be 18 when counting Italian-born Cardinal Silvano Tomasi, a former Vatican official, who is a U.S. citizen.

At the beginning of the ceremony, Cardinal Prevost thanked Pope Francis on behalf of the new cardinals, noting how the consistory was taking place just before the opening of the assembly of the Synod of Bishops on synodality.

“The church is fully such only when it truly listens, when it walks as the new people of God in its wonderful diversity, rediscovering continually her own baptismal call to contribute to the spread of the Gospel and the kingdom of God,” he said. “The beauty of the universality of the church that will be manifested in the unfolding of the synod will be a very important sign, which will be able to speak of the mission that all of us baptized have received, in communion with the successor of Peter and in the profession of the same faith.”

Before receiving their red hats, their cardinal’s rings and the names of their titular churches in Rome — an assignment that makes them formally members of the clergy of the Diocese of Rome — the new cardinals made a profession of faith, reciting the Creed in Latin, and made an oath of fidelity to Pope Francis and his successors.

Cardinal Prevost, a former superior general of the Augustinian religious order, was given the Church of St. Monica, mother of St. Augustine.

In his homily at the consistory, a prayer service that lasted just over an hour, Pope Francis drew the prelates’ attention to the Pentecost story in the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles and particularly to its listing of those who heard the apostles, each in their own language although they were “Parthians, Medes, and Elamites, inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia.”

“Normally we pastors, when we read the account of Pentecost, identify ourselves with the apostles,” the pope said. But if the cardinals recognize themselves as members of the crowd, he added, they would “rediscover with amazement the gift of having received the Gospel” in their own languages and would give thanks for having been evangelized among their own people, often by their mothers or grandmothers.

“Indeed, we are evangelizers to the extent we cherish in our hearts the wonder and gratitude of having been evangelized, even of (still) being evangelized, because this is really a gift always present, that must be continually renewed in our memories and in faith,” the pope told them.

In humility, and with that diversity, he said, “the College of Cardinals is called to resemble a symphony orchestra, representing the harmony and synodality of the church.”

Pope Francis said he referred to “synodality” not only because the synod assembly was set to open Oct. 4, “but also because it seems to me that the metaphor of the orchestra can well illuminate the synodal character of the church,” which relies on each member making a contribution, occasionally as a soloist, but usually in harmony with others.

“Mutual listening is essential,” he said. “Each musician must listen to the others. If one listens only to himself, however sublime his sound may be, it will not benefit the symphony; and the same would be the case if one section of the orchestra did not listen to the others, but played as if it were alone, as if it were the whole.”

“In addition,” the pope said, “the conductor of the orchestra is at the service of this kind of miracle that is each performance of a symphony. He has to listen more than anyone else, and at the same time his job is to help each person and the whole orchestra develop the greatest creative fidelity: fidelity to the work being performed, but also creative, able to give a soul to the score, to make it resonate in the here and now in a unique way.”

“We have the Holy Spirit as our master: the interior master of each one of us and the master of walking together,” Pope Francis said. “He creates variety and unity; he is harmony itself.”

September 29, 2023

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

Reverend Andrew Amankwaa, from Administrator pro tem, Saint Brigid Parish, Friendsville, effective October 20, 2023 and Administrator pro tem, Most Holy Trinity Parish, Susquehanna, effective October 24, 2023 to Administrator pro tem, Saint John Vianney Parish, Montdale, effective October 24, 2023.

Reverend Michael Amo Gyau, to Parochial Vicar, Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish, Jermyn, effective October 24, 2023.  Father will remain Parochial Vicar, Christ the King Parish, Archbald.  

Reverend Thomas Augustine, from ministry, Diocese of Nellore, India, to Administrator pro tem, St. Brigid Parish, Friendsville, effective October 20, 2023. 

Reverend J. Duane Gavitt, from Chaplain, Holy Redeemer High School, Wilkes Barre, effective September 29, 2023.  Father will remain Pastor, Holy Rosary Parish, Hazleton, and Holy Name of Jesus Parish, West Hazleton.

Reverend Ryan P. Glenn, to Pastor, Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish, Jermyn, effective October 24, 2023.  Father will remain Pastor, Christ the King Parish, Archbald.

Reverend John C. Ruth, from Pastor, Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish, Jermyn, to Pastor, Most Holy Trinity Parish, Susquehanna, effective October 24, 2023.

Reverend Philbert Takyi-Nketiah, to Chaplain, Holy Redeemer High School, Wilkes-Barre, effective September 29, 2023.  Father will remain Parochial Vicar, St. Jude Parish, Mountain Top, and Our Lady Help of Christians Parish, Dorrance.

Reverend Seth D. Wasnock, V.F.,  from Administrator pro tem, Saint John Vianney Parish, Scott Township, effective October 24, 2023.  Father will remain Pastor, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish and Saint Rose of Lima Parish, Carbondale.


Deacon James L. DiSimoni, from Diaconal Ministry, Diocese of Erie, to Diaconal Ministry, Prince of Peace Parish, Old Forge, effective September 29, 2023.



Four local nonprofits are joining forces to provide gifts this holiday season. The Catherine McAuley Center, Catholic Social Services, Friends of the Poor and the Salvation Army are connecting community donors with families living at or below the poverty line to bring a little bit of joy under the tree this Christmas.

This collaborative effort expects to serve an estimated 1,500 families.

The first 25% of families to register on Tuesday, October 3 will be paired with donors in the community to receive gifts. The remaining families will register to “shop” (at no cost)  for donated toys for their children at a giveaway hosted at the University of Scranton in late December.
 To register to receive gifts, visit the Facebook pages of any of these non-profits at 9AM on October 3 for the online link to register. Registration will be first come, first serve.

Ways to support this project:

  • Purchase gifts for an assigned family by visiting:
  • Donate new, unwrapped gifts to any participating agency
  • Make a monetary donation to the Catherine McAuley Center or Friends of the Poor with a memo indicating “Christmas for Kids”
  • Volunteer at the Community Giveaway

As we continue to see the need in our community grow, it is important to make the largest impact, and by working together we believe we can best serve the kids of NEPA. More information can be found by visiting: