The Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera was born in Carbondale, Pennsylvania, on March 21, 1956, the son of Irene Kucharski Bambera and the late Joseph Bambera. Bishop Bambera has one sister, Mrs. Karen Hoffman, Stroudsburg, and a niece and a nephew.
He attended Saint Rose of Lima Elementary School and graduated from Saint Rose of Lima High School in 1974. Following graduation, he enrolled in the University of Pittsburgh and was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1978.
In 1978, Bishop Bambera was accepted for studies for the priesthood for the Diocese of Scranton and entered Saint Pius X Seminary in Dalton in September of the same year. During that time, he attended the University of Scranton, pursuing courses in theology and philosophy. In 1979, Bishop Bambera continued his studies for priesthood at Mary Immaculate Seminary, Northampton, Pennsylvania, where he was awarded a Master of Divinity degree in 1982. He was ordained to the Diaconate on May 14, 1983 by the Most Reverend J. Carroll McCormick and was ordained to the Priesthood on November 5, 1983 by the Most Reverend John J. O’Connor.
Bishop Bambera’s first priestly assignment was as Assistant Pastor of the Church of Saint Mary of the Assumption, Scranton. He served in this position until September, 1987 when he was appointed Assistant Pastor of the Cathedral of Saint Peter, Scranton. During the years in which he served as an Assistant Pastor, Bishop Bambera also served as an Auditor in the Tribunal of the Diocese of Scranton, Diocesan Spiritual Director of the Legion of Mary, Campus Minister at Lackawanna Junior College and Diocesan Director of Pilgrimages.
In 1989, Bishop Bambera was appointed to further studies in Canon Law. In 1991, he was awarded a Licentiate in Canon Law from Saint Paul’s University, Ottawa, Canada and a Masters Degree in Canon Law from the University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada.
Following the completion of graduate studies, Bishop Bambera was appointed a Judge in the Tribunal of the Diocese of Scranton. Bishop Bambera was appointed as the Diocesan Director of Ecumenism and Interfaith Affairs in January, 1993 and served in that capacity for three years. During that time, he represented the Diocese of Scranton on the Pennsylvania Conference on Interchurch Cooperation. In July, 1995, Bishop Bambera was appointed by Bishop James C. Timlin to assume the role of Vicar for Priests for the Diocese of Scranton. At the same time, he became the Diocesan Director of Continuing Education for Priests.
While serving in numerous Diocesan positions, Bishop Bambera was appointed Administrator and then Pastor of the Church of the Holy Name of Jesus, Scranton. He served the parish from January, 1994 until July, 1997, at which time he assumed the role of Director of Formation at Saint Pius X Seminary, Dalton.
Bishop Bambera was appointed Pastor of the Church of Saint John Bosco, Conyngham, in July, 1998. In July 2001 he was appointed Pastor of the Church of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Dickson City.
In June 2005 Bishop Bambera was appointed by Bishop Martino to serve as an Episcopal Vicar for the Central Region of the Diocese of Scranton, a position that he maintained for two years.
Bishop Bambera was appointed Pastor of the Church of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Archbald, and the Church of Saint Mary of Czestochowa, Eynon, in July 2007. He was also appointed Canonical Consultant for Pastoral Planning for the Diocese of Scranton at that time.
Bishop Bambera served as an ex-officio member of the Presbyteral Council and a member of the College of Diocesan Consultors. In June 2000, he was elected Chairman of the Presbyteral Council and reelected as Chairman for a second term in June 2002. He is a past member of the Diocesan Ecumenical and Interfaith Commission, the Diocesan Seminary Admissions Committee, the Diaconate Advisory Board, the Office of Continuing Education for Priests Advisory Board, the Diocesan Independent Review Board, the Priests’ Retirement Board, the Vocations Advisory Board and the Diocesan Liturgical Commission. He is a past president of the Board of Pastors at the former Bishop Hafey High School, Hazleton and Bishop O’Hara High School, Dunmore. He served as a Judge on the Diocesan Tribunal and as Defender of the Bond for the Eparchy of St. Maron, Brooklyn.
In August 2000, Bishop Timlin appointed Bishop Bambera moderator of The Diocesan Annual Appeal for 2001, 2002 and 2003.
The President and Trustees of the University of Scranton invited Bishop Bambera to serve as a Member of the Board of Trustees for the University of Scranton in April, 2003, a position that he maintained until April, 2009. In October, 2004 he was appointed by Bishop Joseph Martino to serve on the Board of Trustees of St. Michael’s School, Hoban Heights.
Bishop Bambera was made a Prelate of Honor by His Holiness, Pope John Paul II in March, 1997.
Bishop Bambera was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI as 10th Bishop of Scranton on February 23, 2010. He was ordained and installed as Bishop of Scranton on April 26, 2010. Consecrating Bishops were Justin Cardinal Rigali, Bishop James C. Timlin, Bishop John M. Dougherty.
Bishop Bambera was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by King’s College, Misericordia University and the University of Scranton.
Bishop Bambera’s service to the national Church through the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops included:
- Committee for Ecumenism and Interreligious Affairs
- Administrative Committee
- Committee for Ecumenism and Interreligious Affairs
- Committee for International Peace and Justice
- Committee for Priorities and Plans
- National Advisory Council
- Committee on Racism
- Committee for Religious Liberty
Catholic Co-Chair of the International Catholic / Pentecostal Dialogue of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
Member and former Catholic Co-Chair of the Roman Catholic / Polish National Catholic Dialogue