The Diocese of Scranton’s Sesquicentennial Celebration continued with a Pontifical Mass at the Cathedral of Saint Peter marking the actual Anniversary Sunday of the founding of the Diocese. The liturgy was celebrated on March 4, 2018, at 3 p.m. in the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Scranton.

The Mass gave thanks to God for the many blessings He has bestowed on us – from the first Catholics to settle here, to the formal establishment of our Diocese by Pope Pius IX in 1868, and throughout its growth in the ensuing years.

Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., was the principal celebrant. Bishop Joseph C. Bambera gave the homily.

Bishop Bambera expressed his gratitude to Archbishop Chaput for joining us as the principal celebrant. The Bishop noted that the territory that now comprises the Diocese of Scranton was once part of the jurisdiction of Philadelphia.

“We are truly blessed for this opportunity to celebrate the Eucharist, to commemorate 150 years of faith and service to God and His people, and to honor all of the clergy, religious and laypersons who built the foundations of our Diocese and have enabled this local Church of northeastern and northcentral Pennsylvania to flourish from its inception to the present day,” Bishop Bambera said.

The Cathedral was filled to capacity for the Mass. Those attending included clergy, religious, and lay representatives of various Diocesan institutions, agencies and councils; delegates from the 120 parishes, and representatives from Diocesan Catholic schools. At all Masses on this weekend, all parishes in the Diocese and every Catholic were encouraged to acknowledge the anniversary and offer their prayers of thanksgiving.

This special liturgy is part of a year-long Sesquicentennial Celebration that began on the First Sunday of Advent, December 3, 2017, with a Pontifical Mass in the Cathedral celebrated by Bishop Bambera. Justin Cardinal Rigali, Archbishop Emeritus of Philadelphia and former Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Scranton, presided.

Numerous annually occurring and specially focused events throughout the year are spotlighting our Anniversary and the history of our Diocese. Among them is a Diocesan Day of Service being planned for March 3, and a Jubilee Year Pilgrimage to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., on September 22.

Each parish has received a parish participation kit, with suggestions and resources for commemorating the more local aspects of the 150th Anniversary in every part of the Diocese. The 2018 calendar produced by the Office for Parish Life features references to significant historic sites, and a companion app for smartphones is being developed.

The Catholic Light continues its periodic series of special center sections focusing on various aspects of Diocesan history. Special segments are also airing on the CTV program “Our Faith, Our Diocese.” An Anniversary Year page has been posted on the Diocesan website at, and WVIA-TV is producing a documentary that will air in March.

The celebration will close with the Anniversary Year Concluding Mass on November 25, 2018, the feast of Christ the King, at the Cathedral. The Most Reverend Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, will be the principal celebrant.