Bishop Joseph C. Bambera has invited Chris DiMattio and Ann Celli DiMattio, Moscow, and Father Patrick Albert, pastor, Saint Mary of the Lake Parish, Lake Winola, and Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish, Tunkhannock, to serve as Appeal regional lay and clergy chairs for Lackawanna and Wyoming counties.

Father Albert grew up in the neighborhood of Nativity Parish, Scranton, now Saint John Neumann. He previously served as pastor of Ascension Parish, Forest City, where he oversaw the renovation of a church building that represented several parishes coming together in the region.

“I’ve come to appreciate there is tremendous need among the poor and the elderly. I see the outpouring of people seeking assistance every single day in our community,” Father Albert said. “We have to be up to the challenge.”

Appeal social justice grants help Father Albert’s parishes serve the needy through the Lower Wyoming County Food Pantry and Seven Loaves which provides hot meals five days a week at no cost.

“I remind my parishioners there are a wide variety of services covered by the Appeal. Many people served are unbeknown to us. You see it through all aspects of the Appeal. Looking closely it becomes more personal…Wow, this is the core of our Diocese. This is what we do as followers of Christ,” he explained.

The DiMattios are members of Saint Catherine of Siena Parish, Moscow, and parents of sons, Louis and Robert. Chris is a senior financial advisor at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management. A registered dietitian, Ann is presently a full-time mom. Both are daily communicants.

The couple was married at the Cathedral of Saint Peter by the late Most Rev. Robert C. Morlino, later Bishop of Madison, Wisconsin. In his memory, the DiMattios made a gift to the Cathedral of Saint Peter Restoration Project for one of the Cathedral’s external dome crosses in the Diocese Bishop Morlino loved.

“Our brightest experiences in life have come by participating at faith events,” Chris said. “Whether during a Holy Hour at Saint Catherine’s Adoration Chapel or praying the Novena at Saint Ann’s Basilica, we are extremely grateful for the blessings God has bestowed on us.”

“When complications arose days after the birth of our first son, Louis, panic wasn’t an option. We knew he was in God’s care and mercy,” Ann added.

The couple recognize the obligation of Catholics to provide financial help to individuals who suffer from poverty and hardships. “We understand that it may be uncomfortable talking about financial giving especially in these times,” Chris said regarding the Appeal. “But the spiritual services we took for granted by so loving priests now deceased or retired are very present in our lives today. They deserve our support.”