SCRANTON – Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, will celebrate Mass for the 30th World Day of the Sick on Friday, Feb. 11, 2022, at 12:10 p.m. at the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Scranton.

The annual Mass is an opportunity to devote special attention to the sick and to those who provide them with assistance and care both in health care institutions and within families and communities.

This year, the faithful will once again pray in a particular way for those who have suffered – and continue to suffer – the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Mass is a special time to pray for healing and recovery of those sickened by the virus and for the medical community that has been on the frontlines of battling the coronavirus.

While in-person participation is encouraged, those who are unable to attend will be able to view the World Day of the Sick Mass live on CTV: Catholic Television of the Diocese of Scranton. A livestream will also be made available on the Diocese of Scranton website and across all Diocesan social media platforms.

In his message for the 2022 World Day of the Sick, Pope Francis said although scientists have made great strides in the field of medicine, genuine care and listening to those who suffer must always be at the forefront of any therapy.

“Patients are always more important than their diseases, and for this reason, no therapeutic approach can disregard listening to the patient, his or her history, anxieties and fears,” the pope said.

Care that respects each patient’s “dignity and frailties” is especially needed when “healing is not possible,” he added.

“It is always possible to console; it is always possible to make people sense a closeness that is more interested in the person than in his or her pathology,” the pope wrote.

SCRANTON — As has been a tradition for nearly 50 years, the Diocese of Scranton looks forward to joining with Catholic schools across the country to celebrate Catholic Schools Week this month.

Customarily observed during the last week of January, the 2022 edition of Catholic Schools Week will be celebrated Jan. 30-Feb. 5. Each of the 19 schools in the Scranton Diocesan education system is planning numerous activities for students, families, parishioners and community members to mark this year’s celebration.

Schools typically celebrate the weeklong observance with liturgies, open houses and other programs and events focusing on the value of Catholic education, which benefits not only young people but churches, communities and the nation itself.

“While we invite and welcome families at any time throughout the year, Catholic Schools Week is a time when our current and prospective families join together to experience what sets our schools apart,” Jason Morrison, Diocesan Secretary of Catholic Education/Chief Executive Officer, said. “Our unwavering commitment to serving students, particularly throughout the pandemic, ensures that we excel at providing the optimal environment to grow and achieve one’s God-given potential. We welcome you to be a part of the Catholic school difference.”

The National Catholic Education Association (NCEA) continues to emphasize the central theme that has highlighted recent Catholic Schools Week celebrations: “Catholic Schools: Faith. Excellence, Service.”

The week’s theme calls attention to the purpose of Catholic schools — to form disciples, to grow the whole person and encourage students to be witnesses to Catholic social teaching.

“As we approach Catholic Schools Week we are reminded of the incredible dedication of our teachers, staff and administration who provide the most excellent education in the most compassionate, safe and welcoming atmosphere,” Superintendent of Schools Kristen Donohue said. “Our steady delivery of instruction stretches beyond academic excellence; it very naturally includes a focus on the spiritual, emotional and social well-being of our students, faculty, staff and administrators. We are proud of the commitment of our Catholic schools to this vitally important mission.”

In addition to holding fun events for students, numerous Diocesan schools celebrate Catholic Schools Week by engaging students in selfless service to others — a central aspect of Catholic education.

Catholic schools offer academic excellence and a faith-filled education for their students. National test scores, high school graduation rates, college attendance and other data show that Catholic schools frequently outperform schools in both the public and private sectors.

Based on the average public school per pupil cost of nearly $13,000, Catholic schools also provide $22 billion in savings each year for the nation.

Pope Francis speaks as Maltese Cardinal Mario Grech, secretary-general of the Synod of Bishops, looks on during a meeting with representatives of bishops’ conferences from around the world at the Vatican in this Oct. 9, 2021, file photo. Cardinal Grech and Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, released a joint prayer that calls for the Catholic church to “walk together with all Christians” during the synod process. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – All Christians are invited to pray for unity and continue to journey together, said Cardinals Mario Grech, general secretary of the Synod of the Bishops, and Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

Toward that end, the two offices came together to offer a prayer, which could be added to the other intentions during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity Jan. 18-25.

Inspired by the theme of this year’s Week of Prayer, “We saw the star in the East, and we came to worship him,” the prayer “offers a propitious occasion to pray with all Christians that the synod will proceed in an ecumenical spirit,” the two cardinals said in a joint news release Jan. 17.

“Conscious of our need for the accompaniment and the many gifts of our brothers and sisters in Christ, we call on them to journey with us during these two years and we sincerely pray that Christ will lead us closer to him and so to one another,” they said.

The prayer is:
“Heavenly Father, as the Magi journeyed toward Bethlehem led by the star, so by your heavenly light, guide the Catholic Church to walk together with all Christians during this time of synod. As the Magi were united in their worship of Christ, lead us closer to your Son and so to one another, so that we become a sign of the unity that you desire for your church and the whole creation. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.”

Cardinals Koch and Grech have been highlighting ways the local churches can implement an ecumenical dimension of the synodal process given that “synodality and ecumenism are processes of walking together,” they wrote in a joint letter dated Oct. 28, 2021, sent to bishops responsible for ecumenism within their episcopal conferences.

The Catholic Church inaugurated a synodal process, titled “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, Mission” in October 2021. It will lead to a general assembly of the Synod of Bishops in October 2023.

Because a synodal church is a church which listens, “this listening should concern the totality of those who are honored by the name of Christian, since all the baptized participate to some degree in the sensus fidei,” Cardinals Grech and Koch wrote.

Ecumenism is an “exchange of gifts” and “one of the gifts Catholics can receive from the other Christians is precisely their experience and understanding of synodality,” they added.

Among the suggestions in the letter, the cardinals ask that dioceses reach out to the leaders of the main Christian communities in their area, inform them about the synodal process, invite them to appoint delegates to participate in the pre-synodal diocesan meetings and possibly to address the diocesan synodal assembly, organize listening sessions, and encourage them to send written reflections on the questionnaire included in the preparatory document.

Pope Francis blesses people during his general audience in the Paul VI hall at the Vatican Jan. 19, 2022. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – God is not frightened by people’s sins, mistakes or failures, Pope Francis said.

What God is afraid of is “the closure of our hearts – this, yes, this makes him suffer – he is frightened by our lack of faith in his love,” the pope said Jan. 19 during his weekly general audience.

Everybody must “square accounts” with what they have done, but “settling the accounts with God is a beautiful thing because we start talking and he embraces us” with tenderness, the pope said.

Pope Francis continued his series of audience talks about St. Joseph, reflecting on his tenderness.

Very little detail is found in the Gospels about St. Joseph’s fatherly approach, but “we can be sure that his being a ‘just’ man also translated into the education he gave to Jesus,” the pope said.

Jesus understood God’s tenderness and love, experiencing it first through St. Joseph, he said. “The things of God always come to us through the mediation of human experiences.”

“There is great tenderness in the experience of God’s love, and it is beautiful to think that the first person to transmit this reality to Jesus was Joseph himself,” he said.

In fact, Jesus always used the word “father” to speak of God and his love, he said. The most memorable account of God’s mercy is Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son, who expected punishment for his sins, but instead “he finds himself wrapped in his father’s embrace.”

“Tenderness is something greater than the logic of the world. It is an unexpected way of doing justice,” Pope Francis said.

“That is why we must never forget that God is not frightened by our sins,” he said, because God “is greater than our sins: he is the father, he is love, he is tender.”

Tenderness is “the experience of feeling loved and welcomed precisely in our poverty and misery, and thus transformed by God’s love,” the pope said.

“The Lord does not take away all our weaknesses, but helps us to walk on with our weaknesses, taking us by the hand” and walking by people’s side, he said.

“The experience of tenderness consists in seeing God’s power pass through precisely that which makes us most fragile; on the condition, however, that we are converted from the gaze of the Evil One who ‘makes us see and condemn our frailty,’ while the Holy Spirit ‘brings it to light with tender love,'” the pope said, quoting from his apostolic letter on St. Joseph, “Patris corde.”

If the devil ever speaks the truth to people, it is because he is twisting it “to tell us a lie” and to “condemn us,” the pope said. “Instead, the Lord tells us the truth and reaches out his hand to save us. We know that God’s truth does not condemn, but instead welcomes, embraces, sustains and forgives us.”

The world needs this “revolution of tenderness” and, without it, “we risk remaining imprisoned in a justice that does not allow us to rise easily and that confuses redemption with punishment,” he added.

With this in mind, the pope highlighted what people in prison need most.

“It is right that those who have done wrong should pay for their mistake, but it is equally right that those who have done wrong should be able to redeem themselves from their mistake. There cannot be sentences without a window of hope,” he said, which, in past speeches, he has explained would be sentences of life in prison or the death penalty.

“Let us think of our brothers and sisters in prison, and think of God’s tenderness for them, and let us pray for them, so they might find in that window of hope a way out toward a better life.”

St. Irenaeus of Lyon is pictured in a stained-glass window at the Basilica of Our Lady Immaculate in Guelph, Ontario. Pope Francis received a formal recommendation Jan. 20 to declare St. Irenaeus of Lyon a doctor of the church, the Vatican announced. (CNS photo/The Crosiers)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Pope Francis received a formal recommendation to declare St. Irenaeus of Lyon a doctor of the church, the Vatican said.

During a meeting with Pope Francis Jan. 20, Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes, asked the pope to “accept the affirmative opinion” of the cardinals and bishops who are congregation members to confer the title on the second-century theologian known for his defense of orthodoxy amid the rise of gnostic sects.

Once declared, St. Irenaeus would be the second doctor of the church named by Pope Francis after St. Gregory of Narek, who was given the designation in 2015. He would bring the total number of doctors of the church to 37.

Born in Smyrna, Asia Minor — now modern-day Turkey — St. Irenaeus was known as a staunch defender of the faith.

Concerned about the rise of gnostic sects within the early Christian church, he wrote “Adversus haereses” (“Against Heresies”), a refutation of gnostic beliefs that emphasized personal spiritual knowledge over faith in Christian teachings and in ecclesiastical authority.

In October, the pope had told members of the St. Irenaeus Joint Orthodox-Catholic Working Group that he intended to declare their namesake a doctor of the church.

“Your patron, St. Irenaeus of Lyon — whom I will soon declare a doctor of the church with the title, ‘doctor unitatis’ (‘doctor of unity’) — came from the East, exercised his episcopal ministry in the West, and was a great spiritual and theological bridge between Eastern and Western Christians,” he said.

During his meeting with Cardinal Semeraro, Pope Francis also signed decrees recognizing how three sainthood candidates — one man and two women — heroically lived the Christian virtues. The three were:

— Italian Archbishop Francesco Saverio Toppi, the former prelate of Pompei, who was known for his devotion to Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary. He was born in 1925 and died in 2007.

— Italian Sister Maria Teresa De Vincenti, founder of the Little Workers of the Sacred Heart. She was born in 1872 and died in 1936.

— Italian Sister Gabriella Borgarino, a member of the Daughters of Charity. She was born in 1880 and died in 1949.

Then-Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger, who later became Pope Benedict XVI, is pictured in this file photo May 28, 1977, the day of his ordination as archbishop of Munich and Freising. (CNS photo/KNA)

MUNICH (CNS) – A law firm’s report on how abuse cases were handled in the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising incriminated retired Pope Benedict XVI, with lawyers accusing him of misconduct in four cases during his tenure as Munich archbishop.

Lawyer Martin Pusch of the law firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl said the retired pope had denied wrongdoing in all cases, reported the German Catholic news agency KNA.

Pusch expressed doubt about Pope Benedict’s claim of ignorance in some cases, saying this was, at times, “hardly reconcilable” with the files.

At the Vatican, Matteo Bruni, director of the Vatican press office, said, “The Holy See believes it has an obligation to give serious attention to the document” on cases of abuse in the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising, but it has not yet had a chance to study it.

“In the coming days, following its publication, the Holy See will review it and will be able to properly examine its details. Reiterating its sense of shame and remorse for the abuse of minors committed by clerics, the Holy See assures its closeness to all victims and confirms the path taken to protect the youngest, ensuring safe environments for them,” Bruni said.

Retired Pope Benedict headed the Munich Archdiocese from 1977 to 1982, before being called to the Vatican to head the doctrinal congregation.

From 2001, when St. John Paul II charged the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – headed by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger – with the authority to take over cases from local bishops for investigation, Pope Benedict was aware of many examples of abuse. It was his office in 2003 that expedited the process for laicizing priests guilty of sexually abusing minors.

After his election in 2005, Pope Benedict worked to address lingering concerns.

Although he mostly stayed out of public view in retirement, in April 2019 the former pope published what he described as “notes” on the abuse crisis, tracing the roots of the scandal to a loss of a firm faith and moral certainty that began in the 1960s. The church’s response, he insisted, must focus on a recovery of a sense of faith and of right and wrong.

The Munich investigation followed two years of research and covers the period from 1945 to 2019, centering on who knew what about sexual abuse and when, and what action they took, if any, KNA reported. The report identified 497 victims and 235 abusers, but the lawyers who conducted the study say they’re convinced the real numbers are much higher.

Four volumes with almost 1,900 pages comprise the “litany of horror” that lawyers presented. They spoke of the “total failure” of a system, at least until 2010.

Pope Benedict’s statements on the case of the repeat offender Peter H., who came to Munich from Essen in 1980, were described by lawyer Ulrich Wastl as “not very credible.”

In a written statement, 94-year-old former pope had said he did not take part in a decisive meeting on the case when he was the archbishop of Munich. At the news conference where the legal report was presented, Wastl read out the minutes of that meeting. In it, then-Archbishop Ratzinger is mentioned in several places as a rapporteur on other topics.

The lawyers also identified misconduct by the former pope in three other cases, which he denies. These involve the transfer of clerics who had committed criminal offenses and were allowed to continue pastoral care elsewhere. The retired pope wrote that he had “no knowledge” of their deeds.

Wastl repeatedly urged people to read Pope Benedict’s 82-page statement for themselves. It provided “authentic insight” into how a top representative of the Catholic Church thinks about sexual abuse, the lawyer said.

Archbishop Georg Ganswein, personal secretary to retired Pope Benedict, told Vatican News Jan. 20 that the retired pope would read the Munich report “with the necessary attention. The pope emeritus, as he already repeated several times during the years of his pontificate, expresses his shock and shame at the abuse of minors committed by clerics, and expresses his personal closeness to and prayer for all the victims, some of whom he has met on the occasion of his apostolic trips.”

It remains to be seen whether the report will have any legal consequences. The Munich state prosecutor’s office is investigating 42 cases in which the lawyers found misconduct on the part of senior church officials.

The lawyers refrained from making recommendations to their client, the archdiocese that commissioned the report. Cardinal Reinhard Marx, whom they mainly accuse of having delegated the handling of abuse cases, said he did not want to provide detailed comment for another week.

However, later in the day, he issued a statement, which began: “My first thought today is for those affected by sexual abuse, who have experienced harm and suffering at the hands of church representatives, priests and other employees in the space of the church, on an appalling scale. I am shocked and ashamed.”

In early summer 2021, Cardinal Marx — the current archbishop of Munich — tried to resign from office to take responsibility for abuses — explicitly also for possible mistakes of his predecessors. Pope Francis rejected his request.

In his Jan. 20 statement, Cardinal Marx reiterated that “as archbishop of Munich and Freising, I feel jointly responsible for the institution of the church in recent decades. As the acting archbishop, I therefore apologize on behalf of the archdiocese for the suffering inflicted on people in the space of the church over the past decades.”

He said he followed the news conference and hoped that by Jan. 27 the archdiocese “will be able to identify initial perspectives and outline the way forward. In doing so, the diocesan authorities will continue to work closely together.”

The day before the report was released, German bishops’ Advisory Board for Victims of Abuse issued a statement noting that a series of reports on abuse in the German church showed that protection of perpetrators took precedence over protection of victims.

“If different investigations, whether forensic or with a systemic approach, always come to the same results, then there is no need for further analysis. Then it is finally time to take responsibility, then it is finally time for decisions and courageous action,” the statement said.

It noted that future abuse must be prevented, but the suffering of thousands of victims must be acknowledged in a way that changes attitudes.

“Seeing and judging is over, it is time to act – finally to act,” the statement said. It added that all people, lay as well as priests and bishops, are responsible for factors favoring abuse.

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – With so many problems and challenges in the world, especially worsened by the pandemic, people can find strength and guidance in St. Joseph, Pope Francis said.

“Precisely in this time that is so difficult, we needed someone who could encourage us, help us, inspire us, in order to understand which is the right way to know how to face these dark moments,” he said in a new interview.

“Joseph is a bright witness in dark times. This is why it was right to make room for him at this time, in order to find our way again,” he said in an interview with the Vatican’s media outlets published Jan. 13.

He said he was praying for all families that are suffering, and he understands how difficult it is to face “not being able to feed one’s children, feeling the responsibility for the life of others.”

So many families are forced to flee war, but are rejected at borders where “no one takes seriously or willingly ignores” their great need, he added. “I would like to say to these fathers, to these mothers, that for me they are heroes because I see in them the courage of those who risk their lives for love of their children, for love of their family.”

“May these fathers turn with trust to St. Joseph, knowing that as a father, he too had the same experience, the same injustice. And I would like to say to all of them and to their families, do not feel alone! The pope remembers them always and as far as it is possible, will continue to give them a voice and will not forget them,” he said.

The interview, conducted in Italian and translated into five other languages, focused on the theme of “paternity” and how St. Joseph – with his strength, determination and tenderness – is an important example for fathers, the church and families.

The pope led a special year dedicated to St. Joseph from Jan. 1, 2020, to Dec. 8, 2021, and he is currently giving a series of talks on the saint at his weekly general audiences. His papal ministry officially began on March 19, the feast of St. Joseph, and his papal coat of arms includes symbols representing Joseph as well as Mary and Jesus.

“I have always nurtured a special devotion for St. Joseph because I believe that his person represents what Christian faith should be for each of us, in a beautiful and simple way,” he said. “In fact, Joseph is a normal man, and his holiness consists precisely in making himself a saint through the beautiful and ugly things he had to experience and face.”

Mary gave birth to the Word-made-flesh and Joseph is the one “who defended him, who protected him, who nourished him, who made him grow,” the pope said.

The Holy family experienced difficult events, but St. Joseph accepted his responsibilities and knew how to listen to God speaking to his heart, he said.

The lesson there, he said, is “only someone who prays, who has an intense spiritual life, can have the capacity to know how to distinguish God’s voice in the midst of many other voices that dwell in us.”

Another lesson, he said, is “Joseph is a concrete man, that is, a man who faces problems with great practicality, who never assumes the position of being a victim when faced with difficulties and obstacles. Instead, he always places himself in the perspective of reacting, of responding, of trusting God and finding a solution in a creative way.”

At a time when many young people “are often afraid to decide, to choose, to take a risk” in life, the church can help by modeling the parenthood of Joseph: not simply saying “yes or no” to certain choices, but by encouraging the young not to be afraid to make a choice.

Every choice carries consequences and some risks, he said, and “a true father does not tell you that everything will always go well, but rather that even if you may find yourself in a situation in which things are not going well, you will be able to face and live with dignity even those moments, those failures.”

Fatherhood is facing a crisis in wider society today, and the pope said “we should have the courage to say that the church should not only be maternal but also paternal. She is called to exercise a paternal, not a paternalistic ministry.”

The church is correctly thought of as a mother and she carries out that motherhood by being merciful with a “love that generates and regenerates life,” he said. Forgiveness and reconciliation, in fact, are how people get back on their feet again.

However, the church should rediscover its paternal aspect, the pope said, which is the ability to offer the right conditions for people to carry out their responsibilities, “to exercise their freedom, to make choices.”

“If, on the one hand, mercy heals us, cures us, comforts us, encourages us,” he said, “on the other, God’s love is not limited simply to forgiving and healing, but rather, God’s love spurs us to make decisions, to go out to sea.”

SCRANTON – On Monday, Jan. 10, 2022, Jacob Mutchler and Harrison Rapp were accepted as seminarians for the Diocese of Scranton by Bishop Joseph C. Bambera and members of the Seminary Admissions Committee.

Jacob is a member of Saint Matthew Parish in East Stroudsburg and Harrison is a member of Saints Anthony and Rocco Parish in Dunmore.

Let us pray for them, their families, our nine other seminarians and all those who are discerning a call to serve our local Church as a Diocesan Priest.

Pictured, from left: Monsignor David Bohr, Diocesan Secretary for Clergy Formation; Jacob Mutchler; Harrison Rapp; and Father Alex Roche, Diocesan Director of Vocations and Seminarians.

March for Life participants demonstrate near Union Station in Washington Jan. 29, 2021, amid the coronavirus pandemic. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)

WASHINGTON (CNS) – The annual national March for Life – with a rally on the National Mall and march to the Supreme Court Jan. 21 – will go on as scheduled this year amid a surge in the omicron variant in the nation’s capital.

Outdoor events are not affected by the District of Columbia’s vaccine mandate for indoor gatherings, but participants should expect to wear face masks. Indoor events associated with the annual march will have to comply with city COVID-19 restrictions.

The national Pro-Life Summit, sponsored by Students for Life, is also scheduled to take place Jan. 22 at Washington’s Omni Shoreham Hotel. The event will feature former Vice President Mike Pence as its keynote speaker. Pence has been a frequent March for Life speaker, and in 2020 he introduced President Donald Trump at the event’s rally.

The March for Life has canceled its three-day Pro-Life Expo and is combining two planned Capitol Hill 101 panel discussions Jan. 20 into a single event. The organization is still holding its annual Rose Dinner Gala.

March for Life never projects attendance figures, but an informal survey by Catholic News Service of a few groups planning to attend this year’s march indicates that the turnout may approach pre-pandemic levels.

Last year’s march was turned into a virtual event due to the pandemic and the violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6. Only an invited group of 80, joined midway by more than 100 others, marched from the nearby Museum of the Bible to just behind the Supreme Court. It was the first outdoor event in Washington since the Capitol violence, with both the Capitol and Supreme Court surrounded by high fences.

In previous years, total attendance for the rally and march up Constitution Avenue was estimated to be as high as 100,000.

“We have nearly 250 students and faculty headed to D.C.,” said Ed Konieczka, assistant director of university ministry at the University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota. “That is five full buses – our largest contingent since leading the march in 2017.”

A similar number was estimated by organizers of the bus caravan for the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana.

However, the Diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire, decided in December 2021 that the COVID-19 risk was too high to sponsor a bus caravan.

The march is held annually on a date nearest the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion.

The first march was held Jan. 22, 1974, organized by Nellie Gray, a government lawyer, and the Knights of Columbus. The idea was to form a “circle of life” around the Capitol and the Supreme Court. Jeanne Mancini assumed leadership of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund after Gray died in 2012.

This year’s theme is “Equality Begins in the Womb.” The rally is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. with a performance by singer Matthew West. The march starts at 1:15 p.m. after the political speeches are completed.

Pennsylvanians for Human Life announce buses to March for Life on Jan. 21

Hazleton PHL Chapter

The Greater Hazleton Area Chapter of Pennsylvanians for Human Life (PHL) will host a round-trip bus excursion to Washington, D.C., for participation in the 2022 National March for Life on Friday, Jan. 21.

For further information and reservation details, contact Carol Matz at (570) 956-0817; or Maryann Lawhon at 870-788-JOHN (5646).

Wyoming Valley PHL Chapter

Pennsylvanians for Human Life, Wyoming Valley Chapter, will sponsor a bus for those wishing to attend the March for Life in Washington on Jan. 21, with a morning departure from Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Swoyersville.

Transportation cost, which includes dinner, is $65 for adults; $35 for students. Student sponsors are most welcome and appreciated.

For more information and reservations, contact Chris Calore at (570) 824-5621.

Susquehanna Valley PHL Chapter

The Susquehanna Valley Chapter of Pennsylvanians for Human Life will sponsor a bus for those wishing to attend the March for Life. For a seat on the bus, call Evelyn Rall at (570) 398-0722. There is a non-refundable fee of $25. The bus will depart from Beiter’s Home Center on Route 15, Williamsport, at 5:45 a.m.

 

CARBONDALE – The faithful of the Diocese of Scranton are invited to participate in a Mass of Thanksgiving and Sending Forth for Bishop-elect Jeffrey J. Walsh on Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022, at the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Scranton.

Everyone is invited to participate and greet Bishop-elect Walsh, who was appointed by Pope Francis to be the sixth bishop of the Diocese of Gaylord, Mich., on Dec. 21, 2021. His episcopal ordination and installation is scheduled for early March.

Many parishioners and friends of Bishop-elect Walsh plan to attend the Mass. They were equally as excited to find out the announcement.

Less than two hours after the news initially broke – Father Jeffrey J. Walsh was being appointed as the sixth bishop of the Diocese of Gaylord – many of the Bishop-elect’s current parishioners already knew about the exciting announcement as they gathered for morning Mass on Dec. 21, 2021.

Even before the 8 a.m. liturgy at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, long-time parishioner Skip Scarpino made sure everyone arriving had heard.

“Did you hear the news?” he asked multiple people as they arrived on a beautiful Tuesday morning.

Scarpino had just learned the exciting information himself when someone showed him a Facebook post.

“I was shocked when I heard the news. I remember the first year Father Walsh was a priest, he was stationed here, him and I got to be very good friends. I’m happy for him,” Scarpino said.

Right after Father Walsh was ordained a priest on June 25, 1994, his first assignment was to serve as assistant pastor at Saint Rose of Lima Church.

“He is a good pastor. He takes care of his people,” Scarpino added. “Ever since then we kept in touch, every Christmas, so on and so forth, I’m happy for him. I wish him all the luck in the world.”

Parishioners Glenn and Anna Moskosky also remember Father Walsh from his first assignment more than 25 years ago at Saint Rose of Lima Church.

“I remember him when he first came to Saint Rose. It was his first assignment. He moved on and when he came back (in 2020) we were all excited about having him,” Glenn said.

The couple, who has been married 56 years, admit the announcement is bittersweet because they will once again have to send off Father Walsh – this time to the Diocese of Gaylord.

“They’re very lucky. He’s a very humble person, I believe, and he’s truly going to be missed,” Anna said.

“He’s very pious. I think he’s going to do a really nice job,” Glenn added. “He’s not only a very good priest but he’s a good friend.”

Hundreds of people on social media echoed the feelings of Bishop-elect Walsh’s parishioners in Carbondale.

Reacting to the news on the Diocese of Scranton’s Facebook page, Lynn Cawley wrote, “Father Jeff Walsh is the epitome of a humble servant of God. Northeast PA is losing a great man!”

Martin Kearney added, “Scranton’s loss in Northern Michigan’s gain of a humble and prayerful servant. Pope Francis couldn’t have chosen a better person.”

In response to the overwhelming number of messages, Bishop-elect wanted to thank everyone who posted a kind message or send him congratulations.

Father Walsh said, “In gratitude for all the comments regarding my announcement as Bishop of the Diocese of Gaylord, I want to say thanks to all who took time to express congratulations/well wishes/kind remembrances via social media. My heart swelled with love as I read each comment and I felt truly blessed with the gift of friendship. As the adventure unfolds, the welcome mat will always be out in the wilds of northern Michigan to family and friends from NEPA. God Bless!”