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

Reverend Michael J. Kloton, to Administrator, Pro Tem, Saint Patrick Parish, White Haven, effective October 14, 2021.  Father Kloton will continue to serve as Pastor of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Parish, Freeland, and Good Shepherd Parish, Drums.  In addition, Mrs. Mary Ann Malone will continue to serve as Parish Life Coordinator at Saint Patrick Parish, White Haven.

 

 

SCRANTON – Pope Francis wants to hear your thoughts and dreams about the Catholic Church.

The Holy Father is inviting Catholics who are already involved in church life – as well as those who may be on the margins or who have left the church – to voice their ideas and concerns about issues that are important to the Catholic Church today.

The pope is calling for the church to practice “synodality,” that is listening to – and hearing – one another in all facets of church life.

The process launches Oct. 17 in dioceses worldwide. On Oct. 10, Pope Francis celebrated Mass in Saint Peter’s Basilica to officially open the 2023 Synod of Bishops preparatory phase.

The Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, is inviting the faithful of the Diocese of Scranton to join him in an Opening Mass for the Synod of Bishops on Oct. 17 at 10:00 a.m. at the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Scranton.

The Diocesan Mass on Oct. 17 will begin a local listening process in the Diocese of Scranton that will take place over the next six months.

“Through a process of careful listening, our participation in the synod process will enable us to better understand how the Christian community participates in the life of our Church in the Diocese of Scranton today and how that shared participation among our members might grow in the future,” Bishop

Bambera wrote in a letter to the faithful earlier this month.

The Diocese of Scranton is still in the process of developing a broad consultation process that will utilize parishes, schools and other diocesan structures. While some of the listening opportunities will be conducted in-person, there will also be an online opportunity to reach all members of the community in the Diocese of Scranton.

Through this process, Pope Francis is calling all Catholics to look more deeply into how we are all “journeying together” as a church and where the Holy Spirit is calling us.

“The calling of this synod is well-aligned with the challenge Pope Francis offered his brother bishops to ‘dialogue fearlessly,’” according to a document provided to local dioceses by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. “The Holy Father has made a request of the people of God to participate as fully and authentically as possible in the synodal process.”

More details on how individuals in the Diocese of Scranton can participate and make their voice heard will be released in the coming weeks.

The Catholic Light will continue to provide coverage of the opportunities that are available to the faithful.

 

SCRANTON – Parishioners across the Diocese of Scranton are being asked to make a gift to the 2021 Diocesan Annual Appeal this weekend.

The weekend of Oct. 16 & 17 is designated as In-Pew Commitment Weekend. Pledge envelopes have been mailed to the homes of all parishioners and everyone is asked to return the envelopes to their parish offertory this weekend.

If anyone has not received a pledge envelope, they can use the form included in this week’s The Catholic Light or can visit annualappeal.org to make a safe, secure online donation.

Gifts to the 2021 Diocesan Annual Appeal have a significant impact to help diocesan ministries serve an increasing number of people in need and provide opportunities to offer programs and services in different ways in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The main ministries supported by gifts to the Diocesan Annual Appeal are:

  • Parish Social Justice Grants
  • Faith Formation Grants
  • Catholic Social Services
  • Catholic Schools
  • Care of Ill & Retired Priests
  • Support of Seminarians
  • Parish Life and Ministry Formation
  • Catholic Media and Communications

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Diocesan ministries have responded to the ongoing challenges in many unique ways.

Catholic Social Services of the Diocese of Scranton – along with parish food pantries – have served an increased number of individuals, families and seniors since the pandemic began in March 2020. All of our community partners continue to identify hunger as one of the most pressing needs throughout the pandemic and the recovery period.

During the pandemic, more than 75 percent of parishes began livestreaming Masses to keep parishioners connected. The Diocesan Office for Communications continued to broadcast the Daily Mass from the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Scranton and has offered new weekend Masses and prayer opportunities both on television and through livestreaming. Tens of thousands of parishioners have utilized the Mass broadcasts.

Significant adjustments were made in our Catholic schools in March 2020 to quickly move to distance learning. The faculty and staff of Diocesan schools worked tirelessly to provide in-person education during the 2020-2021 school year in a safe environment.

Donors to the Diocesan Annual Appeal can designate their gift to any of the ministries that is funded.

For more information on the ministries supported by the Appeal or to view one of the regional videos highlighting the importance of the Appeal visit annualappeal.org.

Gifts may also be made by calling the Diocesan Development Office at (570) 207-2250.

Donations may also be sent to: Diocesan Annual Appeal, 300 Wyoming Avenue, Scranton, PA, 18503.

 

Ann Marie Crecco, volunteer with the Saint Ann Basilica Parish food pantry, packs food bags to be distributed to people in the community.

SCRANTON – For nearly 18 years, the food pantry at Saint Ann Basilica Parish has been meeting the needs of its community.

“It started out slow in 2004 and ever since it has been growing and growing,” co-founder Dennis Yanchik said.

The West Scranton parish recently received a Social Justice Grant from the Diocesan Annual Appeal to make sure all clients are able to receive assistance. Every parish in the Diocese of Scranton can apply for a Social Justice Grant to address important needs in their community like parish food pantries.

“The Diocesan Annual Appeal is a fantastic endeavor,” Yanchik added. “It’ll help us purchase items that we’re low on. We can do a lot of things with it and we do a lot of things with it to help other people.”

Saint Ann Food Pantry holds two distributions monthly – on the second and fourth Wednesday of the month from 2:00 until 4:00 p.m.

People who rely on the food pantry say it is an important community asset.

“It is a big helping hand,” Joseph ‘Greg’ Saylock said while selecting food to take home on a recent Wednesday. “Some weeks you have nothing and then you come here and eat for a couple days.”

The Old Forge man says he appreciates the “fabulous work” of the volunteers.

“They’ve been nothing but terrific to me,” he explained.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers of the food pantry say they have seen additional clients who have fallen on hard times – whether because of job losses, health problems or loss of insurance.

“We’re here for anybody, anybody and everybody,” Yanchik said. “They don’t have to be parishioners.”

Ann Marie Crecco began volunteering at the Saint Ann Food Pantry in 2006 after seeing an advertisement in the parish bulletin.

“When you reach out to people, they reach back to you,” she said.

In addition to helping on pantry distribution days, Crecco also brings food to the homebound.

“When I deliver the food, it is where it is Christmas all over again for people,” she explained. “They just can’t believe that I actually want to help them.”

Each one of the volunteers who help operate the Saint Ann Food Pantry is humble and kind. While they often downplay the importance of their work – it is truly making a difference.

“We’re not saving the world or anything but it gives us a good feeling,” Yanchik said.

 

Laurie Coffee, left, and Kathy Draxler, parishioners of Holy Child Parish, organize baby items inside the baby boutique at the Heart of Tioga Pregnancy & Parenting Support center in Mansfield.

MANSFIELD – Since opening its doors in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, Heart of Tioga has already served more than 100 women seeking help with ultrasounds.

“We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the community,” Sharon Quimby, Executive Director, Heart of Tioga, said. “All of our donations, everything, all of our support is from the community so we couldn’t exist.”

Parishioners of Holy Child Parish in Mansfield quickly embraced the mission of Heart of Tioga. The Pregnancy and Parenting support center specializes in helping women deal with pregnancy-related issues by providing alternatives to abortion.

Several people involved in the parish’s Health Ministry Committee volunteer at Heart of Tioga. They organize the facility’s “baby boutique” which provides clothing, diapers and other essentials to mothers in need.

“It’s just a beautiful way for women to be supported,” Laurie Coffee, a Holy Child parishioner, explained.

Holy Child Parish uses funding from the Diocesan Annual Appeal to support its parish Health Ministry Committee – which includes many of its pro-life activities.

“To help a mom get through this piece is a gift to us, and a gift to them and a gift to these children because we want these children. We want them to have the babies,” Coffee added. “We want them to have the support they need to not feel like they’re alone once they have the babies.”

Heart of Tioga offers free pregnancy tests and ultrasounds to expectant mothers along with a variety of classes on pregnancy, labor and delivery and parenting skills.

Quimby says the impact of the funding from the Diocesan Annual Appeal and the assistance of volunteers from Holy Child Parish has been invaluable.

“It’s a huge blessing. There is so much that needs to be kept up,” Quimby explained.

Holy Child Parish recently held a baby bottle drive to support Heart of Tioga that raised more than $750. The parish also held a virtual baby shower for the facility in which parishioners were able to donate baby clothes.

“It’s nice to contribute something of yourself. I like to do things behind the scenes so I don’t mind taking baby items, sorting and washing,” parishioner Kathy Draxler of Sullivan Township said.

In addition to supporting Heart of Tioga, Holy Child Parish uses its funding from the Diocesan Annual Appeal to support several other programs that support its parish community, including the local food pantry and a medical equipment loan program.

“The monies that we received from the Social Justice Grant have allowed us to purchase, in this past year, two oversized wheelchairs. In the past, we’ve made purchases of a knee-scooter, attachments of feet for wheelchairs and a lot more,” Dotty Welsh, Holy Child parishioner and medical equipment coordinator said.

In a small shed located in the back of the parish parking lot, the parish’s health ministry committee stores numerous wheelchairs, walkers, canes and crutches that can be loaned out to people in the community when the need arises.

“This ministry would not be functioning as it does if it weren’t for the Social Justice Grant. We don’t have any fundraisers,” Welsh explained.

People in the community have benefited greatly from the medical equipment loan program.

“It is a wonderful program,” Linda Brown of Mansfield said. “In 2006, I had a hip replaced so I borrowed a cane, walker and raised toilet seat. In 2011, I had a knee replaced so I borrowed the same thing. In 2019, I had another knee done so I have used this many times!”

Anyone needing the medical equipment simply needs to sign the items out and can keep whatever they borrow as long as they need it.

“We had a call from a young woman in Wellsboro whose husband had terminal cancer and she wanted him to be able to come home but she needed a hospital bed, so we took and transported one and set it up in their house for them,” Welsh said.

 

PITTSTON –– Our Lady of the Eucharist Parish will host its 64th Annual Novena to Saint Jude, patron saint of hopeless cases and things despaired of, at Saint Mary, Help of Christians Church, 535 N. Main St., Pittston, beginning Tuesday, Oct. 19, and concluding on the Feast of Saint Jude, Thursday, Oct. 28.

Mass, homily, Novena prayers and veneration of the relic of Saint Jude will be held Monday through Friday at noon and 7 p.m. Saturday devotions are offered at noon and 4 p.m.; Sundays at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Recitation of the Rosary and Confessions precede all Novena devotions, except on Sunday.

Scheduled Novena homilists are as follows:

Tuesday, Oct. 19, noon and 7 p.m., Father Mark DeCelles; Wednesday, Oct. 20, noon and 7 p.m., Father Seth Wasnock.

Thursday, Oct. 21, noon and 7 p.m., Father Brian Van Fossen; Friday, Oct. 22, noon, Father James Alco, and 7 p.m., Saint Joseph Oblate Father Paul McDonnell, Sacramental Minister for Our Lady of the Eucharist Parish.

Saturday, Oct. 23, noon, Father Thomas Maloney, pastor emeritus; and 4 p.m., Father McDonnell; Sunday, Oct. 24, 11 a.m., Father McDonnell, and 5 p.m., Father Maloney.

Monday, Oct. 25, noon and 7 p.m., Father Alex Roche; Tuesday, Oct. 26, noon and 7 p.m., Father Michael Bryant.

Wednesday, Oct. 27, noon and 7 p.m., Father Jeffrey Walsh.

On the Feast of Saint Jude, Thursday, Oct. 28, Father Gerald Shantillo, Vicar General of the Scranton Diocese, will celebrate the Novena’s closing liturgies at noon and 7 p.m.

For more information, contact the parish office at (570) 654-0263.

 

SCRANTON – The organizers of several community-based Thanksgiving programs are asking the people of northeastern Pennsylvania to open their hearts and ensure no one goes without this holiday season.

Linda Robeson, whose family spearheads the Family-to-Family Thanksgiving Food Basket Program, expects to distribute food to more than 3,500 families this year and has already ordered more than $150,000 in supplies. That is $25,000 more in food than was needed last year.

The food will be distributed on Wednesday, Nov. 24, in the parking lot of the Armed Forces Reserve Center, 3401 Olyphant Avenue, Scranton. The event will begin at 10 a.m. and run through 5:30 p.m.

“We’re so grateful for every penny because we need every penny,” Robeson explained. “Five dollars and twenty dollars add up very quickly.”

The Family to Family Food Basket Program started in 1986 and has traditionally taken place inside the Scranton Cultural Center. Because of the need for social distancing, the location of the distribution will take place at the Armed Forces Reserve Center for the first time.

The annual Thanksgiving Dinner for Adults and Elderly, organized by the Friends of the Poor, will also see changes for the second year in a row because of the pandemic.

Dinners will once again be packed as take-outs and handed out to those in need outside the Scranton Cultural Center in a drive-by event on Tuesday, Nov. 23, from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. Volunteers will distribute the meals on the corner of North Washington Avenue and Vine Street in Scranton.

“It’ll be chaotic but it’ll be fun and there’s nothing more fitting for a Friends of the Poor event,” Friends of the Poor Operations Manager Brady Funkhouser said.

Initiated by the late Sister Adrian Barrett, I.H.M., in 1976 with 24 guests in need of a meal and family to share it with, the event has grown steadily over the decades. This year, an estimated 3,500 dinners will be prepared and distributed.

This year will mark 45 years of the Friends of the Poor hosting the Thanksgiving Dinner for Adults and Elderly.

The Thanksgiving Community Program will kick off with an Interfaith Prayer Service held the Friday night before the two big food distributions take place. All are welcome to join.

“On Nov. 19, at 7:00 p.m., we will gather at Temple Hesed for the first time since 2019 to celebrate the blessings we as a community have seen over the past year and a half. We’ll pray for those who still struggle and we’ll come together as a community in hope, love and gratitude,” Funkhouser noted. 

HOW TO HELP

FAMILY TO FAMILY

A donation of $30 sponsors a family of four. Donations can be sent to:

Family to Family Program
PO Box 13, Scranton, PA 18501

Online donations can be made at friendsofthepoorscranton.com/family-to-family-food-basket-program

Text your donation by texting “Thanks” to (570) 525-5956

THANKSGIVING DINNER FOR ADULTS AND ELDERLY

Friends of the Poor is looking for donors to cover the cost of the 76 30-pound turkeys that are ordered along with other food and takeout items. Send donations to:

Friends of the Poor
Thanksgiving Community Dinner
2300 Adams Avenue
Scranton, PA 18509

Online donations can be made at friendsofthepoorscranton.com

For more information, call (570) 340-6086

 

 

 

 

Saint Mary, Our Lady Help of Christians Church in Dorrance hosted the Saint Jude Youth Group for a combined Diocesan Day of Service on Oct. 2, 2021. The jobs that volunteers participated in included cleaning bazaar stands and the parish hall along with painting classrooms. (Photo/Ed Koons)

HAZLETON – From cleaning up a cemetery to making birthday bags for children who visit a soup kitchen, more than 165 people throughout the Diocese of Scranton participated in various service projects on the weekend of Oct. 2 and 3.

Parish and school groups arranged service opportunities in their communities as part of the “Scranton Serves” initiative. Organized by the Diocesan Offices for Parish Life and Vocations, the weekend of service challenged people to put their faith into action in tangible ways.

More than 30 people participated in a clean-up project on Oct. 2 at Transfiguration Cemetery in the Hazleton area. Volunteers from both Holy Rosary Parish in Hazleton and Holy Name of Jesus Parish in West Hazleton rolled up their sleeves to help.

“It was a good project for both parishes to get together,” volunteer Brian Schott said. “It’s really great because some people we haven’t seen before. We’re getting to make new friends.”

Shannon Marsyada, a parishioner at Holy Name of Jesus Parish, admits she did not know many of her fellow volunteers at first but quickly became acquainted with everyone.

Volunteers from Holy Rosary Parish in Hazleton and Holy Name of Jesus Parish in West Hazleton work to clean up Transfiguration Cemetery on Oct. 2, 2021. (Photo/Ed Koons) 

“I love volunteering. I feel like I’m doing God’s work. He is using my hands today,” she said. “This is what God intended for us to do. We’re not here for ourselves. We’re here for each other.”

Father Wilfredo Cusicanqui, Assistant Pastor of both parishes, also participated in the service project saying he was very happy to see all the people who assisted.

“It’s fantastic to see the turnout and everyone is just working and looking to see what else they could do in order to make the cemetery a beautiful place for others to rest,” volunteer Barbara Bayzik said.

While the cemetery clean up was underway in lower Luzerne County, dozens of young adults from Saint Matthew Parish in East Stroudsburg and Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish in Brodheadsville were participating in the Pocono Pregnancy Center’s Walk for Life in Stroudsburg as part of “Scranton Serves.”

Volunteers from Saint Ignatius Parish work to clean up the pasture for the sheep at the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker Farm in Harveys Lake on Oct. 3, 2021. (Photo/Shannon Kowalski)

Following the walk, the volunteers from Saint Matthew Parish took part in clean-up projects around their church while some people from Our Lady Queen of Peace did landscaping outside Shepherd’s Maternity House, a pregnancy resource center operated by Catholic Social Services.

Meanwhile, 7th and 8th grade Confirmation students at Gate of Heaven Parish in Dallas and Our Lady of Victory Parish in Harveys Lake made 56 birthday bags for children who visit the Saint Vincent de Paul Kitchen or reside at the McAuley House. The bags were filled with cake mixes, icing, birthday candles, balloons, streamers, toys and more.

At Saint Mary, Help of Christians Parish in Dorrance, nearly 50 people worked to clean church pavilions, paint classrooms and clean the social hall kitchen.

“It is good to help out the church,” volunteer Conor Buckley said. “We’re just cleaning up the church. We’re getting ready for a festival that we’re about to have.”

Parishioners of Saint Mary’s got assistance from their linked parish, Saint Jude’s in Mountain Top.

“It’s good for people to get out in their community,” volunteer Jack Scanlan added. “I think it’s nice when you get a lot of people here. It makes the work go by faster and you get more work done in total.”

“I think it’s really good to see that all these people who didn’t have to be here came to help out,” volunteer Steven Rowlands added.

On Sunday, Oct. 3, the service projects continued as more than 20 volunteers from Saint Therese Parish in Shavertown made blankets for children in need of a proper place to sleep.

Seven volunteers from Saint Ignatius Parish in Kington also volunteered to clear the fall and winter pasture for sheep at the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker Farm in Harveys Lake.

 

PLAINS — Father John Lambert, pastor, announces Saints Peter & Paul Parish will host a day of devotion with Eucharistic celebration on Sunday, Nov. 28, honoring Saint Padre Pio, as the parish welcomes the saint’s relics from the Saint Pio Foundation in New Rochelle, N.Y.

The commemorative gathering opens at 1 p.m. with recitation of the Holy Rosary, followed by a brief introduction.

Sunday Mass will be offered at 2 p.m. at Saints Peter & Paul Church, 13 Hudson Road, Plains, followed by exposition and benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

Serving as principal celebrant and homilist for the liturgical celebration will be Franciscan Father Pio Mandato who received his First Communion from Padre Pio of Pietrelcina in Italy and currently serves in the Scranton Diocese.

The Mass will be concelebrated by Father Lambert and Saint Joseph Oblate Father Paul McDonnell, rector of the Oblates of Saint Joseph Chapel, Laflin, and Sacramental Minister for Our Lady of the Eucharist Parish, Pittston.

The day’s celebration will conclude with veneration of relics of Saint Padre Pio, in conjunction with video presentations on the life of the saint.

All faithful throughout the Diocese are welcome to attend. For more information, contact Cathy Mack, coordinator, at (570) 654-6063.

 

Reverend Vincent H. Dang celebrates the closing Mass for Holy Family Parish in Sugar Notch on Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021.

SUGAR NOTCH – With a turn of the key, parishioner Agnes Munley ceremonially locked the doors of Holy Family Church on Sept. 19, 2021.

Prior to the locking ritual, dozens of parishioners gathered for a closing Mass for the church at 1:00 p.m. Father Vincent H. Dang, pastor, celebrated the Mass. Father Joseph R. Kakareka, pastor emeritus, concelebrated.

As parishioners processed out of the church for the final time, they sang “Holy God, We Praise Thy Name.”

Holy Family Parish was established in 1903 to serve Polish immigrants who came to the United States around the turn of the century. Many settled in the Sugar Notch area for jobs in the coal mines. The coal altar inside the church was purchased in 2000 in memory of those men.

Over its 118-year history, the parish educated students in its own elementary school and underwent numerous renovations – which included new entrances, interior painting and the addition of the coal altar. Holy Family Parish’s current brick building took three years to build and was dedicated on Sept. 13, 1913. The parish’s first wooden church was destroyed by fire after being struck by lightning in June 1910.

Parish restructuring has been part of the history of Holy Family Parish – as the community faced the closure of Ss. Peter & Paul Church in 1995 and Saint Charles Borromeo in 2009.

With the closure of Holy Family Parish, parishioners will now belong to Saint Leo the Great Parish in Ashley, and the territory boundary of Saint Leo the Great Parish will now include the previous territorial boundaries of Holy Family Parish.

May God’s Blessings be upon all of the parishioners of Holy Family Parish and the newly formed Saint Leo the Great Parish.