SCRANTON, PA (September 20) – Nearly 200 young adults from across the Diocese of Scranton are expected to get their hands dirty and make their communities a better place during the 2019 Diocesan Day of Service scheduled for Saturday, September 21, 2019.

Students from parishes, Catholic high schools and local colleges have all volunteered to take part in various projects across the 11-county Diocese.

This is the third year for the Diocesan Day of Service. Service projects will be taking place in four different regions across the Diocese: Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, East Stroudsburg and Williamsport. The Day of Service in each region will begin with a Mass, followed by volunteer opportunities at varying sites. The Day of Service will conclude in each region with lunch, prayer and reflection on the experience.

Media members are invited to cover service projects in any of the varying region. The best time for visuals/interviews will typically be between 10:00 am and Noon. For best location of service projects during that time frame, contact the region coordinator for exact locations.

Scranton Region
Service Sites include: IHM Center at Marywood University, Nay Aug Park, Saint Joseph’s Center, Lackawanna River Clean-up 

Wilkes-Barre Region
Service Sites include: Wyoming Valley Catholic Youth Center, Ruth’s Place, Dorothy Day Farm 

East Stroudsburg Region
Service Sites include: Habitat for Humanity, Stony Acres, Notre Dame High School, Garden of Giving 

Williamsport Region
Service Sites include: Family Promise, Expectations, Sojourner Truth, Williamsport Cemetery


The internationally-acclaimed forty voice chamber choir from Slovenia, Megaron, will perform at St. John the Evangelist Church, 35 William Street, Pittston, on Sunday, September 29 at 7:30 p.m. The concert is free and open to the public.

Megaron was founded in October 2003 by Damijan Mocnik, composer and conductor, and is compromised of former music students from the Diocesan Classical Gymnasium at St. Stanislav’s Institution in Ljubljana, Republic of Slovenia. In the years since its founding, Megaron has evolved into a high-quality choir performing regularly in Slovenia as well as in Austria, Italy, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Poland, Canada, and the United States, thus earning a stellar reputation at home as well as abroad.

The choir is noted for its rich sound and exciting interpretations of music from different stylistic periods. It prides itself on numerous awards received at various national as well as international choral competitions.

For more information, please contact St. John the Evangelist Parish office at 570-654-0053 or email


From left: Joe Montagna, Wells Fargo branch manager; Kristen Bolin, Wells Fargo banker; Sandra Snyder, Diocese of Scranton grant writer; Mary Theresa Malandro, diocesan secretary for Catholic human services and CEO of Catholic Social Services; Oiram Santos, district manager, Wells Fargo.

The Wells Fargo Foundation supported Catholic Social Services of the Diocese of Scranton with a $2,000 grant to offset expenses related to its financial literacy case management services in Lackawanna County.

Through two offices, in Scranton and Carbondale, Catholic Social Services, as part of its Relief Assistance Program, helps nearly 2,000 clients per year re-examine their financial resources and create individualized financial recovery plans. CSS case managers work with financially struggling clients who often find themselves threatened with homelessness or are living in substandard housing.

The Relief Assistance program began in 1929 and has continued to grow each year.

“Case-management services that focus on financial literacy are important in positioning our clients to move toward permanent housing and long-term self-sufficiency,” said Mary Theresa Malandro, Diocesan Secretary for Catholic Human Services. “Case management is among Catholic Social Services’ core services, especially in an era of hidden homelessness, and we are grateful to the Wells Fargo Foundation for recognizing its importance in our community.”

CSS case managers help clients create and stick to workable household budgets, open and manage bank accounts, manage rent or mortgage payments, identify and eliminate unnecessary expenses and make proper use of surpluses by using savings accounts.

Financial literacy case management is offered at 516 Fig St. in Scranton and 34 River St. in Carbondale. Walk-in or by-appointment services are available.

For more information about the program, contact Stephanie Miller, program manager, community services, at 570-207-2283 or


Left to Right (1st Row) Ed Weihbrecht, Trustee Plymouth Council 984, Rick Korpusik, Faithful Navigator Pittston Council 372, Rev. John Terry, Pastor, Our Lady of Hope Parish, Christopher Calore, Plymouth Council 984 and Rosary Rally Chairperson, Deacon Joseph DiVizia, James Mazeitis, Past Grand Knight Council Assumpta Council 3987, Sir Joseph Pikaitis, Assumpta Council 3987. (2nd Row) Mike Radzwilla, Grand Knight Plymouth Council 984, George Grantkuskas, Past Grand Knight Plymouth Council 984, Matt Owazany, District Deputy Plymouth Council 984, Charles Jankoviak, Lector Swoyersville Council 12976, David Miller, Recorder Swoyersville Council 12976, Tom Havrilak, Grand Knight Assumpta Council 3987, John Bankus, Sr., Trustee Swoyersville Council 12976.

The combined Knights of Columbus Councils of Wyoming Valley will host their 43rd annual Rosary Rally on Sunday, October 6th, at Our Lady of Hope Parish, 40 Park Ave., Wilkes-Barre, where Father John Terry is Pastor.

The Knights of Columbus will begin a Rosary Procession from the Church at 2 pm., with the Our Lady of Fatima Pilgrim Virgin Statue, followed by the participating faithful.

The Rosary Rally is dedicated to prayer and sacrifice in reparation for sin and for the salvation of souls as Our Lady has requested at Fatima, Portugal. Those unable to process are invited to go directly to the Church at 3 pm., at which time the Knights will lead the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary.

Sunday’s Eucharistic Liturgy will be celebrated immediately following the Rosary, and refreshments will be served after Mass in the Parish School.  Shown are Knights of Columbus members from Councils throughout Wyoming Valley.



Built of Living Stones

CLARKS GREEN, PA (SEPTEMBER 3, 2019) – After years of discussion and planning, the Church of Saint Gregory will dedicate a multimillion dollar renovation and expansion project this weekend.

Bishop Joseph C. Bambera will celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving, Blessing and Dedication on Saturday, September 7, 2019 at 5:00 p.m. The media is cordially invited to attend.

Originally dedicated in 1976, parishioners at the Church of Saint Gregory launched a building campaign to meet the needs of its evolving parish community.

“I believe with all my heart the parish is, first, a people, and the most effective instrument of evangelization is the parish’s visible hospitality, its vitality, and its own faithfulness to Christ,” Father John M. Lapera, Pastor, Church of Saint Gregory said. “The Church of Saint Gregory stands ready to build on some forty years of life and experience and recommit itself to the all-important ministry of Evangelization in the 21st century.  We are a people called together by God to build for God’s community as stewards of God’s gifts.”

The parish expansion is designed to enhance the spiritual life of our parish family in areas of Worship, Word, Community and Service.  The Church of Saint Gregory will now benefit from additional space which is flexible for various configurations of both large and small gatherings.

In addition to the Ministry Center expansion, the current Church has received renovations, including the expansion of choir area, new carpet, garden restoration, new organ and tabernacle along with provisions for seating in the Narthex of the Church for special occasions and overflow crowds.

“As wonderful as the space will be, even more important are the individuals, families, and friends of the Church of Saint Gregory — the living stones — who have so generously contributed prayer, service, and sacrificial gifts to the building project,” Father Lapera added.

The cost of the renovation and expansion project is $3.5 million. Two-thirds of that money has been raised by parishioners.


DICKSON CITY, PA (September 6, 2019) – Public safety and emergency staff and their families have been invited to gather for prayer at the Church of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary as the Church conducts its annual Blue Mass this Sunday, September 8, at 10:30 a.m.

Bishop Joseph C. Bambera will celebrate the Mass. The public is invited to participate.

The Blue Mass, named for the traditional color of the uniform worn by many public safety personnel, provides an occasion to recognize the dedication and self-sacrifice of police, fire and emergency personnel, including paramedics, ambulance and life support system operators, emergency 911 dispatchers, volunteer agencies and units. During the liturgical celebration, their work in rendering assistance to others is recognized and affirmed.


A Haitian woman does laundry Sept. 2, 2019, in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian in Marsh Harbour, Bahamas. (CNS photo/Dante Carrer, Reuters)


As Hurricane Dorian continues to impact the southern United States, you may have already seen some of the heartbreaking images from the Bahamas where the Category 5 storm made landfall on September 1, bringing record wind, rain and storm surges.

We pray for all our Bahamian brothers and sisters who have been affected by Hurricane Dorian. We ask Our Lord to be with the responders and rescue crews and that all those in harm’s way be given the help they need.



If you are looking for ways to help, donations are being accepted by Catholic Relief Services and Catholic Charities USA.

People gather outside the Marsh Harbour Medical Clinic Sept. 4, 2019, in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas. (CNS photo/Dante Carrer, Reuters)

Supporting these organizations will help people through the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Dorian and will continue to help them as they work through the long process of recovery.

Online donations for Catholic Relief Services can be made at and Catholic Charities USA at




CARBONDALE, PA (September 4, 2019) – With an influx of dozens of new families to its food pantries in Lackawanna County in August, Catholic Social Services of the Diocese of Scranton is now asking for the public’s help to assist our neighbors in need.

The shelves at both the Carbondale and Scranton facilities are nearly empty as the summer nears an end and students return to school.

A severe shortage of food forced the Scranton food pantry location, 638 Hemlock Street, to cancel its one-day-a-week service on Tuesday, September 3, 2019.

In Carbondale, just in the month of August 2019, the Catholic Social Services Food Pantry assisted 81 new families as well as 621 households including 477 children.

The Diocese of Scranton Office for Parish Life has reached out to parishes in the region and many have started to collect food for the two locations. Any assistance from the public is also appreciated.

Donations of any non-perishable food items is welcome, including pasta, pasta sauce, macaroni and cheese, tuna, canned vegetables, instant potatoes, chili, jelly, breakfast items, cereal, pancake mix or oatmeal.

Donations can be dropped off during the week at the following locations:


Catholic Social Services Scranton                              Catholic Social Services Carbondale

516 Fig Street, Scranton                                                34 River Street, Carbondale

9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.                                                     8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Online monetary donations can also be made at:
(Gifts for the food pantries can be designated by using CSS Lackawanna/Wayne County)


ROARING BROOK TOWNSHIP – With religious education classes poised to resume at many parishes in the coming weeks, the Diocesan Office for Parish Life provided catechists the chance to come together and learn new faith formation tools earlier this month.

Catechist Camp 2019 took place during the week of August 3-9, 2019 at various parishes in every region of the Diocese of Scranton.

Jacki Douglas, the new Diocesan Director of Word and Lifelong Faith Formation, says the one-day events focused on empowering those involved in catechetical ministry or family-oriented faith formation.

“Being a catechist is a tough ministry because you don’t always work on yourself,” Douglas said. “What we are trying to do here is give them a day to work on their faith journey and while they’re working on their faith journey, bring back practical things they can do in the classroom with their kids.”

Dozens of people took part in the varying Catechist Camp sessions, which were held at Resurrection Parish in Muncy, Saint John Parish in East Stroudsburg, Saint Eulalia Parish in Roaring Brook Township and Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Swoyersville.

“While we’re trying to make their job a little bit easier, we’re also trying to fill them up and give them a day to have an encounter with Christ,” Douglas said. “What is better than to talk with somebody that knows exactly what you’re going through? They know your struggles but they know your joys!”

At the session at Saint Eulalia Parish, catechists from a number of parishes in Lackawanna and Wayne counties got a chance to take part in interactive sessions.

“I usually learn at least one or two really important aspects that I can take back and share with my catechists and it invigorates me. It gets me started for the new year. It energizes me! It gets me back on track,” Mary Kennedy of Blessed Virgin Mary Queen of Peace Parish in Hawley said.

Kennedy said she came to Catechist Camp looking for inspiration and confidence and learned a lot from the event.

“There’s a lot of sharing that goes on. People will give ideas or suggestions that I may not have thought of because we’re all so diverse. I learn as much from the other people attending as I do from the presenters!” Kennedy added.

As she gets ready for her second year teaching religious education, Becky Rinella of Saint Thomas More Parish in Lake Ariel decided to attend Catechist Camp.

“It’s nice to see what other people do, get some more input and different ideas,” Rinella said.

Rinella, who also teaches high school, attended Catechist Camp because she wanted to meet new people and get some questions answered.

“I came last year and it was a lot of fun. It’s nice to see what other people do and you can always learn something new!” Rinella said.

Some of the breakout sessions during this year’s Catechist Camp focused on social justice issues like the death penalty, creating mission trips with a purpose and finding the extraordinary in ordinary life.

Father Brian J.T. Clarke also presented a general session to all attendees titled, “To Every Creature: Preaching the Good News to All.” Father Clarke highlighted the upcoming Extraordinary Mission Month in October. The theme chosen by Pope Francis is “Baptized and Sent: The Church of Christ on Mission in the World.”

“We’re hoping this is something the catechists and DRE’s (Directors of Religious Education) really embrace. They can really take what Father Clarke is speaking about and really bring it back and really make it an important month in the curriculum year for their classes,” Douglas said.

As the new year of religious education begins for the region’s youth, catechists like Mary Kennedy say she feels blessed to work with children.

“It is truly a gift from God and he has called me to do it and I am honored and thrilled to have the opportunity,” Kennedy said.





SAYRE — Margaret Barry and her husband, Joseph, appreciate the value of Catholic education for their children.

“My family has a long history with Epiphany School. I graduated in 1984 from Epiphany. I think the most important thing Epiphany offers is an education where faith is in action everyday,” Margaret Barry said.

As the 2019-2020 school year gets underway across the 20 Catholic schools in the Diocese of Scranton, the Barry family is just one of many that are thankful for the opportunities available.

“It’s obviously a great academic education but it definitely provides an opportunity for our students to live their faith,” Margaret Barry added.

“The financial sacrifice is worth it because the students here get a great education, starting in kindergarten through sixth grade. They go from learning about history as early as kindergarten and first grade with Sister Ann, all the way up through fourth, fifth and sixth grade with the national parks and STREAM programs and just great science and arts programs,” Joseph Barry said.

With the new school year beginning, the Diocese of Scranton welcomes Mrs. Kristen Donohue as its new Superintendent of Catholic Schools. Donohue assumed her new role in July and will be responsible for ensuring the academic excellence of the more than 4,500 students in the Diocese’s school system.

As she waited for the school year to begin, Donohue used the summer months to visit every building, meet with administrators and focus on new technology initiatives that will be rolled out in the coming months.

“Principals and teachers have been completely immersed in the new initiatives over the summer and are really excited to be able to share these learning opportunities with our students,” Donohue said.

Mrs. Donohue previously served as Principal of Western Wayne Middle School, taking on the dual role of Curriculum Director for the Western Wayne School District. In addition to her administrative roles at both the high school and intermediate levels, Donohue brings nearly a decade of teaching experience to her new position.

Mrs. Donohue will work collaboratively with Mr. Jason Morrison, Diocesan Secretary of Catholic Education/Chief Executive Officer, who is responsible for all administrative aspects of Catholic Education in the Diocese, including enrollment, development, academic success and financial stability.

“The model that the Bishop has developed for the Diocese as it relates to our leadership is working exactly as it should. Kristen’s experience and especially her depth of expertise in academics, I see it every day and it really will make us much better!” Morrison said.

The new school year brings new and exciting opportunities for students in every building. Each Diocesan school has received a new Padcaster, which transforms an iPad into an all-in-one mobile production unit. Complete with microphones, a portable green screen and teleprompter, the students will be able to capture their activities and share them.

“Parents will be able to see first-hand how their students are taking part in promoting the education they’re receiving in the Diocese,” Donohue said.

During the summer months, administrators and faculty members were involved in numerous days of training and professional development.

Representatives from all 20 schools attended the NCEA New Directions STREAM 3.0 Conference in June in Parsippany, New Jersey.

“What is really important to us is not just that we have the technology but that we use it,” Morrison said. “Our goal is to ensure that the technology is utilized to enhance growth and educational outcomes for our students.”

Another key area of change during the 2019-2020 school year will surround student assessment.

The Catholic School System in the Diocese of Scranton has partnered with NWEA (Northwest Evaluation Association) to measure student growth and proficiency in subject areas including reading, math and science.

“Our teachers will have the opportunity to use data that speaks to the individual student in order to really drive instruction that is meaningful and rigorous,” Donohue said.

The new assessments will help provide feedback to teachers to address the needs or concerns for students who may need additional help, while also challenging students who have proficient understanding of the subject material.

“It looks not just at assessment but it looks at growth for students which is really differentiating and honing in on the individual as opposed to how we’re doing across the board,” Morrison said.

“All teachers who teach the student will have the opportunity to look at this data and use it for their instruction so even if they’re teaching social studies, they’ll have the ability to know what each student is capable of and where to really hone in on helping each student,” Donohue added.

As the school year begins, school administrators are excited to welcome students back.

“We’re grateful and we understand and appreciate the sacrifice that parents make to send their children to our schools,” Morrison said. “Our promise is to allow all children to achieve their God-given potential!”

While the Diocese has schools located in varying geographic regions, from Sayre to Stroudsburg, Williamsport to Jessup, Donohue believes that is a strength and sets the Diocesan education system apart.

“It’s a unique, advantageous opportunity to have all the schools in the different geographic areas because it speaks to the importance of understanding the value that each community can bring,” Donohue said.

Our schools welcome the opportunity to show anyone firsthand the outstanding facilities and committed faculty that strive to help students become life-long learners. For more information on our schools, including how to enroll and tuition assistance, you can contact the Catholic Schools Office at (570) 207-2251 or visit