October 16, 2019

A total of 799 young adults from across the Diocese of Scranton are being honored this fall for their commitment to their faith and service to their parishes and schools.

The 2019 Bishop’s Youth Awards have been handed out to 8th grade and 12th grade students at four Masses in which Bishop Joseph C. Bambera has served as principal celebrant.

The award ceremonies began on Monday, September 23, at Saint Nicholas Parish in Wilkes-Barre where 337 nominees were honored.

The Masses continued on Monday, September 30, at Our Lady of Victory Parish in Tannersville where 117 students received awards and the following evening, Tuesday, October 1, at Saint Paul Parish in Scranton, where there were 289 nominees.

The final 56 nominees were recognized at a Mass held on Monday, October 7, at Saint Boniface Parish in Williamsport.

The first Bishop’s Youth Awards were handed out in 1996.

“It’s very important to me because I get to see the Bishop,” Evan Stabinski, 14, of Scranton said.

“I serve at the Cathedral every Sunday at 10:00 a.m. and with my Boy Scout troop I occasionally do food drives and pasta dinners and I also help with the church dinners,” Stabinski said.

Evan’s twin brother Alexander also received an award and recognizes its importance.

“It’s an honor because of the fact they think I’m doing well serving God and serving my community,” Alexander Stabinski said.

The twins, who both attend All Saints Academy, find their faith in every aspect of their life, whether it’s in Church, home or their school.

“All Saints is like a family. Everybody is very close,” Alexander Stabinski said. “Faith is a big part of the education.”

Another eighth grade award recipient is Marcus Binner of Tunkhannock.

“I altar serve, sing in the choir and I was also in The Way with my brother,” Marcus Binner said.

As he saw all of the young people gathering at Saint Paul Church in Scranton to receive their awards, Binner was awestruck.

“It’s actually incredible how many people are here. It’s really cool. It’s really inspiring,” Binner added.

Marcus Binner’s older brother, Paul, a 12th grade student, was also honored with a Bishop’s Youth Award.

“I think it’s a pretty cool award because it shows how all these high-schoolers have been involved and they put a lot into their faith,” Paul Binner said.

Ethan Lehutsky, 18, a 12th grade student from Wayne County was also recognized with an award.

“I feel honored,” Lehutsky said. “I’m an Eagle Scout. I completed my Eagle project which was cleaning up the Glen Dyberry Cemetery after a tornado a couple years back hit Honesdale.”

After spending five weekends cleaning brush and fallen tree limbs, Lehutsky and several volunteers were able to help restore the cemetery.

“It definitely gives you a good feeling and it feels nice helping people take care of things,” Lehutsky said.

Serving the community is also something that Megan Winslow, 18, a parishioner of Saint Eulalia Parish knows about.

As a lector, choir member and volunteer at her annual parish picnic and monthly church breakfast, Winslow feels her faith is very important.

“It helps me through a lot of things in my life. I always have something to rely on and believe in when nothing else is there,” Winslow said.

Winslow previously attended the National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC) which brings together tens-of-thousands of young adults from across the nation.

“It was amazing. It was probably one of the best experiences of my life. About 25,000 people were there and we did different workshops,” Winslow said.

At a time when some people worry that young adults aren’t involved in their church or care about faith, Winslow says events like NCYC and the Bishop’s Youth Awards show otherwise.

“It shows how many people in the local community come together for religion!” Winslow said.


SCRANTON, PA — Following the release of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report in 2018, Bishop Joseph C. Bambera pledged to be open and transparent in the way that the Diocese of Scranton handles occurrences of child sexual abuse.

As a result, the Diocese announces two names have been added to its list of clergy that have a credible claim of sexual abuse against a minor.

In August 2018, the Diocese published on its website a list of all clergy, staff and volunteers who had been credibly accused of child sexual abuse. Eleven additional names were added to the online list in January 2019. Since then, additional survivors have come forward. After a review was completed in consultation with the Diocesan Independent Review Board, the two new names are listed below. We will continue to alert you periodically in the case that additional individuals are added to list.

The Diocese of Scranton urges individuals who have been sexually abused by a priest, deacon, religious, lay employee or volunteer of the Diocese to report abuse directly to law enforcement. If you are aware of additional allegations of wrongdoing or any information that should be included on this list, please contact our Victim Assistance Coordinator Mary Beth Pacuska at (570) 862-7551. If you have suffered abuse by clergy or anyone working on behalf of the Diocese, you are encouraged to contact Mary Beth Pacuska.

These names have been added to the original list of credibly accused individuals:

Oldfield, Albert E. 

Gormley, James J. (S.J.)


Right before they received a blessing, Otis, 2, and Sir Lancelot, 8, sniffed each other and waged their tails like old friends.

The two dogs were the guests of honor at a pet blessing held on October 4, at Saint Francis Commons, an affordable, transitional housing facility for homeless veterans, which is operated by Catholic Social Services.

October 4 is the Feast Day of Saint Francis of Assisi. Saint Francis is remembered for his generosity to the poor and for his love of animals and nature. He is the patron saint of animals and the environment.

“We’re grateful that we have an opportunity to celebrate the gift of all creation in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi,” Father Jeffrey J. Walsh, V.E., said. Father Walsh led the blessing ceremony.

Thanks to generous funding from the Robert H. Spitz Foundation, which is administered by the Scranton Area Community Foundation, as well as the PNC Foundation, homeless veterans staying at Saint Francis Commons can have a support animal through the Curative Companions Program.

“He’s not my pet. He’s my lifeline and I need him,” veteran Toyya Durham said.

Durham is Sir Lancelot’s owner. Prior to arriving at Saint Francis Commons, she was living out of her car.

“I made a promise to him when I got him that I would never let him go,” Durham said. “He’s my baby but I think we help save each other.”

Robert Wolfe, Otis’ owner, feels the same way.

“He means everything to me. If I didn’t have him I would be lost,” Wolfe said. “I come home and he senses everything. If I’m in a good mood or a bad mood, or if I’m drifting off into a bad place, he knows it and he comes and lets me know that everything is okay.”

This is the first year that the Curative Companions program has allowed veterans at Saint Francis Commons to have pets. It is already making a difference.

“We’ve had four veterans with their animals transition from homelessness to permanent housing and this funding played a big part in that!” Ryan Pollock, Saint Francis Commons Program Supervisor, said.


His Excellency, Bishop Joseph C. Bambera, announces the following appointments, effective as indicated:

Reverend Richard G. Ghezzi, from Chaplain, St. Luke’s Villa, Wilkes-Barre and Little Flower Manor/St. Therese Residence, Wilkes-Barre, to Sacramental Minister, Allied Services Meade Street Senior Community, Wilkes-Barre and Allied Services Center City Senior Community, Wilkes-Barre, effective October 1, 2019.

Reverend Arun Lakra, from Heralds of the Good News Mother Theresa Province, India, to Assistant Pastor, Immaculate Conception Parish, Freeland and Good Shepherd Parish, Drums, effective October 10, 2019.

Reverend Rawel Toppo, from Heralds of the Good News Mother Theresa Province, India, to Assistant Pastor, Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish, Brodheadsville, effective October 10, 2019.


September 25, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C.- The Vatican’s World Day for Migrants and Refugees will be held this Sunday, September 29, 2019. The theme for this year’s celebration is, “It is not just about migrants.” Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration, noted of the celebration:

“This year’s theme for the World Day for Migrants and Refugees is an opportunity to look at the migration issue from the lens of humanity, of caring for and walking with our brothers and sisters. The World Day for Migrants and Refugees reminds us that it is not about where people come from but their unique God-given human dignity.” Vásquez noted. “It reflects our call as people of faith to welcome our brothers and sisters, promote their well-being, protect them from cruelty and human indifference, and assist in their integration into our community.”

Support for migrants and refugees is particularly vital in this moment as the world is in the midst of the greatest global forced displacement crisis on record. We must continue to embrace love for our neighbor to counter the growing throwaway culture which disregards the human dignity of migrants and refugees.”

Educational resources related to the upcoming World Day for Migrants and Refugees can be found by visiting the Justice for Immigrants website.



SCRANTON, PA (September 23) – In an ongoing effort to best prepare students for the 21st century and beyond, the Diocese of Scranton has been developing a new vision for Catholic Education.

One of the key components of this new vision will be the integration of the STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) model of learning into the curriculum of all schools in the Diocese of Scranton Catholic School System beginning this academic year.

In order to equip educators with the tools necessary to be successful, the Diocese of Scranton is announcing an investment of $1 million to incorporate STREAM into the curriculum of all 20 Catholic schools by May 2022.

“STREAM is forward thinking, student-centered and cross-curricular,” Jason Morrison, Diocesan Secretary of Catholic Education/Chief Executive Officer, said.  “It goes beyond traditional STEM programs.  By including the Arts and Religion, we are adding creativity, communication and social responsibility rooted in our Catholic identity.”

Several resources have already been purchased for the initial implementation phase of the new STREAM initiative. BeeBots and Spheros have been purchased to provide students an opportunity to practice computer coding and each school has already received PadCaster technology which will allow students to use an iPad to engage in video production, journalism and public speaking.

“National research has shown that the top areas of focus for K-12 schools are encouraging individual and critical thinking, preparing children to successfully enter the job market as well as preparing students for college,” Kristen Donohue, Superintendent of Catholic Schools, said. “STREAM will accomplish this goal for our students and more. Through a hands-on, project based approach students will also develop the critical skills of working collaboratively and effective communication.”

Over the course of the summer, many Diocesan teachers have already received professional development and training in STREAM-related concepts.

“As we officially launch our STREAM initiative, I am confident that this effort will fulfill our promise of excellence and allow each of our students to achieve his/her God-given potential,” Bishop Joseph C. Bambera, Diocese of Scranton, said.

The Diocese of Scranton currently operates 20 Catholic schools across its 11-county Diocese, of which 16 are elementary schools and four are high schools. Approximately 4,500 students are currently enrolled in the Diocese of Scranton’s Catholic School System for the 2019-2020 academic year.



His Excellency, Bishop Joseph C. Bambera, announces the following appointments, effective as indicated:

Reverend Richard Rojas, priest of The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, from Chaplain, Mercy Center, Dallas, to ministry within the Ordinariate of The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, effective September 22, 2019.

 Reverend Alfred J. Vito, from Leave of Absence, to Chaplain, Mercy Center, Dallas, effective September 23, 2019.


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



SCRANTON — As the Church continues to respond to the tragic reality of sexual abuse of minors by clergy, for the second year in a row, the Diocese of Scranton held a Mass for Atonement and Healing.

Bishop Joseph C. Bambera was the principal celebrant and homilist for the Mass, which was held on Monday, September 16, 2019 at 12:10 p.m. at the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Scranton.

The Mass is held near the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows, which recognizes the Blessed Mother’s intense suffering and grief during the passion and death of our Lord.

During his homily, Bishop Bambera reflected on the year since the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report was released in 2018. He once again asked for God’s healing, mercy and forgiveness, calling what happened one of the darkest moments in the history of the Catholic Church and certainly in our 150 year history as a Diocese.

“One year later, I can stand before you and tell you that we have done a lot to change and to continue to create a safe place in the Church, especially for our young people. We’ve trained over 30,000 staff and volunteers and continue to cooperate with law enforcement. We attempt to be as transparent and open in our actions as we possibly can be and we have established a fund to compensate, in some small way, survivors of abuse,” Bishop Bambera said.

“Yet, one year later, there is still pain. A year can’t change a lifetime of suffering. Survivors of abuse continue to be burdened by the ramifications of such inhuman behavior on the part of those who should have been trustworthy,” the Bishop added.

“None of us will ever know the depth of the pain that survivors endure.  Yet, in courageously sharing their pain, so many of them with whom I’ve spoken this past year have taught me a great lesson.  They’ve taught me that if the Church is truly intent upon creating safe environments for its children and all of God’s people, we (the Church and especially Church leaders) must never forget or allow time to numb us to the pain that was so willfully inflicted on innocent lives by those who postured themselves as God’s representatives and ministers of his love and mercy.  Indeed, an authentic recognition of the pain of that cross is the only thing that can truly prompt us to change and to create a Church deserving of people’s trust.”

The Mass for Atonement and Healing wasn’t just focused on the survivors of sexual abuse, the Bishop prayed for all people who suffer, whether it be from cancer or other illnesses or other types of abuse.

“God could have chosen to save the world in any way he wanted.  Yet he chose to relate to it – to us who are made in his very image and likeness – through his son Jesus, who took on human flesh and substance.  He chose to have Jesus carry a cross so that we, in our suffering, might discover a God who understands because he too carried a cross – a God who suffers with us – and a God who overcomes suffering with resurrection and life,” Bishop Bambera said.

While noting that the sexual abuse crisis has understandably caused some people to step away from the Church, the Bishop ended with a pledge.

“As Bishop of this local Church, I deeply apologize for the pain that has been inflicted upon far too many of you by leaders of our Church.  Once again, I ask for forgiveness from the countless numbers of you who have suffered so much.  I pledge to continue to do all within my power to create a safe place for our children and for all of our people to worship, to pray, to learn and to grow in their faith. I pray that we will all find hope in those wonderful words from Saint Paul’s second letter to the Church at Corinth as he speaks to us of the treasure of faith:

We hold this treasure in earthen vessels that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us.  We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body. (II Corinthians 4:7-11)

If you would like to read Bishop Bambera’s full homily from the Mass for Atonement and Healing, visit www.dioceseofscranton.org.



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 rdmicca@aol.com.