PENNSYLVANIA CATHOLIC CONFERENCE

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – July 29, 2019                                                                     Contact: Al Gnoza   717-585-1548

 

PA CATHOLIC BISHOPS  ASK PRESIDENT TO CONTINUE U.S. REFUGEE PROGRAM

(HARRISBURG)–Pennsylvania’s Catholic bishops are asking the Trump Administration to maintain and even possibly expand the U.S. refugee resettlement program. Eric Failing– the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference, which represents the bishops across the state—sent a letter to President Trump today in response to reports that the President is considering curtailing or even eliminating the program. The letter asks that it be maintained at current levels, but Failing also says that the bishops believe that the resettlement program should be restored to previous historic norms of 95,000 refugees per year.

“Refugees fleeing persecution overseas go through extensive background checks and health screenings,” Failing wrote in his letter. “This lengthy process can take two years or more to complete. Research, such as that done by the CATO Institute, has consistently found that refugees are neither a security risk nor a financial burden to the US or to the local economies.”

A refugee is a person who has fled their country of origin and is afraid to return because of persecution on a variety of grounds that include race and religion. Many Catholic charities in Pennsylvania begin working with refugees as soon as they are scheduled to arrive in America. Failing cited a typical refugee service that operates out of Harrisburg. It finds the refugees a safe home priced within the family’s budget, then furnishes the home and puts food in the refrigerator. The service then helps the refugees get jobs and find child care.

“It is incumbent upon us who are blessed with countless gifts and opportunities in the United States to care for our least fortunate brothers and sisters elsewhere,” Failing said to conclude his letter. “Let us not forget the words of our Savior when he told us, ‘Whatever you did not do for one of these least brothers of mine, you did not do for me’ (Matthew 25:40).”

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Pennsylvania Catholic Conference is the public affairs arm of Pennsylvania’s Catholic bishops and the Catholic dioceses of Pennsylvania.

 

Pictured are: Row 1 from left to right: Mary MacIntire – St. Matthew’s, East Stroudsburg; Hunter Wesolowski – St. Theresa’s, Shavertown; Jessenia Robles – St. Matthew’s, East Stroudsburg; Jackeline Retana – St. Matthew’s, East Stroudsburg; Molly Devine – St. Gregory’s, Clarks Green; Karla Carrasco – St. Mathhew’s, East Stroudsburg; Matthew Kasperek – St. Luke’s, Stroudsburg. Row 2: Jen Robles – St. Matthew’s, East Stroudsburg; Lily Seymour – Our Lady of Snows, Clarks Summit; Lilly Reilly – St. Paul’s, Scranton; Nardin Mikhail – St. Luke’s, Stroudsburg; Emmslie Hernandez – St. Nicholas’s, Wilkes-Barre; Lucy Specht – Our Lady of the Snows, Clarks Summit; Sadie Henzes – St. Gregory’s, Clarks Green. Row 3: Sarah MacIntire – St. Matthew’s, East Stroudsburg; Alyssa Kovalchick – Nativity of the BVM, Tunkhannock; Ashlynn Urbanski – Queen of the Apostles, Avoca; Sophia Bere – St. Jude’s, Mountain Top; Frances Donohoe – Our Lady of Snows, Clarks Summit; Keyla Carrasco – St. Matthew’s, East Stroudsburg; Caroline Stampien – St. Gregory’s, Clarks Green; Elizabeth Gordon – St. Peter’s, Wellsboro; Anna Kosierowski – St. Gregory’s, Clarks Green. Row 4: Alenah Thomas – St. Catherine’s – Moscow; Gabriella Randazzo – St. Therese’s, Shavertown; Derrek Foytack – St. Eulalia’s, Elmhurst; Thomas Elias – Nativity of the BVM, Tunkhanock; Gwenn Strasser – St. Luke’s, Stroudsburg; Peyton Roberts – St. Eulalia’s, Elmhurst; Hannah Farber – St. John the Evangelist, Pittston; Jonathan Robles – St. Matthew’s, East Stroudsburg; Abbigail Schultz – St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Swoyersville; Emma Gibson – St. Gregory’s, Clarks Green; Sean Robbins, Youth & Young Adult Minister at St. Matthew’s; Mia Beviglia – St. Catherine’s, Moscow. Row 5: Annabelle Callis – St. Patrick’s, Scranton; Aubrey Jumper – St. Jude’s, Mountain Top; Liam Naughton – St. Matthew’s, East Stroudsburg; Maximilano Vega – Ss. Peter & Paul, Towanda; Magnolia Jones – St. Gregory’s, Clarks Green; Johnny Watkins – St. Paul’s, Scranton; Kyra Hayden – St. Jude’s, Mountain Top; Abbe Truschel – St. Jude’s Mountain Top; Patrick Zamojski – St. Maximilian Kolbe, Pocono Pines; McKenzie Torres – St. Luke’s, Stroudsburg. Row 6: Will Granci – St. Gregory’s, Clarks Green; Jefferson Jones – St. Gregory’s, Clarks Green; Justin Peeney – St. Luke’s, Stroudsburg; Ben Bowen – St, Joseph Marello, Pittston; Juan Lugo – St. Matthew’s, East Stroudsburg; Michael Fellin – St. John Bosco, Conyngham; Sam Matrisciano – St. Matthew’s, East Stroudsburg; Tyler Osipower – St. Therese’s, Shavertown; Aaron Lemos – St. Matthew’s, East Stroudsburg; Aidan Jenkins – St. John the Evangelist, Pittston. Row 7: Michael Watkins – St. Paul’s, Scranton; Matt Kreciewski, Our Lady Queen of Peace, Brodheadsville; Giuseppe Carbone – Our Lady Queen of Peace, Brodheadsville; Bishop Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop, Diocese of Scranton; Raymond Sabatini – St. Jude’s, Mountain Top; Katie Ruch – St. Therese’s, Shavertown; Dominick Costantino, Diocesan Vocations Program Coordinator. Row 8/Background: Will Warnken – Our Lady Queen of Peace, Brodheadsville; Matt Hayden – St. Jude’s, Mountain Top; Stephen Hineline – St. Catherine’S, Moscow; Shannon Kowalski, Diocesan Coordinator for Youth & Young Adult Ministry; Fr. Brian JT Clarke, Pastor of Christ the King, Archbald.

DALLAS, PA (JULY 17, 2019) – A total of 47 high school students and 13 student team members recently took part in the International Student Leadership Institute (ISLI) at Misericordia University between Monday, July 8, and Thursday, July 11, 2019.

The four day retreat is a peer-facilitated leadership retreat. It is designed to provide students with knowledge and skills necessary to excel in both leadership and membership roles in task-oriented groups. The program also empowers students with the skills necessary to make decisions, develop positive communication skills and learn self-motivational skills.

The International Student Leadership Institute is organized by the Diocese of Scranton’s Office for Parish Life and some of the funding is provided by donations to the Diocesan Annual Appeal.

 

Statement of Bishop Joseph Bambera on Current Immigration Situation

July 18, 2019

The image of Oscar Alberto Martinez Ramirez, and his 23 month old daughter, Angie Valeria, both of whom drowned trying to cross the Rio Grande from Mexico to the United States will remain in many people’s hearts and minds for years to come.

When we preach about love and human dignity, we are talking about our moral values. As Catholics, we do not have the privilege of compromising our moral values to match our pre-existing stereotypes or beliefs. When we preach a pro-life ethic, we must stand by this value to defend the unborn, the immigrant, the imprisoned, and all those who are left in vulnerable positions by their government or social circumstances. We cannot rank one of these groups above the others. The Catholic Church is called to seek out those silences and give voice to the voiceless.

We have a responsibility to all people, regardless of race, religion, or immigration status. It is not our role to condemn a family for leaving their country of origin in search of a better future for their children. It is our role to love these people as members of one human family. We must continue to advocate for safe spaces for migrants and especially for children. The privately run detention centers where children are waiting to be reunited with their families are not acceptable. It is time for our leaders to set aside partisan politics and to fix a broken system.  At the center of our faith is mercy without judgment; our pro-life values teach us to protect the innocent at all costs. These children deserve more from America.

Recently, vigils were held in support of migrant families across the Diocese, in communities including Scranton, Stroudsburg and Wellsboro. As these events show, we are called to fight for justice for immigrants and for comprehensive immigration reform. Today and always, we are called to continue the fight for all who are vulnerable: for the unborn, for the struggling mother, and for the father who faces an impossible decision to leave his homeland.

I ask you to continue not only your prayers, but your efforts to speak up against injustice and protect the basic humanity of migrants and refugees.

 

Bishop Bambera’s Statement on USCCB’s New Polices on Child Protection

June 27, 2019

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The Diocese of Scranton is committed to protecting its young people and ensuring that the local Church of Scranton continues to address issues of child sexual abuse with vigilance and fidelity.

I attended the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Meeting earlier this month and voted in favor of all four new policies and procedures that were proposed during the meeting. While the revelations of the last year have rightfully angered and outraged many, the overwhelming majority votes by the bishops on all four initiatives shows our collective desire to keep our young people safe.

Throughout the conference, the underlying issue in my mind was the respect and treatment of those survivors who may have not been believed, ignored or even shamed when they came forward with their claims in the past.

For me, one of the documents approved, Affirming Our Episcopal Commitments, was especially important and significant.

In that document, I affirmed once more the commitments I made when I was ordained your bishop, including the commitment to respond directly and appropriately to cases of sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable persons.

Please understand I take this responsibility seriously. They are not just words on a piece of paper.

In the same document, I also re-committed myself to including the help of lay men and women whose professional backgrounds are indispensable. The Diocese of Scranton has been doing this since before the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People” went into effect in 2002. The involvement of the laity in our Diocese, especially the Diocesan Review Board (which is made up of a majority of lay persons) has been both consoling and helpful.

I fully understand that, as bishops and a Church, our level of credibility has been challenged. When we say we are committed to this work, we are going to need to show it. These new policies and procedures are just the latest in a series of steps the Church has taken to respond to the sin and crime of sexual abuse.

As a Diocese, we welcome the opportunity to talk with anyone on the work of the Church to address abuse situations and to develop a shared understanding of the work that remains.

Faithfully yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, D.D., J.C.L.
Bishop of Scranton

 

 

 

July 16, 2019

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

 PASTORS/ASSISTANT PASTORS

Reverend Wilfredo Milan Mamani Cusicanqui to Assistant Pastor, Holy Rosary Parish, Hazleton, effective June 24, 2019.  Father Cusicanqui will continue to serve as Assistant Pastor, Holy Name of Jesus Parish, Hazleton.

Reverend Michael J. Kloton, to Pastor, Good Shepherd Parish, Drums, effective August 1, 2019.  Father Kloton will continue to serve as Pastor, Immaculate Conception Parish, Freeland.

Reverend Connell A. McHugh, from Pastor, Good Shepherd Parish, Drums, to Pastor Emeritus, Good Shepherd Parish, Drums, effective August 1, 2019.

DEACONS

Deacon Vincent Oberto, to Deacon, Holy Name of Jesus Parish, West Hazleton, effective June 24, 2019.  Deacon Oberto will continue to serve as Deacon, Holy Rosary Parish, Hazleton.

Deacon James M. Rebarchick, to Deacon, Good Shepherd Parish, Drums, effective August 1, 2019.  Deacon Rebarchick will continue to serve as Deacon, Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Parish, Freeland.

 PARISH LIFE COORDINATORS

Mrs. Mary Anne Malone, to Parish Life Coordinator, Saint Patrick Parish, White Haven.  As Parish Life Coordinator, Mrs. Malone will provide on-site pastoral care in the absence of a pastor.  Reverend Peter J. O’Rourke will serve as Sacramental Minister providing Mass and the other sacraments on a regular basis.  Reverend Michael J. Piccola, V.F., Dean of the Hazleton Deanery and Pastor of SS. Cyril and Methodius Parish, Hazleton, will serve as Priest Moderator.  Effective August 1, 2019.

 

The next 52nd Annual Eucharistic Congress will take place in Budapest, Hungary from September 13 – 20, 2020.

The Congress is a worldwide celebration that promotes education on and respect for the Eucharist. The one-week event held regularly since 1881 (every four years in recent times) celebrates the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist according to the teaching of the Catholic Church.

This will mark the second time that Hungary has hosted the International Eucharistic Congress, with the first one held in Budapest in 1938. Key venues of the 52nd International Eucharistic Congress can be viewed at: https://youtu.be/Nqc8AQqbhI4

Budapest was named the host city by Pope Francis in January 2016, at the end of the 2016 International Eucharistic Congress held in Cebu City, Philippines.

This past May, a choir of 500 children sang praise to God in Budapest, in front of the St. Stephen’s Basilica. Members of the choir wore the motto of the International Eucharistic Congress on their T-shirts: “All my springs are in you”. That performance can be viewed at: https://youtu.be/EcsZUjZzvhg

 

July 3, 2019

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

Reverend Brian J.W. Clarke, to Pastor, Holy Name of Jesus Parish, West Hazleton, effective June 24, 2019.  Father Clarke will continue to serve as Pastor, Holy Rosary Parish, Hazleton.

Reverend Peter J. O’Rourke, from Pastor, Holy Name of Jesus Parish, West Hazleton, to Pastor Emeritus, Holy Name of Jesus Parish, West Hazleton, effective June 24, 2019.

 

Bishop Joseph Bambera of the Diocese of Scranton will dedicate a new altar at Saint Mary of the Lake Church in Lake Winola on Sunday, July 7, at 9:00 AM.

Over the last year, The Parish Family of Saint Mary of the Lake has redecorated the interior of their church. This has included the custom fashioning of a new altar by a master woodworker, as well as repainting, carpeting, lighting, and furnishings. The first Mass in the redecorated church will be celebrated on July 7.

“At a time when many Catholic Churches are closing or consolidating, it is extremely unusual for a parish to dedicate a new altar”, said Reverend Patrick L. Albert, pastor. At this extremely visual rite, the new altar is initially bare, and Bishop Bambera will anoint the altar with Holy Oil, incense the altar, cover the altar, and light the altar. “It is a rite that most Catholics rarely see”, said Father Albert.

Catholics believe that the altar is a table for both a sacrifice and a banquet. At the altar, the priest perpetuates Christ’s sacrifice, and people give thanks to God and receive His Body and Blood.

Parishioners donated the new altar as well as other furnishings through memorializations. They raised the funds for other refurbishing through capital campaigns.

 

June 24, 2019

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

Most Reverend John M. Dougherty, D.D., Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Scranton, to Administrator, Pro Tem, Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish, Jermyn, effective June 21, 2019.

Reverend Stephen A. Krawontka, from Senior Priest, Saint Jude Parish, Mountain Top, and Our Lady, Help of Christians Parish,  Dorrance, to Pastor,  Ascension Parish, Forest City, and Saint Katharine Drexel Parish, Pleasant Mount, effective July15, 2019.

Reverend Francis Landry, C.P. from Pastor, Saint Ann Basilica Parish, Scranton, to Leave of Absence for personal reasons, effective June 17, 2019.

Reverend Sibi Padinjaredath, C.P., from Assistant Pastor, Saint Ann Basilica Parish, Scranton, to Administrator, Pro Tem, Saint Ann Basilica Parish, Scranton, effective June 17, 2019.

Reverend Philbert Takyi-Nketiah, from Diocese of Sunyani, Ghana, West Africa, to Assistant Pastor, Saint Jude Parish, Mountain Top, effective July 15, 2019.

Reverend James T. Tracy, from Administrator, Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish, Jermyn, to retirement, effective June 21, 2019.

 

 

Bishops gathered for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops General Meeting in Baltimore. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

The Diocese of Scranton is committed to protecting its young people and ensuring that the local Church of Scranton continues to address issues of child sexual abuse with vigilance and fidelity.

Bishop Joseph C. Bambera attended the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops General Meeting in Baltimore from June 11-13, 2019 and voted in favor of the four new policies/procedures that were proposed during the meeting.

During that meeting, the USCCB overwhelming voted to approve proposals to hold bishops accountable for instances of sexual abuse of children or vulnerable persons, sexual misconduct, or the intentional mishandling of such cases. The bishops also re-committed themselves to involving and utilizing lay professional experts, which is already the practice of the Diocese of Scranton.

The bishops approved four important measures during their assembly. They include:

  • Voting to implement the document “Vos Estis Lux Mundi” (“You are the light of the world”) which was issued by Pope Francis in May to help the Catholic Church safeguard its members from abuse and hold its leaders accountable.
  • Approving the document “Acknowledging Our Episcopal Commitments,” in which bishops affirmed the commitments they made at ordination, including the commitment to respond directly and appropriately to cases of sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable persons.
  • Voting for a protocol regarding non-penal restrictions on bishops which outlines what canonical options are available to bishops when a retired bishop resigns or is removed “due to sexual misconduct with adults or grave negligence of office, or where subsequent to his resignation he was found to have so acted or failed to act.”
  • Establishing an independent third-party reporting system to accept abuse allegations confidentially, by phone or online. A more detailed proposal for the third-party reporting system, including financial and structural elements, is in the planning process. The reporting system would begin no later than May 31, 2020 but bishops are hoping it can be available sooner. It’s important to note that anyone who has suffered sexual abuse should not wait for the national reporting system to be in place. Survivors can contact local civil authorities to file a report as soon as possible and may also report to Church authorities by existing means, including contacting Victim Asisstance Coordinator, Mary Beth Pacuska at (570) 862-7551 or Vicar General Monsignor Thomas M. Muldowney at (570) 207-2269.

These efforts are the latest in a series of steps the Diocese of Scranton and the Church has taken to respond to the sin of sexual abuse.