Ash Wednesday, February 26, will mark the start of the solemn 40-day season of Lent. Parishes throughout the 11-county Diocese of Scranton will distribute ashes to remind individuals of their mortality. A comprehensive listing of parish Mass times for Ash Wednesday can be found at https://www.dioceseofscranton.org/ash-wednesday-2020-services/

At the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Scranton, the Mother Church of the Diocese, ashes will be distributed during the 6:30 a.m., 8:00 a.m., 12:10 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Masses. Bishop Joseph C. Bambera will be the principal celebrant of the 12:10 p.m. Pontifical Mass.

“Lent challenges us to consider the gift and blessing of the Sacrament of Baptism. On the First Sunday of Lent, we will welcome catechumens into the ranks of the elect; those from our midst who have begun the journey of conversion and who will soon experience the saving power of Jesus in the Easter mysteries of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist. Their ‘yes’ to the Lord’s call gives us hope and should encourage us to recommit ourselves to the vows that were made at our own baptisms,” Bishop Bambera said.

During Lent, the Cathedral of Saint Peter will offer several ways in which the faithful can deepen their relationship with Jesus and come to know him in a more intimate way.

On Fridays, the Stations of the Cross will be prayed following the 12:10 p.m. Mass and Novena to Saint John Neumann. The Stations will air on CTV: Catholic Television live on February 28 after the 12:10 p.m. Mass, and then on succeeding Fridays at 11:30 a.m., 2:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

Lent is a time of prayer, penance and sacrifice leading to the most sacred time of the Church year, Holy Week, when the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are commemorated. The solemn observance culminates in the greatest celebration of the Church, Easter Sunday, which will be observed on April 12.

Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of universal fast and abstinence in the Church. Catholics between 18 years old and the beginning of their 60th year must fast by consuming only one full meal and two partial meals on those sacred days. Catholics who have completed their 14th year must also abstain from eating any meat or meat products on Ash Wednesday and all Fridays during Lent.

Ash Wednesday Retreat

The Office for Parish Life will offer a retreat on Ash Wednesday, Feb.26, at the Diocesan Pastoral Center, 330 Wyoming Avenue, Scranton. The day will begin at 9:30 a.m. and end at 2:30 p.m. All faithful of the Diocese are welcome.

Catherine Butel, Diocesan Secretary for Parish Life, will lead the retreat with the theme “Radiate Christ.”

The retreat day will include Mass celebrated at 12:10 p.m. in the Cathedral with distribution of ashes. The Sacrament of Reconciliation will be available prior to Mass. Lunch will be served following the noon-time Ash Wednesday liturgy.

The fee for the day is $30, which includes lunch. To register, call Jacki Douglas at the Office for Parish Life, (570) 207-2213, ext. 1100, or e-mail jdouglas@dioceseofscranton.org. Registration is also available at www.dioceseofscranton.org.

Parishes Extend Opportunities for Sacrament of Reconciliation

The Church encourages us to make confession a regular part of our spiritual life, especially during the holy season of Lent, as we reflect on our baptism and repentance. Again this year, parishes are participating in a Lenten initiative called The Light Is On for You. Every Monday evening during the Lenten season, beginning March 2 and continuing through Monday of the last full week of Lent, March 30, confessions are heard in every parish from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. so that Catholics can come to or return to this incredible source of God’s grace, mercy and healing.

 

February 19, 2020

Following the Wednesday, February 19, announcement by the Diocese of Harrisburg to file for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code, Bishop Joseph C. Bambera of the Diocese of Scranton released the following statement:

“The Diocese of Scranton launched the Independent Survivors Compensation Program (“ISCP”) in January 2019 to provide support to, and promote healing for, survivors of sexual abuse. An independent, third party administrator is processing claims submitted to the ISCP. Many claims have already been fully resolved, while others remain in process. The Diocese anticipates funding all claims and associated costs from the proceeds of its September 2019 sale of three long-term care facilities: Little Flower Manor, Saint Luke’s Villa and Saint Therese Residence. The Diocese of Scranton is not considering bankruptcy.”

 

The Diocese of Scranton and King’s College have signed a memorandum of understanding the guarantees admission and minimum scholarships to King’s for graduates of the four Diocesan high schools who meet eligibility requirements. From left: Father John Ryan, C.S.C., President of King’s College and Jason W.S. Morrison, Diocesan Secretary of Catholic Education and Chief Executive Officer, Diocese of Scranton, sign the agreement.

Formalizing a decades-old relationship, officials from King’s College and the Diocese of Scranton recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will guarantee admission and a renewable four-year scholarship up to a potential maximum four-year value of between $56,000 and $88,000 to seniors who attend any of the diocese’s four Catholic high schools and who meet academic eligibility criteria.  The agreement will take effect for students applying for admission starting with the 2020-21 academic year.

Under the agreement, King’s College will guarantee admission to a vast majority of the College’s academic programs and a four-year renewable scholarship to senior students from Holy Cross, Holy Redeemer, Notre Dame, and St. John Neumann high schools.  Eligible students must have required minimum standardized test scores and a 2.75 or higher grade point average.  Students meeting the GPA requirement have the option of applying to King’s as test optional applicants.

Students who meet the criteria will receive a scholarship ranging from $14,000 and to $22,000 per year which is renewable each year for up to four years. The student must maintain an appropriate, pre-determined GPA based on the value of the scholarship in order to renew annually

First row, from left: Michelle Oliva, Director of Undergraduate Admissions, King’s College; Father John Ryan, C.S.C., President of King’s College; Jason W.S. Morrison, Diocesan Secretary of Catholic Education and Chief Executive Officer, Diocese of Scranton; Bishop Joseph C. Bambera, D.D., J.C.L., Bishop, Diocese of Scranton. Second row, from left: Robert Reese, Vice President for Enrollment Management & Marketing, King’s College; Alisia McNamee, Principal, Saint John Neumann Jr./Sr. High School, Williamsport; Doreen Dougherty, Principal, Holy Redeemer High School, Wilkes-Barre; Jeffrey Lyons, Principal, Notre Dame Jr./Sr. High School, East Stroudsburg; Benjamin Tolerico, Principal, Holy Cross High School, Dunmore; Kristen Donohue, Superintendent of Catholic Schools, Diocese of Scranton

Different grade-point-average and standardized test score requirements will apply to students applying for the King’s Physician Assistant program and the College’s engineering and nursing majors.

“This agreement recognizes students from schools within the Scranton Diocese who have worked hard to achieve in their academic studies,” said Robert Reese, vice president for enrollment management at King’s.  “With this scholarship, a quality education at King’s College will be more affordable for these excellent students.”

“Since its founding, King’s College has been a leader in higher education, challenging students not only in the classroom but inspiring them to become the faith-filled leaders of tomorrow. This partnership that we have signed today is a tremendous opportunity for the students of our four Diocesan high schools to build upon the values and traditions they have already learned and experienced with us,” said Jason W.S. Morrison, Diocesan Secretary of Catholic Education and Chief Executive Officer.

For more information about the memorandum of understanding, contact Diocese of Scranton Catholic Schools Office at 570-207-2251, or Michelle Oliva, director of undergraduate admissions at King’s at michelleoliva@kings.edu or 570)208-8390.

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In his Lenten message to the Church this year, Pope Francis invokes Saint Paul’s words in his second letter to the Church at Corinth, “We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”  In quoting Paul, the Holy Father reminds us all to reflect upon the urgency of this great season of grace and its invitation to conversion.  “Keep your eyes fixed on the outstretched arms of Christ crucified, let yourself be saved over and over again.  When you confess your sins, believe firmly in his mercy which frees you of your guilt.  Contemplate his blood poured out with such great love, and let yourself be cleanse by it.  In this way, you can be reborn ever anew,” (Christus Vivit, 123).

Essentially, Pope Francis reminds us all to make as our own the words of the Old Testament prophet Joel, who proclaims each year on Ash Wednesday, “Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the Lord, your God.”  Joel calls us to change our lives – to set aside all that keeps us from reflecting the life of God within our own lives.  But he boldly challenges us to do so, not merely through gestures and religious practices – but by peering intensely into our hearts to insure that our spirit – the core of our being – is honest and pure and open to the transforming power and presence of God.

It’s our honesty with ourselves – and ultimately with God – that will enable us to come to terms not only with our own need for conversion but also, through the great mystery of the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus, to understand God’s unwavering desire to engage us in his dialogue of salvation.

Indeed, Pope Francis reminds us that “the dialogue God wishes to establish with each of us through the paschal mystery of his Son has nothing to do with empty chatter” and meaningless rituals.  No, the dialogue that we are beckoned to engage should find us “feeling compassion towards the wounds of the crucified Christ present in the many innocent victims of wars, in attacks on life, from that of the unborn to the elderly, and various forms of violence.  They are likewise present in environmental disasters, the unequal distribution of the earth’s goods, human trafficking in all its forms, and the unbridled thirst for profit.”

The Holy Father’s words are reinforced by those of Saint Matthew, also proclaimed annually on Ash Wednesday, as he calls us to embrace a lifestyle rooted less in exterior show and far more in a true relationship with God.  Pray, fast, give alms in support of the poor – not because such behavior will make us righteous but because such acts for the true follower of Jesus are simply the consequence of faithful lives rooted in Jesus, who teaches us how best to live – not only during this sacred season – but throughout our lives.

More than anything else, my brothers and sisters, Lent challenges us to consider the gift and blessing of the Sacrament of Baptism.  On the First Sunday of Lent, we will welcome catechumens into the ranks of the elect; those from our midst who have begun the journey of conversion and who will soon experience the saving power of Jesus in the Easter mysteries of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist.  Their “yes” to the Lord’s call gives us hope and should encourage us to recommit ourselves to the vows that were made at our own baptisms.  Their “yes” reminds us that we too are called to look beyond ourselves to something more in life.

Finally, one of the great gifts given to us by the Church to assist us in our response to the Lord’s invitation to renewal is found in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. To provide for the celebration of this Sacrament in a generous manner, once again, all of the parishes of the Diocese of Scranton will participate in The Light Is On For You. Every Monday evening during the Lenten season, beginning on the first Monday of Lent, March 2, and continuing through Monday of the last full week of Lent, March 30, confessions will be heard in every parish from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

My friends, Lent calls us to “be reconciled to God.”  May we not only embrace these words of Saint Paul but do so with a sense of urgency, heeding his reminder to us in that same passage from II Corinthians, “Now is the acceptable time.  Now is the day of salvation!”

Let us support one another during this wonderful season of renewal and come to discover the true blessing of our reconciliation with God as we journey together to Easter joy.

Faithfully yours in Christ,

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

MENSAJE DE CUARESMA DEL OBISPO BAMBERA

Queridos hermanos y hermanas:

En su mensaje de Cuaresma a la Iglesia este año, el Papa Francisco invoca las palabras de San Pablo en su segunda carta a la Iglesia en Corinto: “Les imploramos en nombre de Cristo, reconcíliense con Dios”. Al citar a Pablo, el Santo Padre nos recuerda, a cada uno de nosotros, que reflexionemos sobre la urgencia de este gran Tiempo de Gracia y su invitación a la conversión. “Mantén tus ojos fijos en los brazos extendidos de Cristo crucificado, déjate salvar una y otra vez. Y cuando vayas a confesar tus pecados, cree firmemente en su misericordia que te libera de tu culpa. Contempla su sangre derramada con tanto amor y déjate purificar por ella. De esta manera, puedes renacer de nuevo” (Christus Vivit, 123).

Esencialmente, el Papa Francisco nos insta a que hagamos nuestras las palabras del profeta Joel del Antiguo Testamento, quien proclama cada año en el Miércoles de Ceniza: “Rasguen sus corazones, no sus vestiduras, y regresen al Señor su Dios”. Joel nos llama a cambiar nuestras vidas, a dejar de lado todo lo que nos impide reflejar la vida de Dios en nuestras propias vidas. Pero nos desafía audazmente a hacerlo, no solo a través de gestos y prácticas religiosas, sino al mirar intensamente en nuestros corazones para asegurar que nuestro espíritu, el núcleo de nuestro ser, sea honesto y puro y esté abierto al poder transformador y la presencia de Dios.

Es nuestra honestidad con nosotros mismos, y en última instancia con Dios, lo que nos permitirá llegar a un acuerdo no solo con nuestra propia necesidad de conversión, sino también a través del gran misterio de la Pasión, Muerte y Resurrección de Jesús, para comprender el deseo inquebrantable de Dios de involucrarnos en su diálogo de salvación.

De hecho, el Papa Francisco nos recuerda que “el diálogo que Dios desea establecer con cada uno de nosotros a través del Misterio Pascual de su Hijo no tiene nada que ver con la charla vacía” y los rituales sin sentido. No, el diálogo que se nos invita a entablar debe encontrarnos “sintiendo compasión por las heridas del Cristo crucificado presente en las muchas víctimas inocentes de las guerras, en ataques a la vida, desde los no nacidos hasta los ancianos, y diversas formas de violencia. También están presentes en los desastres ambientales, la distribución desigual de los bienes de la tierra, el tráfico de personas en todas sus formas y la sed desenfrenada de riquezas.

Las palabras del Santo Padre se ven reforzadas por las de San Mateo, también proclamadas anualmente el Miércoles de Ceniza, cuando nos llama a adoptar un estilo de vida menos arraigado en el espectáculo exterior y mucho más en una verdadera relación con Dios. Ora, ayuna, y da limosna en beneficio de los pobres, no porque tal comportamiento nos haga justos, sino porque tales actos -para el verdadero seguidor de Jesús- son simplemente el resultado de mantener fielmente nuestras vidas arraigadas en Jesús, quien nos enseña cómo vivir mejor, no solo durante este tiempo sagrado, sino a lo largo de nuestras vidas.

Finalmente, uno de los grandes regalos que nos da la Iglesia para ayudarnos en nuestra respuesta a la invitación del Señor de renovarnos, se encuentra en el Sacramento de la Reconciliación. Para proporcionar la celebración de este Sacramento de manera generosa, una vez más, todas las parroquias de la Diócesis de Scranton participarán en The Light Is On For You (La Luz Está Encendida Para Ti). Todos los lunes por la noche, durante el tiempo de Cuaresma, comenzando el primer lunes de Cuaresma (2 de marzo), hasta el lunes de la última semana completa de Cuaresma (30 de marzo), se escucharán confesiones a partir de las 5:30 p.m. hasta las 7:00 p.m.

Mis amigos, la Cuaresma nos llama a “estar reconciliados con Dios”. Que no solo aceptemos estas palabras de San Pablo, sino que lo hagamos con urgencia, prestando atención a su recordatorio en el mismo pasaje de 2 Corintios: “Ahora es el tiempo favorable. ¡Ahora es el día de salvación!

Apoyémonos unos a otros durante este maravilloso tiempo de renovación y descubramos la verdadera bendición de nuestra reconciliación con Dios mientras viajamos juntos hacia la alegría de la Pascua.

Fielmente tuyo en Cristo,

Reverendísimo Joseph C. Bambera, D.D., J.C.L.
Obispo de Scranton

 

 

HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference (PCC) joined a long list of state lawmakers who expressed disappointment with Governor Wolf’s veto today of SB 906. The bill would create a moratorium on the closure of two state centers for individuals with severe disabilities.

The PCC remains concerned about the well-being of the residents of the Polk and White Haven Centers should those centers close.

“We support home- and community-based care for individuals in the environment of their choosing,” said Eric Failing, the Executive Director of the PCC. “But we are worried about whether that will happen in this case without proper safeguards in place.”

Several PA lawmakers spoke out against the veto immediately after the Governor announced it.

Sen. John Yudichak (I-Carbon, Luzerne), Sen. Lisa Baker (R-Luzerne, Pike, Susquehanna, Wayne, Wyoming), Sen. Scott Hutchinson (R-Butler, Clarion, Forest, Vengano, Warren) and Sen. Michele Brooks (R-Crawford, Erie, Mercer, Warren) released a statement, which read, in part, “the Administration’s decision to close White Haven and Polk State Centers ignores the voices of families and mounting data that underscores the shortcomings of limiting choices on how best to serve individuals with intellectual disabilities.”

Rep. Gerald Mullery (D-Luzerne) has been fighting to keep the facilities open and also spoke out. “Governor Wolf’s cavalier dismissal of these residents’ desires, their family’s concerns, and their caregiver’s commitment is disheartening,” Mullery said in a statement. “To issue this callous veto in the face of the recent Office of Inspector General report is nothing more than repulsive.”

The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference is based in Harrisburg and is the public affairs arm of Pennsylvania’s Catholic bishops.

 

Gathered for the signing ceremony are, front row, from left: Jason W.S. Morrison, diocesan secretary of Catholic education and chief executive officer, Diocese of Scranton; Rebekah Bernard, information and technology specialist for admissions and enrollment, University of Scranton; Gerry Zaboski, vice president for enrollment management and external affairs, University of Scranton. Second row: Joseph Roback, associate vice provost for admissions and enrollment, University of Scranton; Benjamin Tolerico, principal, Holy Cross High School; Jeffrey Lyons, principal, Notre Dame Jr./Sr. High School; Alisia McNamee, principal, St. John Neumann Jr./Sr. High School; Kristen Donohue, Superintendent of Catholic Schools, Diocese of Scranton; Doreen Dougherty, principal, Holy Redeemer High School; Mary Kay Aston, assistant vice provost for admissions and enrollment, University of Scranton

SCRANTON, PA (February 6, 2020) – The University of Scranton and the Diocese of Scranton have signed a memorandum of understanding that will guarantee admission and minimum scholarships of $15,000 or more to the University for graduates of Catholic high schools in the Diocese who meet eligibility requirements.

The memorandum will grant admission to most majors at the University to graduates of Holy Cross High School, Holy Redeemer High School, Notre Dame Jr./Sr. High School and St. John Neumann Jr./Sr. High School, who have a minimum GPA 3.00 and either a 1080 SAT (EBRW and math) or a 21 ACT composite score, or higher, and meet other criteria. Students who meet the eligibility requirements will receive, at minimum, an annual $15,000 scholarship to the University with a total value of $60,000. The agreement will take effect for most majors beginning with the 2020-21 academic year.

From left: Jason W.S. Morrison, diocesan secretary of Catholic education and chief executive officer, Diocese of Scranton, and Gerry Zaboski, vice president for enrollment management and external affairs, University of Scranton, sign the memorandum.

Graduates of Diocese of Scranton high schools wishing to enroll in the University’s entry-level programs for occupational therapy (5-year master’s program), nursing (bachelor’s degree) and Doctor of Physical Therapy (guaranteed seat for 7-year program) must have a minimum GPA of 3.50 and either a 1270 SAT (EBRW and math) or a 27 ACT composite score, and meet other criteria. Students who meet the eligibility requirements will receive, at minimum, an annual $18,000 scholarship to the University with a total value of $72,000. The agreement for these majors will take effect beginning with the 2021-22 academic year.

“The Diocese of Scranton and The University of Scranton have a shared mission of educating young men and women in the Catholic tradition in an environment that is both academically excellent and grounded in service to others. This agreement is a tremendous opportunity for students in all four of our Diocesan high schools to seamlessly continue their education, becoming tomorrow’s faith-filled leaders,” said Jason W.S. Morrison, diocesan secretary of Catholic education and chief executive officer, Diocese of Scranton.

“The agreement we sign today guarantees admission into The University of Scranton for even our most competitive programs. In signing it, we honor and reward the sacrifice that families make to invest in a Catholic education and show our great respect for the preparation provided by the dedicated teachers, staff and administrators of the Diocese of Scranton,” said Gerry Zaboski, vice president for enrollment management and external affairs at the University. He added that the agreement “recognizes just how wonderful the students are, how hard they work and how consistently they thrive at the finest colleges in our nation, especially here at The University of Scranton.”

The University also has guaranteed admission agreements with Bishop McDevitt High School, Harrisburg; Trinity High School, Camp Hill; York Catholic High School, York; and John S. Burke Catholic High School, Goshen, New York.

For more information about the memorandum of understanding, contact Diocese of Scranton Catholic Schools Office at 570-207-2251, or Rebekah Bernard, information and technology specialist for admissions and enrollment at The University of Scranton, at Rebekah.bernard@scranton.edu or 570-941-5918.

 

“It is with sincere joy and pleasure that I say ‘welcome home’ to Archbishop-designate Nelson J. Perez upon Pope Francis’ announcement today that he will succeed retiring Archbishop Charles J. Chaput in Philadelphia.

As a former parish priest in the Philadelphia-area, Archbishop-designate Perez has many gifts to share and will certainly be a welcoming presence to all people in the city and beyond.

With the Diocese of Scranton being within the province of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, I look forward to building upon my relationship with him. He has shown himself to be a dedicated leader who loves the church and its people.

On this day, I also offer sincere thanks to Archbishop Chaput for his steadfast leadership and service since 2011.

I encourage everyone to keep Archbishop-designate Perez and Archbishop Chaput in their prayers today.”

 

(Front Row, L to R):  Attorney Terrence Gallagher, Patrick O’Malley, II, Vincent O’Malley, 2019 Man of the Year Bernard McGurl, 2020 incoming Man of the Year Father Richard Fox, President Patrick O’Malley, Joe Holland, Keith Oleski, and Jim Sweeney (Back Row, L to R):  John Fletcher, Jim Barrett, James Connor, Bob McAndrew, Kevin Shaughnessy, Bob Fletcher, Kevin Donovan, and Jim Foley

The Paul “Hook” O’Malley Ancient Order of Hibernians Division #4 will hold their “Man of the Year” dinner on Wednesday, March 4, 2020 at Fiorelli’s, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.

This year’s recipient is Father Richard Fox.  $35.00 per person.

Tables of 10 are $350.00.  Program ads are $100.00 per page and $50.00 for a half page.

For more information on the dinner, please contact Joe at 570-342-7596 or Kevin at 570-351-1478.

Any questions, please call 570-575-1184

Shown (Left to Right) are the attending Knights of Columbus: (First Row) Robert Roccograndi, William Leandri, Father Leo McKernan, John Hraboski,Walter Grycko, Christopher Calore. (Second Row) Arthur Kohler, John Witkosky, James Poppo, Michael Cherinka, Robert Williams, John Lucas, and Patrick Umbra. (Third Row) George Grantkuskas, Dennis Shovlin, Charlie Jones, Francis Kennedy, Chris Libus ,David Miller, and John Strish.

 

The Annual Respect Life Mass was held at Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Swoyersville, Sunday, January 12, 2020. Reverend Leo McKernan was Celebrant and Homilist. Knights of Columbus from area Councils, (Ashley, Dallas 8224, Pittston 372, Plymouth 984, Swoyersville and Wilkes-Barre 302), were in attendance along with Representatives from Pennsylvanians for Human Life. Prayer intentions during the Mass were offered by the Knights of Columbus and Pro-Life participants for a greater respect of all Human Life and to end abortion.