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

Effective August 14, 2023: 

Reverend Brian J.T. Clarke, to Chaplain, Notre Dame High School, East Stroudsburg.  Father will remain Senior Priest, St. Matthew’s Parish, East Stroudsburg. 

Effective September 1, 2023: 

Reverend John J. Chmil, from Pastor, St. Ann’s Parish, Williamsport, to Pastor, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Swoyersville. 

Reverend Duane J. Gavitt, from Pastor, St. Elizabeth’s Parish, Bear Creek, and St. Rita’s Parish, Gouldsboro, to Pastor, Holy Rosary Parish, Hazleton and Holy Name Parish, West Hazleton.

Reverend Binesh Joseph Kanjirakattu, from Administrator, Holy Rosary Parish, Hazleton and Holy Name Parish, West Hazleton, to Parochial Vicar, Good Shepherd Parish, Drums, and Immaculate Conception Parish, Freeland.

Reverend Michael J. Kloton, to Administrator, St. Patrick’s Parish, White Haven.  Father will remain Pastor, Good Shepherd Parish, Drums and Immaculate Conception Parish, Freeland.

Reverend Rawel Toppo, from Administrator, St. Patrick’s Parish, White Haven and Parochial Vicar, Good Shepherd Parish, Drums, and Immaculate Conception Parish, Freeland, to Administrator, St. Elizabeth’s Parish, Bear Creek, and St. Rita’s Parish, Gouldsboro.

Effective September 6, 2023: 

Reverend Richard E. Fox, to Pastor, St. Lucy’s Parish, Scranton.  Father will remain Pastor, St. Patrick’s Parish, Scranton.


Deacon John M. Hanley, from diaconal ministry, Archdiocese of New York, to diaconal ministry, St. Vincent de Paul Parish, Milford, effective August 14, 2023.

Deacon Carmine Mendicino, from diaconal ministry, St. Lucy’s Parish and SS. Peter and Paul Parish, Scranton, to retirement, effective September 6, 2023. 



A pregnant woman is seen outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington in this 2016 file photo. On Aug. 8, 2023, Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Arlington, Virginia, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, objected to a proposed interpretation of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act to include accommodations for obtaining an abortion. (OSV News photo/Tyler Orsburn, CNS)

WASHINGTON – On Monday, Aug. 7, 2023, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released proposed regulations implementing the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Arlington, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, responded with the following statement:

“We supported the bipartisan Pregnant Workers Fairness Act because it enhanced the protection of pregnant mothers and their preborn children, which is something that we have encouraged Congress to prioritize. The Act is pro-worker, pro-family, and pro-life. It is a total distortion to use this law as a means for advancing abortion, and the complete opposite of needed assistance for pregnant mothers.

“The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s proposed interpretation of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act to include accommodations for obtaining an abortion is wrong and contrary to the text, legislative history, and purpose of the Act, which is to help make it possible for working mothers to remain gainfully employed, if desired, while protecting their health and that of their preborn children. We are hopeful that the EEOC will be forced to abandon its untenable position when public comments submitted on this regulation demonstrate that its interpretation would be struck down in court.”

Editor Note: There is currently a 60-day period where the public can submit their public comments on this regulation. You can submit a comment at the following site: https://www.regulations.gov/document/EEOC-2023-0004-0001




August 4, 2023 

A solemn memorial service will be held at the Cathedral Cemetery, 1708 Oram Street, Scranton, as part of the National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children. Special Guests include Geri Featherby and musician/artist Michael Corsini. There will be a special time of prayer and worship.

Memorial services will also be held at hundreds of other locations across the nation. A full listing is available here: https://nationaldayofremembrance.org/sites.

For more information and to register, call 570-343-5099, or email Pahumanlife@yahoo.com

Pennsylvanians for Human Life is a non-profit, non-sectarian organization formed to protect and defend all human life from conception to natural death. For more information, go to the website: www.prolifescranton.org or Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/phl.scrantonpa.


August 7, 2023

WASHINGTON – In 2022, an estimated 258 million people in 58 countries experienced crisis-level acute hunger, according to the World Food Programme (WFP), the global humanitarian organization addressing food security. Russia’s recent decision no longer to allow Ukraine to export tons of grain means more people are likely to go hungry. In response to the rising concern, Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on International Justice and Peace, calls on global leaders to do more to ensure food security for all. Bishop Malloy’s full statement follows:

“Globally, food insecurity has risen in the last few years due to the impacts of the pandemic, natural disasters, economic downturns, but especially due to conflict. Ukraine, prior to the Russian invasion, was considered ‘Europe’s breadbasket,’ shipping significant amounts of wheat, corn and barley, and almost half of the world’s sunflower oil through ports on the Black Sea. When Russia invaded Ukraine, those ports were blocked.

“From July 2022, the Black Sea Grain Initiative (BSGI), the UN-brokered agreement between Russia and Ukraine, allowed Ukraine to export about 33 million tons of grain and other agricultural products. Russia’s decision to withdraw from the BSGI and its bombing of grain storage facilities in Ukraine will greatly impact the availability of food supplies at a time when more people are in dire need of food. With the number of forcibly displaced people at a record high, the World Food Programme estimates 345 million people will face acute hunger this year, with 129,000 potentially facing famine in places like Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, the Horn of Africa, and Myanmar.

“Recognizing this critical need, Pope Francis has said, ‘The blocking of grain exports from Ukraine, on which the lives of millions of people depend, especially in the poorest countries, is of great concern. I make a heartfelt appeal that every effort be made to resolve this issue and to guarantee the universal human right to food. Please do not use wheat, a staple food, as a weapon of war!’

“The food crisis is intertwined with persistence of conflicts. I join with our Holy Father in calling on global leaders to look beyond narrow national interests, focus on the common good, and join in ensuring that critical food supplies can flow to those most in need. The most vulnerable are crying in hunger. With the compassion of Christ, we need to heed their cries and help.”


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 “[W]e proclaim a vision for our society that upholds the truth that every human life is sacred and inviolable—a society in which the legal protection of human life is accompanied by profound care for mothers and their children.” – Standing with Moms in Need, Statement by bishop chairmen of the USCCB

Congress is home for the August recess. When they return to Washington, they will need to pass bills that implement the nation’s budget for the next year. Now is the time to remind them that our society can and must do more to protect and care for both women and their children. Providing adequate support for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) will do just that by providing healthy food and nutrition support for vulnerable moms, infants, and young children.

This year, rising food costs and increased program participation make strong investments in WIC more important than ever. All families in need must have access to life-saving nutrition and health services. Tell Congress to continue its long history of bipartisan support for WIC by providing the program with adequate resources to serve all eligible participants with food that meets their nutrition needs, including the current benefit for fruits and vegetables. Supporting WIC is one way we can help build a society that welcomes new life and is oriented towards helping children and their parents, especially those who are most vulnerable.

We invite you to include your thoughts and personal experience. How has WIC helped you or your community?

You can learn more about the USCCB’s advocacy on WIC by reading USCCB letters to Congress on supporting families and ensuring adequate funding for vital nutrition programs.

Take Action Now!


Nearly 40 years after Saint Francis of Assisi Kitchen opened its doors in its current location, the facility recently underwent a “once in a generation renovation” to ensure its mission continues for decades to come.  After ten weeks of renovation, the kitchen officially reopened on Monday, July 31, 2023.

“This renovation will not only allow us to serve our brothers and sisters in need in a dignified way for another generation but will prepare us for future expansion,” Rob Williams, Executive Director of Saint Francis of Assisi Kitchen, said. “This organization is primed and ready to serve God and His people in ways that we cannot yet imagine. We were founded by and through God’s inspiration and we will continue to serve Him and His beloved people in every way possible.”


The summer season was launched with inspiration and fun as area children attended a four day vacation bible camp at St. Patrick’s Hall in Milford, PA.

Directed by Laurie Barcia of Milford, VBC featured a wide variety of activities, including: frisbee, jumping rope and blowing bubbles, but also learning about the significance and value of the Rosary, acting out the Good Samaritan parable, arts and crafts, and biblical pictures drawn with chalk on the walkway. 

The children also learned about Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Therese of Lisieux (La Petite Fleur), and her call to “do small things  with love”. They were asked, on their return home, to consider how  they could put that motto in practice in their day-to-day lives.

Assisting Mrs. Barcia were: catechists Annette Petry and Diane Dennis, and also Connor Giblin, Angelica Barcia and Clare Barcia.

Because of the success of VBC this year, it will be expanded to five days in 2024.

Photos by Angelica Barcia and Laurie Barcia



From left to right: Board members, Sally Barnes, sister Marie Parker, Maureen Harkins, Sister Sara Sweeney and Sister Patricia Lapczynski

The Sisters of Mercy recently celebrated the ten-year anniversary of the Mercy Foundation at a luncheon at the Sisters’ Residence at Mercy Center in Dallas, Pennsylvania.

“The Mercy legacy continues because of the deep commitment of so many people willing to partner with us in response to need,” says Sister Marie Parker, RSM, chair of the board of directors of Mercy Foundation. 

Over the past ten years, the foundation has awarded 80 grants to local organizations. The foundation started with funds from the sale of Mercy Scranton, Mercy Nanticoke, Mercy Tyler, all part of the former Mercy Health System, as a way to retain a local Mercy presence and support ministries in Lackawanna, Luzerne, and Wyoming Counties of Pennsylvania. The foundation serves to develop healthy communities and to commit resources in support of programs that respond to the needs of people who are poor and underserved within these three counties. Through the foresight and encouragement of Sister Virginia Hasson, a deceased Sister of Mercy who served on the board for several years, an on-going emergency fund was established in 2020, (in addition to the regular grant cycle), to respond to emergencies and financial hardships.

Ten local ministries received grants this year – CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocates) of Luzerne County, CEO (Commission on Economic Opportunity) /Weinberg Food Bank, Child Hunger Outreach Partners (CHOP), Catherine McAuley Center, HANDS (Helping Area Needs for Diverse Services of Wyoming County) , Immanuel Christian School, McGlynn Learning Center, Nativity Miguel School of Scranton, Wyoming County Special Needs Association and WVIA (Northeastern Pennsylvania Educational Television Association). 

Five Sisters of Mercy and others who currently serve on the board  recommend recipients of grants on an annual basis. Through prayer and service, the sisters address the causes and effects of violence, racism, degradation of Earth and injustice to women and immigrants. The sisters serve in more than 200 organizations that work with those in need in the U.S., Central and South America, Jamaica, Guam and the Philippines. www.sistersofmercy.org.  

Locally, the Sisters of Mercy have a 148-year old legacy in Northeastern Pennsylvania of serving in schools, hospitals, social service organizations, community outreach, spiritual counseling and pastoral care. For more than a hundred years they sponsored Mercy hospitals in the area. 


Poconos Corpus Christi Procession
Submitted by Desiree Schulz 

Sunday June 11, 2023 marked the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ—Corpus Christi for the U.S. Catholic Church.  In the words of Pope Francis, “Every year the feast of Corpus Christi invites us to renew the wonder and joy for this wonderful gift of the Lord, which is the Eucharist.”

This year, however, is even more pronounced. In the United States, Corpus Christi Sunday was the kickoff of the Year of the Parish Eucharistic Revival, the 2nd of three parts of the National Eucharistic Revival. 
Through July 2025, the Church will experience profound renewal in Eucharistic faith and love of this most precious gift. According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, “Our Lord promises to reinvigorate our communities with his Real Presence, setting our hearts on fire with his love and lavishing new graces upon our communities.”

Parishioners of St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish in Pocono Pines, PA remembered the Feast of Corpus Christi and kicked off their Year of Parish Revival with a Procession of the Blessed Sacrament along Route 940 on Sunday. More than 100 members, liturgical ministers, altar servers and communicants followed Fr. Paschal Mbagwu as he carried the Holy Monstrance bearing the Blessed Sacrament. Catholics see the real presence of Jesus’ body, blood, soul and divinity in the Sacrament known as the Eucharist.

For more information on the National Eucharistic Revival, visit www.eucharisticrevival.org


Community invited to Catholic Youth Center Thursday evening for #NEPAGives Rally
24-hour Swim Endurance Challenge to raise money for CYC Aquatics Center 

WILKES-BARRE – As the Wyoming Valley Catholic Youth Center celebrates 75 years of steadfast service to children and young people, the community is being invited to support its mission and innovative programming.

“The Wyoming Valley Catholic Youth Center means so much to the youth of our community. We offer many different programs from our daycare program to our basketball and swim programs and even our drop-in program for young people who are involved in the mental health system. This is a home away from home for those children,” Mark Soprano, Executive Director of the Wyoming Valley Catholic Youth Center, said. “We are the largest daycare provider in Luzerne County. We offer 24-hour daycare for children of working families.”

In conjunction with #NEPAGives Day 2023, the CYC will open its doors to the community from 6-9 p.m. on Thursday, June 1, 2023, for free food, drinks and fun. Father Jim Paisley, pastor of St. Therese Parish and St. Frances Cabrini Parish, will perform several songs and entertain those in attendance. No reservations are needed. Anyone is welcome to attend to learn more about the CYC or its programs or hear about the 27 other Diocesan causes that are part of #NEPAGives Day 2023, including our Catholic schools and service programs.

“We are about to embark on a new project to develop an infant and toddler outdoor play area. We have a courtyard on the side of our current building. We want to remove some large trees and put in new sidewalks and play equipment for the little ones to crawl and play around outside,” Soprano added.

Also, in celebration of #NEPAGives Day 2023, a group of 13 open-water marathon swimmers will be in the CYC pool as part of a 24-hour Swim Endurance Challenge. The swimmers plan to swim one mile, every hour on the hour, for 24 hours, to raise money for the CYC Aquatics Center.

“I’ve been a life-long resident and I’ve done all my training at the CYC pool to swim triathlons to open marathon swims,” organizer Mary Stella explained. “There are a lot of people that use this pool from children learning to swim to adults that are maintaining their fitness. It’s a great facility for the whole community and we need to keep it maintained.”

One mile is 1,760 yards but a swimmer mile is 1,650 yards – which is roughly 66 lengths of the pool.

“It is a real endurance test,” swimmer Stephen Rouch of Kingston, added. “I’m worried about missing my sleep but for others it is going to be having tired arms. Either way, it’ll be fun no matter what!”