Dear Friends,

“Do not be afraid! I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified. He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said.”

These words from Saint Matthew’s gospel proclaimed during the great Vigil of Easter, confronted the first followers of Jesus on the day of His resurrection and boldly affirmed God’s promise to save his people.

Despite such powerful words of faith that we read in the scriptures and proclaim whenever we gather for the celebration of the Eucharist, the reality of life at times can consume us with grief, pain and fear. These days are no exception.

Mary Magdalene is depicted with the resurrected Christ in this icon at the Haifa Melkite Cathedral in Israel. Easter, the chief feast in the liturgical calendars of all Christian churches, commemorates Christ’s resurrection from the dead. Easter is celebrated April 9 this year. (OSV News artwork/Haifa Melkite Cathedral, Bridgeman Images)

From devastating earthquakes in Syria and Ecuador – to tornadoes that ravaged parts of Mississippi, Arkansas and far too many areas of our land – to once unimaginable school shootings that continue to shatter the security and peace that every child should enjoy – to a senseless war in Ukraine that has raged on for more than a year, leaving death, destruction and shattered dreams in its wake – to our own stories of loss – the scope of suffering and pain that has enveloped our world and our lives is difficult to comprehend.

And so as we have done countless times before in the face of such heartbreak, these sacred days of Holy Week and Easter beckon us to turn to the only place that enables our broken world and lives to find forgiveness, healing, hope and peace: the Paschal Mystery – the Easter miracle – the promise won for us through the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus!

But how does a mystery fraught with suffering and death provide us with hope?

In his recently published work, Touch the Wounds, the Czech theologian and priest Tomas Halik writes, “there is no other path or other gate to God than that which is opened by a wounded hand and pierced heart.” The author goes on to reflect upon the depth of Jesus’ love that led him to suffer and to bear the ills of us all, even unto his death on the cross. “Such love represents a force, the only force that survives death itself and overturns its gates with pierced hands.” Halik concludes that in resurrecting the doubting apostle Thomas’ faith by letting him touch his wounds, Jesus was telling him – and us – that “it is where you touch human suffering, and maybe only there, that you will realize that I am alive, that ‘it’s me.’ You will meet me wherever people suffer. Do not shy away from me in any of those meetings. Do not be afraid. Do not be unbelieving, but believe.”

Brothers and sisters, for all that we have experienced throughout the journey of our lives – in joy and gladness, and yes, even in suffering, death and in the many wounds that we have endured – the grace of God does not disappoint! Jesus is risen and lives among us, lifting us from the burdens of this world and carrying us to new life!

As bishop of this great local church of the Diocese of Scranton, I am profoundly touched by the example of your lives. In the midst of all that life unfolds, you continue to live your faith and fulfill the promises of your Baptism. You continue to serve your brothers and sisters. You continue to derive hope from a living relationship with the risen Jesus.

During this Holy Week, I pray that we will all come to appreciate more deeply than ever the fact that we are indeed blessed in more ways than we might believe or imagine. May we hold in our hearts the catechumens and candidates from throughout the Diocese of Scranton who will be baptized into the life, death and resurrection of Jesus and presented for full communion in the Catholic Church. May we trust in God’s promise to sustain us and dispel our deepest fears. Moreover, may we open our hearts to the risen Jesus and allow him to fill them with his love and peace.

This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad!

Faithfully yours in the Risen Christ,

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

March 31, 2023

His Excellency, Bishop Joseph C. Bambera, announces the following appointments.

Reverend Kenneth M. Seegar, from Pastor, Holy Rosary Parish, Hazleton, and Holy Name of Jesus Parish, West Hazleton, to Leave of Absence for reasons of health, effective March 30, 2023. 

Reverend Binesh Joseph Kanjirakattu, from Assistant Pastor, Holy Rosary Parish, Hazleton, and Holy Name of Jesus Parish, West Hazleton, to Administrator, Holy Rosary Parish, Hazleton, and Holy Name of Jesus Parish, West Hazleton, effective May 17, 2023.

Reverend Michael J. Piccola, from Administrator, Holy Rosary Parish, Hazleton, and Holy Name of Jesus Parish, West Hazleton.  Father will remain Pastor, Saints Cyril and Methodius Parish, Hazleton, effective May 17, 2023.

Your tax dollars could pay for abortions for veterans!

The U.S. Senate will be voting soon on whether to overturn a recent Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA) rule that provides taxpayer funded abortions on-demand for veterans, and their spouses and kids. For decades, the law has stopped the VA from providing abortions in its health care benefits packages. Last September, the VA violated this law, as well as long-standing practices preventing taxpayer funding for elective abortion, and issued a regulation to provide such abortions – even in States where they’re now illegal. Further, the rule does not protect the conscience rights of workers who could be forced to participate in abortions. The U.S. Senate will vote soon to overturn the VA’s rule, and your senators need to hear from you. Please tell them to not turn VA hospitals into illegal abortion clinics. Women — especially our heroes in need of care — and their children deserve better.

Messages in your own words can be more effective. Please consider customizing with your own story.

To learn more about how the VA rule has these effects and the USCCB’s response, you may view our original regulatory comment letter to the VA here.

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Students, staff and families from St. Clare/St. Paul School in Scranton gathered Friday morning, March 17, 2023, for a pep rally to send off their boys basketball team to represent the Diocese of Scranton in the state CYO (Catholic Youth Organization) Tournament in Philadelphia.

The Crusaders will play their first game this evening at 7:45 p.m. against Our Lady of Mt. Carmel at Holy Family University in Philadelphia.

Best of luck to the Crusaders!!

March 15, 2023

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

Reverend Siby John Padinjaredath, C.P., from Parochial Vicar, St. Ann Basilica Parish, Scranton to Ministry with the Passionist Congregation, effective March 3, 2023.

Reverend Brian J.T. Clarke, from Pastor, Christ the King Parish, Archbald to leave of absence due to reasons of health, effective March 14, 2023.

Reverend Seth D. Wasnock, to Administrator pro tem, Christ the King Parish, Archbald.  He will remain Pastor, St. Rose of Lima Parish, Carbondale and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish, Carbondale,  effective March 14, 2023.


Members of Knights of Lithuania Council 143, Pittston, celebrated the feast of St. Casimir with a Mass held on Sunday, March 5 at St. John the Evangelist Church.

A luncheon and Amber District meeting in the Monsignor Bendik Center followed the service.

Pictured are Council 143 members, Amber District officers and clergy, front row, from left to right, Tom Wierbowski, Judy Stodolny, Mary Claire Voveris, Marilyn Fitzgerald, Dennis Palladino, Janet Palladino, Eileen Kelly, Jean Mihalick, Barbara Miller. Second row, from left to right, John Kovaleski, Irene Kovaleski, Mike Loncoski, Cathy Talarico, Rob Kiska, Mary Portelli, June Supey, Sylvia Waxmonsky, Don Waxmonsky, Reverend Joseph Elston, Deacon David Marx, Tom Miller. Third row, from left to right, Greg Wolovich, Jr., Bill Sodnik, Joe Francik. Absent from photo was Camille Stanis.

SCRANTON – Over the course of the next two weeks, nearly 600 young adults from parishes and schools across the Diocese of Scranton are being recognized with the 2023 Bishop’s Youth Award.

Nominated by their pastors, parish life coordinators, youth ministers, directors of religious education or school principals, the award honors those students in 8th and 12th grade who show exemplary practice of faith and/or commitment to service.

“These young people have been of service to their parish and school communities in a multitude of ways and are worthy of this recognition,” Marianne Guarnieri, Director of Discipleship in the Diocesan Office for Parish Life, said.

The Bishop’s Youth Awards have been handed out annually since 1996.

“It makes me feel good. It’s an accomplishment for the stuff I do in my parish. It feels good,” Conor Buckley, a high school senior and parishioner of Our Lady Help of Christians Parish in Dorrance, said. “I volunteer at the bazaar a lot, help out anyway I can with the dinners and things like that.”

The first Bishop’s Youth Awards Mass was held on Tuesday, March 7, 2023, honoring students in the Southern and Western Pastoral Regions of the Diocese of Scranton. A second Bishop Youth Awards Mass will be held on Wednesday, March 15, honoring students in the Northern and Eastern Regions.

“I’m really excited. My entire life I have been a part of my parish and it’s been a big part of me, so being able to get this award means a lot to me,” Sofia Marica, an eighth grade student from Epiphany Parish in Sayre, explained.

There will be additional coverage of the Bishop’s Youth Award Masses in the March 16 edition of The Catholic Light.


The annual Saint Patrick’s Parade Day Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 11, at the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Scranton. All are welcome to attend.

The liturgy is traditionally held in conjunction with the city of Scranton’s annual Saint Patrick’s Day Parade. Following the Mass, the Saint Patrick’s Parade is expected to take to the streets of the Electric City beginning at 11:45 a.m.

The Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, will serve as principal celebrant and homilist for the Mass. The Mass will be concelebrated by Rev. Jeffrey D. Tudgay, V.E., Episcopal Vicar for Canonical Affairs and Pastor of the Cathedral of Saint Peter; Rev. Daniel R. Sweeney, S.J.; and priests of the Diocese of Scranton.

The Mass will be broadcast live on CTV: Catholic Television of the Diocese of Scranton and will be rebroadcast on Tuesday, March 14, at 7:30 p.m., and Wednesday, March 15, at 10:30 a.m. It will also be available for viewing on the Diocese of Scranton’s YouTube Channel.

This year marks the 61st Anniversary of the Saint Patrick’s Parade in Scranton.

Saturday’s Mass is being offered in memory of the Most Rev. John M. Dougherty, D.D., Patty Bianche, Michael (Mikey) Castaldi Sr., James Connor, Tom Conway, Bob Foley, Anthony F. (Botch) Hughes, Marty Judge Sr., James “Kuch” Kuchwara, James “Red” McAndrew, Fergal O’Brien, Kathleen Kelly O’Hara, Mary Louise Ruane, Tom Scanlan, Bobby Timlin and Tony Walsh.

Michael J. Cummings, President, Saint Patrick’s Parade Association of Lackawanna County, will serve as lector for the Mass and Gina Pascolini will serve as cantor.

The Offertory gifts will be presented by Dorothea Crowley, President, Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians of Lackawanna County; Al O’Donnell, President, Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick of Lackawanna County; Conal McHugh, President, Ancient Order of Hibernians of Lackawanna County; Jack McIntyre, President, Irish Cultural Society; and Lori Wagner, President, Society of Irish Women.

March 8, 2023

His Excellency, Bishop Joseph C. Bambera, announces the following appointment:

Reverend Lee Havey, C.P., from Ministry with the Passionist Congregation, to Parochial Vicar, St. Ann Basilica Parish, Scranton, effective March 8, 2023.

March 6, 2023

His Excellency, Bishop Joseph C. Bambera, announces the following appointment:

Reverend Edison Gregorio Arreaga Arce, from Ministry with the Passionist Congregation, Ecuador, to Parochial Vicar, Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish, Brodheadsville, effective March 6, 2023.