March 4, 2019

Diocese Enters Season of Lent on Ash Wednesday


SCRANTON — Ash Wednesday, March 6, 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.

At St. Peter’s Cathedral 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.

“Ash Wednesday and Lent, by their very nature, carry with them opportunities like no other time within the Church year. With a focus upon conversion, forgiveness and the new life that we are given through the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus, our participation in the journey of Lent – from Ash Wednesday to Easter – has the power to renew our spirits and strengthen our hope,” Bishop Bambera said. “This unique journey provides us with a framework within which all of us can affirm that that while heartbroken because of the reality of sin within our midst and in our lives, this is still our Church. And this Church – this community of saints and sinners – is still the visible body in and through which Christ is present and at work among us.”

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 March 8 after the 12:10 p.m. Mass on that day and then on succeeding Fridays at 11:30 a.m., 2:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

Ash Wednesday Retreat 

The Office for Parish Life will offer a retreat on Ash Wednesday 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.

Father Joseph F. Sica, a priest of the Diocese of Scranton for more than 36 years who currently serves as senior priest at Immaculate Conception Parish in Scranton, will lead the retreat with the theme “Unhappy with Life? Change It!” He will offer the retreat in three parts with time for reflection and personal prayer.

The fee for the day is $30, which includes lunch. To register, call Mary Anne Malone at the Office for Parish Life, 570-207-2213 or e-mail

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 on the first Monday of Lent, March 11, and continuing through Monday of the last full week of Lent, April 8, confessions will be 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.

Lenten Resources for Ongoing Atonement and Healing in the Church 

Each parish in the Diocese of Scranton has been encouraged to pray continuously for atonement and healing for victims of sexual abuse, especially during the Lenten season and during the month of April which is “National Child Abuse Prevention Month.” The diocesan website has several resources for both parishioners and parishes to offer prayers for victims of sexual abuse that include:

  • Stations of the Cross Booklet for Atonement and Healing
  • Pieta Prayer Card (in English and Spanish)
  • A Rosary for Atonement and Healing using the Sorrowful Mysteries
  • Prayer Booklet for Atonement and Healing – for individuals or small groups

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 21.

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.


For more information on programs or services, contact:

Eric Deabill
Secretary for Communications
Diocese of Scranton
(570) 207-2229
Cell: (570) 237-6508