SCRANTON – On Ash Wednesday, February 22, 2023, the Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, will be principal celebrant and homilist for the 12:10 p.m. Mass at the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Scranton.

Ash Wednesday marks the start of Lent, a 40-day season of prayer, fasting and almsgiving that ends at sundown on Holy Thursday. It is a period of preparation to celebrate the Lord’s Resurrection at Easter.

Faithful from the Diocese of Scranton participate in Ash Wednesday Mass at the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Scranton on March 2, 2022. This year, Ash Wednesday is on Feb 22, 2023. Ash Wednesday Masses at the Cathedral of Saint Peter this year will be held at 6:30 a.m., 8 a.m., 12:10 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

During Lent, the following fasting and abstinence regulations are observed:

FASTING is to be observed on Ash Wednesday (Feb. 22, 2023) and Good Friday (April 7, 2023) by all Catholics over 18 years of age to the beginning of their 60th year. On days of fasting, one full meal is allowed. Two smaller meals, sufficient to maintain strength, may be taken according to one’s needs, but together should not equal another full meal, unless dispensed or excused.

ABSTINENCE from meat is to be observed by all Catholics who are 14 years of age or older. Ash Wednesday, all of the Fridays of Lent, and Good Friday are days of abstinence.

“The Season of Lent provides us with many grace-filled opportunities to grow in our faith,” Bishop Bambera said. “May we be filled with awe and comforted by Jesus’ presence in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist – strengthened for mission – and ready to assume our responsibility in proclaiming the mercy and love of Christ for our world.”

In addition to the 12:10 p.m. Mass with Bishop Bambera, ashes will also be distributed at the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Scranton during Masses held at 6:30 a.m., 8 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. A full listing of Ash Wednesday Masses for all 114 parishes in the Diocese of Scranton is also available on the main page of

Throughout the Season of Lent, Bishop Bambera will also visit every geographic area of the Diocese of Scranton holding a Lenten Holy Hour. A Holy Hour is a period of time spent in prayer before the Lord, present to all sacramentally in the Eucharist. A Holy Hour involves personal prayer, meditation readings from Scripture, hymns and more.

The dates and locations for Bishop Bambera’s Lenten Holy Hours across the Diocese of Scranton are:

Thursday, Feb. 23, 7 p.m.

Saint Rose of Lima Parish, Carbondale


Tuesday, Feb. 28, 7 p.m.

Most Holy Trinity Parish, Cresco


Wednesday, March 8, 7 p.m.

Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Montoursville


Thursday, March 9, 7 p.m.

Ss. Peter & Paul Parish, Towanda


Monday, March 13, 7 p.m.

St. Robert Bellarmine Parish, Wilkes-Barre


Tuesday, March 14, 7 p.m.

Mary, Mother of God Parish, Scranton


Monday, March 20, 7 p.m.

St. Gregory Parish, Clarks Green


Wednesday, March 22, 7 p.m.

Corpus Christi Parish, West Pittston


Thursday, March 23, 7 p.m.

Ss. Cyril and Methodius Parish, Hazleton


Monday, March 27, 7 p.m.

Queen of Peace Parish, Hawley


Tuesday, March 28, 7 p.m.

Ss. Anthony and Rocco Parish, Dunmore


Wednesday, March 29, 7 p.m.

St. John the Baptist Parish, Larksville

HAZLETON (Jan. 30, 2023) – After serving the Annunciation Parish community in Hazleton for nearly 14 years, the Oblates of St. Joseph have announced their intention to return the administration of the parish back to the Diocese of Scranton on June 30, 2023.

The announcement was shared with parishioners of Annunciation Parish during all Masses on the weekend of Jan. 28 & 29, 2023, in a letter from Fr. Matthew Spencer, O.S.J., Provincial, Oblates of St. Joseph (Holy Spouses Province).

“It is never easy for us as Oblates to make such a significant decision. When we agree to work at a parish, we do so knowing that we will invariably form friendships with the faithful and become part of the parish family itself,” Fr. Spencer wrote in his letter. “I wish we had more vocations and more active priests to assign, in order to maintain all of our ministries in our Province, but instead we find ourselves having to accept what Divine Providence allows us to do with the limited personnel we have.”

There are currently two Oblate priests – Fr. Mariusz Beczek and Fr. Victor Leon – serving Annunciation Parish. After the transition on June 30, they will assume Oblate assignments elsewhere.

In a separate letter accompanying the Oblates announcement, the Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, thanked the Oblates for the leadership of the Annunciation Parish community over the last 14 years. Bishop Bambera said the Oblates announcement means a new pastor will be named for Annunciation Parish this summer.

“Be assured that parish life and all the ministries of your parish serving both the Anglo and Hispanic communities will continue,” Bishop Bambera explained. “The Diocese will follow its normal protocol for pastoral vacancies to find and announce a new pastor of Annunciation Parish once the standard discernment process takes place.”

While the Oblates will be leaving Annunciation Parish in Hazleton, their service to the Diocese of Scranton will continue and be centered at their religious house in Pittston. The change will allow the Oblates to better live out a unique element of their vocation – which involves living together in a community (of at least three confreres) in order to support each other, challenge each other and give witness to the gospel by their way of life.

“The world needs good examples of families in our day, and our commitment as Oblates today is not only to preach this from the pulpit, but above all to witness to this in our daily life as Oblates in community,” Fr. Spencer added.

In ending his letter to the faithful of Annunciation Parish, Bishop Bambera said change is never easy but pointed to the words of Saint Joseph Marello, founder of the Congregation of the Oblates of St. Joseph, as a reason for hope. He said, “He who is worried and full of anxiety in his work does an offense to God and does not say the Our Father from the heart. Let us accept purely and simply whatever God sends us, without being concerned or sad.”

Read Fr. Spencer’s Letter to the Parishioners of Annunciation Parish (English) 

Read Fr. Spencer’s Letter to the Parishioners of Annunciation Parish (Spanish) 

Read Bishop Bambera’s Letter to the Parishioners of Annunciation Parish (English)

Read Bishop Bambera’s Letter to the Parishioners of Annunciation Parish (Spanish)