At his General Audience in Saint Peter’s Square last week, Pope Francis called for this Friday, October 27, 2023, to be a Day of Fasting, Penance and Prayer for the intention of peace in the world, especially in Israel and Palestine.
In making his announcement, the Holy Father said that “war does not solve any problems, it only sows death and destruction. It increases hatred, multiples revenge. War erases the future.”
All clergy and lay faithful throughout the Diocese of Scranton are being encouraged to observe this Day of Fasting, Penance and Prayer for Peace.
Parishioners in the Diocese are always encouraged to join in person, or via our televised and livestream Daily Mass celebration from the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Scranton on Friday at 12:10 p.m.
Let us ask Our Lady, Queen of Peace, to intercede for us as we pray for peace in our world.

SCRANTON – As the Hawaii island of Maui begins to recover from the devastation caused by the deadliest wildfire in the United States in more than a century, Bishop Bambera has invited parishes in the Diocese of Scranton to take up an emergency special collection to address the immediate needs of the affected communities while also planning for long-term recovery efforts. 

A charred boat lies in the scorched waterfront Aug. 9, 2023, after wildfires fanned by the winds of a distant hurricane devastated Lahaina, Hawaii, on the island of Maui. (OSV News photo/Mason Jarvi, handout via Reuters)

The bishop is allowing each pastor to choose an upcoming weekend that works best for parishioners, but has suggested either the weekend of Sept. 2/3 (Labor Day weekend) or Sept. 9/10.

Funds from the emergency collection will be transmitted to the USCCB’s Emergency Disaster Fund and will go directly to help the people of Maui rebuild.

Bishop Bambera shared the words of Honolulu Bishop Larry Silva, who recently said to the Catholic faithful in Hawaii and beyond, “As a community of faith, we are called to come together and provide unwavering support to those who are suffering. It is in times like these that our collective love, faith, and compassion can make a tremendous difference.”

The Boston Archdiocese, the Los Angeles Archdiocese and the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia, are among other U.S. dioceses holding special collections at weekend Masses through August and into early September.

A burned car is seen at the Ho’onanea condominium complex, in Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii, Aug. 10, 2023. Lahaina’s Maria Lanakila Catholic Church was spared from the flames that wiped out most of the surrounding community on the island of Maui, Aug. 8 and 9. (OSV News photo/Jorge Garcia, Reuters)

As of Aug. 22, the Honolulu Star Advertiser confirmed the death toll in Maui had reached at least 115 “as authorities continue working to identify the remains of those killed in Lahaina.”

The Associated Press has reported that the tally of those still unaccounted for varies “widely.” “Hawaii Gov. Josh Green said Sunday (Aug. 20) that more than 1,000 remained unaccounted for. Maui Mayor Richard Bissen said in a pre-recorded video on Instagram that the number was 850. And during President Joe Biden’s tour of the devastation (Aug. 21), White House homeland security adviser Liz Sherwood-Randall put it between 500 and 800.”

In his remarks in Lahaina, Biden told the people of Maui, “You’ve shown such absolute, incredible courage, and that’s not hyperbole. I want you to know, on behalf of the United States of America and all the nation, the American people stand with you.”

“From stories of grief, we’ve seen so many stories of hope and heroism, of the aloha spirit. Every emergency responder put their lives on the line for — to save others. Everyday heroes, neighbors helping neighbors, Native Hawaiian leaders offering solace and strength,” he added.

After his remarks, he spent about two hours meeting face-to-face with attendees, according to news reports. The Bidens had paused their summer vacation at Lake Tahoe in Nevada to visit Maui for about six hours.

Biden was criticized by some Maui residents who stood with signs on the motorcade route he took to tour the devastation telling him to go home and demanding more federal disaster relief.

SCRANTON – When Bobby Wolliver returned to Saint Francis of Assisi Kitchen on July 31, the first thing he noticed was how bright the inside of the facility looked.

“It is wonderful. It’s brighter,” he said. “I’m happy to be home and back here again.”

The Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, leads a short prayer service prior to Saint Francis of Assisi Kitchen reopening on Monday, July 31, 2023.

For ten weeks, the kitchen was closed for a “once-in-a-generation” renovation project. The nearly $2 million project involved replacing most kitchen equipment, expanding freezer space, creating handicap accessible bathrooms, creating a new front entrance along with painting and making the facility energy efficient.

“Every single ceiling has been replaced. Every light has been turned into an LED light, every wall has been painted,” Executive Director Rob Williams said. “It is exciting to look around the room and see our people where they are most comfortable.”

Albert Vosberg of West Scranton comes to Saint Francis Kitchen for a meal several times a week.

“I was blown away. It is amazing. It is like night and day. I just thank God that we have this place because without it a lot of people would go hungry,” he said. “It is not only the food, it is the comradery. Everybody that works here is like my family.”

Tania Durmiaki of Carbondale agreed.

“Some people live alone or they need to talk to people other than their family. It puts a smile on people’s faces,” she explained. “This is open to anyone.”

Saint Francis of Assisi Kitchen serves 10 hot meals every week. They include a daily meal at 11 a.m. every day of the week (including weekends and holidays) and evening meals at 5 p.m. every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Head chef Selena Hitchens stands in the newly renovated kitchen area.

Each meal includes a garden salad, fruit salad, protein, starch, vegetables, dessert and beverages.

The kitchen also provides hundreds of weekly meals that are distributed at parishes in Carbondale, Olyphant and Roaring Brook Township.

“It is a wonderful mission we have here,” volunteer Jane Roberts said.

Roberts, who was born and raised in Scranton, waited until the official grand reopening to see the completed renovation work.

“It is magnificent. It was needed. It is beyond what I expected. I love it,” she said.

Head chef Selena Hitchens was excited to get back into the kitchen and prepare the first meal for the community.

“It’s like feeling like a kid in a candy store, you know when you walk in and you see everything and your eyes just light up, that’s how it felt walking in here and seeing everything,” she said.

Monsignor Constantine V. Siconolfi founded Saint Francis of Assisi Kitchen in 1978. In those 45 years, officials believe there has only been four missed meals.

None of those missed meals occurred during this latest renovation project.

Lackawanna College allowed the kitchen to utilize its facility to prepare meals in its commercial kitchen. Meals on Wheels of Northeastern Pennsylvania let the kitchen serve its weekday meals out of its facility in the 500-block of Wyoming Avenue.

“They did a lot for us to have the meals at the other location,” Durmiaki noted. “It was smaller but they did a lot.”

The Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, led a short prayer service before blessing the renovated facility ahead of its first meal.

“This is a great day for all of us. It is really beautiful and we’re very happy to be able to provide this to all of you,” Bishop Bambera said.

The bishop read a short Gospel passage and prayed for all those who helped make the renovations possible as well as all those who will benefit from the project.

“We ask you, Lord, to bless us and all who use this building. May all who come here know the presence of Christ, experience His compassion and grow in His love,” Bishop Bambera said.

Williams stressed that the mission of Saint Francis of Assisi Kitchen continues to be providing a space for people to have a warm, nutritious meal, no matter their circumstances in life.

“By taking good care of them and loving them, we emphasize that our brothers and sisters in need have dignity and are deserving of a dignified meal,” Williams said.

With the renovation project now complete, Williams said Saint Francis of Assisi Kitchen can now focus on possible future expansion.

“We have a really strong staff. We must discern God’s will for the future of this organization … I’m excited to see what God has in store for us,” he added.

SCRANTON – On Thursday, Aug. 2, 2023, members of the Knights of Columbus presented the Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, with a charitable donation in the amount of $1,871.34 to support the good work of the Diocese of Scranton.

Members of the Knights of Columbus presented a check to the Diocese of Scranton on Aug. 2, 2023. Pictured at the check presentation are, from left: Charlie Vagnarelli, Past State Deputy; George Schneider, Jr., Former State Advocate; the Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton; and Art Bobbouine, Community Director.

The donation came from money raised from the Knights of Columbus Labels Program.

During their meeting, Bishop Bambera expressed his gratitude to the Knights for the good works they are doing in many parish communities as well as for their active participation in many Pontifical Masses throughout the year.

The Knights encourage local families to participate in their Catholic School Student Grant Program. The Knights Educational Foundation offers up to fifty $1,000 grants to families who have Catholic School students enrolled in Grades 1-12 where the Knight of Columbus member’s child is enrolled.

Applications are traditionally accepted during the month of January each year. For more information on the Catholic School Student Grant Program, visit

Thank you to the Knights of Columbus for their continued generosity!

ACCRA, Ghana – The Catholic-Pentecostal International Dialogue held its third meeting of the seventh phase of dialogue in Millennium City (near Kasoa), Ghana, at the Pentecost Convention Centre of the Church of Pentecost between July 13-18, 2023.

Since its initiation in 1972, this was the first time that the dialogue took place in the Global South, allowing the participants to experience the vivacity of the local Christian Catholic and Pentecostal communities.

Members of the Catholic-Pentecostal International Dialogue met in Accra, Ghana, during the week of July 13-18, 2023. The Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, serves as the Catholic co-chair of the Dialogue.

Participants in the Dialogue include Catholics appointed by the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity (DPCU), and Pentecostals appointed by some Classical Pentecostal churches affiliated with the Pentecostal World Fellowship (PWF).

The general theme of the current phase, which started in 2018, is “Lex orandi, lex credendi” (“the law of prayer is the law of faith”).

After reflecting on the general topic and discussing “Kerygma/Preaching and Christian Life” (2022), the third session was dedicated to “Worship/Prayer and Christian Life.”

The goal of the Dialogue is to promote mutual respect and understanding in matters of faith and practice. Genuine exchange and frank discussion concerning the positions and practices of the two traditions have been the guiding principles of this bilateral theological dialogue.

Meeting for the first time in Africa, the Dialogue benefitted from local contacts, exchanges and visits.

On Friday, July 14, the Catholic Archbishop of Cape Coast, the Most Reverend Gabriel Charles Palmer-Buckle met, prayed and had a vibrant exchange with the participants.

On Sunday, July 16, the Dialogue attended a church service at the Pentecost International Worship Centre Atomic-Accra. The members of the Dialogue were hosted by local pastor, Rev. Anthony Mensah and welcomed by the General Secretary of the Church of Pentecost, Rev. Alexander Kumi-Larbi.

The participants had a deeply meaningful guided tour to Elmina Castle, July 17, with its testimony to the Atlantic slave trade, which provided an opportunity to learn about a very painful chapter of human history in which Christians were complicit.

Participants acknowledge with gratitude the cordial and fraternal assistance provided by many members of the Church of Pentecost, chaired by Apostle Eric Kwabena Nyamekye, which hosted us in Ghana.

During the third session, Catholics presented a paper entitled, “Catholic Worship, Prayers and Liturgy,” prepared by Rev. Dr. Paschal C. Mbagwu.

The Pentecostal paper, entitled, “Worship and Prayer: A Pentecostal Perspective,” was prepared by Rev. Prof. Jacqueline N. Grey.

Morning and evening prayers each day were led alternately by Catholics and Pentecostals.

Co-chairs of the Dialogue are the Most Reverend Joseph Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, and Rev. Prof. Cecil M. Robeck, Jr. Professor of Church History and Ecumenics, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California. They were assisted by Rev. David Wells, Chair of the PWF Christian Unity Commission, as well as by Rev. David Cole, Liaison to the Greater Christian Community for the Pentecostal/Charismatic Churches of North America, and by Msgr. Juan Usma Gómez, DPCU, who served as co-secretaries.

According to Bishop Bambera, “Pope Francis’ message for the 50th anniversary of the Dialogue (Rome 2022), has resonated throughout this week: ‘One thing is certain. Unity is not chiefly the result of our activity, but a gift of the Holy Spirit. Yet, unity will not come about as a miracle at the very end. Rather, unity comes about in the journeying.’ The Dialogue’s meeting in Ghana, recognizing the global nature of the work of Christian unity and highlighting the depth of Christian faith of the African continent, has been a powerful reminder to us all of the challenges and blessings of the work before us. The path of unity, as Pope Francis reminds us, is not the path of proselytism or uniformity. It lies in journeying together. The path of unity most clearly emerges when each of us continues to grow in our mutual respect for one another, as is so evidenced in our Catholic-Pentecostal International Dialogue.”
Prof. Robeck noted, “By bringing the dialogue to Accra, Ghana this year, we have taken it to the global South, where the majority of Christians now live. This move enabled the delegates to participate in a vital Pentecostal worship service together among these growing churches. It also enabled us to hear something of the slave trade that ravaged the African continent. In the midst of all these things, the Church of Pentecost Convention Centre offered gracious hospitality on its beautiful campus in Millennium City. Rev. Opoku Onyinah, immediate past Chairman of the Church of Pentecost, continues to be an active member of our dialogue.”

The last meeting of the Dialogue was in July 2022 in Rome, for its 50th anniversary.

SCRANTON – As he celebrated the closing Mass of the Solemn Novena to Saint Ann, the Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, told a personal story which he said emphasized the power and presence of God in his life.

It revolved around an encounter with a man experiencing homelessness on a cold winter night around Christmas. The man – who said he was hungry and needed shelter – approached the bishop as he tried to get inside the Cathedral rectory.

The Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, delivers the homily during the Closing Mass for the Solemn Novena July 26, 2023.

“As I was struggling with what appeared to me to be a set-up, some better angels spoke to my heart. What if he was telling me the truth? How could I turn someone away who was in such need? What would Jesus do?” Bishop Bambera told the crowd. “Maybe that was Jesus – testing me and my resolve to live as his disciple.”

After some internal struggle inside his mind, the bishop provided the man with some money to get something to eat and stay in a local hotel.

“I felt a little bit guilty for wondering about his honesty. But then I took some quiet consolation in trusting that, as best I could, I tried to be a witness to what I believe as a Christian,” Bishop Bambera explained. “Remember those words of Jesus? ‘When I was hungry, you gave me food. But when Lord? As often as you did it to the least of my brothers or sisters, you did it to me!’”

The bishop said every person gathered at the Closing Mass of the Novena has likely had a moment like the one he experienced at his backdoor last winter.

“For me, that exchange became an unexpected moment that was filled with the presence of God. God was teaching me a lesson about all that is possible when we set aside our selfish, self-centered, self-righteous ways, when we seek to forgive, and when we let Jesus guide us forward,” he said. “Every one of us has been and continues to be touched by the presence of God in our lives when we least expect that presence to grasp hold of our hands and hearts. And every one of us can recount a moment in our lives – perhaps even during this treasured Novena – in which we were blessed to encounter the presence of God.”

As he ended the Novena, Bishop Bambera urged the faithful to follow the path that the Lord desires.

“God continues to use unlikely individuals like (Saints) Ann and Joachim, like Joseph and Mary, like me and you, to accomplish his purpose in our world – to give hope – and to proclaim a message of life, salvation, mercy and peace,” he said.

SUNYANI, GHANA – During a four and a-half hour Ordination Mass, the Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, ordained 14 men to the priesthood in the African nation of Ghana on July 8, 2023.

The Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, anoints the hands of one of 14 newly ordained priests for the Diocese of Sunyani on July 8, 2023, on the lawn of Christ the King Cathedral in Ghana.

The Mass, which was celebrated on the lawn of Christ the King Cathedral in Sunyani, was filled with joyful music, singing, dancing and devotion to Jesus Christ.

At the beginning of the Eucharistic celebration, the Most Rev. Matthew Kwasi Gyamfi, Bishop of Sunyani, welcomed Bishop Bambera, noting this year is the 50th anniversary of the Diocese of Sunyani.

“For us to celebrate this, I invited a brother bishop, a friend bishop, a bishop who loves this Diocese, a bishop who is already helping many of our priests who have gone to his diocese to study and come back to help us,” Bishop Gyamfi said.

During his homily, Bishop Bambera returned the warm and gracious welcome he received, indicating it is an honor, privilege and joy to celebrate the Ordination Mass.

“For some years, the Diocese of Sunyani and the Diocese of Scranton have grown in our relationship as sister dioceses in service to the Universal Church. It is a privilege to share with you our faith in the Lord Jesus,” Bishop Bambera said. “My diocese is richer because of the presence of so many of your priests and sisters who are ministering to the faithful of our parishes. I can only hope and pray that your diocese, in turn, has also experienced God’s blessings because of our relationship with you.”

Seminarians Thomas Dzwonczyk, second from left, and Andrew McCarroll, fourth from left, attended the first Mass of Rev. Eric Agyei Febiri at Saint Teresa of Avila Chuch in Berekum, Ghana, on Sunday, July 9, 2023. Rev. Febiri was ordained to the priesthood one day earlier by Bishop Bambera.

The bishop took a few moments to introduce seminarians Andrew McCarroll and Tom Dzwonczyk who have accompanied him on his return trip to Ghana this summer. Bishop Bambera first visited the Diocese of Sunyani last August for ten days.

“They are wonderful young men who are excited about their visit and anxious to experience the church in Ghana which I know will have a lasting impression upon them as they continue their priestly formation,” Bishop Bambera noted.

Before celebrating the Rite of Ordination, Bishop Bambera also spoke directly to the 14 men who were becoming priests. He urged them to make the mission of Jesus their own, serve generously and be merciful.

“Never tire of being merciful. You have the capacity of forgiveness that the Lord had,” Bishop Bambera said.

On Sunday, July 9, Bishop Bambera also confirmed 37 people at Holy Spirit Parish, located in Nkwabeng in Sunyani, where Father Clement Amankwah Yeboah is currently serving as pastor. Father Clement is beloved by many in the Diocese of Scranton, having generously served the faithful of Christ the King Parish in Archbald.

That same day, McCarroll and Dzwonczyk attended the first Mass of Rev. Eric Agyei Febiri who was ordained by Bishop Bambera the previous day. They shared photos and videos of the liturgy which took place at Saint Teresa of Avila Church in Berekum.

During their travels, unexpected tire problems turned into a blessing for Andrew McCarroll and Thomas Dzwonczyk because they had the opportunity to meet several children and families.

On July 10, Bishop Bambera and the seminarians also had the opportunity to visit Mole National Park to see the wildlife.

Some unexpected car trouble that stranded the group on the side of the road for roughly an hour was actually a blessing because they had the opportunity to visit with several children and families who came out to assist them.

Both seminarians remain in Sunyani and are sharing their journey with the faithful of the Diocese of Scranton on social media. Visit the Diocese of Scranton website, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Threads to see highlights of their experiences.

SCRANTON – The Diocese of Scranton’s annual Mass of Remembrance will take place on Thursday, July 25, 2023, at 7 p.m. at the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Scranton.

This Mass is offered for family and friends of those who have died in tragedy, especially through murder, suicide and accident. 

The Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, will serve as principal celebrant of the Mass.

To register the name of your loved one for this liturgy by July 19, please contact the Office for Parish Life at (570) 207-2213, or use the online registration form on the Diocese of Scranton website.

CTV: Catholic Television of the Diocese of Scranton will provide live coverage of the Mass of Remembrance. The Mass will also be livestream on the Diocese of Scranton website, YouTube channel and across all social media platforms.

DUNMORE – Seminarian Thomas Dzwonczyk has taken a step closer to the sacred priesthood after receiving Admission to Candidacy for Holy Orders from the Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton.

A Mass with the Rite of Admission to Candidacy for Holy Orders took place on Wednesday, June 28, 2023, during the annual Quo Vadis Days summer camp.

Seminarian Thomas Dzwonczyk, left, stands before the Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, during the Rite of Admission to Candidacy for Holy Orders on June 28, 2023, at Marywood University. (Photo/Dan Gallagher)

“This was a privilege to celebrate the Rite of Candidacy today with Bishop Bambera and a bunch of priests who have been influential in my formation,” Dzwonczyk said.

“Having my family – my mom, dad and sister there – just made it all the more special.”

The Rite of Admission to Candidacy for Holy Orders is celebrated when a man has reached a maturity or purpose in his formation and demonstrated the necessary qualifications for ordination to the diaconate. In the presence of the bishop, Dzwonczyk publicly expressed his intention to complete his preparation for Holy Orders and also his resolve to fully invest himself to that end, so as to best serve Jesus Christ and His Holy Church.

“It was very powerful. I was fighting back tears during the service,” the North Abington Township native said. “I know that on my own I could never do it. I’m a broken and sinful man but He has led me to this point and I trust that He will continue to guide me through the next years of formation.”

Dzwonczyk, a parishioner of Saint John Vianney Parish, never took part in Quo Vadis Days while he was in high school but was happy the Rite of Admission took place during the annual event.

“I was too shy and timid to actually do it when I was in high school but I’m amazed by the young men who are willing to give themselves to these three days. We’ve had some wonderful conversations, some great liturgies, Holy Hours and having them come up and say ‘Congrats, I’m praying for you,’ makes all the difference,” he added.

Dzwonczyk, who has most recently been serving a pastoral year at Saint Jude Parish in Mountain Top and Saint Mary’s Parish in Dorrance, credits his family for being by his side every step of the way.

“My mom texted me late last night and said, ‘I’m offering my nightly rosary for you.’ To have them present just makes it all the more special. I can’t really put it into words. They have been so supportive along the way,” he said. “I still remember the day I called them from school saying I want to enter seminary and now to think that they were here and to know that they’ll be here for the rest of the way is incredible.”

SCRANTON – As he stood in the first pew of the Cathedral of Saint Peter, Joseph Boris, Sr., fought back tears as his son, Michael, gave him his first blessing just moments after his ordination to the priesthood.

“It meant so much. It was just an overwhelming feeling,” Joseph Boris said.
Five years after entering Saint Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore, Michael J. Boris was ordained a priest on Saturday, June 24, 2023, before hundreds of family, friends, fellow parishioners and clergy.

During the Rite of Ordination, the Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, lays his hands upon the head of Michael J. Boris. Following the Bishop, all of the priests present also laid hands on the Dallas native.

“I loved seeing friends and family, some friends which I haven’t seen in a very long time, and most especially brother seminarians, and now brother priests, who have, in various ways, been part of my journey and have helped me try to surrender to Christ for this moment,” Father Boris said shortly after the Ordination Mass ended.

During the Ordination Rite, Boris prostrated himself before the Cathedral altar as the congregation chanted the Litany of the Saints. The Rite also included the Laying on of Hands, Anointing of Hands and the Fraternal Kiss — ancient rituals that signify his incorporation into the presbyterate.

Boris said the Laying on of Hands was particularly moving.

“I was moved and trying to reflect when the Bishop and then the other priests came and were laying their hands on my head. I was trying to picture how each and every one of them is Christ laying his hands on my head and trying to soothe my anxieties and heart, ultimately saying, ‘I’ve called you to this and I will be with you always,’” the newly ordained priest said.

Boris, 27, is the son of Joseph and Susan Boris. The Dallas native is a graduate of Holy Redeemer High School and King’s College where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Theology and Philosophy. Boris entered Saint Mary’s Seminary in the fall of 2018. In 2019, he served a summer assignment in the parish communities of Holy Cross Parish, Olyphant, and Blessed Sacrament Parish, Throop. Boris also served a pastoral year (2020-2021) in the parish communities of Saint Rose of Lima Parish and Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, both in Carbondale.

“Two of the greatest things I’ve been thinking about recently were looking out at the crowd both at Adoration last night and here today and seeing all the people who have been part of my journey and their Christian witness and how they’ve helped me discern in various ways,” Father Boris added. “Everybody from my parishes, schools, King’s College, seminary at Saint Mary’s in Baltimore. They have all been spectacular and I’m very grateful.”

The Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, served as principal celebrant and homilist of the Ordination Mass.

Bishop Bambera began his homily by thanking Boris for saying “yes” to the Lord’s Call to serve the church.

“Your consent to God’s will, that has brought you to this day in your life and the life of this local church, affirms that the power of God continues to move among us and affect God’s plan for salvation,” the bishop said.

The Ordination Mass was held on the Solemnity of Saint John the Baptist and provided context, as Bishop Bambera noted, for a person’s response to the call of the Lord.

“John was the bridge between the Old and New Testaments, the prophet whose entire purpose in life was to point the way to Christ,” Bishop Bambera explained. “He understood and accepted God’s will for himself and he embraced it with humility and resolve.”

Being a priest demands the same response and more.

“While very much aware of our human weakness and frailty, God will use you, even with your imperfections to speak on His behalf and serve in His name for the sake of His people,” Bishop Bambera added.

As he ended his homily, the Bishop told Boris to always trust in the grace of God, be faithful to the teachings of the church and to remember he is appointed to serve on behalf of the Christian faithful but will always be in need of God’s presence, life and saving grace.

“God’s people are looking for meaning, purpose and peace in their lives. Today, here in this Cathedral and beyond, they will celebrate your response to the Lord’s call.

They will encourage you and embrace you with pride,” Bishop Bambera said.

“Tomorrow, they will look to you for answers to their questions and they will look to you to find Jesus in your words of forgiveness, in your service to the poor and the simplicity of your life and in the depth of your love.”

Throughout the Ordination Mass, Joseph Boris was filled with pride for his son.

“I just wish my mom and dad could be here and Sue’s mom and dad. This is something my mom prayed for a long time,” the new priest’s father said. “I have seven brothers and sisters and I think she was disappointed when none of us went into the priesthood. She was thrilled. She lived until a couple years ago and got to see Michael at the seminary. She was so proud of that.”

Over the last five years, Father Boris’ father said his son has grown in many ways.

“He is a totally different person. We know him as the goofball kid growing up, having fun, playing basketball,” his dad said. “He has really blossomed into somebody that I know will do great things. He will be a great priest.”

Father Boris’ first priestly appointment is historic. He has been appointed as Parochial Vicar at both Our Lady of the Snows Parish, Clarks Summit, and Saint Gregory Parish, Clarks Green. While the two neighboring parishes are currently independent, they will be working towards coming together in a linkage next year, and being appointed to both parishes now will help towards that goal.

“I am excited. I’ve never been up there so I really am going in with a clean slate,” Father Boris said. “It feels good to have a fresh start, go to a place where I can serve God’s people and try to discern God’s voice every day.”