SCRANTON – Before the 61st annual Saint Patrick’s Parade took to the streets of downtown Scranton March 11, 2023, hundreds gathered to celebrate their faith and devotion to the patron saint of Ireland at the Cathedral of Saint Peter.

The Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, served as principal celebrant and homilist for the Parade Day Mass. As he began his homily, the bishop addressed the morning’s weather.

“Not a few of us breathed a sigh of relief this morning as we dodged another proverbial bullet and snowstorm,” Bishop Bambera joked.

Between delays and cancellations associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and a nor’easter last year that pushed the parade back a week – coincidentally to the Feast of Saint Joseph – there have been a lot of challenges.

“My theory is the Scranton parade woes made it all the way to the halls of heaven. Neither Saint Joseph nor Saint Patrick were willing to share center stage again, so here we are, just where we belong!” the bishop said to laughter.

Mayor Mark Duffy of Ballina, Ireland, center, participates in the annual Parade Day Mass at the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Scranton March 11, 2023. (Photo/Mike Melisky)

During Mass, the bishop also acknowledged two special guests from Ballina, Ireland, in attendance at the Parade Day Mass. Ballina is Scranton’s sister city in Ireland.

“It is incredibly heartwarming to see the welcome that we’ve been given. We’re following the same tracks that our ancestors would have travelled in much more difficult times so it’s a privilege to be here in times of celebration,” Ballina mayor Mark Duffy said.

As the second youngest of 13 kids, Mayor Duffy explained the importance of Saint Patrick in his life. He attended Mass at Saint Patrick’s Church growing up and his home address is Saint Patrick’s Way in Ballina.

He said attending Mass at the Cathedral of Saint Peter before the parade was “very emotional.”

“Coming in the doors of the church, you see the colors and the life and the vibrancy of this building. It is breathtaking. When you come into this church, to hear the quality of the music and the service and the welcome that the Bishop gave us, it is really a lifetime memory being created,” Mayor Duffy added.

Bishop Bambera also reflected on the importance of Saint Patrick and the legacy he left.

“By his work, Saint Patrick fathered a people and a culture. From a little green island on the edge of the Atlantic, the message of God’s mercy and love was generously shared,” Bishop Bambera stated. “Countless numbers of lives have been touched. Our nation has been blessed. And we are all richer in our faith because of God’s gift of Saint Patrick to our Church and to our world.”

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