SCRANTON – Four parishes in Lackawanna County officially entered into two new linkages this week after two of them said goodbye to their longtime leaders.

Cathedral of Saint Peter

The Cathedral of Saint Peter in downtown Scranton and Immaculate Conception Parish in the city’s Hill Section came together in a new linkage on Tuesday, July 11, 2023. Father Jeffrey D. Tudgay, J.V., V.E., J.C.L., is now the pastor of both parish communities after the retirement of Father Pat McLaughlin.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish and Saints Anthony and Rocco Parish, both in Dunmore, also linked as of the same date. Father David Cappelloni, V.F., is now the pastor of both parishes after the retirement of Father John Doris.

The linkages were announced by the Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, earlier this year and have been established as part of the Diocese of Scranton’s Vision 2030 Pastoral Planning Process.

Immaculate Conception Church

In a linkage, two (or more) parishes share the same pastor. Such parishes, while independent, will by necessity cooperate more closely than other parishes. Linked parishes can do many things cooperatively, such as programming and are encouraged to work toward combining Parish Pastoral Council meetings and establishing common committees where possible.

As both new linkages strive to be “mission-driven,” both have decided to implement new Mass schedules.

For the linkage of the Cathedral of Saint Peter and Immaculate Conception, Daily Masses will now be held at the Cathedral at 6:30 a.m. and 12:10 p.m. Daily Mass will be held at Immaculate Conception at 8 a.m. The 12:10 p.m. Daily Mass will continue to be broadcast live on Catholic Television and livestream on the Diocese of Scranton website and social media platforms.

St. Mary of Mount Carmel Church

The Saturday 4 p.m. Vigil Mass will now be held at Immaculate Conception Church and the Cathedral of Saint Peter will have a 5:30 p.m. Vigil Mass. Because of this change, the CTV broadcast of the Saturday Vigil Mass will now be live at 5:30 p.m. from the Cathedral.

Sunday Masses at the Cathedral will be held at 6:30 a.m., 10 a.m., 12:15 p.m. and 5 p.m. Immaculate Conception Parish will have its Sunday Mass at 10:30 a.m.

Similarly, the newly linked parishes in Dunmore began a new Mass schedule on Tuesday.

Daily Mass will be held at 8 a.m. at Saints Anthony and Rocco Parish and at noon at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church.

The Saturday 4 p.m. Vigil Mass will be held at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church and a 5:15 p.m. Vigil Mass will be held at Saints Anthony and Rocco Church.

St. Anthony of Padua Church

Sunday Masses at Saints Anthony and Rocco Church will take place at 8:30 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. while a 10 a.m. Mass will be held at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church.
Additional information on the new linkages are available on each parish’s website.

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.

SCRANTON – The Cathedral of Saint Peter will be the setting on Saturday, June 24, 2023, as Reverend Mr. Michael J. Boris is ordained to the Order of the Priesthood for service in the Diocese of Scranton.

The Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, will serve as ordaining prelate for the Mass that will be celebrated at 10 a.m.

The public is welcome and encouraged to attend the Ordination Mass.

CTV: Catholic Television of the Diocese of Scranton will broadcast the Mass live and provide livestreaming on the Diocese of Scranton’s website, YouTube channel and social media platforms.

Boris, a native of Dallas, was ordained a transitional deacon in 2022 and is now ready to take his final steps toward priestly ordination.

“I’m very excited, a little nervous, of course, but that is natural,” Boris said. “I feel a lot of peace about my discernment and all of the great work that the Diocese has done for me.”

Boris, 27, is the son of Joseph and Susan Boris. He 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 and University in the fall of 2018 and completed his studies this May.

“Saint Mary’s is a wonderful place. They helped me to pray and discern what God is calling me to do,” Boris explained.

During his priestly formation, Boris served a summer assignment in 2019 in the parish communities of Holy Cross Parish, Olyphant, and Blessed Sacrament Parish, Throop. He 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.

Boris said he never seriously considered the priesthood until he was a senior in high school and Father Don Williams, Vocations Director for the Diocese of Scranton at the time, met with potential candidates recommended by teachers. Following that conversation, Boris began attending more discernment events, followed by a retreat and he ultimately made the decision to enter seminary.

As he prepares for this next step in his Christian journey, Boris has been thinking back to what one of his seminary professors said shortly before the end of classes.

“He said a lot of things are going to happen in the next few weeks and months, you’ll be ordained and it will be easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle,” Boris said. “But he said don’t forget the amazing gift and power of the priesthood and that you’re being ordained to serve Christ and His Church.”

Boris adds he is thankful to all those who have supported him on this journey.

“Thank you for your prayers and support over the years,” he explained.

(OSV News) – A new study indicates Americans are pleased with virtual religious services, but more prefer to attend in person now that the COVID-19 public health emergency has officially ended.

About a quarter of U.S. adults regularly watch religious services online, with 21% using apps or websites to aid Scripture reading, according to a report released June 2 by the Pew Research Center.

Parishioners attend Mass at the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Scranton on Sunday, June 11, 2023.

Pew surveyed more than 11,000 respondents in November 2022, well after the pandemic’s peak but before the U.S. government officially declared it over. Over half (57%) said they do not generally attend religious services, either in person or virtually.

Researchers said the online and television worship driven by COVID lockdowns remains popular with 25% of those surveyed. Two thirds of those polled said they were “extremely” or “very satisfied” with the experience.

“When asked why they watch religious services online or on TV, many regular viewers cite multiple reasons,” Pew stated in a summary of the survey data. “But as the COVID-19 pandemic recedes, convenience is the most-commonly selected option — not fear of catching or spreading any illness.”

Worshippers who opt for a mix of in-person and online worship strongly favor the former by a margin of 76% to 11%. Black American adults were found to be “more engaged with digital technology in their religious lives,” with 48% saying they watched religious services online or on television at least once a month, according to the study.

Yet respondents who attended in person expressed even greater enthusiasm for their experience, with 74% extremely or very satisfied with the sermons and 69% with service music.

The preference for in-person attendance is “not shocking,” said Father Thomas Dailey, professor of homiletics and social communications at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania.

Post pandemic, the challenge is to use livestream worship creatively as a tool for driving authentic community among the faithful, he told OSV News.

“The number of people who said in the survey they watch online because they can’t otherwise get there is, to me, the reason for continuing to livestream,” said Father Dailey, an Oblate of St. Francis de Sales.

Of Catholic adults who regularly watch religious services online or on TV, 16% said an illness or disability preventing them from attending in person was a “major reason” for watching religious services on TV or online, and 23% identified it as a “minor reason.”

Father Dailey stressed that “the fullness of liturgical participation is hearing the word and receiving the Eucharist.”

“Obviously, you can’t receive the Eucharist online,” he said. “But if there is some mechanism by which we can provide the Eucharist to those not physically present at the celebration of Mass, that’s something that enables people to participate more fully.”

Livestreamed liturgies, combined with extraordinary ministers of holy Communion for the homebound, can do just that, he said.

“The person who can’t get to church can participate in the worship online, and then receive the Eucharist from that Mass with an extraordinary minister bringing it to them,” said Father Dailey. “Obviously, there’s a time gap, but you facilitate participation in the Mass as best one can.”

The same arrangement can benefit merged and rural parishes, where priests are stretched thin to cover the celebration of Mass, Father Dailey said.

“You can imagine Mass being celebrated in the nearest city or deanery church, livestreamed to the distant rural churches, where the faithful gather and can receive the sacrament” from permanent deacons or extraordinary ministers of holy Communion, he said.

That approach avoids “sitting at home watching Mass,” he added.

“Our worship is by definition communal,” said Father Dailey. “It’s about communion with God, yes, but also with one another.”

SCRANTON – Fourteen priests who are celebrating milestone anniversaries of their ordination year will be recognized during the 2023 Mass for Priest Jubilarians at 12:10 p.m. on Thursday, June 8, 2023, at the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Scranton.

The Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, will serve as principal celebrant and homilist. During the Mass, the bishop will recognize a total of 665 years of service to the priesthood.

Monsignor John A. Esseff, M.S., D.Min., will be recognized for 70 years of priestly service. Monsignor Esseff was ordained on May 30, 1953, by the late Bishop William J. Hafey and has served as a retreat director and confessor to Saint Mother Teresa.
In addition to Msgr. Esseff, priests who are celebrating 65, 60, 50 and 25 ordination year anniversaries will be honored. 

Here is the full list of Jubilarians:

70 Years – 1953

 Monsignor John A. Esseff, M.S., D.Min.


65 Years – 1958

 Reverend William D. Campbell, S.T.D.


60 Years – 1963

 Reverend John P. Ryan

 Reverend Eugene R. Carr

 Monsignor Thomas V. Banick


50 Years – 1973

 Reverend William M. Petruska, Capt., CHC, USN

 Reverend Anthony M. Urban, M.S., M.A.

 Reverend Thomas R. Hudak, M.Div.

 Reverend Paul M. Mullen, M.A.

 Reverend James J. Walsh, J.C.L.


25 Years – 1998

Reverend Philip S. Rayappan

Reverend Jackson Pinhero, O.S.J.

Reverend Mariusz Beczek, O.S.J.

Reverend Andrew Mensah Amankwaa


The 2023 Mass for Priest Jubilarians will be broadcast live by CTV: Catholic Television of the Diocese of Scranton and will be available for viewing on the Diocese of Scranton website, YouTube channel, and social media platforms.


SCRANTON  – Nearly 150 couples who are celebrating milestone anniversaries in 2023 will be recognized at the Cathedral of Saint Peter on Sunday, June 4, 2023.

Bishop Joseph C. Bambera will serve as principal celebrant and homilist for the Diocese of Scranton’s annual Wedding Anniversary Mass that recognizes married couples who are celebrating their 25th and 50th anniversaries this year. The Mass will begin at 2:30 p.m.

In addition to married couples celebrating their Silver and Golden anniversaries, there are expected to be one couple in attendance celebrating 66 years of marriage and two couples in attendance celebrating 60 years of marriage.

In all, a total of 6,528 years of marriage will be celebrated between the 148 couples who have pre-registered to attend the Mass.

CTV: Catholic Television of the Diocese of Scranton will broadcast the Mass live and provide a livestream on the Diocese of Scranton website and all Diocesan social media platforms.

The broadcast and livestream opportunities are a valuable opportunity for all married couples (no matter how many years they have been married) to pause and reflect upon the beauty of the vocation of marriage in our lives and in the life of our church.

SCRANTON – Just minutes before his Ordination Mass, William A. Asinari was so overwhelmed with gratitude he started to cry.

“It’s inexplicable. I was sitting up in the chapel and I was just in tears thanking God for the blessing of service,” Deacon Asinari said.

The Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, lays his hands on the head of William A. Asinari during the Rite of Ordination of Deacons on May 27, 2023, at the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Scranton. (Photo/Mike Melisky)

Less than an hour later, the 24 year old became a transitional deacon through the Rite of Ordination to the Diaconate, which includes the presentation of the candidate, election by the bishop, promise of the elect, litany of supplication and laying on of hands.

“I think one of the most beautiful moments was just hearing from the Church, we have found this man to be worthy,” Deacon Asinari explained. “I think every seminarian, to some degree, goes through the struggle that God is giving me this gift and I don’t deserve this. It is immensely beautiful and it’s beyond what I could ever deserve. You fight that feeling of unworthiness and when you finally get there in that moment and hear it, it hits home!”

Asinari, a native of Honesdale, is the son of Robert and Cathleen Asinari and is a parishioner of Saint John the Evangelist Parish, Honesdale. Several friends and fellow parishioners from Wayne County made the trip to the Cathedral for the Ordination Mass.

“These are the people that have seen me since I was one or two (years old). I remember them saying, ‘Have you thought about the priesthood’ or ‘You look like you’d make a good priest,’” Deacon Asinari added. “To have them sitting there as I’m ordained a deacon was beautiful.”

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

“What a blessing this day is for Bill and for his family, our Diocese and particularly for all those who have helped him to arrive at this faith-filled moment,” Bishop Bambera said during his homily.

Bishop Bambera reminded Asinari that service to the People of God must lie at the heart of his vocation.

“For as meaningful and significant as this moment may be for you personally, the ministry that you will embrace is not yours alone,” Bishop Bambera continued. “It comes from – and is rooted in the life of the Lord Jesus – who came to save us from sin and the brokenness of our world.”

Deacon Asinari will serve for the next year as a transitional deacon, the ordination serving as the last major step before ordination to the priesthood, which typically occurs a year later after additional pastoral, liturgical and educational preparation.

As a deacon, he will assist the bishop and his priests in ministries of the Word, Liturgy and Charity. This includes proclaiming the Gospel, leading intercessions, preaching, preparing the altar, celebrating baptisms, leading the faithful in prayer, distributing holy communion, witnessing marriages and conducting wake and funeral services. Deacons also identify the needs of poor and underserved, and shepherd the Church’s resources to meet those needs.

“I think I’m most looking forward to baptisms,” Deacon Asinari said. “I know over my summer assignment there are a couple scheduled. There is just something so beautiful about getting a family together and by my hands, blessing the water and baptizing a child. It is overwhelming.”

This summer, Asinari will be serving the Saint Rose of Lima and Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parishes in the city of Carbondale.

“While you have been given tremendous gifts and talents, we pray that you will always rely upon the grace of God to fill up whatever may be lacking in you to carry out fully the ministry entrusted to you this day,” Bishop Bambera stated as he finished his homily.


SCRANTON – The funeral arrangements for the Most Reverend James C. Timlin, eighth Bishop of the Diocese of Scranton, who died on Sunday, April 9, 2023, have been finalized.

In making this announcement, the Diocese of Scranton acknowledges the sensitive circumstances of planning this funeral, which must balance Bishop Timlin’s full life of service to the church with a clear understanding of imperfect judgments related to clergy sexual abuse. We pray for all sexual abuse survivors and hope they find healing and peace.

In planning this funeral, the Diocese feels it important and prudent to highlight and emphasize two important guiding principles for all funeral rites.

First, every member of the Christian faithful has a right to a funeral Mass. This right is established in baptism and the promise of God’s merciful salvation won for us in Jesus Christ.

Second, funeral rites of the Church ask spiritual assistance for the departed, honor their bodies as former temples of the Holy Spirit, and are meant to bring solace to the living.

At Bishop Timlin’s request, a private viewing for family members and the celebration of Vespers will take place on Monday, April 17, 2023.

Public visitation for the Most Reverend James C. Timlin will be held on Tuesday, April 18, at the Cathedral of Saint Peter, 315 Wyoming Avenue, Scranton, Pa., from 9 a.m. until 1:45 p.m.

The funeral Mass for Bishop Timlin will be celebrated at the Cathedral of Saint Peter immediately following at 2 p.m. The Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, D.D., J.C.L., Bishop of Scranton, will preside at the funeral Mass. The funeral Mass will be broadcast live on Catholic Television for those unable to attend in person.

Bishop Timlin will be interred in Cathedral Cemetery following the funeral Mass.

Memorials may be made to Catholic Social Services of the Diocese of Scranton or the Diocese of Scranton Catholic Schools Scholarship Foundation.

The Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, celebrates the Chrism Mass on April 4, 2023, at the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Scranton with priests, deacons and laity from around the Diocese of Scranton. (Photos/Mike Melisky)


SCRANTON — A brilliant spring afternoon was matched by the radiant joy emanating from the Cathedral of Saint Peter for the celebration of the Diocese of Scranton’s Chrism Mass on April 4, 2023 – Tuesday of the holiest week of the Christian calendar year.

While the heavens provided a most comfortable day for the venerable gathering, the Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, as principal celebrant and homilist, warmly welcomed to the Mother Church of the Diocese the hundreds of worshippers of all ages who turned out for the annual Eucharistic liturgy concelebrated by the priests ministering in the 11-county local Church.

The traditional Holy Week observance and gathering of the priests of the Diocese — customarily the largest of its kind each year — celebrates their clerical brotherhood and shared divine vocation.

During the Mass, priests and deacons, along with lay representatives from Diocesan parishes, acknowledge the Bishop’s role as the unifying symbol for Church governance and pastoral guidance.

All of the priests also recommit themselves to their office by renewing the promises they made on the day of their ordination to the priesthood, including their vow of obedience to the Bishop.

Before saying the Prayer of Consecration of the Chrism Oil, Bishop Bambera breathes upon the opening of the vessel.

Father Paschal Mbagwu, who serves as administrator of Saint Maximilian Kolbe Parish in Pocono Pines, said prior to the liturgical celebration, “The Chrism Mass is so important since it shows the unity and communion in the Church. It is very symbolic of the oneness Christ prayed for under one shepherd — our Bishop.”

Holding to age-old tradition, the Mass is highlighted by the blessing of the Holy Oils used during the conferral of sacraments throughout the Church year. They include the Sacred Chrism, the Oil of the Sick, and the Oil of Catechumens, which are used in the celebration of Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Orders, the Anointing of the Sick, and the Rites of the Catechumenate.

As he joins Bishop Bambera in celebrating his 40th anniversary of ordination this year, Father Don Williams, pastor of Saint Matthew Parish, Stroudsburg, noted, “By being here today we bring everything together in this beautiful gathering of clergy, deacons, women and men religious, and laity.”

Father Williams continued by emphasizing the importance of the renewal of priestly vows that the Chrism Mass affords the concelebrants.

“It is always very special how the blessed oils go out to the four corners of the Diocese with the priests, who are sent forth to return to their parishes for the Sacred Triduum and the celebration of Easter,” he added.

In addressing the faithful during his homily, Bishop Bambera implored all to heed Jesus’ words from Saint Luke’s Gospel that had just been proclaimed: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; therefore he has anointed me. He has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives, recovery of sight to the blind and release to prisoners, to announce a year of favor from the Lord.”

“The good news for us, brothers and sisters, is that the same Spirit that set Jesus apart for mission during his inaugural address in the synagogue of Nazareth rests upon us as well,” the Bishop imparted. “We are not alone on this journey. Every experience, no matter how hopeful or challenging, is an opportunity for growth and a deepening of God’s life within us.”

Among the lay faithful in attendance was Jennifer Dunn, a member of Saint Robert Bellarmine Parish in Wilkes-Barre, who arrived early to participate in her first Chrism Mass.

“I am here to support the Diocese and our pastor, Father Richard Cirba, who has done so much for our parish and our community,” she said. “I’m honored to be here to support our Bishop. It is really humbling to be in the presence of all these great priests.”

Currently in his second year of formation for the Permanent Diaconate program, Frank Fanelli of Lackawaxen was invited, along with his wife Nancy, to be at their first Chrism Mass last year. “This Mass is just so impressive,” he said. “Even if we weren’t invited we would be coming back this year.”

Nancy added, “We’re just so honored and privileged to be here for such a great celebration, with all of the beautiful music.”

Sara Jenkins of Larksville and a parishioner at All Saints Parish, Plymouth, remarked, “It is really impressive to be able to see all the priests of the Diocese come together as one. It’s always great to experience the loud round of applause they receive on their way out of the Cathedral after Mass.”

SCRANTON – The liturgies of Holy Week began with the celebration of Mass for Palm Sunday, April 2, in parishes around the Diocese of Scranton.

At the Cathedral of Saint Peter, hundreds gathered as the Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, served as principal celebrant for the 12:15 p.m. liturgy.

“God is love, and the cross of Christ, which looms over the message of the scriptures this day, is the supreme proof, the historical demonstration of this reality,” Bishop Bambera said during his homily. 

The Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, begins the blessing of the palms in the Cathedral Prayer Garden April 2, 2023.

On Palm Sunday, the Church celebrates Christ’s triumphal entrance into Jerusalem to accomplish the Paschal Mystery of His death and resurrection. The Gospels record the arrival of Jesus riding into the city on a donkey, while the crowds spread their cloaks and palm branches on the street and shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David” and “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”

The bishop began the Mass by blessing palms in the Cathedral Prayer Garden and then processing down Wyoming Avenue to enter the Cathedral.

“We’re reminded in Saint Paul’s letter to the Philippians that although He was God, Jesus emptied Himself and took the form of a slave, a servant,” Bishop Bambera explained. “He sought, according to His Father’s plan, to embrace the brokenness and suffering of our world in order to save us from ourselves and to give us a way forward in life.”

Bishop Bambera will also celebrate Masses for the Sacred Paschal Triduum at the Cathedral of Saint Peter.

On Holy Thursday, April 6, the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper, which marks the day on which Christ instituted the Holy Eucharist and the priestly Order, will be celebrated at 5:30 p.m.

On Good Friday, April 7, the Commemoration of the Passion and Death of the Lord will begin at 12:10 p.m.

Holy Saturday, April 8, is the day that the Church waits at the Lord’s tomb in prayer, meditating on His passion and death and awaiting His resurrection. Bishop Bambera will be the principal celebrant and homilist of the Easter Vigil Mass at the Cathedral beginning at 8 p.m.

On the Holy Night of Easter, many individuals who have participated in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) will become fully initiated Catholics by the celebration of their Baptism, Confirmation, and reception of the Eucharist for the first time. This year, 162 people are expected to celebrate in parishes throughout the Diocese. They join tens of thousands of other individuals throughout the world who will become members of the Church that night.

Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord is the most joyous day in the Church year. This joy overflows into the 50 days of the Easter season, which concludes on Pentecost Sunday. On Easter Day, Bishop Bambera will celebrate a Pontifical Mass at 10:00 a.m. at the Cathedral.