LARKSVILLE – As the month of March ended, so too did a series of 12 Lenten Holy Hours celebrated by the Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton.

Beginning at Saint Rose of Lima Parish in Carbondale Feb. 23 and ending at Saint John the Baptist Parish in Larksville March 29, Bishop Bambera joined the faithful of each deanery to proclaim and adore the presence of Jesus in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.

Hundreds of faithful attended each of the Lenten Holy Hours – meaning overall that several thousand people experienced the love of Jesus poured forth from the Cross.

Organized to help highlight the National Eucharistic Revival that has been underway for nearly one year – the Lenten Holy Hours were a time for the Church to discover anew the life-giving strength of the Eucharist – the living presence of Jesus among us.

During his homily at each stop, Bishop Bambera emphasized three important realities that he hoped the faithful would take from each Holy Hour.

First, through the Eucharist, we learn that we are incorporated into Christ’s Paschal Mystery – His suffering, death and resurrection – through which we are saved.

Bishop Bambera stated,

“‘For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup,’ Saint Paul reminds us, ‘you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.’ What does that mean for us? It means that we do not suffer alone, for Christ suffers with us. It means that the deaths that we experience are known and grieved by Christ. It means that like Jesus who rose, despite our suffering and deaths, we have hope for new life in this world and the world to come.”

“But to make this mystery our mystery, Christ, in the Eucharist, first beckons us to remove the facades that we so often use to mask our troubles and disappointments, our suffering and pain, our failures, sins and death and to come to him as we are to be forgiven, healed and created anew through the power of his resurrection. His death is our death. His rising to new life is our rising as well.”

Second through the Eucharist, we are bound together as brothers and sisters.

Bishop Bambera continued,

“Recall the words of Pope Benedict in this first encyclical, Deus Caritas Est, ‘I cannot possess Christ just for myself … Communion draws me out of myself towards him and thus also towards unity with all Christians.’ That means that while the love of God given to us through Christ is without conditions, it is not without consequences. Communion with the Eucharistic body of Christ must be accompanied by our communion with the mystical body of Christ, which is the Church – our brothers and sisters.”

Third, Through the Eucharist, we are sent forth on mission – to be the living presence of Jesus in our world today.

The bishop noted,

“Saint Paul challenges the Corinthians, ‘You who share the same bread and cup receive the same Christ in the Eucharist, and as such, you become one with each other and with the Lord whom you receive.’ You become one with your husband, your wife; one with your child; one with the neighbor you find intolerable; one with the person of color or ethnic background or lifestyle that you’d rather not accept; one with the poor.”

“Eucharist compels us, brothers and sisters, to remember that we not only receive the risen Christ but also are called to something more. Early in his pontificate, Saint John Paul II wrote to the bishops of the world about the gift of the Eucharist. As he spoke of the sublime gift of God in the sacramental presence of Jesus that we honor and adore this night, he also said this: ‘The authentic sense of the Eucharist is that it becomes the school of active love for my neighbor. If authentically received, Eucharist must make us grow in awareness of one another.’”

As he concluded his remarks each evening, Bishop Bambera told the faithful there is nothing that cannot be forgiven and healed by Jesus.

“Allow his mercy and forgiveness to envelop your lives and to recreate your spirits,” Bishop Bambera ended by saying. “Trust in His promise to save. Open your hearts and let His love fill you with peace. Receive Christ and then, filled with His life, become Christ for our broken world.”

To read Bishop Bambera’s full homily from the Lenten Holy Hours, visit the Bishop’s Office page here on the Diocesan website.

TOWANDA – Hundreds of people have already taken the opportunity to grow closer to Jesus this Lent at a series of Holy Hours with the Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton.

If you have not had the opportunity to participate yet, there is still plenty of time!

As we approach the middle of Lent, nearly half of the 12 Holy Hours have already taken place in communities including Carbondale, Cresco, Montoursville, Towanda, Scranton and Wilkes-Barre. At least six more Lenten Holy Hours will take place before Holy Week begins.

Bishop Bambera celebrated a Lenten Holy Hour at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Montoursville on Wednesday, March 8, 2023.

The Lenten Holy Hours are being held to commemorate the diocesan phase of the National Eucharistic Revival, which has the goal of renewing the Church and enkindling a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist.

Below is a roundup of some of the Holy Hours that have taken place so far:


The Lenten Holy Hours began in the Carbondale deanery on Thursday, Feb. 23, the day after Ash Wednesday, at Saint Rose of Lima Parish.

“This Holy Hour is a great way to start, to begin, the first step, because every journey begins with the first step,” Rev. Seth Wasnock, pastor of Saint Rose of Lima and Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parishes, said.

“To have our Bishop here is just a wonderful experience,” Bernadette Lepre, parishioner of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, explained.

Each Holy Hour begins with Solemn Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, followed by a period of silent, personal prayer.

“I feel that a Holy Hour is a time for me to have a one-to-one talk with the Lord, to sit and just think of what he wants me to do,” Joan Scavo, parishioner of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, added.


The faithful of the Stroudsburg deanery gathered at Most Holy Trinity Parish in Cresco on Tuesday, Feb. 28.

“Anytime the Sacrament is exposed, it is a time to be with Christ and be closer to Christ and it’s especially important during Lent,” Michael Ziobro, parishioner of Most Holy Trinity Parish, said. “During our Lenten journey, we’re supposed to be spending more time in prayer and having more quiet time and getting ourselves together.”

Many feel the time is well spent.

“It’s a time of very quiet thought and prayer and this gives our community the opportunity to sit together with these solemn services and pray as we should during Lent,” Midge Barron, parishioner of Most Holy Trinity Parish, added. “The silence of it brings us closer to Christ and I think that is what makes it for me.”

“When the whole deanery is represented and we have multiple congregations joining as one, I think it adds a heightened sense of community to the prayer,” Cheryl Lynott, parishioner of Most Holy Trinity Parish, explained. “It invigorates all of us and I think it’s a special way to pay homage to the Lord.”


The faithful of Lycoming and Tioga counties joined together on Wednesday, March 8, at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Montoursville.

“To be here with the Bishop tonight is just so special to me. I’ve never ever been here with a Bishop,” Sharon O’Malley, parishioner of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, said.

As the faithful gazed upon the consecrated host on the altar – many said they prayed about the great mystery of God’s love revealed to us in Christ.

“A Holy Hour is a great way to slow down from the pace of life, which these days seems to be crazier than ever,” Keith Kuzio, parishioner of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, added. “It is time to just be with our Lord in His peace and His love and to feel the grace that comes to us from the Eucharist and His sacrifice for us.”

Rev. Michael S. McCormick, host pastor, said a Lent without Jesus is a waste of time but a Lent with Jesus is worth the world.

“It is such a glorious gift that He has given us and to know that He is with us, in Adoration, we know that He is there substantially. He’s really, really present – body, blood, soul and divinity,” Rev. McCormick said.


As Father Kevin Miller, dean of the Sayre Deanery, welcomed the faithful to Saints Peter & Paul Parish in Towanda, he encouraged people to let Jesus’ holiness penetrate their souls and minds.

“It’s wonderful because you put everything else out of your mind and you just are in the moment and journeying with Christ,” Karen Stroud, parishioner of Saints Peter & Paul Parish, said.

Some people who attended had never participated in a Holy Hour before.

“This was really the first Holy Hour I’ve attended,” Patti Meredith, parishioner of Saints Peter and Paul Parish, said. “I thought the sense of community, where people came from other towns and priests were here from other towns and the Bishop was here providing a beautiful message.”

The Holy Hour was also a family affair for the Tavani family, who attended together.
“I think it is always nice to spend time in front of the Blessed Sacrament. The opportunity is usually time for private, quiet, meditative prayer,” Heidi Tavani said.

For Heidi’s daughter, Hannah, the Holy Hour emphasized the universality of the Church.

“I think Lent is sometimes overemphasizing, ‘What are you giving up?’ I think sometimes the prayer aspect of Lent gets overlooked so I think having the opportunity to have a Holy Hour in front of the Blessed Sacrament, during Lent, before Easter, helps emphasize the importance of prayer, leading up to Easter,” she said.

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