Diocese of Scranton News and Events

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Weekly E-Newsletter February 18, 2021

Cathedral of St. Peter Stations of the Cross 

Diocese Of Scranton - Way of the Cross Cathedral of St. Peter

Bishop Bambera’s 2021 Lenten Message

During Lent, the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Scranton will offer several ways in which the faithful can deepen their relationship with Jesus and come to know him in a more intimate way.


On Fridays, the Stations of the Cross are prayed following the 12:10 p.m. Mass. The Stations will air live on CTV: Catholic Television of the Diocese of Scranton. On Good Friday, Stations of the Cross will be prayed at 5:00 p.m.


Every Sunday during Lent, the Cathedral will hold Lenten Evening Prayer beginning at 6:15 p.m. The Evening Prayer services will also be livestream on the Cathedral’s social media channels as well as the Diocese of Scranton’s social media platforms. The services will also be broadcast on CTV: Catholic Television following the 6:00 p.m. rebroadcast of the Sunday Mass.


During Lent, Monsignor Dale Rupert, pastor of the Cathedral of Saint Peter, will also release short, inspirational reflections and prayers on Lent, the Saints and other spiritually topical subjects. The reflections will be released on the Cathedral’s social media channels.

Bishop Joseph C. Bambera to celebrate Ash Wednesday Mass
Distribution of ashes will be different due to COVID-19 pandemic

SCRANTON – On Ash Wednesday, February 17, 2021, Bishop Joseph C. Bambera will be principal celebrant and homilist for the 12:10 p.m. Mass at the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Scranton.

The Mass will be open to the public following COVID-19 safety protocols, including wearing face masks and physical distancing. The Mass will also be broadcast live on CTV: Catholic Television of the Diocese of Scranton and livestream on the Diocese of Scranton website and across all social media platforms.

Due to the pandemic, Ash Wednesday will look different this year but the significance of the day will not change. Ashes can be distributed to the Catholic faithful as long as there is no direct contact. Parishes have been asked to select one of two possible options for the distribution of ashes on February 17.

Ashes can be sprinkled on top of the head

In much of the world, the normal way of distributing ashes is to sprinkle ashes on top of the head, with no contact, rather than imposing them on the forehead. During distribution, both the minister and the recipient must be wearing masks.

For this distribution method, the priest will say the prayer for blessing the ashes. He will sprinkle the ashes with holy water, without saying anything. Then he will address all those present and only once say the call to repentance (“Repent, and believe in the Gospel” or “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return”). The minister will then take the ashes and sprinkle them on the head of each individual without saying anything.

Ashes can be distributed using an individual Q-tip type of cotton swab

For this distribution method, the minister would use an individual cotton swab for each recipient to distribute ashes. With the cotton tip, the minister will trace a cross on the recipient’s forehead. Both the minister and recipient must be properly wearing masks during the distribution. A new Q-tip cotton swab must be used for each person. After the use, each swab will be placed in a receptacle for burning.

Although not a Holy Day of Obligation, Ash Wednesday is traditionally a day of great importance to the faithful as they enter the Lenten season. The faithful are reminded that receiving ashes is not required. Parishioners should recognize that their own internal disposition and intention to repent is the importance of Ash Wednesday and that the ashes are an external sign of that internal reality. Individuals who cannot receive ashes can still enter into Lent with a repentant heart.

See below for a list of scheduled Ash Wednesday services across the 11-counties of the Diocese of Scranton. A complete set of guidelines for Liturgical Celebrations during the Season of Lent can also be found on the Diocesan website.


The Catholic observance of Lent includes days of fast and abstinence. Those 14 and older are obliged to abstain from eating meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and on all the Fridays of Lent. On Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, healthy people ages 18-59 are to fast by limiting themselves to one full meal and two lighter meals. Those with a medical condition that makes fasting inadvisable are not obliged to fast but should perform some other act of penance or charity.


The Sacrament of Reconciliation will remain available to the faithful throughout the Season of Lent.

“The Light is On For You,” an initiative in the Diocese of Scranton in which churches are open for quiet prayer and Confession will continue.

Beginning on Monday, February 22 and every Monday through March 22, confessions will be heard in each parish of the Diocese of Scranton from 5:30 until 7:00 p.m., unless another time is established by the individual parish.

All COVID-19 guidelines for Confessions must be followed, including that both the priest and the penitent must wear masks and celebrate the Sacrament in a space that allows for adequate distance from each other. Parishes have once again been discouraged from hosting large reconciliation services.

To be vaccinated or not: Answering common questions for Catholics


Dr. Levine first issued a masking order on April 15. The order signed today strengthens this initial order with these inclusions:

Masks are required to be worn indoors and outdoors if you are away from your home.

When outdoors, a mask must be worn if you are not able to remain physically distant (at least 6 feet away) from someone not in your household the entire time you are outdoors.

When indoors, masks will now be required even if you are physically distant from members not in your household. This means that even if you are able to be 6 feet apart, you will need to wear a mask while inside if with people other than members of your household. 

This order applies to every indoor facility, including homes, retail establishments, gyms, doctors’ offices, public transportation, and anywhere food is prepared, packaged or served.

Beatified Teen Showed That Heaven Is ‘Attainable Goal,’ Cardinal Says

ASSISI, Italy (CNS) — Thousands sang and applauded as Italian teen Carlo Acutis was beatified in a town dear to him and to many Christians around the world: Assisi. During the Oct. 10 beatification Mass, Italian Cardinal Agostino Vallini, the papal legate for the Basilicas of St. Francis and St. Mary of the Angels … Continue reading "Beatified teen showed that heaven is ‘attainable goal,’ cardinal says"


Coronavirus Update - July 16, 2020

On Wednesday, July 15, 2020, Governor Tom Wolf announced new mitigation efforts for COVID-19.

The order includes a limitation of no more than 25 people at indoor events and no more than 250 people at outdoor gatherings. Please keep these numbers in mind for any parish-based events you may be planning.

In terms of indoor Mass capacity, Governor Wolf indicated that these limitations do not apply to religious institutions. As a result, there will be NO CHANGE to the current liturgical directives in the Diocese of Scranton.

The governor noted his changes are prompted by an unsettling climb in new coronavirus cases nationwide and concerns about a potential new surge in Pennsylvania cases.

I cannot stress strongly enough the need for every parish to follow all safety protocols that have been put in place for the protection of our parishioners, clergy and community. Put simply, none of us can take these procedures for granted because this situation can change very quickly.

While all liturgical directives can be found on the Diocese of Scranton’s website at, the most important liturgical directives include:

·         Everyone attending Mass is required to wear a mask except during Holy Communion

·         Pews are to be marked for social distancing and parishioners need to maintain six foot social distancing at all times while inside or outside a church

·         Properly sanitizing pews and other high-touch surfaces after each Mass

·         Encouraging anyone who is ill to stay home

I emphasize this continued vigilance so that we hopefully will not have to suspend public Masses once again. As you may be aware, some parishes in California and Arizona are closing again due to spikes in COVID-19 infections. Additionally, several states that border Pennsylvania, including Ohio and West Virginia are experiencing spikes in the number of cases being reported. I also hope that prudence now will allow our Catholic Schools to safely resume in-person learning next month.

At the same time, you may want to encourage parishioners to follow the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s recommendation to self-quarantine (and therefore not immediately attend Mass) if they travel to any states that are seeing a significant increase in cases.

I recognize these are challenging and frustrating times. Thank you for all that you are doing to keep the faithful of our parishes safe. As we have during the past four months, may we tap the blessings of our faith to sustain us in the days ahead.

Please stay safe and well.

Faithfully yours in Christ,

†Joseph C. Bambera

Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, D.D., J.C.L.

Bishop of Scranton

Bishop Joseph C. Bambera’s Reflection on George Floyd’s Death June 5, 2020

Guidelines for Safely Returning to Mass

Planning for the Future: What to Expect When Public Masses Resume

“As time unfolds, people coming back into normal activities is probably going to happen a little more slowly than some might expect. We will do all that we can to facilitate our return to Mass, but ultimately must provide for the safety of the people God has given to our care.” 
—Bishop Joseph C. Bambera—

Daily Masses From The Cathedral Of St. Peter

Private Masses will be celebrated daily in the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Scranton, and made available on CTV: Catholic Television of the Diocese of Scranton.

On weekdays, the Mass will be broadcast at 12:10 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

On weekends, the Saturday Vigil Mass will be broadcast at 4:00 p.m. and rebroadcast on Sunday morning at 10:00 a.m.

The Masses will also be streamed on the Diocese of Scranton’s website, made available on the Diocese of Scranton’s social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) and will be accessible on the Diocese of Scranton’s YouTube channel.

COVID-19 Resources

Center for Disease Control

Pennsylvania Department of Health - Coronavirus

Catholic Response to Outbreak of Coronavirus

World Health Organization

DO THE FIVE Help stop coronavirus

1 HANDS Wash them often

2 ELBOW Cough into it

3 FACE Wear A Mask in Public

4 SPACE Keep safe distance Practice Social Distancing

5 HOME Stay if you can

Stress in your marriage?

Do you feel alone?  Are you bored, disillusioned, frustrated or angry in your relationship? Do you experience coldness or conflict in your relationship? Retrouvaille is a program that helps couples through difficult times in their marriages.  This program has helped thousands of couples experiencing difficulties in their marriages.  If you are thinking about, or already are, separated or divorced, there could still be hope for you. For confidential information about, or to register for the program on May 29 – 31, please call 631-338-5413 or 570-207-2213, or visit the website at

Do You Want to Know More About the Annulment Process?

In the Diocese of Scranton, the annulment process is now more “user friendly” than you might expect, and there is no longer a processing fee.  

Please contact your pastor or the Diocesan Tribunal Office (570-207-2246) to begin a conversation.  It is possible to get clear answers to these questions and to renew your connection with the Church.

For a listing of all Diocesan and parish events, visit: Calendar 

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Diocese of Scranton