Diocese of Scranton News and Events

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WASHINGTON – This week, the House Committee on Appropriations will mark up the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) appropriations bill, which currently excludes the 46-year-old Hyde Amendment and other longstanding, bipartisan provisions including the Weldon Amendment. Eliminating these provisions would force taxpayers to pay for elective abortions and force health care providers and professionals to perform and refer for abortion against their deeply-held beliefs, as well as force employers and insurers to cover and pay for abortion.

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee for Religious Liberty, and Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, issued the following statement:

“This is the most extreme pro-abortion appropriations bill that we have seen, effectively mandating healthcare professionals to participate in abortion, and forcing American citizens to pay for abortion with their tax dollars. By eliminating the Hyde Amendment, and other Hyde-like policies, the financial fruits of Americans’ labor would advance the destruction of the smallest, most vulnerable humans. Eliminating the Weldon Amendment would be an egregious violation of conscience rights by forcing individuals and entities to perform, pay for, or otherwise participate in an abortion against their beliefs. Abortion is not healthcare nor a ‘human service’ to anyone.  Rather, abortion is inhumane.  It is a painful death to an innocent baby, and often leaves women physically harmed and emotionally devastated.

“We implore the House Committee on Appropriations to reverse course on these bills that currently expand taxpayer funding of abortion, and to restore the longstanding, bipartisan Hyde provisions and Weldon Amendment that have saved millions of lives and protected conscience rights. These bills include many other provisions and funding for critically-needed services that we support. Americans’ tax dollars should be used for the common good and welfare of all, not to finance abortion or force Americans to violate deeply-held beliefs.

“Further, we ask all Catholics and all people of good will to contact their legislators and make their voices heard. The lives of millions of vulnerable children, and the well-being of their mothers, depend on our advocacy.”

The Committee on Pro-Life Activities has sponsored a petition to legislators asking them to preserve the Hyde Amendment. All are encouraged to sign it at

Year of Amoris Laetitia Family

The Church Celebrates the Family

On March 19, 2021, the Church celebrates the fifth anniversary of the publication of Pope Francis’s apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, on the beauty and joy of love in the family.  On this same day, Pope Francis will launch the year “Amoris Laetitia Family,” which will conclude on June 26, 2022, during the X Meeting of Families in Rome with the Holy Father.

Pope Francis announced the year of “Amoris Laetitia Family during his Angelus Message on the Feast of the Holy Family on December 27, 2020. He ended his address invoking the Blessed Mother, “May the Virgin Mary grant that families throughout the world be increasingly fascinated by the evangelical ideal of the Holy Family, so as to become a leaven of [a] new humanity and of a genuine and universal solidarity.”

For more information on the year of “Amoris Laetitia Family” or to read the full text of Amoris Laetitia, please visit the Vatican website.


News, Events, and Resources

Celebrating the Year of Amoris Laetitia Family Blog

The Holy Father’s most recent video post

12 Ways to Walk with Families Following Amoris Laetitia

The Parish: “A Family of Families” (Coming soon!)

Additional resources will be available throughout the year.

SCRANTON (Effective June 28, 20211) – The Diocese of Scranton today issued revised guidelines concerning the celebration of public Masses in its 11 counties, effective immediately.

The Diocese of Scranton joyfully welcomes the faithful of the Diocese of Scranton to return to Masses at all of its parishes. Despite the challenges of the last year, we invite those who have not yet returned to Mass to rejoin us in person to celebrate the Holy Eucharist, the source and summit of the Christian life.

MASK GUIDANCE FOR MASSES  The Pennsylvania Department of Health ended its mask mandate as of Monday, June 28, 2021. People who are not vaccinated from COVID-19, or are not fully vaccinated, are still strongly encouraged to wear masks indoors and outdoors when around others but are no longer required to do so. This means that in the parishes and institutions of the Diocese of Scranton, there is no requirement for face coverings or masks.  Any individual is welcome to continue wearing masks at Mass if desired for personal protection and/or comfort. People are asked to be respectful of a person’s choice to wear a face covering or mask in churches throughout the Diocese of Scranton.  Given the wide range of vaccination rates among the 11 counties that make up the Diocese of Scranton, a pastor can still elect to wear a face mask during the Distribution of Holy Communion.  Parishioners who have a pre-existing medical condition or are taking medications that weaken the immune system, should talk to their healthcare provider to discuss their activities. They may need/want to continue wearing masks and taking precautions while attending Mass.  Parishes can post signs encouraging the use of face masks by the unvaccinated and those who are particularly vulnerable.  At no time should church leaders demand information about vaccination status (or any other protected health information), request vaccination cards be shown on admittance, or pressure attendees in any way to show proof of vaccination. When in doubt, parishes should continue to plan their gatherings with the caution that some participants may be unvaccinated.

OTHER IMPORTANT MASS PROTOCOLS AND SAFETY PRECAUTIONS  Pews no longer need to be marked for physical distancing. Parishes should remind the faithful to continue maximizing the use of space as much as possible.  Hand sanitizer is to be made available throughout the church as much as possible.  It is encouraged that the Sign of Peace be celebrated without physical contact.  Distribution of the Precious Blood remains suspended at this time. 2  Deacons may exercise the full function of their ministry.  With parental permission, altar servers may assist at Mass once again. Pastors should exercise great care if using altar servers and may not necessarily have them perform all of their prior responsibilities. For example, at their discretion, a pastor may continue to use a stand to hold the Roman Missal to pray the orations if there might be a chance for an “unmasked” interaction.  Liturgical singing can take place without any restrictions. Cantors, quartets and choirs may be used without any restrictions.  At the discretion of the pastor, Holy Water fonts may be refilled and utilized. Additional attention must be paid to refresh and clean these receptacles on a regular basis. Daily cleansing would be the optimal schedule.  Hymnals and missalettes can be returned to the pews. At the discretion of the pastor, parishes can continue to utilize printed worship aids for one-time use.  At the discretion of the pastor, offertory collections and the Presentation of the Gifts may resume in a more customary fashion. For collections, ushers are encouraged to use baskets during any collections. Parishes can continue to use a stationary, secured basket or lock box.  Parishes should clean and disinfect surfaces at least daily. Parishes should continue to be mindful of high-touch surfaces, including door handles, railings and bathrooms and should develop a schedule of routine cleaning and disinfection for such.  Each parish should ensure that ventilation systems operate properly. As is feasible, parishes should continue to ensure adequate fresh air supply for all facilities and increase circulation of outdoor air as much as possible by opening windows and doors. Do not open windows and doors if they pose a safety risk to children using the facility.  Attention should continue to be paid to the length of any liturgy, considering options, especially those provided by the Roman Missal, to shorten the duration that the faithful will be gathered in church.  Outdoor Masses are still permitted.  While ongoing progress is being made to address the spread of COVID-19 with vaccinations, the obligation to attend Sunday Mass and Masses on Holy Days remains suspended at this time. Every parish is encouraged to continue welcoming the faithful back to Church in earnest

Updated Guidelines for Public Masses in the Diocese of Scranton – June 28, 2021


“Today, jurors in a Minnesota courtroom rendered a verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd in May 2020. This evening, I offer prayers to the Floyd family and for all who have suffered because of the sin of racism and oppression.

“This moment reminds us that the scourge of racism must continue to be addressed. The Catholic Church boldly proclaims that all human life is sacred and every human person is created in God’s image and likeness. In order to confront racism in our land and change hearts and minds, each one of us must take a deep look at ourselves. Racism comes in many forms. Sometimes it is deliberate – often it is subconscious – and at times it occurs when one fails to act when injustices occur.

“The words of Pope Francis from June 2020 challenge us to reflect upon core values of our Catholic faith, “We cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life.”


The Fraternité Notre Dame Community, since its acquisition of the former Saint Mary of the Assumption Parish complex in South Scranton, Pennsylvania in 2020, has generously provided support to the poor, particularly during the course of the current health crisis. The Community, however, describes itself as a Traditional Catholic Religious Order that is not in union with the Pope. As such, it is not a legitimate religious order of the Catholic Church. 

The faithful of the Diocese of Scranton should not attend Masses nor receive the sacraments provided by the Fraternité Notre Dame Community when Masses are available in nearby Churches of the Diocese. Particularly regarding the sacraments of Confirmation and Marriage, these celebrations would not only be illicit, but also invalid.

 †Joseph C. Bambera Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, D.D., J.C.L. Bishop of Scranton

Mass Of Remembrance July 15, 2021

Many families in the Diocese of Scranton continue to suffer the loss of loved ones who have died as a result of violent or tragic death.  In response, the Diocese of Scranton is offering the annual Mass in remembrance of victims of violent or tragic death; particularly for persons who have died through murder, suicide, or accidental death.  This year we remember in a special way those who lost their battle with COVID-19. The Mass will be a way for family and friends to remember and celebrate the lives of these victims and to stand together surrounded in God’s love.

The Mass of Remembrance will be taking place this year on Thursday, July 15. Due to COVID-19 there will be some changes. The Books of Remembrance will not be available to search for a name but instead will be placed near the altar. There will not be a reception after the mass. There will be a live broadcast on CTV.

Parishioners are encouraged to register the name of their loved one for entry into the Book of Remembrance.  We ask that the names of the deceased loved ones are registered on the registration form below.  Please ensure that the forms are submitted no later than Friday, July 9, 2021.

Mass of Remembrance Registration Form


Bishop Joseph C. Bambera issues statement on COVID-19 vaccines

“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused tremendous grief and fear in our country and world over the last year, leaving more than 500,000 dead in the United States alone.

“I want to be clear and concise in my pastoral guidance regarding COVID-19 vaccines. Given the grave danger this virus poses, it is morally acceptable to receive any of the current COVID-19 vaccines that have been determined to be clinically safe and effective. This position is supported by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

“People should not delay getting a vaccine. Receiving a vaccine not only protects an individual’s health but also serves the common good by protecting the community – including the weak and vulnerable.

“While fully recognizing the complex moral and ethical issues involved in vaccine development, at this time, most people are not being given a true choice of which vaccine they receive, and likely won’t be able to make such a choice without a lengthy delay.

“Given that risk to public health, the faithful can in good conscience receive any of the current vaccines.”

To view the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s December 2020 Note on the Morality of Using some anti-COVID vaccines, please click here.

Faithfully yours in Christ,

†Joseph C. Bambera
Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, D.D., J.C.L.
Bishop of Scranton

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"


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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