Diocese of Scranton News and Events

View the latest edition of the Catholic Light at: July 14, 2022

Diocese of Scranton Newsletter

Diocese of Scranton News

Summer picnics and festivals are underway! 

Parishes across the 11 counties of the Diocese of Scranton are busy holding parish festivals, bazaars and other popular summertime events.

To help parishes publicize their events, the Diocese of Scranton has once again established a dedicated landing page on the Diocesan website to help promote events around the region.

Whether you are looking for delicious ethnic food - or simply crave the community and fellowship that these summertime events bring - this is the perfect place for you to check out all of the fun that is being planned.

June 24, 2022
Statement of the Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, on the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization

“One of the fundamental teachings of the Catholic Church is that all human life is sacred – from the moment of conception until natural death – and it must be respected and protected. In its opinion for Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, issued on Friday, June 24, 2022, I am thankful that the majority of Justices on the U.S. Supreme Court have recognized and upheld the sanctity of human life.
“For Catholics, respecting life, especially the unborn, is intrinsic to our identity as people of faith. While political and ideological divisions often drive us apart, we must remember that the Sacred Scriptures call us to be one, reverencing every life that comes into our world. It is critical to note, however, that valuing human life is not simply confined to life in the womb. We must never dismiss or ignore our responsibility to care for, protect and defend our brothers and sisters from other serious threats to human life, including poverty, racism and oppression.
“While already the largest private provider of social services in the United States, the Catholic Church must redouble its efforts and always stand ready to assist young women and couples who are facing unexpected or difficult pregnancies. Everyone in our Diocese and parishes should be familiar with ways to help mothers in difficult circumstances. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops recently launched its “Walking with Moms in Need” initiative to continue building relationships with community resources and make sure people in all parish communities know where to refer a pregnant woman in need.
“Our diocese is blessed to have many parishes filled with faithful people who regularly donate diapers, clothing, money and other resources to help expectant mothers each year. On the diocesan level, Catholic Social Services of the Diocese of Scranton provides educational, emotional and material support to expectant parents and operates Shepherd’s Maternity House in East Stroudsburg which provides housing, care and assistance for pregnant women and their newborn babies. Along with so many other community agencies and programs, including, but
not limited to, Saint Joseph’s Center, Friends of the Poor, Rachel’s Vineyard and the Pennsylvanians for Human Life, any mother needing assistance can receive life-affirming support.
“As we strive to build a true culture of life in our nation, the Gospel of Matthew reminds us that our welcome into God’s eternity will be determined by our willingness to reverence, respect and serve the most vulnerable among us in whom Christ is present: ‘Whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me’” (Matthew 18:5).

Bishop Appointed Catholic Co-Chair For Catholic-Pentecostal International Dialogue

SCRANTON – After having recently completed a term serving as chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, Bishop Joseph C. Bambera is taking on a new role aimed at advancing Christian unity.

In 2021, the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU) appointed Bishop Bambera to serve as the Catholic co-chair for the Catholic – Pentecostal International Dialogue that began 50 years ago, following the completion of the Second Vatican Council.

Bishop Bambera will travel to Rome next month to participate in ongoing Dialogue that is scheduled to take place July 8-14, 2022.

The Dialogue is made up of eight Catholic and eight Pentecostal theologians from around the world who meet annually to address an agreed upon topic for reflection, dialogue and prayer.

The goal of the Dialogue is to promote mutual respect and understanding in matters of faith and practice. Genuine exchanges and frank discussion concerning the positions and practices of the two traditions have been guiding principles of the Dialogue over the last five decades.

After being delayed for several years because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s Dialogue will focus on the topic of Kerygma/Proclamation and the Christian Life.

Over the past fifty years, the International Catholic – Pentecostal Dialogue has allowed leaders of the two religions to renew their common faith in the healing power of Jesus.

When it started in 1972, most Pentecostal denominations were not yet open to any ecumenical activity and some Pentecostal leaders did not want it to exist and even tried to stop the dialogue from taking place.

Father Kilian McDonnell, OSB, the founding Catholic Co-Chair of the Dialogue, once called the Dialogue a set of “Improbable Conversations.”

Over its five decades, the Dialogue has helped to open doors for greater understanding and built unexpected bridges. Among the topics discussed over the last five decades are the Holy Spirit and Sacraments, Mission and Evangelization and how Classical Pentecostals understand the gifts of prophecy, healing and discernment.

Despite the Dialogue that has taken place, Cecil M. Robeck, Jr., author of “Fifty Years of Catholic – Pentecostal Dialogue, 1972-2022: A Pentecostal Assessment,” noted “Pentecostals have a long way to go before minds and hearts are changed, but change is slowly taking place. The most significant issues continue to be Pentecostal ignorance of Catholic teaching and the fears that Pentecostals continue to hold over past Catholic actions.” 

Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for Ukraine, Russia

Pope Francis has invited bishops and the rest of the world to join him when he recites the prayer on March 25 in St. Peter’s Basilica.

Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary 
Basilica of St. Peter
March 25, 2022

O Mary, Mother of God and our mother, in this time of trial we turn to you. As our mother, you love us and know us: No concern of our hearts is hidden from you. Mother of mercy, how often we have experienced your watchful care and your peaceful presence! You never cease to guide us to Jesus, the prince of peace.

Yet we have strayed from that path of peace. We have forgotten the lesson learned from the tragedies of the last century, the sacrifice of the millions who fell in two world wars. We have disregarded the commitments we made as a community of nations. We have betrayed peoples’ dreams of peace and the hopes of the young. We grew sick with greed, we thought only of our own nations and their interests, we grew indifferent and caught up in our selfish needs and concerns.

We chose to ignore God, to be satisfied with our illusions, to grow arrogant and aggressive, to suppress innocent lives and to stockpile weapons. We stopped being our neighbor’s keepers and stewards of our common home. We have ravaged the garden of the earth with war, and by our sins we have broken the heart of our heavenly Father, who desires us to be brothers and sisters. We grew indifferent to everyone and everything except ourselves. Now with shame we cry out: Forgive us, Lord!

Holy Mother, amid the misery of our sinfulness, amid our struggles and weaknesses, amid the mystery of iniquity that is evil and war, you remind us that God never abandons us, but continues to look upon us with love, ever ready to forgive us and raise us up to new life. He has given you to us and made your Immaculate Heart a refuge for the Church and for all humanity. By God’s gracious will, you are ever with us; even in the most troubled moments of our history, you are there to guide us with tender love.

We now turn to you and knock at the door of your heart. We are your beloved children. In every age you make yourself known to us, calling us to conversion. At this dark hour, help us and grant us your comfort. Say to us once more: “Am I not here, I who am your Mother?” You are able to untie the knots of our hearts and of our times. In you we place our trust. We are confident that, especially in moments of trial, you will not be deaf to our supplication and will come to our aid.

That is what you did at Cana in Galilee, when you interceded with Jesus and he worked the first of his signs. To preserve the joy of the wedding feast, you said to him: “They have no wine” (Jn 2:3). Now, O Mother, repeat those words and that prayer, for in our own day we have run out of the wine of hope, joy has fled, fraternity has faded. We have forgotten our humanity and squandered the gift of peace. We opened our hearts to violence and destructiveness. How greatly we need your maternal help!

Therefore, O Mother, hear our prayer.

Star of the Sea, do not let us be shipwrecked in the tempest of war.

Ark of the New Covenant, inspire projects and paths of reconciliation.

Queen of Heaven, restore God’s peace to the world.

Eliminate hatred and the thirst for revenge, and teach us forgiveness.

Free us from war, protect our world from the menace of nuclear weapons.

Queen of the Rosary, make us realize our need to pray and to love.

Queen of the Human Family, show people the path of fraternity.

Queen of Peace, obtain peace for our world.

O Mother, may your sorrowful plea stir our hardened hearts. May the tears you shed for us make this valley parched by our hatred blossom anew. Amid the thunder of weapons, may your prayer turn our thoughts to peace. May your maternal touch soothe those who suffer and flee from the rain of bombs. May your motherly embrace comfort those forced to leave their homes and their native land. May your sorrowful heart move us to compassion and inspire us to open our doors and to care for our brothers and sisters who are injured and cast aside.

Holy Mother of God, as you stood beneath the cross, Jesus, seeing the disciple at your side, said: “Behold your son” (Jn 19:26). In this way, he entrusted each of us to you. To the disciple, and to each of us, he said: “Behold, your Mother” (Jn 19:27). Mother Mary, we now desire to welcome you into our lives and our history.

At this hour, a weary and distraught humanity stands with you beneath the cross, needing to entrust itself to you and, through you, to consecrate itself to Christ. The people of Ukraine and Russia, who venerate you with great love, now turn to you, even as your heart beats with compassion for them and for all those peoples decimated by war, hunger, injustice and poverty.

Therefore, Mother of God and our mother, to your Immaculate Heart we solemnly entrust and consecrate ourselves, the Church and all humanity, especially Russia and Ukraine. Accept this act that we carry out with confidence and love. Grant that war may end and peace spread throughout the world. The “fiat” that arose from your heart opened the doors of history to the Prince of Peace. We trust that, through your heart, peace will dawn once more. To you we consecrate the future of the whole human family, the needs and expectations of every people, the anxieties and hopes of the world.

Through your intercession, may God’s mercy be poured out on the earth and the gentle rhythm of peace return to mark our days. Our Lady of the “fiat,” on whom the Holy Spirit descended, restore among us the harmony that comes from God. May you, our “living fountain of hope,” water the dryness of our hearts. In your womb Jesus took flesh; help us to foster the growth of communion. You once trod the streets of our world; lead us now on the paths of peace. Amen.

Bishop Bambera’s 2022 Lenten Message: “Let Us Not Grow Tired Of Doing Good!”

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In his 2022 Lenten message to the Church, Pope Francis invites us to reflect upon Saint Paul’s words in his letter to the Galatians: “Let us not grow tired of doing good, for in due time we shall reap our harvest, if we do not give up. So then, while we have the opportunity, let us do good to all” (Galatians 6:9-10).

The Holy Father challenges us to reflect upon the urgency of using the time that God has given to us in a productive manner by sowing goodness in our world with a view to a future harvest. And Lent, Pope Francis continues, is the opportune time for us to recollect our thoughts and to move forward with resolve, seeking to fulfill our baptismal promises by making the pattern of Jesus’ life our own through our authentic response to his call to discipleship.

Through his invitation to place our trust in the Lord as the surest means of responding to the apostle Paul’s appeal, Pope Francis provides us with some practical reminders of how we might achieve this noble end:

“Let us not grow tired of praying” … We need to pray because we need God.

“Let us not grow tired of uprooting evil from our lives or of asking for forgiveness in the Sacrament of Penance,” knowing that God never tires                              of forgiving us.

And “Let us not grow tired of doing good in active charity towards our neighbors,” the surest means of reflecting the life of Jesus in our own                                  lives.

This year during our Lenten journey, we have all been given a unique opportunity to sow seeds of goodness in our Church to reap a bountiful harvest. The entire People of God, including our own local Church, have been invited to participate in the preparatory phase of the Synod of Bishops that is being convened by Pope Francis in October 2023, entitled a Synod on Synodality.

A “synodal” Church implies a way of being and of working that engages a more grassroots, collaborative effort among the members of the Christian faithful as we all seek to grow in awareness of the presence of God and engage the mission of evangelization. A “synodal” Church takes the time to discern the path forward that the Holy Spirit is calling us to embrace as together we seek to build a Church where all are welcome, valued and sent forth as ambassadors of Christ. A “synodal” Church highlights the fact that each member of the Body of Christ has been entrusted with gifts for the building up of the Church – “good” that we ought never tire of doing on behalf of one another.

I encourage you to participate in the synodal process through listening sessions in your parishes and through online opportunities that have been generously provided to all of you who desire to share your thoughts, your dreams and where you believe the Holy Spirit is calling the Church at this time in its history. The Diocese of Scranton’s online survey can be found on the “Synod on Synodality” page on the Diocese of Scranton website at

As Pope Francis has reminded us, a “synodal Church” is above all a Church that listens: “It is a mutual listening in which everyone has something to learn. The lay faithful, the bishops, the pope: all listening to each other, all listening to the Holy Spirit, the “Spirit of truth” (John 14:17), in order to know what He is saying to the Church” and how best to move forward in faith.

Finally, one of the great gifts given to us by the Church to assist in our response to the Lord’s invitation to do “good” is found in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. As we have done for many years, all of the parishes of the Diocese of Scranton will participate in The Light Is On For You. Every Monday evening during the Lenten season, beginning on the first Monday of Lent, March 7, and continuing through Monday of the last full week of Lent, April 4, confessions will be heard in every parish from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

My friends, our resolve to deepen our faith and to do good on behalf of our brothers and sisters is needed today more than ever. May we open our hearts to this blessed season of Lent and all of the opportunities that we are given to deepen our trust in the ever-present grace of God, that alone can sustain us in our journey of faith as his disciples.

Faithfully yours in Christ,

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

Vision 2030 Blueprint Process Strives To Create Parish Communities Rooted In The Life Of Jesus Christ

SCRANTON – As we move into 2022, the Vision 2020 Blueprint Process, launched in 2019, will now be known as the Vision 2030 Blueprint Process.

The goal of Vision 2030 remains the same. The long range planning process aims to look proactively at the realities of our local Church in the present moment while striving to meet the opportunities and challenges of the coming decade.

Put simply, Vision 2030 will assist the diocese in creating and sustaining vibrant parishes rooted in the life of Jesus Christ that are able to respond to the needs of as many members of the Christian faithful as possible.

“Our ongoing pastoral planning process in the Diocese is both important and necessary to have vibrant parishes and rich participation in the sacraments,” the Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, has said about the process. “At its very core, (this process) is about putting our relationship with Jesus first in our own lives and in the life of our Church. We must desire to help all people meet Christ and build God’s Kingdom – not our own.”

Bishop Bambera first introduced the pastoral planning process to every parish in the Diocese through a video homily played at all Masses on Dec. 8, 2019. Since that time, a lot of work has taken place. Before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the bishop led several regional sessions with parishioners and provided a video presentation to other parishes that were not able to gather in large groups because of the coronavirus.

In 2021, the blueprint process was utilized to help bring together the parish of Sacred Heart of Jesus in Weston with the parish of Saint John Bosco, Conyngham, upon the retirement of the pastor at Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish. Likewise, the blueprint process was also utilized to help Holy Family Parish in Sugar Notch consolidate with Saint Leo the Great Parish in Ashley upon the retirement of the pastor at Holy Family Parish.

The blueprint process has also assisted with parish linkages in the two largest cities of the Diocese of Scranton. Saint John Neumann Parish and Saint Paul of the Cross Parish have been linked in South Scranton under the pastorate of Monsignor Joseph G. Quinn, and Saint Nicholas Parish and Our Lady of Fatima Parish have been linked in Wilkes-Barre under the pastorate of Father Joseph D. Verespy.

In January 2022, the diocese plans to release updated data and information regarding the number of faithful who are supporting the mission of the Church locally as well as information on the decreasing number of priests that will be available in the next decade because of retirements. This information will

provide all the faithful with facts as we best determine how to plan for the future. By the essence of our Baptism, each person is called to take an active role in realizing the mission of the Vision 2030 Blueprint process.

The Diocese of Scranton is not alone in undertaking pastoral planning efforts. Diminishing and aging populations in some sections of the country impacting the number of men pursuing a priestly vocation in the Church, among other factors, have many other Dioceses and Archdioceses undertaking similar measures.

Over the past half century, the number of priests across the U.S. has dropped by about 40 percent — from nearly 60,000 priests in 1970 to 35,513 in 2020, according to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

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Synod on Synodality 2021-2023


The Fraternit√© 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 Fraternit√© 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

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

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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Diocese of Scranton