Diocese of Scranton News and Events

Diocesan Annual Appeal allows Catholic Television to broadcast Masses from Cathedral of Saint Peter, especially significant during Holy Week

Your support of the Diocesan Annual Appeal helps the Diocesan Office for Communications spread the Good News of Jesus to all people in northeastern and north central Pennsylvania, and beyond, all year long - but the efforts are especially appreciated by many people during Holy Week and the Paschal Triduum.

Each morning of the Triduum, Catholic Television will broadcast Morning Prayer from the Cathedral of Saint Peter, Scranton, at 8:00 a.m. 

The Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper will be broadcast tonight at 5:30 p.m., with Bishop Bambera serving as principal celebrant and Father Gerald W. Shantillo serving as homilist.

The Commemoration of the Lord's Passion from the Cathedral will be broadcast at 12:10 p.m. on Friday. Bishop Bambera will serve as celebrant of the liturgy and Father Jeffrey Tudgay will serve as homilist.

Bishop Bambera will celebrate the Easter Vigil Mass at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, and Easter Sunday Mass, at 10:00 a.m., all of which will also be broadcast by Catholic Television.

Numerous other broadcasts from the Vatican and Washington D.C., will be broadcast over the next four days to help people celebrate the Passion of Christ and the joy of the Resurrection.

Our Diocesan Annual Appeal campaign has now reached 86-percent of its goal, but we need all faithful to participate to ensure that we get to 100-percent – and make sure there is funding for the vital ministries of our diocese that no one parish can provide on its own.

None of this work can happen without you.

During the Paschal Triduum – please ask yourself how God is calling you to give of yourself to others.

Dependence On God Becomes The ‘Seedbed For Faith,’ Bishop Bambera Says In Easter Message

Dear Friends,

“Do not be amazed! You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. … But go and tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you.’”

These words from Saint Mark’s Gospel confronted the first followers of Jesus on the day of his resurrection and boldly affirmed God’s promise to save his people. Yet, despite the hope that such words imparted, the followers of Jesus were still amazed and fearful. They didn’t understand. They would come to faith in the resurrection- but not immediately.

We know from accounts recorded in the Acts of the Apostles that the early Christian community did come to embrace Easter faith. We know too that despite the challenges that they faced, because of their encounter with the risen Jesus, they were of one mind and heart and worked together to proclaim by their lives the living presence of God in the world.

And yet, not unlike the experiences of those first Christians, the harsh reality of life continues to confront us with suffering and death. We have only to look to the Holy Land and the war raging between Israel and Hamas – to Ukraine – to Haiti – to Syria – to the families who grieve senseless deaths from the recent terrorist attack in Moscow – and to far too many lands around the globe that are enveloped by political unrest, abuse and blatant disrespect for human life. The scope of suffering and pain that is present throughout our world on a daily basis is incomprehensible.

While hardly free from grief and pain in our own land, in our families, and in our personal lives, we can choose to retreat from the global reality confronting so many of our brothers and sisters. Or, we can turn to the only thing that enables our broken world and lives to find healing, hope and peace: the Easter miracle – the promise of redemption won for us through the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus!

The great Christian martyr, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was executed in a Nazi death camp weeks before the Allied victory in World War II, challenged his fellow Christians to understand that the resurrection does not merely promise us life in God’s eternity. Nor should redemption be reduced to “being redeemed out of sorrows, hardships and longings or an escape route out of earthly tasks and difficulties.” Rather, the risen Christ “takes hold of human beings in the midst of their lives. … Christ did not die to take us out of the world, but to affirm our existence in it. Yes, we have the hope of resurrection in the future. But we have the faith of redemption in the here and now.”

Pope Francis, reflecting upon our need for hope as we navigate a complicated world and our own challenging lives, put it best.

“To experience the hope of Easter, we must be willing to enter into the mystery of God. … The mystery demands that we not be afraid of reality: that we not be locked into ourselves, that we not flee from what we fail to understand, that we not close our eyes to problems or deny them, that we not dismiss our questions. … To enter into the mystery of God, we need the humility to recognize who we really are, creatures with strengths and weaknesses, sinners in need of forgiveness,” the Holy Father said.

As such, we need to appreciate our powerlessness and our absolute dependence upon God.

In fact, powerlessness and dependence upon God become the very seedbeds for faith; a faith born not from some sort of proof – but born within hearts that are humble enough to seek the presence of God – a faith characterized at times by uncertainty and doubt – but a faith, nonetheless, that leads to an unshakable trust in a person: the person of Jesus, risen from the dead. That is Easter, brothers and sisters, and where we find hope and lasting peace.

One of the greatest signs of the power of the resurrection is the presence of 177 catechumens and candidates from throughout the Diocese of Scranton who will be baptized into the life, death and resurrection of Jesus and presented for full communion in the Catholic Church during the great Vigil of Easter. These catechumens and candidates – our relatives, neighbors and friends – will join with thousands of catechumens and candidates from around the world to publicly profess their faith in Jesus Christ and to assume their place with us in Jesus’ body, the Church.

Brothers and sisters, thank you for your willingness to walk with me on this incredible journey of faith, along with our dedicated priests and deacons and women and men in consecrated life, as together we seek to proclaim the risen Jesus and his gospel of life.

This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad!

Faithfully yours in the Risen Christ,

Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera
Bishop of Scranton

December 20, 2023 Statement of the Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, on Declaration, Fiducia Supplicans

On Monday, December 18, 2023, the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith issued the Declaration, “Fiducia Supplicans” (“Supplicating Trust”) which was approved by Pope Francis.

In response to the Declaration’s release, the Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, issued the following statement:

“With the approval of Pope Francis, the Dicastery of the Doctrine of the Faith issued the Declaration, Fiducia Supplicans, on Monday, December 18, 2023. The Declaration clarifies that there are forms of blessings within the Church and recounted throughout the Sacred Scriptures, which are ‘poured out on others as a gesture of grace, protection, and goodness’ (18).

“The Diocese of Scranton is guided by the teachings of the Holy Father, and I invite all people of good will to join me in reading, praying, and reflecting upon the new Declaration, which carefully distinguishes between liturgical (sacramental) blessings and pastoral blessings, which may be spontaneous or personal.

“As evangelizers, we desire to bring the love and Good News of Jesus to every person, yet we know many people struggle to encounter God in their lives for one reason or another. Blessings, therefore, offer all people ‘an invitation to draw ever closer to the love of Christ.’ (44)

“The Declaration is very clear that the Church’s teaching on marriage has not changed – clearly upholding the sacrament of marriage as between a man and a woman – and is also specific regarding the possibility and context of blessings for couples in irregular situations and for couples of the same sex.

“As the Declaration states, ‘this blessing should never be imparted in concurrence with the ceremonies of a civil union, and not even in connection with them. Nor can it be performed with any clothing, gestures, or words that are proper to a wedding,’ adding, ‘such a blessing may instead find its place in other contexts, such as a visit to a shrine, a meeting with a priest, a prayer recited in a group, or during a pilgrimage’ (39-40).

“The pastoral sensitivity being shown by Pope Francis in this new Declaration is evident and most understandable as it states, ‘when people ask for a blessing, an exhaustive moral analysis should not be placed as a precondition for conferring it. For those seeking a blessing should not be required to have prior moral perfection’ (25). To the contrary, the Declaration is intended ‘as a tribute to the faithful People of God, who worship the Lord with so many gestures of deep trust in his mercy and who, with this confidence, constantly come to seek a blessing from Mother Church.’

“May this Declaration enable all of us who seek to walk by faith to feel the closeness and compassion of God.”

National Eucharistic Revival

Initial resources for the Eucharistic Revival, including the document issued by the USCCB concerning the Revival,  The Mystery of the Eucharist in the Life of the Church, can be found on the Eucharistic Revival website at this link.


Our world is hurting. We all need healing, yet many of us are separated from the very source of our strength. Jesus Christ invites us to return to the source and summit of our faith in the celebration of the Eucharist. The National Eucharistic Revival is a movement to restore understanding and devotion to this great mystery here in the United States by helping us renew our worship of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.

Watch the video to learn more about the exciting journey ahead and how you can be a part of it!

Statement of the Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, on the Death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

“On behalf of the clergy, religious and faithful of the Diocese of Scranton, I join people around the world in offering prayers and sympathy on the passing of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

“Pope Emeritus Benedict will always be remembered as a great theologian-pope, not just because of the three encyclicals he wrote, but because of the intellectual precision he brought to all of his work, helping us to encounter God’s love and truth. For example, in Spe Salvi, (In hope we were saved), he beautifully stated that God is our foundation of hope, and it is his love alone that gives us the possibility of soberly persevering day by day.

“In addition to being a strong supporter of the Church in America, Benedict truly believed in fostering Christian unity as a fundamental priority of the worldwide Church. From dialoging with Lutherans to his work with Anglicans, he made many efforts to see Christians fully united.

“We give thanks to the Father for the great gift of Benedict as a priest, bishop, cardinal and Successor to Saint Peter. While much has been written about his historic renunciation, Benedict’s actions showed great humility, selflessness and courage as he determined he no longer had the physical strength for the demands of the papacy.

“On a personal level, I thank Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI for the trust and confidence he had in me when appointing me the tenth bishop of the Diocese of Scranton in February 2010. I will always treasure the opportunity to witness his humanity and devotion to Christ the following year during my first ad limina visit to the Vatican.

“I ask the people of the Diocese of Scranton to offer prayers for the peaceful repose of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s soul. May God grant him the gift of eternal life and bring comfort to those who mourn his passing.”

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

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

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

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