Diocese of Scranton Coronavirus Update March 23, 2020

Bishop Bambera updated his directives dated March 16 & 17, 2020.

Some highlights are that :

  • All Diocesan Offices including the Chancery are closed to the public and employees while the offices are being professionally cleaned. All employees have transitioned to working from home.
  • All Catholic School closings have been extended to Tuesday April 14th, 2020. All school buildings are closed to all personnel. Administrators and teachers are working from home. The Diocese of Scranton Catholic School System has moved to “distance learning.” All teachers are preparing and delivering instruction to our students through the use of our email system.

As it pertains to parishes and our parish:

PARISH OFFICES

  • Parish offices should remain in operation but are NOT to be open to the public.
  • Only essential staff (those involved in payroll, finance or maintenance) should be maintained, but on a very limited basis, working remotely whenever possible.
  • Access to the parish and clergy should be done via email and telephone. It is vital that clergy check emails and voicemails regularly in order to remain in contact with their parishioners.
  • Other parish employees, including but not limited to Directors of Religious Education or Youth Ministers, should be encouraged to work remotely if so needed.
  • If your parish has a phone number on an answering service, please monitor it on a regular basis and respond to all calls in a timely manner.
  • Pastors/parishes should consider having their office phone numbers forwarded directly to a parish secretary, assistant pastor or pastor in order to help streamline communication efforts. (Parish Secretary Note: in conjunction with Bishop Bambera’s directive above, all calls to the parish phone number are being forwarded to my phone and is monitored regularly.)

PARISH MASSES AND PUBLIC GATHERINGS SUSPENDED

Effective on Monday, March 16, 2020, and until further notice, Bishop Joseph C. Bambera announced the suspension of Masses open to the public and all public gatherings in all diocesan parishes, worship sites, college campuses, chapels and health care facilities in the eleven counties of the Diocese of Scranton.

Despite the suspension of all public Masses, churches will, however, remain open daily for individual private prayer. The timeframe for each parish is to be determined by its pastor or parish life coordinator. The dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass during this time remains in effect.

If an individual is sick, or shows symptoms of the coronavirus or flu-like symptoms, they are being urged to stay home and not visit a church during the opportunity for private prayer in an effort to protect their own well-being and that of others.

Scheduled sacramental celebrations, such as weddings, baptisms and funerals, will be permitted but attendance will be limited to immediate family members and follow any guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The sacraments of the Anointing of the Sick and Reconciliation will be available, when requested individually, by the faithful in cases of serious need.

Priests are still directed to celebrate Masses non-publicly on a daily basis for the good of the People of God, the Church and the intentions of the day.

All parish events, including fundraisers, dinners, etc. should be cancelled. Directives for the celebration of Holy Week and Easter will be forthcoming

Mass Intentions Fourth Week of Lent

Monday March 23
Repose of the Souls of Dominic and Katherine Kinsley,
The Late Theresa K. Huffman

Tuesday March 24
Repose of the Souls of Melbourne and Theresa K. Huffman
The Late Theresa K. Huffman

Wednesday March 25
Repose of the Souls of Dominic and Katherine Kinsley
The Late Theresa K. Huffman

Thursday March 26
Repose of the Soul of Mary Anna Dobrosielski
McCarthy and Brogenski Families

Friday March 27
Repose of the Soul of Collin Burton
Marilyn Burton

Saturday March 28
Repose of the Soul of Molly O’Neil
Dorothy Stoddard and Family

Sunday March 29 Fifth Sunday of Lent
Repose of the Soul of Richard Vosik
Ron and Linda Kahler

HOW TO DO A SPIRITUAL COMMUNION

For various reasons we may be prevented from receiving the Eucharist at Mass. We may have broken the one hour fast, be in a state of mortal sin, or we could even be homebound, unable to leave our home to attend Mass.

In these cases the Church encourages us to make an act of “spiritual communion,” where we unite ourselves to God through prayer. It is a beautiful way to express to God our desire to be united with him when we are unable to complete that union in the reception of Holy Communion. Many saints including St. Jean-Marie Vianney, St. Theresa of Jesus and St. Pio of Pietrelcina incorporated this prayer into their daily lives.

My Jesus,
I believe that You
are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love You above all things,
and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment
receive You sacramentally,
come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You.
Amen.

CATHOLIC MEN’S CONFERENCE POSTPONED

Catholic Men of the Diocese of Scranton,

We are writing to let you know that we have made the difficult decision to postpone the April 25, 2020 Be A Man Conference, “Called to Fatherhood”.  The recent corona virus with the states of Emergency being declared make this a necessity.  We are tentatively moving the date from April 25 to October in the hopes that the virus will be over by fall.  We had previously thought that fall might be a good time for the conference anyway.  If possible, we will retain the same speakers and location.  

We will be contacting the men that previously registered, our sponsors and exhibitors and give them the opportunity of a refund or to transfer their financial commitment to the fall date. 

We do not take this decision lightly as men are expected to be the defenders and protectors and to be calm in the face of danger.  We ask that you pray for the protection of the Almighty.  We ask the Blessed Mother and St Joseph to intercede for our country and our families.  On this feast of St Joseph, we ask “O St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, we place in you all our interests and desires. St Joseph Pray for us!”

As Catholics we must continue to engage in the corporal works of mercy, delivering God’s grace in the sacraments, as we have for 2000 years, in good times as well as in adversity.  We know that our true home is not here but in heaven.  Fear not!

“An evil report he shall not fear; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.”  Psalm 112:7

May God bless you all in this time of trial,

Men’s Conference Organizing Committee

Resources for Observing Lent from Home

The Last Three Lenten Bulletin Inserts

Week Four
Week Five
Week Six -Palm Sunday

MAGNIFICAT

In addition to its online edition, MAGNIFICAT is now offering complimentary access to its iOS and Android Apps throughout May. To register for free access in English, visit www.magnificat.com/free. For free access in Spanish, visit and register at www.magnificat.com/gratis.

We are also happy to make available complimentary access to MagnifiKid. Visit www.magnifikid.com/free to view and download each weekly booklet of our colorful Sunday missalette for children ages 6 through 12. While so many children are missing formal religious instruction and are unable to attend Mass, MagnifiKid! can be their special guide, accompanying them through each week as they prepare to attend Mass or watch it at home.

Pandemic Gratitude

A Lenten action plan https://olophparish.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Pandemic.pdf

Living Lent at Home Resources (from the Diocese of Scranton website)

Resources for Families

Pflaum Publishing

Pflaum is offering digital versions of the Unit 4 student lessons (English and Spanish) to all Pflaum Gospel Weeklies customers. Here is the direct link with instructions:
https://www.pflaumweeklies.com/lesson-downloads/?fbclid=IwAR3vxQQY9WzSlpJfPnMkPVys4tmXVqKTumiT4pQsCZKx5iYQ2mCj9bkChxc#1584111174258-250dbcaa-17ba

Loyola Press

At-Home Editions: These guides allow parents to conduct catechesis with their children in the home.

Interactive Session Reviews: Session reviews allow children, parents, and instructors to gauge learning objectives. Results can be emailed to a teacher or catechist along with student questions.

Study Guides: Single page study guides outline important faith topics in each session.

Raising Faith-Filled Kids: For parents who may not have the time or confidence to teach a full lesson, this resource provides background on the session and encourages parents to discuss faith topics with their children.

https://www.loyolapress.com/faith-formation/child-safety-and-catholic-family-living/growing-with-god/program-overview/coronavirus-response-lesson?fbclid=IwAR0yql6m7zcJCLe26c8SrBC_LCPUpfBoffSOiq6YpXmUnsDpJSLZGbaAfvg

RCL Benzinger Lectionary Series R

This series is my personal favorite. It can be in correlation with the book or can be taught on its own. This series offers grade level learning that can be done at home with their parents. Each lesson offers:

Opening Prayer
Opening Life Reflection
Listening to the Word of God
Scripture Discussion Starters
Scripture Background
Questions for Deeper Reflection
Doctrinal Discussion Starters
Divine Election
The Gospel in Life
Connecting to Faith First/Blest Are We Edition

http://rclblectionary.com/classroom-sessions-year-2019-2020

Lifelong Catechesis Our Sunday Visitor

Forming Catholic identity across generations
Sunday Readings and Backgrounds
Questions of the Week
Saint of the Week
Activity of the Week
General Intercessions
Correlations

https://lifelongcatechesis.osv.com/

For free coloring sheets parents can go to:
https://www.tinysaints.com/pages/free-printables

Sacramental Resources

Penance/First Holy Communion
Co-Cathedral of the Scared Heart

Co-Cathedral of the Scared Heart has put out a great Penance/Eucharist program for families. This will enable them to pick up where their class left off.
https://sacredhearthouston.org/penanceeucharist-activities

Confirmation:

My Catholic Life is set up as a tool for RCIA. However this section on Confirmation can be used weekly at home. Each section covers a different learning about Confirmation.
https://mycatholic.life/the-my-catholic-life-series/my-catholic-worship/chapter-4—the-sacrament-of-confirmation/

The Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Ohio has come up with an online Confirmation series for parents to do with their children. Each DRE can chose what parts of the series they would like their students to utilize beginning with page 4-Confirmation Session on the Holy Spirit. Jim Merhaut narrates.
http://www.ihm-parish.com/apps/search?q=confirmation+introductory+session

USCCB Resources

USCCB Responds to Coronavirus

Resources for Prayer and Engagement during Coronavirus

Attention Catholic Men

Attention Catholic Men, 

Please Register for the 6th annual Be A Man Conference.  The early bird deadline of April 1 is only 30 days away.  We don’t want you to pay more to attend the conference.  The Conference will be held on Saturday, April 25, 2020, from 8am to 3pm at Holy Redeemer High School, 159 South Pennsylvania Ave. Wilkes Barre, PA 18701. The cost for registering is $40 (Early Bird $30 until 4/01/20), Students $15

Notice Regarding Reporting Sexual Abuse of a Minor

Notice Regarding Reporting Sexual Abuse of a Minor

It is the policy of the Diocese of Scranton to report any allegation of sexual abuse of a minor to law enforcement. If you are a victim of sexual abuse committed by a priest, deacon, religious or lay employee or volunteer of the Diocese of Scranton, you are encouraged to immediately report the matter to law enforcement. If any priest, deacon, religious, lay employee or volunteer of the Diocese of Scranton has cause or reason to suspect that a minor has been subjected to any form of abuse, including child sexual abuse, the matter will be reported to law enforcement. In accordance with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Child Protective Services Laws, reports of suspected child abuse should also be made immediately by phone to the 24-HourChild Abuse hotline (ChildLine) at

1-800-932-0313 or electronically at www.compass.state.pa.us/cwis

It is also the policy of the Diocese to adhere to all civil and state regulations. To this end, the Diocese is equally committed to adhering to the norms of the Code of Canon Law and to upholding the tenets of the USCCB Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, which includes supporting victims of sexual abuse in their pursuit of emotional and spiritual well-being. As such, information regarding an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor should also be reported to the Victim Assistance Coordinator Mary Beth Pacuska at (570-862-7551) or to Diocesan officials, including the Vicar General, Monsignor Thomas M. Muldowney, V.G., at (570-207-2269).

MESSAGE FROM BISHOP BAMBERA

MESSAGE FROM BISHOP BAMBERA

As public health officials in Pennsylvania and beyond continue to track the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and widespread flu activity, the Diocese of Scranton is announcing new precautions for the celebration of Mass. Effective immediately, I am implementing the following directives:

1> The distribution of the Precious Blood via the Chalice is temporarily suspended

2>The Sign of Peace will now be exchanged without physical contact

3>Parishioners are also reminded that if they are sick, especially with flu-like symptoms, they should stay home for their own well-being and that of others. If parishioners are sick or suspect they are sick with a contagious illness, they are not bound by the Sunday Mass obligation