Bishop pays visit to county
BY HELEN B. FOSTER
Bishop Joseph C. Bambera of the Diocese of Scranton made a Pastoral Visit to Susquehanna County on Saturday evening, Dec. 4.
The 5:30 p.m. Mass was celebrated in St. John the Evangelist Church, Susquehanna with parishioners from St. Lawrence, Great Bend; St. Martin of Tours, Jackson; The Ascension in Forest City; St. Brigid, Friendsville and Holy Name of Mary, Montrose coming together to welcome the Bishop to the county.
In his homily, Bishop Bambera praised the parishioners for involving so many of the area parishes and the Catholics of Susquehanna County, “where many parishes began long before the founding of the Diocese of Scranton.”
The host Pastor David Cramer with assistant Pastor Alfhones Perikala, who also serve St. Lawrence and St. Martin of Tour welcomed the priests from the other county churches who were able to attend.
“How wonderful it is that we can all freely celebrate the birth of Christ without fear,” the Bishop said. He asked the faithful to not dwell on “things” as when we leave this world these “things” are left behind. You have all been blessed and you should share your faith with someone you don’t even know, the Bishop said.
He also spoke of the long history of the Catholic Church in Susquehanna County and how it has grown since 1847.
Dating back to the early 1800s many Catholics gathered and began to build churches, “it is upon that faith that we must continue to build the diocese.”
A joint choir, under the direction of Holly Snitzer was thanked by Bishop Bambera for not only providing the beautiful music for the service but for making the effort to come so far to prepare and to participate in his pastoral visit. The organists for the Mass were Susan Lee and Jeffrey Keyes and there were also guest instrumentalists and Cantors.
The Bishop also thanked the Knights of Columbus for being there to lead the procession of priests and the Bishop as they entered the church. Assisting the Bishop were Fr. Washington and Fr. Clarke from the Diocesan Offices. Altar servers included Luke Yavorski (Ascension), Charles Mulligan and Ambrose Mulligan (St. John), Dominck Madia and Mary Mangel (St. Lawrence), Emily Frye and Olivia Rockwell (St. Martin).
The Liturgy of the Word was proclaimed by Ed DeWitt (Holy Name of Mary), Carol Jackson (St. John), Irene McCarthy (St. Lawrence), Theresa Whitehead (St. Martin), and Assistant Pastor Alfhones Perikala.
Following the service a reception was held in St. John’s Parish Hall with refreshments provided by the women of the Parish Cluster, St. John’s, St. Lawrence and St. Martin of Tour.