A Letter from the Bishop 9/24/22
As we all work to evangelize, increase Mass attendance, highlight the importance of vocations to the priesthood and religious life and educate our young people – I have heard from many of you regarding concerns that your regular Sunday collections are either not increasing or have been consistently decreasing. Over the last decade, financial data shows that the overall offertory in Diocese of Scranton parishes has declined by more than 13 percent, which in real numbers is $6.7 million. While that decrease is the result of many things – an overall decline in the number of parishioners, the impact of the 2018 Grand Jury report and, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic – I know this downward trend is something we would all like to change! Even as our nation faces decades-high inflation, studies have found that people are still willing to give when they are stakeholders in a parish, sense a spirit of evangelization, see financial transparency and are invited to give. That is why, after consultation with both the Presbyteral and Episcopal Councils and the Diocesan Finance Council, I am announcing a DiocesanWide Increased Offertory Program with Our Sunday Visitor (OSV) that will take place in early 2023. There are several reasons we have selected OSV. Their approach is not a “cookie-cutter” or one-size-fits-all approach. Their staff will tailor each program to the individual parish, including multi-lingual parishes. In addition, this program requires minimal work for you and your staff. Most importantly, OSV has proven results in the Diocese of Scranton. The company worked with nine local parishes during the pandemic. Between one -time gifts and new commitments, those nine parishes saw an offertory increase of $605,184.42! Our goal is to conduct our diocesan-wide Increased Offertory Program with parishes at a six-week block of a pastor’s choosing beginning in either January 2023 or February 2023. Over the next few months, the diocese will continue to work with OSV in planning so that this program will be extremely effective in your parish. I am inviting you to attend a brief program, which will include the opportunity for Questions & Answers, during the second week of October. Before these meetings, an OSV representative will send you information about the Program and these information sessions will help clarify any questions that you have. The times and locations are as follows: Tuesday, October 11 3:00 p.m. – Saint Matthew Church, 200 Brodhead Avenue, East Stroudsburg 6:30 p.m. – Saint Maria Goretti Church, 42 Redwood Drive, Laflin Wednesday, October 12 3:00 p.m. – Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church, 99 E. Tioga Street, Tunkhannock 6:30 p.m. – Diocesan Pastoral Center, 330 Wyoming Avenue, Scranton Thursday, October 13 6:30 p.m. – Saint Joseph the Worker Parish, 702 W. 4th Street, Williamsport I encourage you to begin a conversation with the members of your Parish Finance Council and Parish Pastoral Council regarding your parish’s needs and the opportunity that the Diocese is presenting to you. If there is a staff member, finance or pastoral council member that is interested in attending this program with you, that is certainly welcome and encouraged! Because this will be a Diocesan-Wide Increased Offertory Program, it will be an expectation that all parishes participate. If you are one of the few parishes that regularly addresses offertory and stewardship needs successfully and have recognized stable or growing offertories, you might believe this opportunity is unnecessary. If so, please write a letter to me explaining the overall status of your parish income and the rationale for why you do not wish to engage the program at this time. Please know, there will be a fee related to the program that each parish will have to absorb – but because we are confident of this program’s success – we do not want any parish to worry about a potential burden involving cost. If any parish successfully completes all of the steps of the OSV Increased Offertory Program, yet fails to raise enough income to pay for its cost, the diocese will make up the difference. As this Program launches, I invite every parish to participate in this important endeavor. When you tell the story of your parish, you celebrate your accomplishments. When you acknowledge generosity, it grows. With your support and encouragement, I know our parishes will be very successful in this initiative! Faithfully yours in Christ, †Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton
Diocese of Scranton Statement Regarding Grand Jury Report
A Letter from His Holiness Pope Francis to the People of God, Click here
Click HERE to view a video message from Bishop Bambera
Haga clic AQUI para ver un video mensaje de Bishop Bambera con subtítulos en español
The Grand Jury today released findings following its investigation into child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania. As the community copes with the findings in this report, Bishop Bambera offers his deepest apologies to the victims who have suffered because of past actions and decisions made by trusted clergymen, to victims’ families, to the faithful of the Church, and to the community at large. No one deserves to be confronted with the behaviors described in the report. Although painful to acknowledge, it is necessary to address such abuse in order to foster a time when no child is abused and no abuser is protected.
The Diocese of Scranton cooperated fully with the Grand Jury because of its firm belief that child sexual abuse cannot be tolerated and must be eradicated from the Church. Now that the report has been made public, Bishop Bambera has released today the list of all of the accused clergy, staff and volunteers within the Diocese of Scranton. The Diocese shared the list of abusers with all 11 district attorneys within the Diocese in 2016 before it knew of the investigation, and then with the Grand Jury as part of the investigation. This is the complete list of names supplied to the Attorney General. It is posted on the Diocese of Scranton website: www.dioceseofscranton.org (Child Protection/Safe Environment Page).
For well over a decade, ongoing improvements have been made to the manner in which abuse allegations are addressed. The Diocese of Scranton adheres to a strict zero tolerance policy, immediately informing law enforcement and removing the accused from the community when allegations are brought forth. And while properly handling allegations is critical, the ultimate goal of such efforts is to stop abuse altogether. While the past cannot be changed, the Diocese of Scranton remains dedicated to keeping our children safe from abuse moving forward.
In response to the report, Bishop Bambera recorded a video message that has been provided to all parishes to be shown at all Masses in the Diocese this weekend. The video can also be viewed on the Diocesan website, and it has been posted to Bishop Bambera’s Twitter page and the Diocesan Facebook and Twitter pages.