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PA Bishops React to Pope Francis

pope franciswebsiteHere is a round up of the Pennsylvania Bishops’ reactions to Pope Francis. Click on the links to read their statements in full.

Archbishop Chaput of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia said, ” I first met our new Holy Father at Rome’s 1997 Synod for America, and still have a gift from him, a portrait of Mary, the mother of Jesus, on my desk. Pope Francis, the former Cardinal Bergoglio, is a man from the new heartland of the global Church; a priest of extraordinary intellectual and cultural strengths; a man deeply engaged in the issues of contemporary life and able to speak to the modern heart; open to the new realities the Church faces; and rooted in a deep love of Jesus Christ. ”

Archbishop Soroka of the Ukranian Archeparchy of Philadelphia said in a_statement, “We are especially pleased to learn of the Holy Father’s personal knowledge and experience with Eastern Catholics while ministering as Cardinal Archbishop in Argentina.  As members of the largest Eastern Catholic Church in union with Rome, we look forward to Pope Francis’ continued close relationship with Eastern Catholics throughout the world, and particularly in the United States of America and in our native Ukraine.”

Archbishop Skurla of the Byzantine Catholic Archeparchy of Pittsburgh said, “As we begin to remember his name in the litanies of the Divine Liturgy and in our daily prayer, we ask that our new Pope receives strength from the Father and wisdom from the Holy Spirit. As he assumes his place as our Holy Father, we wish him peace, health, and happiness for many blessed and happy years.”

Bishop Barres of the Diocese of Allentown shared his excitement about Pope Francis in this interview.

Bishop Bartchak of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown said, ” I join with all of the people of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown and Catholics throughout the world in rejoicing at the news of the election of Pope Francis I.”

Bishop Persico of the Diocese of Erie spoke in this news interview about humility and the Holy Spirit.

Bishop Brandt of the Diocese of Greensburg said, “The Holy Spirit, who has guided the Catholic Church through these two millennia, has once again guided the election of a new shepherd, the spiritual leader of nearly 1.2 billion Catholics in our world today.”

Bishop McFadden of the Diocese of Harrisburg held a press conference. Watch the video here:

Bishop Zubik of the Diocese of Pittsburgh said, “Our new Holy Father brings with him the experience of a dedicated pastor who has served the Church so well in his many years of ordained ministry. That experience – and the rock-steady faith that has guided him – will be his comfort and strength in the challenging days ahead.”

Bishop Bambera of the Diocese of Scranton said, “As a leader dedicated to renewal and the work of evangelization, Pope Francis’ actions and words have long served as examples of Christ’s selfless love for all people, ensuring a sense of welcome, respect and care for all.”



Archbishop Lori Welcomes Introduction Of “Health Care Conscience Rights Act”

From the USCCB

On March 4, 2013, Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) and 50 other House members introduced H.R. 940, the Health Care Conscience Rights Act of 2013. Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the USCCB’s Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, welcomed its introduction with the following statement:

“I am grateful to Congresswoman Black and other sponsors for their leadership today. I welcome the Health Care Conscience Rights Act and call for its swift passage into law. While federal laws are on the books protecting conscience rights in health care, this Act would make such protection truly effective. This overdue measure is especially needed in light of new challenges to conscience rights arising from the federal health care reform act.”
In a February 15 letter, Archbishop Lori urged Congress to enact effective conscience and religious freedom protection provisions like those of H.R. 940 as part of “must-pass” legislation for continued funding of federal programs.

A Capitol Hill press conference featuring four plaintiffs advocating for their conscience rights and religious freedom will take place at 10 am (EST) Tuesday morning, March 5, 2013 in Rayburn House Office Building, Room B-318.

The text of Archbishop Lori’s letter is available at


Oppose HHS Regulations, Support Religious Liberty

The contraceptive mandate imposed on health plans by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) violates freedom of conscience, which is guaranteed by the First Amendment and several federal laws.


The Bill of Rights says we are free to live by our religious beliefs. Forcing all of us to buy coverage for sterilization and contraceptives, including drugs that induce abortion, is a radical incursion into freedom of conscience. If you are unfamiliar with this issue, please read more here.

The Pennsylvania Catholic Health Association (PCHA) also submitted comments. You can read those official PCHA Comments to HHS at the link.

Holy Spirit Hospital Celebrates 50th Anniversary

Holy SpiritCentral PA’s Holy Spirit Health System is celebrating its 50th anniversary, and the local community is taking notice,

“In the constant race for distinction among central Pennsylvania hospitals, Holy Spirit Health System has something its counterparts will probably never possess: a convent, occupied by nuns.

Holy Spirit, located on the edge of Camp Hill, opened 50 years ago. It has fewer nuns — they’re referred to as sisters — than in 1963. Their health care role is smaller. But the convent is still home to 24 sisters, including some who work at the hospital. Others are retired. Some lived out their lives at the convent and are buried locally.

While Holy Spirit remains committed to its core mission of serving everyone in need, the health system faces new challenges and intense competition.”

And here is “Holy Spirit Health System By the Numbers,” including this fact, “2,900: Employees in the system.”

The coverage also includes a timeline that illustrates the growth of Holy Spirit over the past 50 years.

Holy Spirit Health System is a member of the Pennsylvania Catholic Health Association, which provides support for the Catholic health care community in Pennsylvania through Gospel witness in advocacy, communication, education and united action

Photo: The photo features the first patient of Holy Spirit Health system. It appeared in this article and is taken from the archives of Holy Spirit Health System. 

Should taxpayers pay for abortions in PA?

If we do not act, taxpayer funds may, for the first time, be used to pay for elective abortions in Pennsylvania.

As the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the Affordable Care Act and Pennsylvania has chosen not to set up a state exchange, Pennsylvania must take steps to prevent abortion coverage in the federal insurance exchanges used in PA.

Please send a message by clicking here to your legislators requesting that this important pro-life issue be addressed as soon as possible!

PNC Bank Supports Catholic Education

Here is encouraging school choice news from the Diocese of Scranton about a recent contribution to the Educational Improvement Tax Credit and the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Programs

PNC Bank recently contributed $40,000 to Catholic education to the Diocese of Scranton Scholarship Foundation through the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program. The program provides need-based tuition assistance to students attending Diocesan schools. PNC Bank also presented the Diocesan Scholarship Foundation with a $20,000 contribution through Pennsylvania’s new Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC) program, which provides scholarship assistance to eligible families who reside within the boundary of an under-performing school, as determined by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Since 2002, PNC Bank has generously contributed over $740,000 to Catholic education in the Diocese of Scranton.

ETIC - PNC Bank Peter Danchak Jason W S 13

In the photo are Peter Danchak, left, President of PNC Bank, and Jason W.S. Morrison, Diocesan Secretary for Development.

Marriage March: March 26, 2013

March for MarriageFrom the organizers of the March for Marriage:


Why  the  March  for  Marriage?  On  March  26th  the  Supreme  Court  will  hear  oral  arguments  in  the  Perry  case,  which   will  determine  if  Proposition  8  –  the  citizens  initiative  approved  by  the  people  of   California  in  2008  to  protect  marriage  –  is  constitutional  or  not.    More  importantly,   the  question  of  same-­?sex  “marriage”  and  the  right  of  Americans  to  protect  marriage   will  be  decided.  It  is  imperative  that  political  leaders,  the  media,  and  the  culture  see   that  we  care  about  protecting  marriage  enough  to  stand  up  and  march  for  it.

Who  is  the  March  for  Marriage?   The  March  is  being  organized  by  the  National  Organization  for  Marriage  (NOM)
alongside  a  broad  coalition  of  pro-­?family  organizations,  state  partners,  African-­? American,  Latino,  Catholic  and  Protestant  leaders.  Please  check  the  website  for  an   up-­?to-­?date  list  of  co-­?sponsoring  organizations  and  confirmed  speakers.

What  is  the  Schedule  of  Events  for  the  March  on  Tuesday,  March  26th?   8:30 am  –  Gather  at  National  Mall  location  between  10th  Street  and  12th  Street  NW  &  between  Madison  Drive  NW  and  Jefferson  Drive  SW   9:30am  –  March  to  Supreme  Court  and  then  return  to  the  National  Mall  location   11:00am-­1:00pm  –  Rally  begins  at  National  Mall  location

How  can  I  help  out?
  a)  share  this  handout  with  your  friends,  family,  and  fellow  church  members   b)  come  to  Washington,  DC  and  march  with  us  on  March  26!  c)  organize  a  group  to  travel  to  DC  to  march  and/or  volunteer  the  day  of  the  march   d)  last  but  not  least,  pray  for  the  march  and  for  the  protection  of  marriage.

How  can  I  learn  more  about  coming  to  the  march,  becoming  a  co-­?sponsor,  organizing  a  bus  or  volunteering  on  the  day  of  the  march?
Visit  us  online:  &   or  call  us  at  (202)  457-­8060  &  email  us  at  [email protected]


Bishop Blaire Expresses Hope That President’s Action On Guns Promotes A Culture Of Life

From the USCCB –

The U.S. bishops hope that any action taken by the Obama administration on gun violence prevention will lead to greater respect for human life, said the bishop who chairs the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development. Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, California, reacted to President Obama’s January 16 proposal.

“The bishops hope that the steps taken by the administration will help to build a culture of life,” said Bishop Blaire. “The frequent mass shootings over the course of 2012 reflected a tragic devaluing of human life, but also pointed to the moral duty of all people to take steps to defend it.”

Bishop Blaire also recounted the five priorities made by the bishops in their 2000 statement, Responsibility, Rehabilitation and Restoration: A Catholic Perspective on Crime and Criminal Justice. These were: 1. Support measures that control the sale and use of firearms, 2. Support measures that make guns safer, 3. Call for sensible regulations of handguns, 4. Support legislative efforts that seek to protect society from violence associated with easy access to deadly weapons including assault rifles, and 5. Make a serious commitment to confront the pervasive role of addiction and mental illness in crime.


Related – USCCB Committees Call For Action In Response To Newtown Tragedy

PA’s Bishops React to Pope’s Resignation

benedictXVI Click on the links to read the statements in full.

Archbishop Chaput, Archdiocese of Philadelphia,  said, “As Pope Benedict XVI, he has led God’s people through complicated times with uncommon grace, and his stepping down now, at 85, from the burdens of his office is another sign of his placing the needs of the Church above his own. Catholics worldwide owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude. He will remain in our hearts and always be in our prayers.”

Bishop Barres, Diocese of Allentown, said, “I have a wonderful memory of going to the North American College in Rome during my graduate student priest days. As I walked down the Janiculum Hill one night, I came upon then-Cardinal Ratzinger who was walking up the hill on the other side of the street. He gave me this radiant smile after his long day and waved. It touched me deeply.”

Bishop Persico, Diocese of Erie, said “I think he should be commended for his decision. He not only has the wisdom and foresight to see the limitations of his age and health, but also has the humility to give up the office of St. Peter. He was able to humbly resign the office entrusted to him, making way for the church to have a new pastor, someone who will take up his leadership and continue the pastoral and spiritual care of the church.”

Bishop Brandt, Diocese of Greensburg, said “Pope Benedict is a brilliant scholar and a holy priest and bishop. Raised in the midst of the horrors of Nazism and World War II, he has spent his life teaching the Word of God as the response to the evil, godless secularism he saw in Nazism and communism. He has always been focused on the eternal truths of the Gospel of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and has constantly taught us about the dangers to our lives and souls posed by modern relativism and its child, which is secularism.

Bishop McFadden, Diocese of Harrisburg, wrote “That this comes during this Year of Faith, which Pope Benedict called the Church to celebrate, we can see his decision as a sign of his own deep faith that the Church is cared for by Christ himself. His humble decision invites every Catholic to have the same faith that Christ will continue to watch over us by sending a new faithful and holy Shepherd to guide the Church as its Pope and to care for God’s People on our pilgrim journey here on earth.”

Bishop Zubik, Diocese of Pittsburgh, spoke at a press conference today. View the video here

Bishop Bambera, Diocese of Scranton, wrote, “There is sadness that this great leader who has served the Church selflessly since being elected as successor of Saint Peter at 78 years of age in 2005, will be resigning from this singular ministry due to the diminishment of the health and strength needed to adequately address the demands of office.  Yet, there is a deep gratitude to God for the blessings that have been so generously poured forth upon the Church through this gifted theologian and humble pastor who has served as successor of Saint Peter for almost eight years.”