Dunmore Native Ordained to Order of the Priesthood

The Cathedral of Saint Peter was the setting on Saturday, June 26, 2021, as Reverend Mark Joshua DeCelles, 39, of Dunmore was ordained to the Order of the Priesthood for service in the Diocese of Scranton on Saturday, June 26, at the Cathedral of Saint Peter, Scranton. The Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, served as ordaining prelate for the Mass which was open to the public.

CTV: Catholic Television of the Diocese of Scranton broadcast the Mass live and provided livestreaming on the Diocese of Scranton’s website and social media platforms.

DeCelles, a parishioner of Immaculate Conception Parish in Scranton, was ordained a transitional deacon in 2020 and is now ready to take his final steps toward priestly ordination.

“I’m very excited,” the Dunmore native said. “I didn’t picture myself here and now it is happening and it’s thrilling what God is doing in my life and what God is doing in the life of the Church at this moment.”

DeCelles completed his preparatory studies for the priesthood at Saint Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore, Md.

Describing himself as an “incurable academic,” DeCelles said he experienced several powerful moments during his seminary experience, including taking part in hospital ministry.

“The joy was really what caught me, the joy in being with people, just being present, not only with people who were suffering a lot and to be a comforting presence there but also with people who inexplicably were filled with the joy of the Lord,” DeCelles explained.

DeCelles said he is thankful to all those who have prayed for him and supported him on this journey.

“To the people who have welcomed me into their lives over the course of my formation in the parishes, certainly Immaculate Conception Parish, my home parish in Scranton where I received the faith, but also Blessed Sacrament Parish and Holy Cross Parish in Throop and Olyphant and Saint Matthew Parish in East Stroudsburg, you have no idea how much it meant to be welcomed into those communities in the way that I was and to be welcomed into people’s lives,” he said. “That is an incredible privilege, to have the opportunity to be a minister, to learn to minister alongside you.”

Diocese of Scranton Announces Gradual Reopening of Parishes Amid Crisis

web1_TheDioceseofScranton-logo-1-In a video message to parishioners, Bishop Joseph C. Bambera announced details regarding the gradual reopening of additional parishes in the Diocese of Scranton.

Starting on Monday, June 1,  parishes in Luzerne, Monroe, Pike, Susquehanna, Wayne and Wyoming counties resumed in-person Masses.

On Monday, June 8, parishes in Lackawanna County will also be able to resume in-person Masses. The exact timetable for an individual parish to reopen will be the decision of its pastor with regard to preparedness, especially in regards to maintaining proper social distancing and sanitizing.

Mass attendance at all parishes will be limited to no more than 25-percent of a church’s seating capacity. Parishioners will be required to wear face masks and remain a proper social distance of at least six feet away from other individuals/families.

“For the last 10 weeks, I know many of our faithful parishioners have been longing to return to church, participate in Mass and receive the Holy Eucharist,” Bishop Bambera said. “The Diocese has been working hard to resume in-person worship in a safe, comfortable and reverent manner.”

Masses in four counties, Bradford, Lycoming, Sullivan and Tioga counties, resumed on Monday, May 18. While initially limited to a capacity of 25 people, parishes in those four counties can now also increase their Mass capacity to no more than 25-percent of total church occupancy. 

Additional guidance for all parishes includes:

  • Those who feel vulnerable because of their age or underlying medical conditions will be encouraged to stay home. •People who are feeling ill will be directed not to attend public Masses.
  • The Sunday Mass obligation remains suspended at this time.
  • Parishes are encouraged to continue live streaming Masses and a daily Mass will continue to be broadcast on CTV: Catholic Television of the Diocese of Scranton.
  • Pews will be marked off or designated in order to maintain proper social distancing guidelines.
  • Holy Communion will be distributed at the end of Mass. Parishioners are strongly advised to receive the Body of Christ in the hand. Distribution of the Precious Blood remains suspended at this time.

“As the doors of our parishes reopen, everyone has an important role to play. The safety of our faithful people, our clergy and our community is the most important factor guiding any decisions that are made,” Bishop Bambera added. 

Bishop Bambera encourages the faithful to visit the Diocese of Scranton’s website for the latest news and information regarding the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.