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. 

Diocese and University of Scranton Sign Memorandum

University admissions

Gathered for the signing ceremony are, front row, from left: Jason W.S. Morrison, diocesan secretary of Catholic education and chief executive officer, Diocese of Scranton; Rebekah Bernard, information and technology specialist for admissions and enrollment, University of Scranton; Gerry Zaboski, vice president for enrollment management and external affairs, University of Scranton. Second row: Joseph Roback, associate vice provost for admissions and enrollment, University of Scranton; Benjamin Tolerico, principal, Holy Cross High School; Jeffrey Lyons, principal, Notre Dame Jr./Sr. High School; Alisia McNamee, principal, St. John Neumann Jr./Sr. High School; Kristen Donohue, Superintendent of Catholic Schools, Diocese of Scranton; Doreen Dougherty, principal, Holy Redeemer High School; Mary Kay Aston, assistant vice provost for admissions and enrollment, University of Scranton.

The University of Scranton and the Diocese of Scranton have signed a memorandum of understanding that will guarantee admission and minimum scholarships of $15,000 or more to the University for graduates of Catholic high schools in the Diocese who meet eligibility requirements. 

The memorandum will grant admission to most majors at the University to graduates of Holy Cross High School, Holy Redeemer High School, Notre Dame Jr./Sr. High School and St. John Neumann Jr./Sr. High School, who have a minimum GPA 3.00 and either a 1080 SAT (EBRW and math) or a 21 ACT composite score, or higher, and meet other criteria. 

Students who meet the eligibility requirements will receive, at minimum, an annual $15,000 scholarship to the University with a total value of $60,000. The agreement will take effect for most majors beginning with the 2020-21 academic year.

Graduates of Diocese of Scranton high schools wishing to enroll in the University’s entry-level programs for occupational therapy (5-year master’s program), nursing (bachelor’s degree) and Doctor of Physical Therapy (guaranteed seat for 7-year program) must have a minimum GPA of 3.50 and either a 1270 SAT (EBRW and math) or a 27 ACT composite score, and meet other criteria. Students who meet the eligibility requirements will receive, at minimum, an annual $18,000 scholarship to the University with a total value of $72,000. The agreement for these majors will take effect beginning with the 2021-22 academic year.

“The Diocese of Scranton and The University of Scranton have a shared mission of educating young men and women in the Catholic tradition in an environment that is both academically excellent and grounded in service to others. This agreement is a tremendous opportunity for students in all four of our Diocesan high schools to seamlessly continue their education, becoming tomorrow’s faith-filled leaders,” said Jason W.S. Morrison, diocesan secretary of Catholic education and chief executive officer, Diocese of Scranton.

“The agreement we sign today guarantees admission into The University of Scranton for even our most competitive programs. In signing it, we honor and reward the sacrifice that families make to invest in a Catholic education and show our great respect for the preparation provided by the dedicated teachers, staff and administrators of the Diocese of Scranton,” said Gerry Zaboski, vice president for enrollment management and external affairs at the University. He added that the agreement “recognizes just how wonderful the students are, how hard they work and how consistently they thrive at the finest colleges in our nation, especially here at The University of Scranton.”

The University also has guaranteed admission agreements with Bishop McDevitt High School, Harrisburg; Trinity High School, Camp Hill; York Catholic High School, York; and John S. Burke Catholic High School, Goshen, New York.

For more information about the memorandum of understanding, contact Diocese of Scranton Catholic Schools Office at 570-207-2251, or Rebekah Bernard, information and technology specialist for admissions and enrollment at The University of Scranton, at Rebekah.bernard@scranton.edu or 570-941-5918.