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May 22, 2020

Father John C. Kemper Dies

Father John C. Kemper, PSS, died on May 21 in Baltimore. A native of the Diocese of Harrisburg, Father Kemper had been the Provincial Superior of the Society of St. Sulpice until his resignation in April for failing health from esophageal cancer. He was 62.

John Charles Kemper was born in Kulpmont on July 29, 1957, to John and Lois (nee McCabe) Kemper. He is survived by his mother and his three sisters: Georgiann Hyduk, Marsha Williams, and Marion Zakrzewski.

Diocesan News, News & Views, News\Events, Obituaries
May 21, 2020

Parishioners Overjoyed in Returning to Mass as Churches in “Yellow” Counties Re-Open

A facial covering couldn’t mask the joyful expression on Puanani Griffith’s face as she and her husband Ed returned to Mother Cabrini Church in Shamokin on May 17.

The Northumberland County church was one of 13 that re-opened for public Masses that weekend, alongside churches in Montour, Snyder and Union counties. They were deemed by Governor Tom Wolf to be in the “yellow” phase of gradual re-opening.

Local Parishes and Schools, News & Views, News\Events
May 14, 2020

Essential Oils, Atypical Time: Chrism Mass Celebrates Sacramental Life of the Church

The stark setting of this year’s Chrism Mass, also called the Mass of the Holy Oils, illustrated the radical change from life as we know it during this time of pandemic.

Typically celebrated with a standing-room-only congregation of priests, clergy, religious, seminarians and lay faithful, the Mass is a highlight of the liturgical year. It unites the faithful in support of their priests as the latter renew their promises of priestly service. It celebrates the sacramental life of the Church as the bishop blesses the Oil of the Sick and the Oil of the Catechumens, and consecrates the Sacred Chrism.

Diocesan News, News & Views
May 14, 2020

Parishioners to ‘Gather Again’ in ‘Yellow’ Counties

Two months have passed since parishioners in the Diocese of Harrisburg have been able to attend Mass in person. That is about to change for those living in Montour, Northumberland, Snyder and Union counties. These four counties recently transitioned from “red” to “yellow” and the parishes in these counties can reopen their doors this weekend.

“Like many, our parishes and parishioners have been asked to sacrifice so much since the stay at home orders took effect in mid-March. I know this experience has been incredibly difficult, especially since we have not be able to gather together in person for Mass. I cannot even begin to express how grateful I am for the continued faith and support our parishioners have shown to their local parishes during this time,” said Bishop Ronald W. Gainer. “As the stay at home orders begin to lift and we are able to gather together again for Mass, I ask our parishioners to continue supporting your parish during these times of transition. There will be changes to Masses and in-person gatherings for the foreseeable future as a means to ensure your protection, as well as the protection of your loved ones, our pastors and parish staff, and all of their families. Please be patient with us as we continue to travel this unexpected and ever changing path.”

Diocesan News, News & Views
May 8, 2020

Guidelines Announced for Parishes in ‘Yellow’ Zone Counties

As counties transition from “red” to “yellow,” the Diocese of Harrisburg has provided new guidelines for parishes in these “yellow” zones. These guidelines were developed after reviewing the directives from the Governor’s Office and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as studies provided through the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The Diocese will review and amend these directives as this situation continues to develop.

Diocesan News, Media Releases, News & Views
May 6, 2020

Bishop Gainer will be celebrating the Chrism Mass for the Diocese of Harrisburg on Tuesday, May 12

Bishop Ronald Gainer will be celebrating the annual Chrism Mass for the Diocese of Harrisburg at 10 AM on Tuesday, May 12, 2020 in the Cathedral Parish of Saint Patrick, Harrisburg. This liturgy will be live streamed on the Diocese of Harrisburg YouTube channel:

The Chrism Mass offers the faithful a solemn occasion to witness the blessing of the oils and the consecration of the Sacred Chrism that will be used in the celebration of the sacraments throughout the coming year. Also during this Mass, the priests of the Diocese will remotely renew their commitment to priestly service that they made on their day of their ordination.

Diocesan News, News & Views, News\Events
May 4, 2020

The Catholic Witness Transforms to All-Digital Format May 11

The edition of The Catholic Witness you’re currently holding marks the close of one chapter and the opening of another in the newspaper’s 54-year history. Beginning May 11, The Witness will be produced in a digital-only format, featuring an eye-catching new website and an enhanced weekly e-mail.

On our digital platforms, you can expect to see the news articles, feature stories, photos and columns that you’ve come to enjoy, including feel-good stories from Diocesan parishes, inspiring photos capturing the life of the Diocesan Church, the celebration of Catholic education and vocations, and the good works of Diocesan ministries made possible by your support.

Diocesan News, News & Views, News\Events
April 27, 2020

Reconsecration of the United States to Mary, Mother of the Church

Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles and president of the USCCB, recently invited all United States bishop to join him and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops on May 1 in renewing the consecrations of the two nations to the care of our Blessed Mother.
This act of consecration or entrustment is meant to be a reminder to the faithful of the Blessed Mother’s witness to the Gospel and to ask for her intercession before her Son on behalf of those in need.

Diocesan News, News & Views
April 20, 2020

‘The Good News of Easter Rings Out Unchanged’

Addressing Catholics through an online stream and live broadcast of Easter Sunday Mass from an empty St. Patrick Cathedral in Harrisburg, Bishop Ronald Gainer shared words once preached by St. Augustine, as fitting today as they were in the times of the sixth-century bishop:

“We are an Easter people and Alleluia is our song. So let us sing ‘Alleluia’ now in this world despite being oppressed by so many worries.”

Diocesan News, News & Views