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August 6, 2020

Protocols and Enhancements in Play as Student-Athletes Return to Sports

As teams return to their fields, courts and tracks for summer workouts and the official start of practice in a few weeks, the safety of student-athletes is the ultimate goal.

Diocesan high school administrators, athletic directors and coaches welcomed hundreds of student-athletes back to campus in June and July, and they did so with well-defined protocols to safely resume athletics.

In a recent interview with several high school athletic directors, The Catholic Witness learned about the schools’ safety measures for returning to sports, and how students are responding.

Diocesan News, News & Views, News\Events
July 30, 2020

Survey in Next Week’s Edition Seeks Feedback to Determine Future of The Witness

Your voice is needed to help determine where The Catholic Witness goes in the future.

To assist us in planning the newspaper’s path as we move forward, we’ve developed a survey that will be featured in a special mailed edition of The Witness on August 7. The printed edition will be mailed to all subscribers next weekend. It will also be distributed to those who receive the weekly digital edition, available for sign-up at

Diocesan News, News & Views, News\Events
July 23, 2020

Catholic Schools Make Plans to Resume In-Person Class

“Welcome Back.” These two words can be associated with many of life’s major moments and it is these two words that teachers, principals and all those in Catholic schools in the Diocese look forward to saying this August. After months of planning, preparation and prayer, our Catholic schools are making plans to meet in-person for the start of the 2020-21 school year.

Daniel Breen, Secretary for Education and Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Harrisburg, led an extensive planning exercise to assist our 36 schools in preparing for the upcoming school year. “Our goals in planning were to take a prayerful approach to providing a Catholic education for our students; to maintain a holistic view of our students and of their needs; and to provide a safe, joyful school environment that follows the current scientific research on schooling during this pandemic. I believe we achieved that, though the work will continue. I am so grateful for the input and hard work of our principals and I am particularly grateful for the outstanding teamwork of our school reopening task force.”

Diocesan News, News & Views, News\Events
July 16, 2020

Diocese Announces Formation Program for Spiritual Directors

To accommodate the growing desire among the faithful for guidance in the spiritual life, the Diocese of Harrisburg is providing for the formation and supervision of spiritual guides. This formation program assists up to 15 candidates in discerning the call to this ministry, and – through a doctrinally sound, systematic, and applied study of the interior life – prepares them to offer spiritual direction in their parishes.

This program seeks candidates with the capacity to emulate St. John of the Cross’s three-fold characteristics of a spiritual director: learned (in ascetical and mystical theology), experienced (in contemplative prayer), and discreet.

Diocesan News, News & Views, News\Events
July 16, 2020

Bishop Edward Malesic of Greensburg named 12th Bishop of the Diocese of Cleveland

Early Thursday morning, July 16, Pope Francis named Most Reverend Edward C. Malesic, JCL, Bishop of the Diocese of Greensburg, as the new Bishop of the Diocese of Cleveland, Ohio.

In Cleveland, he fills the vacant see left by Archbishop Nelson Perez, who was installed as the Archbishop of Philadelphia in February 2020. Father Don Oleksiak will continue as administrator of the Diocese of Cleveland until Bishop-designate Malesic is installed as the 12th Bishop of the Diocese of Cleveland on Monday, September 14, during Mass at St. John the Evangelist Cathedral in downtown Cleveland.

Diocesan News, Media Releases, News & Views
July 16, 2020

Excitement Swells in Catechumens at St. Peter’s in Elizabethtown, Even through Virtual RCIA Classes

The joy and exuberance among the instructors and catechumens in the RCIA Class at St. Peter Parish in Elizabethtown is undeniably palpable – even though the group members are miles apart.

The caring community they’ve formed through prayer, reflection and study over Zoom, coupled with the anticipation of receiving the Sacraments next month, beams from their four-inch faces populating the “gallery view” of the online videoconference platform.

Local Parishes and Schools, News & Views, News\Events
July 16, 2020

Priest Photographed at Accident Scene Shares Message of Prayer, Hope and Priestly Ministry

The extraordinary photo of Father John Killackey, FSSP, at the scene of a traffic accident where he administered Last Rites to a victim says more than a thousand words.

It also tells the message that he wants to share about the experience: This is the ministry of a priest. This is what a spiritual Father is called to do. And any priest would have done the same.

Father Killackey, a priest of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, is assistant chaplain at the Mater Dei Latin Mass Community in Harrisburg. He is the center of a poignant photo that has made news and social media rounds in the days since the July 8 accident on Interstate 81 South in Lebanon County.

Diocesan News, News & Views, News\Events
July 15, 2020

No Mass Changes in light of New Restrictions

Today, July 15, 2020, Governor Wolf announced restrictions on dining facilities, bars, and workplaces in response to the increasing COVID-19 cases in the Commonwealth. Because of the vigilant efforts of the parishes in the Diocese regarding social distancing, wearing masks, and sanitization, there is no change to current Diocesan directives regarding the use of churches and public worship at this time.

Diocesan News, Media Releases, News & Views
July 9, 2020

Little Sisters Have Big Win in Supreme Court Decision; Court Also Rules Teachers are ‘Ministers’

In two rulings on July 8, the Supreme Court affirmed religious liberty, ruling in cases for the Little Sisters of the Poor, and on the right of religious schools to hire and fire teachers.

The Little Sisters of the Poor had a victory at the Supreme Court nine years into the religious order’s bouts of litigation over the Obama-era “contraception mandate” which obliged employers to provide for contraceptive coverage for employees through their health care plans.

Diocesan News, News & Views, News\Events
July 9, 2020

Clergy Change Announced for Coal Township and Trevorton Parishes

Bishop Ronald Gainer, at the request of Rev. James McCurry, OFM Conv., minister provincial for the Franciscan Friars Conventual, announces the following changes to clergy assignments:

Reverend Michael Lasky, OFM Conv., as pastor of Our Lady of Hope Parish, Coal Township, and St. Patrick Parish, Trevorton.
Reverend Steven Frenier, OFM Conv., current pastor of Our Lady of Hope Parish, Coal Township and St. Patrick Parish, Trevorton, to senior friar in residence in the southern United States.

These changes take effect July 15, 2020.

Diocesan News, News & Views, News\Events