An E-Newsletter from the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown
January 2010
Volume II  Number  1
crossHappy New Year!
Welcome to the January edition of E-vangelist, a monthly E-Newsletter from the Communications Office of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown. Hopefully God has blessed you with a good start to 2010. As the Church observes Winter Ordinary Time, Diocesan offices and schools are busy planning many events during the upcoming winter months, and -- believe it or not -- Lent is right around the corner. Our celebration of the Year for Priests also continues. May the Lord continue to bless you and yours throughout each day of this year and always.
In This Issue
Groups Return from Haiti
Catholic Schools Week
March for Life
Ecumenical Services
Signs of Justice
ACA 2009 Recap
Theology on Tap
Junior High Youth Day
News and Notes
Ministry Quicklinks
Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown
Independent Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown
Pennsylvania Catholic Conference
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
February guests on Bishop Joseph's Can We Talk? segment on Proclaim!:
February 7  --  Msgr. Michael Becker, Pastor of Saint Michael Parish in St. Michael and Diocesan Campus Ministry Coordinator, talks about Theology on Tap -- a faith-enrichment program for young adults.
February 14 --  On this Valentine's Day, Sean and Annette Isgan of Saint Peter Parish in Somerset talk about ways they nurture their marriage.
February 21 -- Diocesan Youth Ministry Coordinator Francine Swope previews the upcoming Junior High Youth Day.
February 28 -- Teen Talk co-hosts Samantha Slezak and Adam Wood interview Bishop Joseph on issues facing young people.
Proclaim! airs every Sunday at 5:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. on WWCP TV FOX 8. The live Mass from Saint John Gualbert Cathedral in Johnstown airs at 11:00 a.m. on WWCP and is rebroadcast at 9:00 p.m. on Atlantic Broadband Channel 9 in the Altoona area.
Coming up in the February 1 edition of The Catholic Register:

the catholic register

  • Bruce Tomaselli reports on a program to help
    Catholics feel financially free.
  • Bishop Joseph 
    recalls the people who have made a difference in his life in his For the Good of the Household column.
  • Msgr. Tim Stein reflects on the disaster in Haiti in his Another Perspective column.


Bishop's Random Comments
francine swope 
Don't miss Bishop Joseph's blog Random Comments on the Diocesan website at www.ajdiocese.org.
Bishop Joseph writes about a variety of issues and invites readers to e-mail him questions and comments.
Radio Maria

francine swope
Listen to Radio Maria on WHHN 88.1 FM or go to the Diocesan website at www.ajdiocese.org and click on the Radio Maria button on the right.
Diocesan Groups Return from Haiti 
Two separate groups of people from the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown were in Haiti at the time of the devastating earthquake on January 12. Both parties returned home safely several days later. One group was part of an annual missionary trip organized by the Sisters of the Carmelite Community of the Word. Five sisters from the Community (Sister Martha Burbulla, Sister Karen Gruseck, Sister Jane Miller, Sister Mary Ann Palko and Sister Marilyn Welch), along with Sister Patti Rossi, CSJ, and eight lay volunteers, were in the town of Hinche at the time of the quake. No one in the group was injured. Father David Arseneault, Pastor of Most Holy Trinity Parish in Huntingdon, was in Port-au-Prince at the time of earthquake. A member of his parish and two employees from Juniata College were traveling with him. Father Arseneault suffered scrapes to his knee and elbow. Most Holy Trinity Parish is "twinned" with a parish in Haiti. A small group from Most Holy Trinity visits Haiti each year.
Immediately after the earthquake, Bishop Joseph expressed his relief for the safety of the Diocesan groups and offered prayers and support. "As soon as I heard of the disaster, I made an effort to contact our people performing missionary work in Haiti," the Bishop said. "I am thankful to God that they are safe. The people of Haiti are in our prayers, and we will do whatever we can to assist them in the aftermath of this tragedy."
Sister Maryilyn and Father Arseneault will be the guests on Bishop Joseph's Can We Talk? segment on Proclaim! on Sunday January 31. The two will discuss their experiences in the aftermath of the earthquake and share their thoughts on how Haiti will recover from the devastation. There will also be more on the local connections to the Haiti earthquake in the February 1 edition of The Catholic Register.
Most parishes in the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown are taking special collections for Haiti the weekend of January 23-24. All money collected will go to Catholic Relief Services, the official international humanitarian agency of the U.S. Catholic Church. "Catholic Relief Services is one of the highest rated charitable organizations in the country," said Rev. Robert Kelly, Ph.D., Director of the Diocesan Mission Office. "We trust that whatever donations people make will be used to directly help the people affected by this disaster."

francine swopeCatholic Schools Week
Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown and around the country will celebrate Catholic Schools Week January 31 - February 6. This year's theme is Dividends for Life. The theme highlights the many beneficial aspects of a Catholic education. In these difficult economic times, it also reminds parents that the dividends of faith, knowledge, morals and discipline truly are payable for life. Catholic schools throughout the Diocese have many events planned for Catholic Schools Week. For a complete list, please go to the special Catholic Schools Week section of the Diocesan website at www.ajdiocese.org.

Pro-Life RoseMarch for Life
The annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., will be held on Friday January 22. Hundreds of thousands of people from around the country -- including hundreds of people from the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown -- will make the trip. The March for Life is held on the anniversary of the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. March participants remember the babies whose lives were taken by abortion and urge lawmakers to overturn the Supreme Court decision. If you cannot attend the March for Life in Washington, please take time on January 22 to pray for the participants and pray for an end to abortion.
ecumenical service 09Ecumenical Services
Each year, Bishop Joseph, Metropolitan Nicholas Smisko of the Orthodox tradition and Bishop Gregory Pile of the Lutheran Tradition sponsor two ecumenical services. This year, Metropolitan Nicholas will host a service on January 31 at 3:00 p.m. at Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Johnstown. Bishop Joseph will host the second one on February 14 at 3:00 p.m. at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Altoona. All are invited to attend either or both services."Ecumenism is a priority of our Church and, therefore, needs to be ours, as well," said Bishop Joseph. "The call of our Lord Jesus to pray for unity may not be ignored." [Photo: Bishop Joseph with Bishop Gregory Pile (left) and Metropolitan Nicholas (right) at last year's ecumenical service at Saint James Lutheran Church in Huntingdon.]
Signs of JusticeSigns of Justice
The Altoona Area Christian Coaltion sponsored its second annual Signs of Justice event on January 17 at the Altoona Area Junior High School. The event featured a panel discussion about recent signs of justice in the Altoona area. Randy Feathers spoke about the Booker T. Washington Project; Dr. Zane Gates talked about the Gloria Gates Memorial Foundation; Pastor John Gray of Hope Community Church spoke about the Nehemiah Project; and Dr. Ken Womack of Penn State Altoona discussed the college's growth in downtown Altoona. The Altoona Area High School String Ensemble, Men of Zion Ensemble and an interfaith youth choir provided the music. The Altoona Area Christian Coaltiion is an ecumenical group commited toward a community that is welcoming and hospitable, kind and compassionate; while being advocates for justice and mercy. It is made up of nine religious traditions, including the Roman Catholic Church of Altoona-Johnstown. [Photo: An interfaith youth choir performs at the Signs of Justice event.]
ACA logoAnnual Catholic Appeal -- 2009
The troubled economy did not stop the Faithful from participating in the 2009 Annual Catholic Appeal. According to the final numbers:

  • Total receipts were $2,571,368 -- up $5,515 from 2008.
  • 51 "over goal" parishes received $319,349. The number of parishes in this group increased by 10.
"Considering the economic turmoil many folks experienced in 2009, the results of the appeal are as good as can be expected - even encouraging," said Chris Ringkamp, Diocesan Development Director. "Another influencing factor was Bishop Joseph's decision to calculate 2009 ACA goals using the 2008 formula. As a result, 57 parishes received no goal increase or lower goals."  The Annual Catholic Appeal funds many Diocesan ministries, including Catholic Charities, the Family Life Office, Priestly and Diaconate Formation, the Tribunal, Religious Education and Youth Ministry. To learn more about the Annual Catholic Appeal and view a summary of ministerial expenses, click on the ACA logo on the Diocesan home page at www.ajdiocese.org.
francine swopeTheology on Tap
The Office of Campus Ministry will once again sponor Theology on Tap -- a program designed to enhance the spiritual growth of young adults (ages 18-39; married or single). The sessions are usually held in restaurants or taverns and include speakers, discussion, food and fun. Theology on Tap sessions will be held the first four Mondays in March, at 7:00 p.m., at P.J.'s Tavern in Cresson. Young adults are welcome to attend any or all of the sessions.  
Junior High Youth Day
The Office of Youth Ministry will host Junior High Youth Day on March 14 at Bishop Carroll Catholic High School in Ebensburg. The theme for the day is "What have you done for HIM lately?" The event will feature uplifting keynotes from APeX Ministries, challenging games and Mass with Bishop Joseph. Junior High Youth Day is open to students in grades 6-8. To register, contact your Pastor, Director of Religious Education, Catholic Elementary School Principal or Diocesan Youth Ministry Office. The deadline to register is February26. The cost is $20 (includes T-shirt and lunch).
News & Notes from Around the Household of God
Saint Therese of the Child JesusSaint Therese of the Child Jesus Parish in Altoona will host a Lenten Renewal Retreat led by Father Stephen Vasek, OMI, February 21-24 from 7:00-8:15 p.m. each night. The topics for the evenings are: God Really Loves Me (February 21); Is Life Worth Living? (February 22); A Story of Home-Coming (February 23); and An Awareness that Moves Us (February 24). Refreshments will be served after each service.
francine swopeThe Saint Vincent de Paul Youth Ministry will host Teen Zone -- a program designed to help students in grades 6-12 with developing life skills. There will be 10 sessions each Saturday from 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. beginning February 27. (There will be no session on Holy Saturday). SVDP needs volunteers to work with the students and assist in preparing and presenting the program. The agency also needs businesses that can help provide lunches and refreshments each week. Contact Sonny Consiglio at Saint Vincent de Paul if you can help.
marriageThe Family Life Office of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown is sponsoring a number of programs/activities this winter designed to strengthen marriages/relationships. Among the activities are a Worldwide Marriage Encounter Weekend; "The Five Love Languages;" Movie Night -- "Fireproof your Marriage;" and "Becoming a Marriage Building Church" networking sessions. For more information, please go to the Family Life Page of the Diocesan website at www.ajdiocese.org.
The Family Life Office will also host "7 Steps to Becoming Financially Free" March 18, 25, April 8, 15, 22 and 29 from 7:00-9:00 p.m. at Holy Name Parish Hall in Ebensburg. Orientation is February 25 from 7:00-8:00 p.m. at the Holy Name Rectory. This Catholic small group study could be the first step in helping you deepen your relationship with the Lord while discovering TRUE financial freedom. Register through Holy Name Parish by February 18. Read more in the February 1 edition of The Catholic Register.
Upcoming Events
January 31 - February 6
Catholic Schools Week
January 31, 2010; 3:00 p.m.
Ecumenical Prayer Service
Christ the Saviour Cathedral, Johnstown
February 11; 5:00 p.m.
AACC Signs of Hope Banquet
Greater Altoona Career and Technology Center
February 14; 3:00 p.m.
Ecumenical Service
Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, Altoona
February 15
Presidents' Day
Chancery Closed
February 17
Ash Wednesday
February 21
Rite of Election
Saint John Gualbert Cathedral at 2:00 p.m.; Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament at 7:00 p.m.
stained glass windowPrayer for Peace
Mary, Queen of Peace, save us all, who have so much trust in you, from wars, hatred, and oppression. Make us all learn to live in peace, and educate ourselves for peace, do what is demanded by justice and respect the rights of every person, so that peace may be firmly established. Amen.
                                                                                                                         Pope John Paul II (1920-2005)
Contact Information
E-vangelist is published by the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown Office of Communications
Mr. Tony DeGol
Secretary for Communications
925 S. Logan Boulevard
Hollidaysburg, PA  16648
(814) 695-5579