An E-Newsletter from the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown
January 2011
Volume III  Number  1
diocese signWelcome!
Welcome to the January edition of E-vangelist, a monthly E-Newsletter from the Communications Office of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown.  With the new year comes a new beginning for the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown. Within the past week, Monsignor Mark L. Bartchak was appointed the next Bishop of the Diocese. Bishop-Elect Bartchak visited the region on January 14, addressed the media, and met many Diocesan priests and staff members. Plans are now underway for his April 19 ordination and installation. Throughout this special edition of E-vangelist, we invite you to read more about Bishop-Elect Bartchak. May the Lord bless our next Shepherd and the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown. 
In This Issue
New Bishop Appointed
About Bishop-Elect Bartchak
Ordination Plans
Bishop Joseph's Plans
Gallitzin Documents Delivered
Catholic Schools Week
Signs of Justice
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 6  -- David Kimmel and Christopher Edwards, board members of Catholic Charities, discuss "Chances for Charity," a major fundraising initiative for the agency.   
  • February 13 -- Blair County judges Daniel Milliron and Timothy Sullivan talk about balancing their busy careers with their active faith lives. 
  • February 20  -- On this Presidents' Day weekend, Teen Talk co-hosts Samantha Slezak and Adam Wood interview Bishop Joseph about the significance of this American holiday.
  • February 27--  Monsignor Michael Becker, Pastor of Saint John the Evangelist Parish in Altoona, and Jean Johnstone, a member of the Diocesan Commission for Life and Justice, preview a retreat Monsignor Becker will facilitate for the Commission.  
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 January  
31 edition of The Catholic Register:

the catholic register
  • Complete coverage of the appointment of Monsignor Mark L. Bartchak as the next Bishop of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, including an interview with the pastor of the Erie parish where Bishop-Elect Bartchak has resided for the past 20 years.


Bishop's Random Comments
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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


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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.



The live Mass from Sacred Heart Parish in Altoona will be broadcast on Radio Maria on Sunday, February 13, 2011, at 10:00 a.m.


Bishop BartchakNew Diocesan Bishop Appointed

Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Monsignor Mark L. Bartchak as the eighth Bishop of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown. Bishop-Elect Bartchak, 56, has been a priest in the Diocese of Erie for nearly 30 years. He most recently served as the Judicial Vicar for the Diocese.

The Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Pietro Sambi, made the announcement on January 14. At the same time, it was announced that Bishop Joseph was named Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown until Bishop-Elect Bartchak's ordination and installation on April 19. Bishop Joseph and Bishop-Elect Bartchak met the media later that day during a news conference at Garvey Manor.

"(Bishop-Elect Bartchak) is very well versed in Canon (that is, Church) Law," said Bishop Joseph. "Yet, he is very much a people person and has a pastoral heart. To me, Bishop-Elect Bartchak presents the image of a mature, intelligent, and balanced churchman who will be the Diocesan Bishop that we need at this time. I welcome him and look forward to his pastoral leadership among us."

Bishop-Elect Bartchak thanked the Holy Father for the confidence he has placed in him. He also acknowledged Bishop Donald Trautman of the Diocese of Erie, Bishop Joseph and his family.

"I look forward with anticipation and excitement to meeting and getting to know my new family in the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown," Bishop-Elect Bartchak said. "I spent my first years as a priest in Clearfield and Elk Counties, which are not too far from here. I am confident that I will soon feel just as much at home with the people of Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Centre, Clinton, Fulton, Huntingdon and Somerset Counties. I have heard of the deep faith and generous spirit of the people of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown; the laity of all ages, the women and men in consecrated life, and the priests and deacons. I want to affirm you and assure you of my prayers for you."

Bishop-Elect Bartchak said to be a good Diocesan Bishop, he needs to be a good pastor. He pledged his understanding and support to the Diocesan priests.

Bishop-Elect Bartchak has chosen "Christ Our Hope of Glory" as his Episcopal motto. It comes from Col. 1:27, where Saint Paul teaches that "God has willed to make known the glory beyond price which comes from the mystery of Christ that is in you."

To read the statements of Bishop Joseph, Bishop-Elect Bartchak and Bishop Trautman, please go to the Diocesan website at www.ajdiocese.org.
Bartchak and PattiBishop-Elect Bartchak's Background
Bishop-Elect Mark L. Bartchak, 56, was born in Cleveland, the son of Rosemary Bartchak-Shay and the late Leonard Bartchak. He is the fifth of eight children.

The Bishop-Elect attended Catholic elementary and secondary schools. His college studies were at Saint Mark Seminary and Gannon University in Erie, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy in 1977. He also studied for the priesthood at Christ the King Seminary in East Aurora, New York, receiving a Master of Arts degree in Theology in 1981. He studied Canon Law at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., where he received the Licentiate degree in 1989 and the Doctorate degree in 1992.

Bishop-Elect Bartchak was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Erie in 1981. In 2000, he received papal honors from Pope John Paul II with the title of Chaplain to His Holiness.

In 1992, Bishop-Elect Bartchak was appointed Judicial Vicar for the Diocese of Erie and Director of the Office of Conciliation & Arbitration of the Diocese of Erie. In addition to those duties, he was named Vicar for Canonical Affairs of the Diocese of Erie in 2004.

Bishop-Elect Bartchak has been in residence at Saint Stanislaus Parish in Erie for almost 20 years, where he celebrated daily Mass and participated in other parish events.

To read more about Bishop-Elect Bartchak's background, please go to the Diocesan website at www.ajdiocese.org. Click on "Bishop-Elect Bartchak's Curriculum Vitae.

[Photo: Bishop-Elect Bartchak greets Father Angelo Patti, Pastor of Saint Andrew Parish in Johnstown, after the January 14 news conference.]

cathedral of the blessed sacramentOrdination and Installation Plans
The Ordination of Bishop-Elect Mark L. Bartchak will be held on April 19, at 2:00 p.m., at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Altoona. Consecrators will be Cardinal Justin Rigali of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Bishop Joseph, and Bishop Donald Trautman of the Diocese of Erie. An Ordination Steering Committee is overseeing the planning of the festivities, including the Liturgy, invitations, hospitality, transportation and communications. A special commemorative edition of The Catholic Register will also be published on April 11. More details about the ordination and installation will be released in the coming weeks.

Bishop JosephBishop Joseph's Plans
Bishop Joseph will serve as Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown until Bishop-Elect Mark L. Bartchak is ordained and installed on April 19. Bishop Joseph has decided to spend his retirement in the Diocese. He will reside in a house he purchased in Hollidaysburg, and he will assist at Saint Mary Parish in Hollidaysburg on a regular basis. He looks forward to reading, writing, and, most importantly, getting to know the Lord better. Bishop Joseph is the longest-serving Bishop of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown.

Gallitzin TranslationsGallitzin Cause Documents Delivered
Another milestone has been reached in the Cause for the Servant of God Demtrius A. Gallitzin. Postulators Frank and Betty Seymore of the Basilica of Saint Michael the Archangel Parish in Loretto turned in all of Gallitzin's translated documents to the Diocese. The process of translating and typing the material has taken several years. The documents will eventually go to Rome for consideration. Bishop Joseph and Monsignor Michael Servinsky, the Bishop's Delegate for the Cause, received the documents from the Seymores on January 19. Reporter Bruce Tomaselli has more on this milestone in the January 31 edition of The Catholic Register. [Photo (left to right): Monsignor Michael Servinsky, Frank Seymore, Betty Seymore and Bishop Joseph.]

Catholic Schools Week 2011 logoCatholic Schools Week

Catholic elementary and secondary schools in the Diocese will join the rest of the country in celebrating Catholic Schools Week January 30 - February 5. This year's theme is "Catholic Schools: A+ for America." Schools throughout the Diocese will observe the week with special Masses and activities at parishes and schools . There are 20 elementary schools and three independent Catholic high schools in the Diocese. More than 4,400 students are enrolled in Catholic schools in the Diocese.


Signs of Justice 2011Signs of Justice Celebration
The Altoona Area Christian Coalition held its annual Signs of Justice Celebration on January 16 at the Altoona Area Junior High School. This year's event highlighted people and programs that serve as signs of justice to youth in the Altoona area. Speakers included Reverend Matthew Lake, Pastor of the Second Avenue United Methodist Church, which sponsors the ROCK, an after school care program; Doctor James Baldwin of the Champion Life Christian Academy; and Yolanda Avent, Director of Institutional Equity, Diversity and International Student Services at Penn State Altoona. The Mount Zion Baptist Church Youth Choir provided the musical selections. The AACC is an ecumenical group that works toward a more welcoming and hospitable community; while being advocates of justice and mercy for everyone. [Photo: The Mount Zion Baptist Church Youth Choir performs at the Signs of Justice event.]

News & Notes from Around the Household of God 

Ecumemical Service 2010Each year, Bishop Joseph, Bishop Gregory Pile of the Allegheny Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Altoona, and Metropolitan Nicholas Smisko of the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese, Johnstown, sponsor two Ecumenical Services. The public is invited to all Ecumenical Services. The services for 2011 are as follows:


  • Sunday, January 30, at 3:00 p.m., at Saint Luke's Lutheran Church, 301 N. Pennsylvania Avenue, Centre Hall (hosted by Bishop PIle)
  • Sunday, February 13, at 3:00 p.m., at Saint John Gualbert Cathedral, 117 Clinton Street, Johnstown (hosted by Bishop Joseph)

[Photo: Jeanne Thompson (center) carries incense at the last Ecumenical Service on February 14, 2010, at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Altoona.]



The Office of Youth Ministry will sponsor the annual Junior High Youth Day on Sunday, March 6, 2011, at Bishop Carroll Catholic High School in Ebensburg. This year's theme is "I am Always With You." Open to students in grades 6, 7 and 8, the event features keynote speeches by Bob Perron, the STOOGE-4-Christ (STOOGE = Strive Toward Obeying Our God Everyday), games and Mass with Bishop Joseph. The cost is $20, which includes lunch and a T-shirt. Contact the Youth Ministry office for more information or to register. Registration deadline is February 18.



Curve 2011 logoMark your calendars -- The annual Faith Day at the Blair County Ballpark will be held on Sunday, July 10, 2011. The event includes Mass on the field at 3:00 p.m., the Parade of Parishes, and the Altoona Curve versus the Bowie Baysox at 6:00 p.m. This event makes a great parish outing.  More details to come






Upcoming Events 

January 24
March for Life
Washington, D.C. 


January 30; 3:00 p.m.

Ecumenical Service

Saint Luke's Lutheran Church, Centre Hall


January 30-February 5

Catholic Schools Week


February 13; 3:00 p.m.

Ecumenical Service
Saint John Gualbert Cathedral, Johnstown


February 21
Presidents' Day
Diocesan Offices Closed


February 24; 5:00 p.m.

AACC Remarkable Signs of Hope Banquet
Greater Altoona Career and Technology Center


Prayer for Vocations
Lord of the harvest, your Word finds a home in our hearts, calls us into community and invites us to generous service of the human family. Bless with courage and spirit your priestly people, called to full participation in the one Body of Christ. May many choose to respond in public service to Your call offered in Jesus' name. Amen.
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