evangelist header 2011
An E-Newsletter from the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown
November 2011
Volume III  Number  11
CornucopiaHappy Thanksgiving! 
Welcome to the November edition of E-vangelist, a monthly E-Newsletter from the Communications Office of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown.  A wonderful time of year is approaching. It is a season to count our many blessings, and  our Diocesan Church has much to be thankful for this year. We are grateful for our new Bishop who leads everyday with a shining example of dedication to God and service to His people. We are thankful for our Bishop-Emeritus who led our Diocese with courage and conviction for so many years. We appreciate the faithful service of our Priests and Religious, and we are grateful for the spirit, dedication and contributions of the laity. May God continue to bless the Church of Altoona-Johnstown this Thanksgiving and always.    


Ministry Quicklinks

the catholic register
Coming up in the November 21 edition of The Catholic Register:
  • A Mass of Thanksgiving marking the end of 76 years of Catholic health care in Altoona was held earlier this month at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Altoona.
  • Reporter Bruce Tomaselli profiles a young man from Portage dedicated to missionary work in Jamaica.
  • In his "Another Perspective" column, Monsignor Tim Stein looks at a key question amid the scandal that has rocked Penn State. 



Bishop Mark Bartchak's upcoming Guests on Keeping the Faith, a weekly segment on Proclaim!: 

  • November 20 -- Monsignor Robert Mazur, Rector of the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament and Diocesan Director of Liturgy, previews Roman Missal changes to be implemented on the first Sunday of Advent. 
  • November 27 -- "Teen Talk" co-hosts Samantha Slezak and Adam Wood present video questions from teens to Bishop Mark.
  • December 4 -- Deacon Michael Russo, Diocesan Ministerial Coordinator of the offices of Adult Enrichment and Lay Ecclesial Ministry, discusses recent changes to the programs. 
  • December 11  -- Mr. Andy Motyka, new Director of Music at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, shares his vision for the music program at the Cathedral. 

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.




radio maria


Listen to Radio Maria on WHHN 88.1 FM or go to the Diocesan website, www.dioceseaj.org, and click on the Radio Maria button on the right.

WFBG logo

Listen to the live Mass every Sunday morning at 10:00 a.m. from the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Altoona on WFBG 1290 AM.  

ACA 2011 logo    


Annual Catholic Appeal Update


All who serve in Diocesan ministries give thanks to everyone who has made an extra sacrifice this year by giving to the Annual Catholic Appeal. Without your support, we could not fulfill our mission of being Christ to those in need. Although giving to the ACA is up 6% over last year, 36 parishes are still striving to reach their respective goals.  If you'd like to support your parish and Diocesan ministries with one year-end charitable gift, you may do so online at www.dioceseaj.org, or place your gift in the offertory basket. Please note that checks, made payable to Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown (with ACA in the memo line), should be dated on or before December 31. Thank you! 
ConfessionLeave the Light On 
Multiple opportunities for the Sacrament of Reconciliation will be available in the upcoming days. The Diocese will sponsor "Leave the Light On" on November 20, 21, and 22. During those three days, parishes throughout the Diocese will offer various times for Confession. The Diocesan Presbyteral Council proposed the initiative as a way of making Penance opportunities more convenient, especially for those who have been away from the Sacrament for a while. Bishop Mark L. Bartchak is urging the Faithful to take advantage of this special initiative.
"The Sacrament of Reconciliation is essential for maintaining and strengthening our bond with Jesus Christ," Bishop Mark said. "This Diocesan initiative is intended to provide an opportunity for our people to experience God's love, mercy, and foregiveness in this wonderful Sacrament. No matter how disconnected anyone may feel, it is my prayer and wish that they will use this opportunity to be reconciled and reconnected to our Lord."
A schedule of Reconciliation times at parishes throughout the Diocese on November 20, 21, and 22 is available on the Diocesan website at www.dioceseaj.org. The schedule will also be published in the next edition of The Catholic Register.
Roman MissalRoman Missal

The Third Edition Roman Missal will be fully implemented at all Masses beginning on the weekend of November 26-27 (the first Snday of Advent). The implementation will mean significant changes in the language of the Mass, both on the part of the celebrant and the Faithful. For more information on the new Roman Missal, please visit the Diocesan website at www.dioceseaj.org. A special section on the top center of the homepage is dedicated to the Roman Missal changes. Also, Monsignor Robert C. Mazur, Rector of the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament and Diocesan Director of Liturgy, will be Bishop Mark L. Bartchak's guest on Proclaim! on Sunday, November 20, at 5:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., on WWCP TV FOX 8. Monsignor Mazur will discuss many of the changes and what the Faithful can do to prepare.

School Enrollment Rises

Enrollment at Catholic schools in the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown is up this school year. According to 2011-2012 numbers released by the Diocesan Education Office, 4,002 students -- 56 more than last year -- are registered in Catholic elementary and high schools in the Diocese. The Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown is the only Diocese in the state to post an increase in enrollment this year. Overall elementary registration increased by 10 students to 2,997. Overall enrollment among Bishop Carroll, Bishop Guilfoyle, and Bishop McCort Catholic High Schools jumped by seven students to 966. Saint Joseph's Catholic Academy, which opened this year, has 39 students.  [Photo: Mrs. McCord, the fourth grade teacher at Hollidaysburg Catholic School, works with two students at the Smart Board. Hollidaysburg Catholic is one of ten elementary schools that saw enrollment increases this year.]

microwave dishDiocese Produces New TV Shows

The Diocese is launching two new television programs on the Altoona Cable Access Channel. "Answering the Call" will air Sundays at 9:00 p.m. The show will spotlight vocation opportunities in the Diocese and feature interviews with Priests, Religious and Permanent Deacons regarding their path to their vocation and the rewards of their choice. "Faith Alive: A Teen Perspective" will air Sundays at 9:30 p.m. The show will feature teens from around the Diocese discussing their Catholic Faith and sharing the various ways they are active in Diocesan Ministry. The Altoona Cable Access Channel is available on Channel 14 in the Altoona/Blair County area. The Diocese is working with a local TV station to also air the shows.
Theology on TapAltoona Theology on Tap Series Continues
A monthly Altoona-based Theology on Tap series  continues. Theology on Tap is a casual speaker/discussion series for young adults ages 18-39. The sessions are usually held at a restaurant or tavern as a way of reaching young adults at the places where they gather. The Altoona series is being held on the second Monday of each month at 7:00 p.m. throughout the fall and winter at Joe's Bar, adjacent to Zach's Sports and Spirits, 5820 Sixth Avenue, Altoona. Complimentary appetizers are served. The next session is scheduled for December 12. Mr. Tony Conrad, Director of Pastoral Care at Altoona Regional Health System, will present "You Are Not Alone: Moving in the Holy Spirit." 

School Choice SignsSchool Choice Update

Lawmakers in the Pennsylvania House could take up the matter of school choice in the coming days. This follows Senate approval of Senate Bill 1, which provides vouchers for low-income students living in the attendance zones of the lowest-performing five percent of schools in the state, and increased funding for the Educational Improvement Tax Credit program. Supporters of school choice are urged to contact their Representative and urge him to vote in favor of vouchers and increased EITC funding. For more information on school choice, visit the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference website at www.pacatholic.org.

Advent wreathAdvent Preparation
The season of Advent begins on November 27. Advent is a time of waiting and preparation for the joyous birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, at Christmas. Click here for Advent prayers and resources from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Advent Prayer
Father, in the wilderness of the Jordan you sent a messenger to prepare people's hearts for the coming of your Son. Help me to hear his words and repent of my sins, so that I may clearly see the way to walk, the truth to speak, and the life to live for Him, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. 
News and Notes


Season of Hope 2010The Altoona Area Christian Coalition will sponsor a Festival of Hope service on November 20 at 3:00 p.m. at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Altoona. Bishop Mark L. Bartchak will preside. The service, which will include lessons and readings from community leaders and elected officials, will highlight thanksgiving and hope for the city of Altoona. All are invited to attend. The AACC is an ecumenical group that strives for a city that is welcoming and hospitable while ensuring justice and mercy for all.  [Photo: Maryann Joyce Bistline (left) and her daughter, Anna, place candles on the Advent wreath during last year's service.] 



Toy DriveThe Diocesan Education Office is sponsoring its annual Treasures for Children program. All are invited to purchase toys or other gifts for children in Fulton County or make a financial contribution. Each year, hundreds of children have a brighter Christmas thanks to the program. Students from all Catholic elementary schools in the Diocese contribute. If you would like to donate, please drop off items to any Catholic school or the Diocesan Education Office, 933 South Logan Boulevard, Hollidaysburg, before December 9. Only new items are accepted. [Photo: Sister Mark Plescher, CSA, Diocesan Director of Elementary Education and organizer of the Treasures for Children program, stands with the mound of items collected in a previous year.]





Upcoming Events 

November 19-20

Special Collection for Catholic Charities
All Masses


November 20; 3:00 p.m.

AACC Festival of Hope

Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament 


November 24-25
Thanksgiving Holiday
Diocesan Offices Closed


December 8

Immaculate Conception
Diocesan Offices Closed



Thanksgiving Prayer
Thanksgiving Day is a Day of Prayer for the Harvest and Fruits of the Earth. All are encouraged to attend Mass and say the following prayer:

God, giver of all good gifts, we praise you, the source of all we have and all we are. Teach us the wisdom to always acknowledge the many good things your infinite love has given us. On the Thanksgiving day give us the gift of gratitutde for your many blessings. May we always use your gifts to bring glory to your name, and to open our hearts to our fellow men and women, especially the poor and the hungry. This prayer is made in the name of Jesus Christ who has gifted us with redemption, for He is Lord for ever and ever. 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