evangelist header 2011
An E-Newsletter from the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown
January 2012
Volume IV  Number  1
Blessed New Year! 
Welcome to the January edition of E-vangelist, a monthly E-Newsletter from the Communications Office of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown. We hope 2012 is off to a good start for you. The new year brings much excitement in the Diocese, including a newly-merged parish and preparations for Catholic Schools Week. Many will also travel to Washington, D.C. for the annual March for Life. The Diocese is proud to partner with the Altoona Curve to sponsor a concert by Christian musician Matt Maher in Altoona, which will kick off events leading up to the March for Life. You can read more about these stories in this edition of E-vangelist.


Ministry Quicklinks

the catholic register
Coming up in the January 30, 2012, edition of The Catholic Register:
  • A special Catholic Schools Week issue dedicated to Catholic schools in the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown.



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

  • January 22 -- Diocesan seminarians Peter Crowe and Jonathan Dickson join Bishop Mark to discuss their calling to the Priesthood and daily life at Saint Mark Seminary in Erie.
  • January 29 -- To kick off Catholic Schools Week, a teacher and student from Saint Joseph's Catholic Academy in Boalsburg (the newest Catholic school in the Diocese) join the Bishop to discuss the value of Catholic education.
  • February  5 -- Physician and philanthropist Dr. Zane Gates, a member of Saint Rose of Lima Parish in Altoona, talks about his unique outreach to children and the disadvantaged.

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.  

maherDiocese Sponsors Pro-Life Events
Events are scheduled this weekend in the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown leading up to the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., on Monday. 


On January 20, the Diocese and the Altoona Curve will sponsor a concert by nationally-recognized Christian musician Matt Maher (pictured at the right).  The concert will be held at 7:30 p.m., at the Mishler Theatre in Altoona. Bishop Mark L. Bartchak will introduce Maher on the Mishler stage. Tickets are available by contacting the Altoona Curve at (814) 283-3126. 


On January 22, Bishop Mark will sponsor a prayer service for all of the Diocesan Faithful who will travel to Washington for the March for Life the following day. The service will be held at 7:00 p.m. at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Altoona. The Bishop will offer a special blessing for all of the pilgrims going to Washington. Those who are unable to make the trip are invited to the prayer service to remember all of the victims of abortion and to pray for an end to abortion.   


Bishop Mark will travel to the March for Life on January 23 with a group of students from Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic High School in Altoona. When the Bishop's bus arrives in Washington, a banner containing the Diocesan Coat of Arms will be displayed outside the Bishop's bus. All those from the Diocese who attend the gathering are invited to look for the flag and stop by to greet Bishop Mark.
Catholic Schools Week 2012Diocese to Celebrate Catholic Schools Week
Catholic Schools Week is scheduled for January 29-February 4. This year's theme is "Catholic Schools: Faith, Academics, Service." In honor of the event, a special edition of The Catholic Register will be published. The issue will be dedicated to coverage of Catholic education and the Catholic schools in the Diocese. It will include a special message from Bishop Mark L. Bartchak and Sister Donna Marie Leiden, S.C., Diocesan Director of Education. There are 20 Catholic elementary schools and four Catholic high schools in the eight-county Diocese.  Enrollment in Catholic preschools, elementary schools and high schools in the Diocese for the 2011-2012 school year is 4,482 students.
Lock Haven Merger Jan 9, 2012Lock Haven Parishes Merge

Saint Agnes and Immaculate Conception Parishes in Lock Haven merged to form Holy Spirit Parish on January 1. Bishop Mark L. Bartchak celebrated a Mass in honor of the newly-merged parish on January 9 -- the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. "There is so much more good that is to come and will come, especially since you have identified yourselves with the Holy Spirit who God will continue to pour out abundantly in the years ahead," the Bishop said in his homily. "God looks upon you this day and says, 'You are my beloved sons and daughters; with you I am well pleased.' On this Feast of the Baptism of the Lord and at the beginning of this new year of 2012, I encourage all of you here to recognize and commit yourself to what God is so pleased about you; that so much is possible with the help of the Holy Spirit under whose care this parish community has been entrusted." Father Joseph Orr will be Pastor of the new parish. Both the Saint Agnes and Immaculate Conception buildings will be used as worship spaces.  [Photo: Bishop Mark and concelebrating priests gather around the Altar during the January 9 Mass to celebrate the newly-merged Holy Spirit Parish.]


microwave dishProclaim!; Live Mass Schedule Changes

Due to WWCP TV FOX 8 programming requirements, Proclaim! and the live Sunday Mass broadcast will air at different times on January 22 and February 5. On those dates, Proclaim! will air at 1:00 p.m. instead of 10:30 a.m., and the live Mass will air 1:30 p.m. instead of 11:00 a.m.

Theology on TapBishop Mark to Speak at Next Theology On Tap Session
Bishop Mark L. Bartchak will be the featured presenter at the next Theology on Tap session in Altoona. The topic will be "Can We Talk About Human Sexuality?" The session will be held on February 13, at 7:00 p.m., at Joe's Bar, adjacent to Zach's Sports & Spirits, 5820 Sixth Avenue. Complimentary appetizers will be served. 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.

School Choice SignsSchool Choice Update

School choice legislation that includes vouchers and increased funding for the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) continues to be debated in Harrisburg. Last fall, the state Senate passed 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 EITC funding. The House did not act on any legislation before recessing for Christmas. 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.

News and Notes


The Praise and Worship Eucharistic Adoration Day for teens, originally scheduled for November 27, 2011, has been moved to February 25, 2012, at 11:00 a.m., at the Basilica of Saint Michael the Archangel in Loretto. Bishop Mark L. Bartchak will preside over the day. Teens must pre-register by February 17 by contacting Mrs. Francine Swope at fswope@dioceseaj.org or (814) 693-1401. 



Lorie RatchfordLorie Ratchford has been named principal of Bishop Carroll Catholic High School in Ebensburg effective immediately. Ratchford had been serving as interim principal since August. A 1986 graduate of Bishop Carroll, Ratchford has been an English teacher at the school for the past 20 years. "I am proud to continue to serve the students, faculty, staff, and students of Bishop Carroll," Ratchford said. "To be in an environment that allows students to freely express themselves and celebrate their faith on a daily basis is a reminder to all of us as to why we exist." Ratchford and her family live in Ebensburg. They are members of Holy Name Parish in Ebensburg.



Bishop Mark L. Bartchak will host an Ecumenical Service on Sunday, February 12, at 3:00 p.m., at Saint John Gualbert Cathedral in Johnstown. All are welcome to attend. The event is one of two annual ecumenical services being held this year. The first one will be held on Sunday, January 29, at 3:00 p.m., at Zion Lutheran Church in Hollidaysburg, hosted by Lutheran Bishop Gregory Pile.





Upcoming Events 

January 20; 7:30 p.m.
Matt Maher Concert
Mishler Theatre, Altoona

January 22; 7:00 p.m.

Prayer Service (Blessing of Pilgrims attending the March for Life)

Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, Altoona


January 23
March for Life
Washington, D.C.


January 29-February 4
Catholic Schools Week

February 12; 3:00 p.m.
Ecumenical Service
Saint John Gualbert Cathedral, Johnstown


February 20
Presidents' Day
Diocesan Offices Closed


February 22
Ash Wednesday


February 25; 11:00 a.m.
Praise and Worship Eucharistic Adoration Day (For Teens)
Basilica of Saint Michael the Archangel, Loretto


February 26
Rite of Election
2:00 p.m. at Saint John Gualbert Cathedral in Johnstown; 7:00 p.m. at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Altoona


Pro-Life RoseDay of Prayer for Protection of Unborn Children  
January 23 is a Day of Prayer for Legal Protection of Unborn Children. The Faithful are encouraged to pray the Rosary or the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, fast and abstain, and pray the following:


"Father, we are created in your image and likeness. Strengthen our resolve to protect and foster the dignity of human life. The beauty and mystery of life is a most cherished gift. Watch over the unborn and guide the parents of these children in protecting their innocence. Through prayer and example, may human life be hailed as the divine gift it truly is. We make this prayer with Mary, Mother of God, in the name of Christ the Lord. 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