evangelist header 2011
An E-Newsletter from the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown
February 2012
Volume IV  Number  2
Lenten CrossesWe Adore You, O Christ, and We Praise You
Welcome to the February edition of E-vangelist, a monthly E-Newsletter from the Communications Office of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown. The holy season of Lent begins this week -- a time of prayer, penance, fasting, and almsgiving. We encourage you to walk with Jesus during this 40 day journey so that you may more fully experience the joy of His resurrection at Easter. Please take advantage of the opportunties at parishes throughout the Diocese such as daily Mass, Stations of the Cross, and the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We also pray for those preparing to be fully initiated into the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil.  Please click here for Lenten resources from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Ministry Quicklinks

the catholic register
Coming up in the February 27, 2012, edition of The Catholic Register:
  • Reporter Bruce Tomaselli recaps the second of two Ecumenical Services co-sponsored by the Diocese this year.
  • In his column, "Another Perspective," Monsignor Tim Stein offers his thoughts about whether or not it was appropriate for New Jersey's governor to lower flags to half-staff after the death of Whitney Houston.



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

  • February 26 -- Three young adults from around the Diocese join the Bishop to discuss issues facing that age group. 
  • March 4 -- Amy Hill, Communications Director for the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference, discusses the HHS mandate and the status of school choice in Pennsylvania. 
  • March 11 -- Francine Swope, Diocesan Coordinator of Youth Ministry, Religious Education and Sacramental Prep, previews the upcoming Junior High Youth Day. 

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.  

Bartchak Coat of ArmsBishop Expresses Concerns About HHS Mandate
Bishop Mark L. Bartchak is voicing concerns about the Obama Administration's mandate that virtually all employers provide health insurance coverage that includes abortion-inducing drugs,  sterilization and contraception even if it violates their conscience. The Diocese and parishes would be exempt, but Catholic institutions that serve people of all faiths -- such as Catholic Charities and Catholic hospitals and universities -- would not. The Bishop published a letter in the February 13 edition of The Catholic Register outlining his objections, citing -- among other things -- the serious threat to religious liberty the mandate poses. "We cannot and we will not comply with this unjust mandate of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services," Bishop Mark wrote.
On February 10, President Obama announced what he called "accommodations" to the mandate. The President said religious employers would not be required to provide or pay for contraception coverage. Rather, the insurance companies must offer contraception "free of charge." Bishop Mark issued a response to the media, saying that the proposal was still problematic.
"Even though the statement from the President indicates the Church would not be forced to provide or pay for contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs, it appears that the proposal intends to force insurance companies to provide that coverage," the Bishop said. "Thus, the Church would be compelled indirectly to pay for that coverage because like any other health care consumer, we have to pay insurance premiums. There is no such thing as free insurance. I cannot agree to pay for or support contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs even if I am not paying for them directly."   
Bishop Mark is calling on the Faithful of the Diocese to pray that common sense prevails in this matter and to contact federal lawmakers and tell them to pass the Respect for Rights Conscience Act. For more information, please visit the Diocesan website at www.dioceseaj.org.
ConfessionDiocese to Sponsor Lenten Penance Services 
The Diocese will sponsor three Penance services next month. Bishop Mark L. Bartchak and priests of the Diocese will be available to hear Confessions at the services. The season of Lent is a time of repentance, and all Catholics are urged to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation before Easter. The following is the schedule of the three Diocesan Penance services:
  • March 26; 6:30 p.m. -- Saint John Gualbert Cathedral in Johnstown
  • March 27; 7:00 p.m. -- Good Shepherd Parish, State College
  • March 28; 6:30 p.m. -- Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, Altoona

Various parishes will also sponsor Penance services throughout Lent and individual Confessions.    

UPJ Blessed Sacrament Chapel DedicationUPJ Chapel Dedication

Bishop Mark L. Bartchak dedicated a new Blessed Sacrament Chapel at the J. Irving Whalley Memorial Chapel on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown.  Bishop Mark celebrated Mass and dedicated the chapel on February 19. "The Blessed Sacrament Chapel will offer space for a moment of prayer and contemplation during the course of a busy day, helping to further Catholic Campus Ministry's mission of integrating faith with studies," said Jonathan Jerome, Catholic Campus Minister at UPJ. "Very few, if any, non-Catholic institutions the size of Pitt-Johnstown can boast a chapel of this size or purpose." Catholic Campus Ministry at UPJ serves about 1,200 students, faculty, and staff. [Photo: Bishop Mark blesses and dedicates the new Blessed Sacrament Chapel.]

Ecumenical Service 2-12-12Diocese Co-Sponsors Two Ecumenical Services

The Diocese once again co-sponsored two annual Ecumenical Services in the region.  For years, the Diocese and the Lutheran and Russian Orthodox traditions have co-sponsored the gatherings. This year, services were held at Zion Lutheran Church in Hollidaysburg on January 29 and at Saint John Gualbert Cathedral in Johnstown on February 12. Lutheran Bishop Gregory Pile hosted the first gathering, with Bishop Mark L. Bartchak delivering the homily. Bishop-Emeritus Joseph V. Adamec hosted the second gathering, with Bishop Pile delivering the exhortation. Bishop Joseph paid tribute to the late Metropolitan Nicholas Smisko of the Russian Orthodox tradition who partnered with Bishop Joseph and Bishop Pile for years in co-sponsoring the Ecumenical Services. Metropolitan Nicholas passed away last year. [Photo: (left to right) Bishop Gregory Pile of the Lutheran tradition; Bishop-Emeritus Joseph V. Adamec; Very Rev. Proto-Presbyter Frank Miloro of the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese USA; and Deacon Robert Bailey, Episcopal Master of Ceremonies for the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, participate in the February 12 Ecumenical Service.]

Theology on TapTheology On Tap Series Planned in Cresson
A Theology on Tap series is planned for the four Mondays in March in Cresson. Each session will be held at P.J.'s Tavern in Cresson at 7:00 p.m. 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 following is the schedule of topics and speakers:
  • March 5 - "2012: The End of the World" - Msgr. Michael Becker
  • March 12 -"When Sports and Faith Collide" - Dr. Art Remillard
  • March 19 - "Would Jesus Be a Capitalist?" - Dr. Grant Julin
  • March 26 - "Stump the Priest" - Q&A with Local Clergy
There will be no Theology on Tap session on March 12 at Joe's Bar in Altoona. The next session of the Altoona Theology on Tap series will be on April 9.

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


Junior High Youth Day 2011The Diocesan Office of Youth Ministry will sponsor the annual Junior High Youth Day on March 25, 2012, at Bishop Carroll Catholic High School in Ebensburg. Open to students in grades 6-8, JHYD will feature keynotes by Scott Anthony. Mr. Anthony's blend of humor and education have made him a highly sought-after speaker. His presentations leave his audiences laughing, smiling, deeply thinking, and perhaps even shedding a tear or two. His excitement, enthusiasm, and love has motivated and inspired young people everywhere. The day will also include challenging games and Liturgy with Bishop Mark L. Bartchak. To register for JHYD, contact your pastor, parish Director of Religious Education/Youth Ministry or Catholic elementary school principal. The deadline to register is March 16. [Photo: students participate in Junior High Youth Day 2011.]

The Diocesan Office of Lay Ecclesial Ministry announces the following class schedule:
  • "Christian Prayer and Spirituality" - Saint Catherine of Siena Parish in Duncansville  on Wednesdays from 6:30-8:30 p.m. beginning March 7, and Saint Patrick Parish in Johnstown on Tuesdays from 6:30-8:30 p.m. beginning March 6.
  • "Church History" - Sacred Heart Formation Center in Altoona on Tuesdays from 6:30-8:30 p.m. beginning April 3, and Saint Michael Parish in St. Michael on Tuesdays from  6:30-8:30 p.m. beginning March 13.
  • "Discovering God's Vision for Your Life" - One day retreat on March 24 from 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. at Saint Benedict Parish in Johnstown. The $15 fee includes lunch and materials. Registration deadline: March 9.

For more information, contact Marybeth Heinze at (814) 361-2000 or mheinze@dioceseaj.org. Registration forms available at www.dioceseaj.org/lay-ecclesial-ministry.




Upcoming Events 


February 22   

Ash Wednesday


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 


March 4
Announcement Sunday
Annual Catholic Appeal


March 11
Commitment Sunday
Annual Catholic Appeal


March 25
Junior High Youth Day
Bishop Carroll Catholic High School


crown of thornsPrayer for Lent
O God, bless us during this season of spiritual renewal. Fill our minds and hearts with love, that we may be a sign of Jesus to all those living in our midst. 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