evangelist header 2011
An E-Newsletter from the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown
November 2012
Volume IV  Number  11
Welcome to the November edition of E-vangelist, a monthly E-Newsletter from the Communications Office of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown. As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, we are, indeed, grateful for the many blessings throughout our Diocesan Church. Soon, we will mark the beginning of Advent, a season during which we make straight a path for the Lord as we prepare to celebrate His birth at Christmas. May this Thanksgiving and Advent be filled with grace for you, your family, and your friends. We also continue our observance of the Year of Faith. In celebration of this special time, Bishop Mark L. Bartchak has announced a Diocesan pilgrimage to Rome. You can read more about the details in this edition of E-vangelist. This E-newsletter also contains news about a new education study announced by Bishop Mark and previews upcoming events.


Ministry Quicklinks

the catholic register
Coming up in the December 3, 2012, edition of The Catholic Register

  • Details on Year of Faith indulgences available in the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown



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

  • November 25 -- Guest host Tony DeGol and Father John J. Slovikovski discuss the upcoming Diocesan pilgrimage to Rome. 
  • December 2 --  Sister Linda LaMagna, CCW, explains how Catholics who have fallen away from the Church can return for Christmas.
  • December 9 -  Learn how you can help support the annual Christmas Appeal for Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown.
  • December 16 -- Our "People from the Pew" series spotlights Roy and Lynn Holtz, members of Saint Augustine Parish in St. Augustine. The couple discusses their involvement in parish and Diocesan ministries.


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.


microwave dish 
Watch "Answering the Call" every Sunday at 9:00 p.m. on the Altoona Public Access Channel 14 in the Central Blair County area.
Watch "Faith Alive: The Teen Perspective" every Sunday at 9:30 p.m on the Altoona Public Access Channel 14 in the Central Blair County area.

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.  

Bishop Bartchak CassockDiocesan Pilgrimage
Bishop Mark L. Bartchak is extending an invitation to the faithful of the Diocese to join him on a once-in-a-lifetime journey to Rome, which will include time in the presence of Pope Benedict XVI.  In celebration of the Year of Faith, the pilgramage will be held July 8-16, 2013. Pilgrims will visit the four Major Basilicas of Rome - Saint Peter, Saint John Lateran, Saint Mary Major, and Saint Paul Outside the Walls - as well as the Basilicas of Francis and Clare of Assisi. Bishop Mark will celebrate Mass at all of the Basilicas, and tours of the historic structures will be offered. Other stops will include Vatican City, the Vatican Museums, the Catacombs, the Spanish Steps, the Coliseum, and the Trevi Fountain.

The highlight of the pilgrimage will be an anticipated gathering with the Holy Father. Because of the Pope's busy schedule, it is still unclear when and where such an opportunity will occur. According to Vatican officials, the likely scenario will be that pilgrims from Altoona-Johnstown will have the chance to travel to the Holy Father's summer residence at Castel Gandolfo, a small town about 15 miles south-east of Rome.  The trek to the papal residence, situated on the lake of the beautiful Castel Gandalfo, would likely take place on Sunday, July 14. The Pope would lead the Angelus, a devotion in memory of the Incarnation. He would also formally welcome pilgrims from the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown and bestow his Apostolic blessing on the crowd gathered in the courtyard of his residence.


The Vatican recently announced that the Year of Faith presents the opportunity for the reception of indulgences. An indulgence is a remission before God of temporal punishment due to sin when guilt has already been forgiven in sacramental penance. Plenary Indulgences are available to all who go to Confession, receive Communion, and pray particular prayers for the Holy Father's intentions at the basilicas during the Roman pilgrimage.


The cost of the pilgrimage is $3,499 and includes air transportation and busing from the Diocese to the airport in Newark; accommodations at a four-star hotel; breakfasts and all dinners; and admission to all included excursions. The price is based on double occupancy. Reservations are limited and will be on a first come-first serve basis. The New York company "206 Tours" is assisting the Diocesan planning committee in making arrangements. Perspective pilgrims can visit www.pilgrimages.com/yfaj for more information and to register. The deadline to register is January 30, 2013.


Questions about the pilgrimage can be e-mailed to Rome2013@dioceseaj.org.


Thursday, November 22, is Thanksgiving and a Day of Prayer for the Harvest and Fruits of the Earth in the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown. All are encouraged to attend Mass and recite the following prayer.


Father all-powerful, your gifts of love are countless and your goodness infinite; as we come before you on Thanksgiving Day with gratitude for your kindness, open our hearts to have concern for every man, woman, and child, so that we may share your gifts of loving service. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. 

Saint Andrew school visit 12-15-11Education Study 

Bishop Mark L. Bartchak has announced the formation of a committee to study the 20 Catholic elementary schools in the Diocese. The goal of the study is to ensure that Catholic education in the Diocese remains strong and efficient in the future. The group, comprised of 14 individuals with educational and/or financial expertise, will study areas including faith formation, governance, finances, enrollment, curriculum, technology, facilities, extra curricular activities, marketing, and development. The timeline for the study will be over the next several months. The panel will meet regularly during that period - both as a full group and in subcommittees, and members will report back to Bishop Bartchak. The Bishop has instructed the group to consult persons in the Diocese who have an interest in our Catholic schools, including pastors, parents, and teachers. The following individuals are serving on the committee:


  • Rev. Leo F. Arnone, Pastor of Saint Francis Xavier Parish in Cresson and All Saints Catholic School in Cresson
  • Mrs. Kathy Bechdel, Principal of Our Lady of Victory School in State College
  • Very Rev. James F. Crookston, Rector of Saint John Gualbert Cathedral Parish in Johnstown, which is affiliated with Cathedral Catholic Academy in Johnstown
  • Dr. Michael Dillon, a retired educational consultant
  • Msgr. David A. Lockard, Pastor of Our Lady of Victory Parish and School in State College
  • Dr. Joseph Macharola, Director of Intermediate Unit 8 in Altoona
  • Dr. Frank Montecalvo, Vice President of Student Development at Saint Francis University in Loretto
  • Mr. Ed Phister, President of the School Council at Saint Michael School in Loretto
  • Mrs. Renee Phister, a teacher at Saint Michael School in Loretto
  • Sister Mary Lee Przybylski, CSSF, Principal of Northern Cambria Catholic School in Nicktown
  • Mr. Kenneth Salem, Principal of Bishop McCort Catholic High School in Johnstown
  • Rev. Frank Scornaienchi, TOR, Pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Altoona and Altoona Central Catholic School
  • Mr. Thomas Weimer, member of the Diocesan Finance Council
  • Mr. J. Douglas Wolf, a member of the Board of Trustees of Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic High School in Altoona

[Photo: Bishop Mark gathers with students at Saint Andrew School in Johnstown during a December, 2011, visit.]

Theology on Tap

A special Year of Faith series of Theology on Tap in Altoona will conclude  on November 26. Theology on Tap is a casual speaker/discussion series for young adults ages 18-39. The session will be held at 7:00 p.m. at Joe's Bar, adjacent to Zach's Sports & Spirits, 5820 Sixth Avenue. Complimentary appetizers will be provided. The topic on November 26 will be "Stump the Priest." A group of priests will field questions from the crowd.

6-6-Pack Discussions Logo  Pack Discussions

Catholic Campus Ministry at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown is sponsoring a series of 6-Pack Discussions for youth and young adults ages 16+.  In honor of the Year of Faith, the series will focus on the Sacraments. The next session will be on November 29, at 7:00 p.m., at The Bistro (203 Nees Avenue, Johnstown). The topic will be Marriage: If You Like Her, Put a Ring On It. The speaker will be Monsignor Michael Servinsky, Vicar General of the Diocese and Pastor of Holy Rosary Parish in Altoona.

Catholic Charities LogoCatholic Charities Special Collection
As temperatures drop and heating costs rise, thousands of our neighbors will turn to Catholic Charities as a last resort for emergency assistance.  The need is staggering.  Last year Catholic Charities helped 4,812 persons but had to turn away another 4,988.  You can make a difference in the local community with a gift to Catholic Charities in a spirit of gratitude for all of your own blessings.  100% of your gift will provide immediate relief to your neighbors this winter.  And remember, Catholic Charities serves everyone because we are Catholic not because they are.


Please use the special envelope provided by your parish, send your "Catholic Charities" gift to P.O. Box 409, Hollidaysburg, PA 16648, or make your gift through our secure "Donate" page at www.dioceseaj.org.  Thank you.
AdventAdvent Day of Reflection
The Diocesan Office of Religious Education will sponsor an Advent Day of Reflection on December 1 from 8:45 a.m. to 11:15 a.m., at Saint Catherine of Siena Parish in Duncansville. The cost is $5 per person. Father Brian Warchola will be the facilitator. For more information or a registration form, visit the Diocesan website at www.dioceseaj.org. The deadline to register is November 28.
AdventAdvent Concert
The Greater Johnstown Diocesan Festival Choir and Cathedral Catholic Academy Chorale will present an Advent of Christmas Concert on Saturday, December 15, at 7:00 p.m., at Saint John Gualbert Cathedral, 117 Clinton Street, Johnstown. The choirs, under the direction of Cathedral Music Director Evonne Yanzetich-Homway, will perform a wide array of music including works by Lauridsen, Rutter, and Handel. The choral groups will be accompanied by Hilltop Brass and Vivace Strings. Admission is free and open to the public.


AACCAdvent Season of Hope Service
The Altoona Area Christian Coalition will sponsor its annual Advent Season of Hope Prayer Service on December 9, at 3:00 p.m., at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Altoona. Bishop Mark L. Bartchak will preside. Elected officials and other city leaders will participate in the prayer service. All are invited to attend.

Advent wreath Prayer for Advent

The first Sunday of Advent is December 2.


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.

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