evangelist header 2011
An E-Newsletter from the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown
December 2012
Volume IV  Number  12
Mount Carmel at ChristmasMerry Christmas!
Welcome to the December edition of E-vangelist, a monthly E-Newsletter from the Communications Office of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown. Our Advent preparation is almost complete, and soon we will welcome Jesus Christ, the newborn King, into our hearts and homes. On behalf of Bishop Mark L. Bartchak and the entire staff of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, may this blessed season be one of joy for you and yours, and may that joy carry through to each day of the new year. [Photo: The Altar of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Altoona decorated for Christmas.]


Ministry Quicklinks

the catholic register
Coming up in the December 31, 2012, edition of The Catholic Register
  • A year-end review of Bishop Mark L. Bartchak's first full year of episcopal ministry.



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

  • December 23 -- Students from Cathedral Catholic Academy in Johnstown join the Bishop to discuss the true meaning of Christmas. 
  • December 30 --  On this Solemnity of the Holy Family, Joe and Kristy Plazek, members of Saint Aloysius Parish in Cresson, discuss the importance of marriage and family. 
  • January 6 - "Teen Talk" co-hosts Abbi Slezak and Nick Spinelli interview Bishop Mark about strengthening our faith in the new year.  
  • January 13 -- Tom Forr, President of the Blair County chapter of Citizens Concerned for Human Life, joins the Bishop to preview the upcoming March for Life in Washington, D.C.,  

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 Mark Christmas 2012Bishop's Christmas Message
Bishop Mark L. Bartchak is inviting the faithful to open the door to Christ this Christmas season in the Year of Faith. The Bishop delivered his annual Christmas message to the media on December 10 at his residence in Hollidaysburg.
Bishop Mark referred to the comments of Pope Benedict XVI as he opened the Year of Faith earlier this year.  The Holy Father reminded us that the door to faith is always open for us.
"All of us need to be reminded that throughout our lives, Jesus comes knocking at our door over and over again," the Bishop said.  "If you are eager or just curious to meet Him for the first time or to get to know Him again, come to the Church for Christmas. You will find Christ there in the proclamation of the Word of God and in the celebration of the sacraments, especially Penance and Holy Eucharist. Please come and allow your heart, mind, and soul to be transformed by his grace.  And if you have already entered that door and are well on your way on the lifelong journey of faith, don't forget to pay attention those who are hard of hearing, have lost the key, or are just a bit distressed, frustrated, or disconnected. Open the door of faith with them and for them. When you do, it will be a burst of Christmas joy for both of you!"
The Bishop's entire message is available on the Diocesan website, www.dioceseaj.org. You can also click here to read the Bishop's entire Christmas message or click here to view a video of the message.
[Photo: Bishop Mark shares a laugh with members of the media on hand for his Christmas message on December 10.]
Our Lady of Lourdes Christmas
Christmas Mass Schedule 
Christmas Day -- the Nativity of the Lord -- is a Holy Day of Obligation.  Parishes throughout the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown will offer Masses on Christmas Eve and/or Christmas Day. For a county-by-county schedule of Christmas Mass times at many parishes in the Diocese, please visit our Diocesan website, www.dioceseaj.org or click here. [Photo: Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Altoona decorated for Christmas.]

microwave dishChristmas Mass Broadcast
Christmas Day Mass from Saint John Gualbert Cathedral in Johnstown will be broadcast live on December 25 at 11:00 a.m. on WWCP TV FOX 8. Bishop Mark L. Bartchak will be the celebrant and homilist.   

RomePilgrimage to Rome 

Bishop Mark L. Bartchak invites 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 a gathering with the Holy Father. According to Vatican officials, 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 Pope is expected to lead the Angelus, a devotion in memory of the Incarnation. He will 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 per person 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 the Diocesan website www.dioceseaj.org 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.


Year of FaithMass for Young Adults

Bishop Mark L. Bartchak will celebrate Mass on Sunday, January 13, 2013, at 5:00 p.m., at Saint Rose of Lima Parish in Altoona. The Mass is part of Bishop Mark's outreach to young adults (ages 18-39) during the Year of Faith. Men and women in that age group are especially encouraged to attend. Those outside of that age group are also welcome. A light reception will follow the Mass.

Last Minute Gift Ideas
With just a few days remaining in 2012, there is still time to make a year-end charitable gift to support Catholic Charities; the Diocese of Mandeville, Jamaica; the Suzanne Pohland Paterno Catholic Student Faith Center; or your parish and a few dozen ministries through the Annual Catholic Appeal.  While you're visiting the Diocesan website at www.dioceseaj.org, just click on the green "Donate" button in the top margin of any page to restrict your gift to one of these initiatives.  Thank you!
Foundation LogoA Message from the Independent Catholic Foundation
The Foundation is an independent entity - legally separate from the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown - committed to the long-term strength and viability of Catholic institutions and ministries within our Diocese. During this season of Christmas, honor a loved one by contributing in his/her name to:
  • A parish endowment
  • An existing endowment
  • An existing scholarship
  • Establishing a new endowment
  • St. Simon Society

In August of this year, the Foundation made available over one-half million dollars to the beneficiaries of current endowments. The Foundation is currently offering $500.00 matching grants for parishes that establish a new endowment. Please visit the Foundation's web-site at www.icfdaj.org to learn more about the Foundation and for a complete list of existing endowments. A gift to an endowment is a gift forever.

Saint Joan of Arc ChristmasThe Birth of Jesus

 "For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger." And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests."  Luke 2:11-14. [Photo: Saint Joan of Arc Parish in Frugality decorated for Christmas.] 

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