evangelist header 2011
An E-Newsletter from the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown
January 2013
Volume V  Number  1
diocese signWelcome!
Welcome to the January edition of E-vangelist, a monthly E-Newsletter from the Communications Office of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown. After a joyous Christmas season, we now enter Ordinary Time in the Church during this Year of Faith. These January days are anything but slow as we prepare to celebrate Catholic Schools Week in our Diocese. We salute the students, parents, teachers, administrators, staff, and pastors who make up our wonderful schools. May God richly bless them for all they do to make Catholic education so valuable. Read more about Catholic Schools Week in this edition of E-vangelist, as well as other happenings in our Diocesan Church.


Ministry Quicklinks

the catholic register
Coming up in the January 28, 2013, edition of The Catholic Register
  • Reporter Bruce Tomaselli previews Faith Day 2013, which will be held at a new venue this year.
  • Two Diocesan television shows spotlighting vocations and youth ministry return to WWCP TV FOX 8 after a brief hiatus.



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

  • January 20 --  
    Josh Harshberger, a member of Saint Bartholomew Parish in Wilmore, discusses his year-long missionary work in our sister Diocese of
    Mandeville, Jamaica.
  • January 27 --  In celebration of Catholic Schools Week, a teacher and students from Saint Patrick School in Newry join Bishop Mark to discuss the value of Catholic education.
  • February 3 --  As our Diocesan Marriage Building Initiative winds down, Jerry and Mary Grace Neugebauer, members of Saint Aloysius Parish in Cresson, discuss how couples in a hurting marriage can find help and healing.
  • February 10 -- Donna Stoy, Director of Religious Education and Christian Initiation at Saint Thomas Aquinas Parish in Ashville, shares ideas for faith enrichment during the Lenten season. 


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 7:00 a.m. on WWCP TV FOX 8 and 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 7:30 a.m. on WWCP TV FOX 8 and 9:30 p.m on the Altoona Public Access Channel 14 in the Central Blair County area.
Bartchak Coat of ArmsFlu Season Guidelines
In response to the apparent seriousness of the flu season, Bishop Mark L. Bartchak has issued temporary guidelines involving Holy Communion and the sign of peace at all Masses in the Diocese.


Effective this weekend, January 19 and 20, Bishop Mark has directed that the Precious Blood not be distributed under any form in the Diocese. It is the belief of the Catholic Church that the whole Body of Christ is present under either form of consecrated bread or wine. Reception of Holy Communion on the hand is encouraged, but reception on the tongue may not be denied. Additionally, the Bishop has instructed that handshakes during the sign of peace not be exchanged. Instead, a genuine nod of the head with eye contact to others is encouraged.     


The new guidelines will be followed throughout the winter months or until the flu season ends. A formal announcement will be made when the guidelines are withdrawn and the Diocese returns to the regular practice for the distribution and reception of Holy Communion and the exchange of the sign of peace.

Catholic Schools Week 2013 Catholic Schools Week

Catholic schools in the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown will celebrate the national observance of Catholic Schools Week January 27-February 2. This year's theme is "Catholic Schools Raise the Standards." The theme reflects the launch of the National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools, which will ensure the responsible operation and governance of Catholic schools throughout the nation.


In the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, there are 20 Catholic elementary schools, with an enrollment of 2,935 students, and four independent Catholic high schools, serving 1,022 students. Preschool enrollment in the Diocese is 496. The total number of students in Catholic schools in the Diocese this academic year is 4,453.


Young Adults Mass 1-13-13Mass for Young Adults
Bishop Mark L. Bartchak celebrated the first of three Masses for young adults during this Year of Faith. The Liturgy was held on January 13 at Saint Rose of Lima Parish in Altoona. The Bishop is reaching out to many groups during the Year of Faith, especially those in the 18-39 age group. Last October, he hosted a social for young adults from around the Diocese, and he is speaking at Theology on Tap sessions. Other young adult Masses are scheduled for later this year in Johnstown and State College.  [Photo: Nancy Cherry (left) and her sister-in-law, Tammy Moyer, members of Saint Catherine of Siena Parish in Duncansville, present the offertory gifts to Bishop Mark at the Mass for young adults on January 13.]

Pro-Life RoseBishop to Attend March for Life; Preside at Evening Prayer Service
Bishop Mark L. Bartchak will once again attend the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., on January 25. Bishop Bartchak will travel by bus with a group of students from Bishop McCort Catholic High School in Johnstown. After arriving in Washington, Bishop Mark will greet the faithful from Altoona-Johnstown who are also attending the event. A large Diocesan banner will be displayed near the Bishop's bus. All are welcome to look for the banner and stop by to meet Bishop Mark.


The night before the March for Life - January 24 - Bishop Mark will preside at a Prayer Service at 7:00 p.m. at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Altoona. The Bishop will offer a special blessing to those in our Diocesan Church who will travel to the March for Life the following day. The service is also an opportunity for all individuals - whether or not they are able to attend the March for Life - to come together to remember the victims of abortion and to pray for the sanctity of human life. The service is open to the public.

RomePilgrimage Registration Deadline Looming 

There are just a few days left to  register for the upcoming Diocesan pilgrimage to Rome. 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 L. Bartchak 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.Questions about the pilgrimage can be e-mailed to Rome2013@dioceseaj.org.


Diocesan Coat of ArmsNews and Notes 


The Family Life Office of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown will sponsor "An Evening for Parents and Children: Raising Healthy Children in an Unhealthy Society." It will be held on January 27, at 6:00 p.m., at Saint John the Evangelist Parish, 309 Lotz Avenue, Altoona (Lakemont). There is no charge to attend the event, but a free will offering will be accepted. Doctor Doug Meske, a psychotherapist in private practice in Wisconsin, will be the presenter. Doctor Meske has worked with adolescents, adults, couples, and families. The presentation will focus on building self esteem, kindness, impulse control, communication skills, setting expectations, and working with children on moral decision-making. Doctor Meske encourages parents to bring their children, from babies to teens.
Plans are underway for the National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC) scheduled for November 21-23, 2013, in Indianapolis. NCYC is a biennial three-day experience of prayer, community, and empowerment for Catholic teenagers and their adult chaperones. The schedule includes keynote addresses, prayer, workshops, liturgy, oppportunities to participate in Reconciliation and exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, recreational activities and more. For more information, please visit the Diocesan website at www.dioceseaj.org.


Crucifix Prayer for Discerning My Vocation

Lord Jesus, I know that you love me and that you call me to follow you. Help me to listen to your call in all the ways you speak to me: through prayer and the Scriptures; through the Church; through the people who know me and love me; through the circumstances of my life; through my own hopes and desires. Guide me to search opening and carefully and to learn about life's choices, so that I may respond generously to your call and to know and embrace the vocation that will enable me to love wholeheartedly, and serve others with the gifts you have given to me. Help me to know and do your will. Thank you for your love for me and for all that the future holds for me. Lord Jesus, I put my trust in you. 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