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An E-Newsletter from the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown
January 2015
Volume VII Number 1
diocese sign Welcome! 
Welcome to the January edition of E-vangelist, a monthly E-Newsletter from the Communications Office of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown. The joyful Christmas season is over, and in these days of Ordinary Time, there are many extraordinary things happening in our Diocesan Church. The observance of Catholic Schools Week is just days away. It is a great time to celebrate the complete education students receive in our schools. May God continue to bless our outstanding students, parents, faculty, administrators, and all who support Catholic education here in Altoona-Johnstown. We also pray for those in our Diocese and around the country who will travel to Washington, D.C., for the upcoming March for Life. The Diocese has also launched a television advertising campaign to reach out to young men considering a priestly vocation. Indeed, extraordinary things are happening, and you can read more about them in this edition of E-vangelist. May the Lord bless us in these winter days.


Ministry Quicklinks

the catholic register
Coming up in the
January 26 , 2015, edition of The Catholic Register:

Bruce Tomaselli looks at some of the Catholic Schools Week celebrations planned in our schools.




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


  • January 25 --  To kick off Catholic Schools Week, Father Leo Arnone, Pastor of All Saints School in Cresson; Sue Thoma, teacher at Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic High School in Altoona; and Mary DePrimio, student at Bishop McCort Catholic High School in Johnstown, discuss faith, knowledge, and service in our Catholic schools. 
  • February 1 -- On this Super Bowl Sunday, Bishop Mark welcomes some of our own local football champs -- four members of the Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic High School state championship football team.

  • February 8 -- On this World Day for Consecrated Life, Sister Letizia Lo Re, SSA, discusses her religious community and her ministry to the Church.


Proclaim! airs every Sunday at 10:30 a.m. on WWCP TV FOX 8 and is rebroadcast on the Altoona Public Access Channel (Channel 14 on Atlantic Broadband) at 9:30 p.m. 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.


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Watch "Answering the Call" every Sunday at 9:00 p.m. on the Altoona Public Access Channel 14 in the Central Blair County area.
Catholic Schools Week 2015  

The Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown will celebrate Catholic Schools Week January 25-31, 2015. This year's theme is "Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge, and Service."

"Our students are blessed to learn in an environment in which Jesus Christ is at the center of everything we do," said Bishop Mark in his Catholic Schools Week letter to the faithful. "That will never change. It is also no secret that our high academic standards arm students with the knowledge to be leaders, both now and in the future. Our students put their faith and knowledge into action by serving others. In fact, the majority of our young people go well beyond the number of required hours of service, and they do so joyfully."


 In celebration of Catholic Schools Week, Bishop Bartchak will visit five elementary schools around the Diocese. The following is his schedule:

  • January 26, 9:00 a.m.- Bishop Bartchak will participate a prayer service at Saint Rose of Lima School in Altoona
  • January 27, 8:30 a.m.- The Bishop will attend the annual Catholic Schools Week Pancake Breakfast at Hollidaysburg Catholic School
  • January 28, Noon- Students at Saint John the Evangelist School in Bellefonte will welcome Bishop Bartchak for lunch and a career day assembly
  • January 29, 10:00 a.m.- Bishop Mark will celebrate Mass at Saint Andrew School in Johnstown and join students for lunch
  • January 30, 10:00 a.m.- The Bishop will celebrate Mass at Saint Benedict School in Carrolltown

In the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, there are 20 Catholic elementary schools with an enrollment of 2,925. Registration at the four independent Catholic high schools is 1,062. Pre-school enrollment is 475, for a total Catholic school enrollment of 4,462 this academic year.

School Choice Reception

The Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown is sponsoring a celebration to mark Catholic Schools Week and National School Choice Week on January 29 at 7:00 p.m. at Saint John the Evangelist Parish/School gymnasium in Altoona. Bishop Mark will speak, along with State Senator John Eichelberger and Mr. Sean McAleer, Education Director of the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference. The event will highlight the success of school choice here in Altoona-Johnstown through the Diocese's Second Century Scholarship Fund. A student and parent who benefit from the Fund will also speak. Business owners who support the fund will be on hand, along with various elected officials. All are welcome. [Photo: Bishop Mark poses with students during a visit to Saint Matthew School in Tyrone.]

March for Life / Prayer Service Bartchak Coat of Arms
Bishop Mark will once again attend the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., on January 22. He will travel by bus with a group of students from Bishop Carroll Catholic High School in Ebensburg. After arriving in Washington, Bishop Bartchak will greet the faithful from Altoona-Johnstown who are also attending the event. The night before the March for Life - January 21 - 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. 

Eucharist Flu Season Directives  
Because of the seriousness of the flu season, Bishop Mark has directed parish faith communities in the Diocese to not distribute the Precious Blood in any form until further notice. It is the belief of the Catholic Church that the whole Body of Christ is present under either form of consecrated bread and wine. The Bishop has also directed that the faithful should avoid bodily contact, such as shaking hands, during the sign of peace. A genuine nod of the head with eye contact with others at Mass will be the temporary practice. During this time of the flu season, reception of Holy Communion on the hand is encouraged; however, reception on the tongue may not be denied. The Bishop's directives will be followed throughout the winter months or until the flu season ends. Formal communication will be made when the Diocese returns to its regular practice for the distribution and reception of Holy Communion and the exchange of the sign of peace.
Cathedral Snow Ecumenical Services  

Bishop Mark will host an ecumenical service on January 25  at 3:00 p.m. at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Altoona. The homily will be delivered by Bishop Michael Rhyne of the Allegheny Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Each year, the Diocese partners with the local leaders of the Lutheran and Orthodox faith traditions to sponsor two ecumenical services. This year, Bishop Mark will host the first service on January 25. Leaders of the local Orthodox tradition will host the second service on February 8 at 3:00 p.m. at Christ the Saviour Church in Johnstown. All are invited to both services.

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Vocations Commercial

The Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown has launched a television advertising campaign to promote vocations to the Priesthood. A commercial, which is currently airing on local television stations, features two young men contemplating what they are being called to do with their lives, along with a message from Bishop Mark. The ad campaign is just one in a series of new initiatives to reach out to young men considering a priestly vocation and their families. Last fall, the Diocese also launched a new vocations website, which can be accessed at myvocation.dioceseaj.org or through the vocations section of the Diocesan website, www.dioceseaj.org.

New Novel to Benefit Catholic Charities

Are you looking for a good book for these winter days? Bishop-Emeritus Joseph Adamec has written another mystery novel, and, once again, he is donating all of the money from the sale of the book to Catholic Charities. Heir Non-Apparent is the second mystery novel written by the Bishop-Emeritus. Like his first book, this new novel is based on one of the nine dinner mysteries written and produced by him. The 295-page book is suitable reading for all ages. The plot revolves around the question: Who is to inherit Maple View Manor? Miss Sarah Grey disappeared several years ago, and her estate is about to be settled. More than one person hopes to be the beneficiary. Plots and schemes abound until young Joe Cervik discovers the solution to the dilemma. More information and an order form are available on our Diocesan website at www.dioceseaj.org. You can also stop by the Altoona office of Catholic Charities or call the office at (814) 944-9388.

Prayer for Vocations

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 openly 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