evangelist header 2011
An E-Newsletter from the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown
March 2015
Volume VII Number 3
Lenten Crosses
Welcome to the March edition of E-vangelist, a monthly E-Newsletter from the Communications Office of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown. A common prayer during Lent is "We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You, because by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world." Those words become increasingly poignant as we draw closer to Holy Week and recall Jesus' death on the cross. May these final days of your Lenten journey lead you to a deeper relationship with the Lord, and may you experience the glory of His resurrection at Easter.  


Ministry Quicklinks

the catholic register
Coming up in the
March 23 , 2015, edition of The Catholic Register:

In honor of the Year of Consecrated Life, Monsignor Tim Stein profiles the Very Rev. Anthony Francis Spilka, OFM Conv., the Bishop's Vicar for Religious and Pastor of Saint Francis of Assisi Parish in Johnstown.




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


March 22  -- Two of the nine sets of twins at Saint Rose of Lima School in Altoona talk about the unique bond between twins.


March 29 -- On this Passion/Palm Sunday, Father Lubomir Strecok, Pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Altoona, discusses the spiritual significance of Holy week for priests and the faithful.


April 5  -- On this Easter Sunday, Frank Albert, a 100-year-old member of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus Parish in Johnstown, shares his advice for a long, happy, and healthy life.


April 12 -- On this Divine Mercy Sunday, Sheryl Balkey and Ryan Clement of Catholic radio station WJVM, the Voice of Divine Mercy, talk about their radio ministry.



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.  


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.

Save the Date

Junior High Youth Day 

The Office of Youth Ministry sponsored the annual Junior High Youth Day  on March 15 at Bishop Carroll Catholic High School in Ebensburg. The theme was "Rejoice in the Lord Always." Open to students in grades six, seven, and eight, the day included keynote addresses by speaker and musician Will Smith from the Diocese of Greensburg, Reconciliation opportunities, and Mass with Bishop Mark. "Even when we have bad experiences, it doesn't mean that God stops loving us; it doesn't mean that God doesn't care; and it doesn't mean that we are being punished," Bishop Mark said in his homily. "I hope you see in this event how much God cares about you and loves you. That care and love is shown by all these adults who are here to support and guide you today and in your parishes." For more on Junior High Youth Day 2015, read the March 23 edition of The Catholic Register. [Photo: Bishop Mark poses with students in a selfie at Junior High Youth Day.]

The Light is On For You Lenten Reconciliation Opportunities
Catholics are encouraged to experience God's mercy and forgiveness through the Sacrament of Reconciliation during Lent. The Diocese will sponsor three Communal Penance Services at which several priests will be on hand to hear Confessions:

  • March 24, 7:00 p.m. -- Good Shepherd Parish, State College
  • March 25, 6:30 p.m. -- Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, Altoona
  • March 26, 6:30 p.m. -- Saint John Gualbert Cathedral, Johnstown
Various parishes are also offering Communal Penance Service in these weeks before Easter. For a schedule, please visit the Diocesan website at
Bartchak Coat of Arms Pontifical Schedule for Holy Week  
Bishop Mark will be the celebrant/presider at the following Holy Week Masses/services:

  • Passion/Palm Sunday- March 29 at 11:00 a.m. - Mass at Saint John Gualbert Cathedral in Johnstown (Televised live on WWCP TV FOX 8)
  • Chrism Mass- March 30 at 11:00 a.m. at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Altoona
  • Holy Thursday- April 2 at 6:00 p.m. - Mass of the Lord's Supper at Saint John Gualbert Cathedral in Johnstown
  • Good Friday- April 3 - Morning Prayer at 9:00 a.m.; Celebration of the Lord's Passion at Noon; Tenebrae at 7:30 p.m. at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Altoona
  • Holy Saturday- April 4 - Office of Readings at 9:00 a.m.; Easter Vigil at 8:30 p.m. at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Altoona
  • Easter Sunday- April 5 at 11:00 a.m. - Mass of the Lord's Resurrection at Saint John Gualbert Cathedral in Johnstown (Televised live on WWCP TV FOX 8)
Communion Directives  

An update on the Communion Directives issued during the flu season. The Precious Blood will once again be offered at all Masses in the Diocese beginning with the Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday, April 2. Several weeks ago, Bishop Mark directed that the Precious Blood not be offered temporarily due to the severity of the cold and flu season.

Pilgrimage to Philadelphia
The adult travel package for the Diocesan pilgrimage to Philadelphia is sold out. Faithful from Altoona-Johnstown will travel to the city September 25-28 for Pope Francis' visit at the conclusion of the World Meeting of Families. Individuals or families may contact the Diocese to join a wait list in case some who are already registered decide to cancel their reservations. The young adult travel package remains open for individuals ages 18-25 (no children/youth). It is an excellent option for college students and others in or around that age group. The package includes round-trip bus transportation, lodging at a YMCA in Philadelphia, some meals, and Mass with Bishop Mark. For more information and a registration form, please visit the Diocesan website at www.dioceseaj.org. The deadline for reservations is March 20.

Prince Gallitzin Cross Prince Gallitzin Cross

The Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown is accepting nominations for the 2015 Prince Gallitzin Cross Award. The award recognizes priests, religious, and laity who exhibit the "evangelizing spirit" of the Prince-Priest and Servant of God Demetrius Gallitzin. The deadline for nominations is April 10. For award criteria and a nomination form, please go to the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown website at www.dioceseaj.org. Bishop Mark will present the Gallitzin Cross to the recipients during a dinner and reception on May 16 at the Calvin House in Duncansville. 

Annual Catholic Appeal   Diocesan Coat of Arms

The Development Office staff wishes to extend their sincere appreciation to all who have made a Lenten Annual Catholic Appeal gift.  In the two weeks since ACA Commitment Sunday, we have recorded gifts from 2,686 parishioners with a total value of $552,906.  We have also received several hundred Prayer Intentions which are being read individually before being placed at the foot of the altar in the Diocese's Administration Center Chapel. Your support allows 23 Diocesan ministries to proclaim the Gospel message of Jesus Christ throughout the year.  You may place your Lenten ACA gift in the offertory basket or donate online at www.dioceseaj.org.  Thank you for "Discovering and Rediscovering what is Good, Beautiful and True with Jesus Christ and His Church."


Prayer for Lent  Lenten Crosses

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. 

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