from the pastor…Fr. McHugh

5th Sunday of Lent

Theme: Losing One’s Life to Gain It

The first reading from Jeremiah speaks of the Lord making a new covenant with His people different from the one He made when He rescued His people from Egyptian slavery. That covenant was broken by the people by their disobedience to God who had to chastise them. God will now forgive His people and all will be aware of being God’s own people. The second reading from Hebrews speaks of Jesus’ Passion, and how he called out to God the Father to deliver Him. In the Synoptic Gospels, Jesus agonized over His approaching death in the Garden of Gethsemane. Even though Jesus implored the Father to save Him from His hour, He then realized that it was for the glory of God that He was going to experience His Passion. By offering His life, He became the source of salvation for all who followed Him. In the Gospel from John, some Greeks ask Philip if they could see Jesus. Philip reported this to Andrew who went with Philip to see Jesus. Jesus responds to them by speaking of His Passion and His glorification and employing the analogy of the grain of wheat dying to produce life as He himself would have to do. Jesus asks us to be willing to lay down our own life by serving Him. Jesus speaks of being lifted up (His death on the cross) to draw people to himself.

Television Mass

Fr. McHugh was the celebrant of the channel 13 pre-taped Mass which will be aired this Sunday at 7:00 and 9:00 AM and 6:30 PM.

Home Masses

Fr. McHugh offered Mass at Fritzingertown on Friday, March 9, and will offer Mass on Tuesday, March 20, at 10:00 AM at Providence Place.

Parish Council

This will meet on Wednesday, March 21, at 6:30 PM in the St. Joseph Room. I will not be present since I will be assisting with St. John Bosco’s Penance Service.

Faith Formation Mass

Our next Faith Formation Mass will be after Easter. Grade 7 will participate in the 10:00 AM Mass on April 8th. The First Communion class (grade 2) will also sing at the liturgy. The remaining children’s Masses are April 22nd (the 1st grade class), and May 6th (the 3rd grade class). Both Masses are on Sunday at 10:00 AM.

Penance Services This Week

Good Shepherd’s Penance Service will take place on Thursday, March 22, at 7:00 PM, and St. John Bosco’s will be held on Wednesday, March 21, also at 7:00 PM.

Priests’ Convocation

This will take place from April 9th through April 12th at Skytop. I will be able to offer the Monday, April 9, Mass. Monsignor Kaschenbach has graciously consented to offer Mass from Tuesday, April 10, through Friday, April 13, provided there are no funerals at Holy Name of Jesus in that stretch. He will let you know if there are any funerals.

Liguori Catholic Updates

We will again employ the weekly updates from Liguori as part of our Lenten bulletins.

The Living Stations

On Friday, March 23, also at 4:00 PM, Faith Formation students will present the Living Stations. Please try to support our students. There will not be Benediction that day.

Easter Flowers and Easter Collection

Please try to contribute generously to the Easter and Easter Flowers collections.

Lenten Scripture Study Sessions

Scripture Sessions

  • March 22 – Make-Up Week: If make-up is not necessary, I may present another topic or show a DVD that I have in mind.

While walk-ins are welcome, I encourage registration to help us get an estimate of our attendance. Please fill out the coupon. You are more than welcome to bring guests for any presentation. Register even if you plan to attend only part of the program.

Lenten Scripture Study

Name ___________________________________________

Phone Number ____________________________________

(~ For a printer-friendly version (PDF), proceed to the "Downloads" page of our website.)

Praying With Scripture

  1. Jesus learned compassion by suffering. Are there moments in your own life that suffering leads you to being compassionate?
  2. Meditate on the paradoxical statement, “We gain our life by losing it.”
  3. Read the Responsorial Psalm and ask God for help in attaining a clean heart.

150th Anniversary Documentary

The premier of the documentary on the 150th anniversary of the Diocese of Scranton will be shown on WVIA on Thursday, March 22, at 8:00 PM. This program was produced specifically for the anniversary year. The documentary will be re-broadcast on WVIA on Friday, March 23, at 2:00 PM; Saturday, March 24, at 6:00 PM; and Sunday, April 1, at 3:00 PM. Re-broadcast dates on CTV will be Tuesday, April 3, at 8:00 PM; Wednesday, April 4, at 10:00 AM; Monday, April 9, at 9:00 AM; Thursday, April 12, at 2:00 PM; and Friday, April 13, at 8:00 PM. The documentary will also be available for viewing on the Diocesan website at

Fr. Connell's Trivia

  1. Who is the all-time leading scorer in the Wyoming Valley League? Hints – he had a decent career for North Carolina and had short stints in the NBA.
  2. These two regional high school players were teammates on Fordham’s basketball team from 1948-51. One was from St. Gabriel’s; the other from MMI. Can you name them? Hints – I bought my first baseball cards from the father of the St. Gabriel’s player at his popular store. The MMI player was called “The Jeddo Jet.”

Last Week’s Answers:

  1. Boxing champion Sonny Liston was arrested 19 times and appeared on the cover of the Beatles’ album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. (Question: This former heavyweight boxing champion was arrested 19 times and was never embraced by his adopted city of Philadelphia. He appeared on the cover of the Beatles’ album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Can you name him?)
  2. More Major League baseball players were born in California than any other state. Pennsylvania ranks second in this category. (Question: More Major League players were born in this state than any other. Can you name the state?)

Free Books

St. John Bosco gave us a large number of books from fine author and speaker Matthew Kelly. The books make for fine spiritual reading.


I did make an effort to reach many of our shut-ins during December and will pick this up again when the weather allows. Call in the names of parishioners only if you want me to bring the sacraments to their home. With not being given any help, I cannot cover non-parishioners.

Do You Want to Know More about the Annulment Process?

In the Diocese of Scranton, the annulment process is now more “user friendly” than you might expect, and there is no longer a processing fee. Please contact your pastor or the Diocesan Tribunal Office at (570) 207-2246 to begin a conversation. It is possible to get clear answers to these questions and to renew your connection with the Church.

Homebound: (Parishioners Only)

Please notify the office if you wish to receive Holy Communion before Christmas. We will try to accommodate you. If you live 10 miles or so from Good Shepherd, we may have to wait until after the holiday season. If I take the call, I would like it to be no later than December 15th because of the heavy Mass and confession schedule. It would be much too difficult to take anything other than emergencies in the 10 days before Christmas.

Winter Weather

When school is canceled or delayed, call the office to see if there is a daily Mass. Call after 7:00 AM. For major storms, Mass will be definitely canceled. If schools are given weather-related early dismissals on a Monday, Faith Formation that day will be canceled, as well as if school is canceled for the day due to the weather.


Those who plan to be confirmed in 2019 must attend our 7th grade sessions this year. We will not allow Confirmation candidates to skip grade 7 and jump into the Confirmation class.

Attendance and Contributing Trends

For countless years, Joe Yamulla has faithfully counted the attendance at each weekend Mass. Since July, Joe Dvornicich has averaged out these figures. From the beginning of July through the 2nd week of November, the average attendances are: 4:00 PM – 207, 8:00 AM – 158, and 10:00 AM – 249, for a total average of 614 per weekend. The highest attendance for 4:00 PM was on the weekend of November 12th with 237, and the lowest was on August 27th with 182. The highest attendance at 8:00 AM was on August 6th with 174. 10:00 AM has taken over from 4:00 PM as the best-attended liturgy with a 249 average. The highest attendance was on November 5th with 358 people. The lowest was on July 9th with 181. This year has also shown a decline in weekly collections. The offertory through November 12 has averaged $3,449. We averaged $3,722 for the previous year. Again, we have to reverse the downward spiral.

Areas That the Diocese Scrutinizes With the Ever-Dwindling Number of Priests

  1. Is the parish solvent?
  2. The number of parishioners
  3. Does the parish support the Diocesan Appeal?
  4. Parish activities and outreach ministries
  5. The baptismal rate in comparison to the death rate
  6. Mass attendance – some dioceses have a policy that weekend Masses should not be offered if they do not average 200 or more people

What You Can Do to Help Prevent the Reduction of Services

  1. Attend Mass regularly and financially support your parish
  2. Register as a parishioner if you have not already done so
  3. Volunteer for some ministry or be active in parish projects
  4. Support the Diocesan Appeal
  5. Participate in outreach projects

If you do these things, you are casting a vote for not having services reduced. If you don’t do the above, you are voting for a reduction in parish services. It’s your choice!

Communion Ministers and RCIA Team Members Needed

One of our prime needs currently is that of communion ministers. Several ministers want at least a temporary break and a couple can no longer be ones or have decided not to be a communion minister any longer. Call the office or mention it to me if you wish to be a communion minister. One has to be a good practicing Catholic. If anyone is divorced and remarried, an annulment should have been attained and the marriage blessed (convalidated in church). Although we do not have any RCIA candidates at this time, we are in need of an RCIA coordinator and RCIA team members.

Sponsor Requests

Recently, we had several requests for sponsors from people who have no affiliation with the parish. Please do not request a sponsor letter if you do not belong to Good Shepherd.

Parish Life Coordinator (PLC)

Unlike deacons, Parish Life Coordinators are usually assigned to parishes other than their own. Becoming a Parish Life Coordinator does involve considerable work. People with a strong background in ministries make the best candidates, such as parish Directors of Education, liturgy planners, RCIA personnel, parish finance administrators, etc. People who have a strong theological background also have an advantage.

Diocese of Scranton Certificate in Lay Ministry

I have applications for this. The Diocese is offering, through the Parish Life Office, in conjunction with Dayton University Virtual Learning Community for Faith Formation, certificates to persons serving as DRE, RCIA personnel, Directors of Music Ministry, Parish Council members, catechists, outreach ministers, and Finance Council members opportunities to obtain these certificates.

Sunday Meetings and Activities

Please try to avoid Sunday meetings and activities if you wish me to attend. If one is to consistently offer all the weekend Masses, hear Confessions, conduct baptismal classes, perform baptisms, etc., other activities are just a bit too much. In addition, during the past year, I was involved in teaching Confirmation students.

Cry Room Usage

This is just a reminder that the Holy Family Room (Cry Room) is to be used only by people with babies or small children at the Saturday 4:00 PM and the Sunday 10:00 AM Masses.

Help Wanted

Good Shepherd Parish is looking for lectors, Eucharistic ministers, greeters, and also people to join our Building and Grounds Committee. You may contact the parish office if you are interested or complete the coupon and drop it in the collection basket.


Name ______________________________________

Phone Number _______________________________

Area(s) of Interest _____________________________


~ For a printer-friendly version (PDF) go to the “Downloads” page of our website.

Do You Want to Know More about the Annulment Process?

In the Diocese of Scranton, the annulment process is now more “user friendly” than you might expect, and there is no longer a processing fee. Please contact your pastor or the Diocesan Tribunal Office (570-207-2246) to begin a conversation. It is possible to get clear answers to these questions and to renew your connection with the Church.

Presentation of the Gifts

If the Mass is for your intention, you are more than welcome to take up the gifts. For weekday Masses, simply go to the table in the back after the Intercessory Prayer of the Faithful. For weekend Masses, just tell Joe Yamulla that you will bring up the gifts.

Regarding Bulletin Inserts

I ask all parish organizations and individuals to try to use the bulletin rather than an insert for most programs and events we have. Things like the calendar, the financial reports, and the festival are necessary. Other things could just be placed in the regular bulletin which is three pages most times, in relatively small type. I help those who stuff the bulletin almost every week and last week, we had four inserts in addition to the third page of the bulletin. Fortunately, we had 10 people, myself included, who worked on this tedious project, and we finished within a half hour. Sometimes, however, there are only 4 or 5 people and on occasion, 2 or 3. We have to economize in this area. Positively, I do not want more than 2 inserts in any one bulletin, and hopefully, only one. This will be on a first-come, first-served basis. We have driven up our bills for paper to a high degree. Certainly, I am grateful for all the projects initiated by parishioners, but not for the countless inserts which most people do not use.

Bulletin Articles

Please submit all bulletin articles to the parish office by 9:00 AM on Tuesday mornings. Articles submitted after the deadline will be published in the next week’s bulletin.

Bulletin Sponsors

We thank recent bulletin sponsors Bonomo’s Carpet and Flooring, JMJ Catholic Radio, Dr. David Portonova, Providence Place, The Knee Center, Tunnessen Radiator Inc., Tunnessen Supply, and long-standing sponsors All Care Home Care, Catholic Match, Patricia Spivak CPA, Sugarloaf Child Care and Valley Pharmacy. The sponsorships do pay for the bulletin covers from Bon Venture which I feel are well done. More sponsors would be needed if Good Shepherd were to receive periodic rebate checks. Again, we thank sponsors new and old.

The Building or Purchase of a Rectory

The building of a rectory on the parish grounds or the purchase of a home will not guarantee a pastor for Good Shepherd – an increase of vocations will. Some parishioners seem to feel that once we have a pastor’s residence, this will assure us of having a pastor. Certainly, we should continue to collect money for building on site or purchasing a home. We also have to take into account maintaining the residence, which at the current level of collection average, would not be easy. The facts that we only had four seniors participate in the Graduation Mass and no one responding, as of this writing, to the call for altar servers does nothing to foster optimism in the area of vocations.

Remaining to Mass Completion

Please make it a point to stay for the entire Mass unless you have an emergency. Mass is almost always 50 minutes to an hour. Certainly, we can afford to give this time to God.

New Parishioner Coupon

We need people who attend Good Shepherd and are registered in another parish to join ours. Please consider joining Good Shepherd if you are not attached to another parish. Fill out the coupon and you will be contacted. You may also come to the office on weekday mornings to register.

New Parishioner Registration Request

Name _______________________________________

Address _____________________________________


Telephone ___________________________________

*For a printer-friendly (PDF)version, go to the “Downloads” page of our website.

Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA)

If you or anyone you know wishes to join the Catholic Church, please call the parish office and leave your name and phone number. Adults who have been baptized or not baptized are welcome. We will start the RCIA program any time we have candidates. The program meets every other Wednesday night for one to two hours and at Mass every weekend for a discussion of the readings for that Sunday. We also welcome anyone who wishes to join as a catechist and help with our program which culminates at the Easter Vigil with the administration of the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist. You need only be a practicing Catholic in good standing to help.

What is a Parish Life Coordinator? Read This and be Informed

What is a Parish Life Coordinator? In recent months, we have heard a great deal about Parish Life Coordinators and the shortage of priests. At a meeting of the deanery with Bishop Bambera at St. John Bosco on June 29th (2015), the bishop explained the role of a Parish Coordinator. Basically, a PLC is in charge of running a parish in the absence of a pastor. The bishop stated that a PLC should have a college degree and be a generally well-educated person. A short period would be necessary for learning the role, probably several months. PLCs would, at this time, basically be appointed to city or suburban parishes that are not at a distance from other ones. A priest would be assigned as a Sacramental Minister to the parish, providing full weekend services and confessions. Another priest would serve as a Moderator helping the PLC. The sacramental priest would likely be one who currently is a chaplain, one involved in school work or a retired priest in reasonable health. The priest may or may not live close to the parish of which he is the Sacramental Minister. This is why, at present, the bishop would not appoint a sacramental priest to a parish that is at a distance from others. A PLC, at present, would not be assigned to a parish a good distance from others since a priest would not be available for emergencies. A PLC would be appointed to parishes that are in reasonable distance of other ones. Priests from other parishes could handle emergencies. This would include anointings and perhaps funerals and interments. The cost of a PLC would not exceed the cost of a pastor, and a PLC would be appointed by the bishop just as pastors are. The bishop stressed that he would not be in favor of a PLC remaining indefinitely at a parish. A parish that had a PLC for a time would ideally go back to having a regular pastor. A parish is not a “PLC parish” for life. Those accepted into the PLC program would not necessarily serve in their own parish. The PLC is not something that should alarm any of us. It is common in dioceses throughout the country. Priests will not become “circuit riders” offering Masses in multiple parishes in Bishop Bambera’s plan.

Baptism Preparation

Parents are required to attend the Baptism preparation class for their first child or if it has been three years since the birth of their last child. If you see that your child will be born shortly after a scheduled class, you may attend during your pregnancy.


I would appreciate it if some meetings could be held in the morning since I am at the point now where I just can’t keep running back and forth so frequently to Good Shepherd. I know some meetings do have to be held at night, but not all.

Tables and Chairs

These will no longer be available for parishioners and non-parishioners alike for family reunions, graduations, etc. Over the past summer, people who have borrowed them have returned them in a lesser condition than when they were taken out. Some of the tables were even left out in the rain. While we don’t give out our better tables and chairs, we still use the ones we have given out for larger gatherings. We are sorry, but due to the lack of care for our tables and chairs by a few, they no longer will be given out. I looked at the way our equipment was returned at the request of the janitorial staff and Buildings and Grounds personnel and could clearly see how the tables, especially, suffered considerable damage.

Bulletin Sponsors

We thank those who currently are sponsoring our parish bulletin: All Care Home Care, Booty’s Place,, Patricia Spivak CPA, Sugarloaf Child Care, The Knee Center, and Valley Pharmacy. Currently, sponsorships pay for the bulletin covers. If we had a greater number of sponsors, the parish would receive rebate checks as well. If you are interested in advertising in our bulletin, please call Karen Owens at 1-800-364-0684, extension 92. The number of bulletin advertisers is low considering our parish membership.

Eulogies at Funerals

Since we have had involvement in 20 or more funerals to date, counting interments, and have had eulogies at approximately 40 to 50 percent of the Masses, now is a good time to comment on eulogies. The Church, in the past, has had a long-standing prohibition of giving eulogies at funerals. The Order of Christian Funerals states, “A brief homily based on the readings should always be given at the funeral liturgy, but never any kind of eulogy.” The homilist is to keep in mind the identity of the deceased, the circumstances of death and the grief of the family. The homilist is to preach on the saving mystery of Christ’s death. Today, the Church allows a family member or friend to speak on behalf of the deceased before the final commendation begins. The words are to be brief, highlighting an aspect of the deceased’s life of faith. If there is a desire for a lengthy eulogy or sharing of memories, this should take place at the funeral vigil and not in church. Priests have the right to read ahead of time the text and outline of any eulogy and make changes in length and content when necessary.

To Advertise in Good Shepherd Bulletin

Please call (800) 364-0684, extension 92. We are grateful for those who are already advertising.

Funeral and Wedding Costs

We will follow the Diocesan recommended fee of $300 for both funerals and weddings. Baptisms remain a free-will offering of your choice.

Lehigh Valley Hospital – Hazleton

If you are a member of Good Shepherd Parish and are hospitalized at Lehigh Valley Hospital – Hazleton, please list your parish as Good Shepherd. Quite a few of Good Shepherd parishioners claim as their parish one that has been closed. Some people from Good Shepherd and other parishes are not visited because their parish priests, myself included, do not think to look under closed parishes for their own parishioners, and understandably so. A way to assure that you will be visited, if you so desire, is to notify the parish office.