from the pastor…Fr. McHugh

24th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Theme: The Lord is Kind and Merciful

The refrain from Responsorial Psalm 103 reflects the theme of the day. The first reading from Sirach emphasizes that we must forgive our neighbors’ sins if we wish to be forgiven ours. The reading from Sirach stresses that anger is a hateful thing and that if we harbor anger, we cannot expect healing from the Lord. Sirach implores us not to hate our neighbors and put enmity aside. In today’s Gospel from Matthew, Peter asks Jesus how many times we are to forgive our brothers and asks if 7 times is sufficient. Jesus responds by saying we should forgive 77 times, which is an unlimited number. Jesus continues by offering the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant. After a king mercifully forgives a huge debt, the servant then refuses to forgive another servant a small debt, and has the man thrown into a debtor’s prison. When other servants call this to the king’s attention, the king rescinds his forgiveness of the unmerciful servant. The message is quite clear: we must forgive others if we wish to be forgiven by God. Forgiveness is one of life’s greatest challenges. God wants us to forgive others and forgive them readily.

Parish Council Meeting

This will be held on Wednesday, September 20, at 6:30 PM in the St. Joseph Room.

Faith Formation Registration

We ask that those students who should register to please do so as soon as possible. Classes are held on Mondays at 4:30 PM.

Fr. McHugh’s Scripture Presentations on YouTube

Two new scriptural presentations of Fr. McHugh are on YouTube: “Advances in Biblical Interpretation, Including a Look at the Pontifical Biblical Commission’s Document on the Historicity of the Gospels and Fr. Robert Barone’s Summation of the Growth of Biblical Interpretation in the 1970s and ’80s,” and another on “Early Church Officers in Scripture.” Simply type in “Father Connell McHugh Biblical Narratives” on your computer to listen in.

Scripture Sessions

Our first Scripture session will be held this Thursday, September 21, at 9:00 AM. I will examine the Pontifical Biblical Commission’s landmark document “The Historicity of the Gospels” and distribute and comment on Fr. Robert Barone’s notes on the interpretation of Scripture, which deals with the gradual emergence of U.S. biblical scholars after the II Vatican Council. While not required, we would appreciate people registering for the Scripture sessions. In session 2, I will deal with the priesthood and offices of the early New Testament Church. I plan to have 3 sessions in October: on the 5th, 12th, and 19th. If we finish “Offices in the Early Church” and “The Early Papacy,” I will get into the parables.


Name ______________________________________

Phone Number _______________________________

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

Praying With Scripture

  1. Try to overcome any hatred you have toward anyone.
  2. How willing are you to forgive others who have hurt you whether deliberately or unintentionally?
  3. Are you compassionate in your dealing with others?

Blessing of Animals

The Blessing of Animals will be held on Saturday, September 30, at 2:00 PM on the Prayer Garden side of the church. Animals should be on leashes or in cages. The blessing will be given along the side of the church.

Parish Breakfast

This will be held on Sunday, October 1, from 8:00 AM until Noon. Please try to support it.

We Welcome

We welcome Simon Cabrera and Angela Farkus and family as our newest members of Good Shepherd Parish.

Communion Ministers 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.

October Mass Attendance Survey

We take Mass attendance every weekend. Throughout the month of October, the Diocese wants a survey of all the weekend Masses of obligation. Some of the attendances during the summer would not be impressive to the persons examining them. Sometime, we have fallen below 600. Some dioceses have developed guidelines where a Sunday Mass should not be celebrated if less than 200 attend. We should, in my opinion, have at least a 700 weekend attendance, especially if we want to make a real case for continuing to be an independent parish.

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.

Fr. Connell's Trivia

  1. This former Eastern Professional basketball player, who starred for Sunbury and Trenton, saw NBA action for a few years, and then had a solid ABA career, became the first ABA player to shoot 40% or more from 3-point range. Can you name him? Hint – he has tons of instructive videos on shooting.
  2. This famous Swoyersville basketball star was from an outstanding basketball family. He later led the country in rebounding while starring for George Washington in college and averaged over 20 points a game for his varsity career. He later played in the NBA with the Syracuse Nationals and Detroit Pistons. In high school, he helped Swoyersville decisively defeat the 1950-51 Hazleton team, which was one of the greatest in school history. Can you name him?

Last Week’s Answers:

  1. Al Dark was the featured LSU running back when Steve Van Buren began playing for the team. Dark was the National League’s Rookie of the Year in 1948 and a very successful manager. (Question: When Steve Van Buren, the Eagle’s great running back, played for LSU his initial year, he was not the team’s featured running back. The man who was became a fine National League shortstop and was the League’s 1948 Rookie of the Year and a very successful Major League manager. Can you name him?)
  2. Pete Rozelle was the 1951 University of San Francisco’s publicist who, of course, became a longtime commissioner of the NFL. (Question: Who was the publicist for the famous 1951 San Francisco Dons undefeated and untied team? The publicist became one of the most influential and powerful men in football. Can you name him?)

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.