“Your word, O Lord, endures forever; it is firm as the heavens. Through all generations your Truth endures.”
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ:
I want to share with you at this time some thoughts that have inspired me.
The first of these are in reference to general concepts in the Word of God or the Gospel. I believe that in today’s realities, in today’s circumstances of life, these are most relevant to the needs and challenges we are facing as they relate to the essence of each person’s life.
The questions we are presented today in the face of these challenges are ones that should be the foundation for every Christian, but unfortunately, this is not always the case. It is not because in times of suffering, the suffering that we are experiencing now, that not everyone can answer the question: “Why does it happen that innocent people suffer?” We may simply find ourselves less hopeful in such situations.
In times of suffering, what Jesus Christ proposes remains valid and is relevant. Jesus says: “Take my yoke …. and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart. Your souls will find rest, for my yoke is easy and my burden light,” writes Matthew the Evangelist in Chapter 11:29-30.
If so, then the question is: How can this yoke be carried and remain light? How can one bear the cross of problems, suffering, fears, anxieties, emotions and not lose hope? What’s more, how can we be sharing hope and love with others? It is possible when we focus on how Jesus Christ carried the cross and how he answered the question of human suffering.
The word “gospel” itself is what we are now going to consider in exploring these questions. I am convinced that many of you know that from the Greek original form, the word “gospel” sounds like or translates to “Good News”, but we will deepen our knowledge of this word “gospel”.
In the history of the Roman Empire, the term “gospel” was widely used in relation to the person of the emperor, who the people considered divine. Because this was the belief that was held, everything related to or associated with the emperor was also attributed as sacred. The thinking in the time of the Roman Empire was that the emperor expressed the will of the gods the people believed in. Therefore, all that he proclaimed was gospel, good news for the people.
Interestingly, this gospel not only applied to the emperor, but everything that was deemed pleasant for the people; but in reality, some things proclaimed were not so pleasant. For example, information that required tax increases probably did not please people, but even that was also called a gospel. Another example would be when a son was born to an emperor, it was considered a gospel. Now the question arises: “Why were so many things in the various spheres of the Emperor’s life called the gospel?” Because the people at that time believed him, and believed that everything he was doing was the gospel of good news for everyone. Very interesting concept, isn’t it?
That is why in the time of such historical realities, when Christ walked the earth, preached, died and rose again, the disciples could relate to the use of this word (“gospel”) as the basis of God’s word, “Good News.”
When the disciples saw that the doctrine of Jesus Christ, his attitude toward people, and all that he did transcended any human experience that was before, they wanted to reformat this word and give it a qualitatively different meaning, to fill it with a new essence. Since the word “gospel” until the time of Christ’s coming to earth presented a premature guarantee of a good life on earth, how much more authoritative it is for the same word to give meaning and reference to all that Jesus Christ taught and said. Jesus is responsible for his spoken words both here on earth and in heaven.
One day, Peter asked Jesus, “Have we trusted your life, left everything we will have for it?” [“Then Peter said to him …. ‘We have given up everything and followed you. What will there be for us?’ ” Matthew 19:27]
Christ answered Peter that they would have one hundred times more than they left; that life is the eternal inheritance. [“And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life.” Matthew 19:29]
When we hear or read the words of Jesus Christ, we do not receive the words of an emperor, king, or president who is limited by earthly boundaries and authority, but we receive the words of a God who created everything and controls everything and is responsible for every word of it.
Therefore, we must consider that sometimes the word of God takes us where we do not want, reveals to us the secrets of ourselves about which we would prefer to remain silent, but it is still the word of God. In his letter to the Hebrews, the Apostle Paul says this very aptly: “The Word of God is lively and active, sharper than any two-edged sword; “. That’s just the good news. Jesus comes to us in his Word as a caring doctor who treats not only the outside, just as changing one’s appearance is now very fashionable, but changing the essence of our very soul and spirit.
I wish all of you my dear parishioners a deep experience of the Word of God that comes into our lives and an openness to its realization.
I wish you as holy Faustina Kowalska, who has lived through the experience of meeting with the merciful Jesus Christ, has said: “Without God, I can do nothing, only sin, but with God I can do everything.”
With my heartfelt prayers for all of you,
OUR GRATITUDE TO ALL !
To everyone who made our 23rd Annual Flea Market and Ethnic Food Event such a great success, we say THANK YOU
Our event was held on Saturday, August 3rd, and Sunday, August 4th
We thank each volunteer who together with all volunteers in determined effort made it possible. No event such as this is achievable without the combined teamwork to the benefit of all. Everyone applied their particular skills, knowledge, talents, energy, and time when and where needed. For this we are beyond appreciative and impressed by your commitment to St. Michael’s.
We sincerely thank our community at large who support us with their presence. These are the many visitors from near and far, new and familiar friends, dropping in for the first time or making their visit an annual event also. We are grateful and humbled by your compliments on our ethnic food (yes, all the ethnic food really is amazing!). We thank you for shopping for treasures, dining, and returning year after year, or on day two for more of everything ! It was great fun meeting and serving everyone!
In return, we offer our prayers of blessing to all — volunteers and visitors and all who donated — and to your families and friends for health, well-being, and happiness in gratitude for your charitable kindness. † MAY GOD BLESS ALL!
More information below this photo gallery
If you love scouting flea markets, but not the extra travel driving from place to place, St. Michael’s Byzantine Catholic Church, Pittston should be on your agenda.
Father Gary and the parishioners of St. Michael’s invite you to visit.
This year, as always, you will find an abundant amount of items. A special “treasure” might be waiting for you!
The Flea Market is in the lower level of the church. Entrance by stairway is on Main Street next to the side parking lot. The line forms early Saturday morning outside the church. Arrive early if you must, or any time either day. There will be plenty to explore yet if you visit on Sunday. It’s exciting to be part of the fun! Doors open at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday.
Take a break from hunting for treasure and visit the food bar.
Select something as eat in or take out. St. Michael’s is known for outstanding homemade ethnic food: “Piggies” (stuffed cabbage), pierogis, and halushki (cabbage and noodles). Or try a sampler with a little bit of each! Fast food items such as hot dogs, whimpies, and more.
A ziti dinner with fresh homemade sauce and meatballs, salad and bread will be a featured item.
With all these delicious selections there is no need to cook at all.
Don’t forget to pick up something sweet at the Bake Sale: Saturday, August 3rd only.
You are sure to find something temptingly delicious! Items sell fast. Be sure to stop by early for the best selection.
Bishop Kurt R. Burnette, D.D., of the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Passaic, New Jersery will once again preside at this year’s Byzantine Catholic Divine Liturgy on Tuesday, July 23rd. Present with the Bishop will be area priests, deacons, altar servers and regional choir members. Not only is this a gathering of Byzantine Catholic faithful, but an opportunity for everyone to experience the expression of the Eastern traditions of the Catholic church.
The Liturgy will be in the air conditioned upper main church. The traditional blessing with a relic of St. Ann follows.
The annual nine-day solemn novena to St. Ann at the National Shrine of the Basilica of St. Ann, Scranton begins on Wednesday, July 17 and culminates on Friday, July 26, the feast day of St. Ann.
For information about the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Passaic visit : eparchyofpassaic.com
In Addition to Photos (top of this page): Photo Gallery Byzantine Liturgy at St. Ann Basilica
Novena week is the largest gathering of Catholic faithful coming from points near and far, focused in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
Several thousand people attend daily Masses and the novena. It is a beautiful tradition and pilgrimage for all faithful.
A key anticipated feature is the daily preached message. This year’s Passionist preachers are Fr. Jack Conley, C.P., and Fr. Rick Frechette, C.P., D.O.. Fr. Rick is known for his work as medical physician with the poor and marginalized in Haiti. We look forward to being guided spiritually by both preachers in our challenge to be people of light and faith in a world of darkness and trials.
If you plan to attend the Divine Liturgy on July 23rd, it is recommended to arrive very early if you wish to avoid traffic. You will want to have time for a visit around the Shrine; visit the gift shop, light a candle, and have prayer time in the lower church in front of the icon of St. Ann and the Holy Theotokos.
We are ever grateful to the Passionist community, staff, and St. Ann parish family at the Monastery who are always our gracious hosts and friends. It is a gift and blessing to be united as Catholics in worship to God and with reverence to St. Ann.
For those who like to make it a day event, a food stand with a large menu of homemade items with a daily feature and dining tent is located at the lower end of the grounds courtesy of St. Ann’s parish volunteers. Relaxing with other pilgrims is a great way to make new friends and share reflections.
Hope to see everyone in Scranton for novena week!
Let us pray for great weather to the benefit of all.
Additional information will be on St. Ann Scranton Novena Facebook page and more features at stannsnovena.com.
Summary of Novena Week :
If you cannot attend you can listen on
JMJ Catholic Radio 98.9 FM
12 noon (Mass) 12:30 pm (Novena)
7:00 pm (Mass) 7:30 pm (Novena)
DAILY Novena Devotions after each DAILY Mass :
8:00 & 11:45 am 5:30 & 7:30 pm
Novena Service only 3:30 pm daily in the Basilica
Solemn Adoration with the Blessed Sacrament 12:30 to 3:15 P.M. Daily – Lower Basilica
Confessions Before all Masses & after all Services
FRIDAY JULY 19
1:30 pm Mass of the Anointing of the Sick Thursday – Main Basilica
SATURDAY JULY 20
10 am Children’s Mass & Novena & Blessing for Families and Grandparents
SUNDAY JULY 21
Masses at 8:00, 9:30 & 11:45 A.M. 5:30 & 7:30 P.M.
9:30 am in TAMIL language in Lower Basilica
TUESDAY JULY 23
Byzantine Catholic Divine Liturgy
Eastern Rite of Catholic Church
Bishop Kurt Burnette, Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Passaic, NJ
This Liturgy is in place of the 5:30 pm Mass/novena
(Click on blue text above for History)
All Night Adoration (Eve of the Feast)
9:00 pm until first Mass at 4:30 am
FRIDAY JULY 26 St. Ann’s Feast Day
Masses: 4:30, 6:00, 7:00, 8:00, 9:00, 10:00, & 11:45 A.M.
1:15 pm – Polish (Upper Basilica)
3:30 (Novena only)
Mass: 5:30 pm
7:30 pm ** Pontifical Closing
with Bishop Joseph Bambera, D.D., J.C.L.
Our recognition and applause goes to a very special couple who appropriately have a “note” worthy reason to celebrate: We congratulate the cantor of our two Byzantine Catholic churches, Mr. Paul Dzurisin and his wife Dorothy on the occasion of their 60th Wedding Anniversary.
Paul is cantor at both of our parishes: St. Michael Byzantine Catholic Church, Pittston and St. Nicholas Byzantine Catholic Church, Swoyersville, Pennsylvania. And this is no easy task because it requires more than a little stamina for just about any person attempting this, to cover two parishes several miles apart on a busy schedule. His ability to accomplish this is impressive, as much as his dedication, talent, and knowledge are valued by everyone.
Of course, he would be quick to point out this is only possible through the support and assistance of his wife Dorothy who has been by his side through the years, patiently understanding how she is as much a part of the ministry in the shared sacrifices of time it requires.
It is a testament to Paul and Dorothy’s love of God expressed in the holy vocation of marriage that each has lived this Sacrament, that of family and home as domestic church. But in their case, there are no boundaries with any of the churches they are a part of ! It is obvious that Paul loves what he does and Dorothy the same. You can catch Paul with an ever-ready smile and a wave to parishioners after liturgies, and Dorothy is hardly a stranger to sharing a wonderful laugh and joyful greeting too! We wish them and their families the very best in all the ways they bring joy to others.
Congratulations to Paul and Dorothy, to their children, grandchildren, and yes, great-grandchildren in recognition of steadfast faith, honor in marriage, and service to the Glory of our Lord.
God Grant Them Many Years!
God Grant Them Many Blessed, Healthy, and Happy Years!
What is the role of the Cantor in a Byzantine Catholic Church?
CLICK HERE for the answer on this same website
Our 2018 annual
St. Michael Flea Market Weekend
came to a close Sunday, August 5.
We at St. Michael’s thank all who visited or volunteered.
And we sincerely mean that!
Who are the people who made a difference?
Everyone who participated made a difference!
You can believe is it our community of friends, neighbors, patrons, fellow “believers”, parishioners and volunteers
— extending far beyond 205 North Main Street, Pittston.
This year was no exception ! Everyone is a part of the success ….. it is the combined effort, the sum total of all the parts that makes a difference. ( Does that sound a bit like what St. Paul mentions in 1 Corininthians 12 ? )
Everyone brings a little part of themselves to the mix, doing what they can in their own unique and gifted way to make it all happen.
The difference we make is our gift back to God in thanksgiving for many good things He blesses upon us.
And since our united effort (whether in prayer or activities) is what makes us church, what makes us the Body of Christ — a community of believers — in the chance that you may have missed the opportunity this year to “be on board”, we welcome you to join us next time. Each person is the key to guaranteeing the future of what we value.
The ways people make a difference . . . .
Our partial list :
♥ The patrons who return year after year. Our good neighbors and faithful friends come for the food (the definition of delicious) and to shop. Thank you for your support. What is more remarkable to us are the places people came from, places that were quite far in fact, and also friends from several local churches. All we can say is “Wow!” We are humbled.
♥ The drop-in shoppers/visitors enter our doors for the first time and are pleasantly surprised. Cannot miss the line up outside on day one! We hope we served your needs well and returned the value of your time with us. Thank you for dropping in out of curiosity!
♥ Our Day One bargain hunters – the scouters of “great stuff” who patiently waited in that long line for the doors to open on Saturday. We hope you found the surprise treasure that made your day!
♥ And every volunteer who helped. Whether your help was visible or behind the scenes, big or small, no matter how much time or what role was played. May you find some rest in the weeks ahead, knowing you served God and your church, and did so out of love for both.
♥ Our food team volunteers who worked for hours in prep and cooking. And our bakers ! It takes planning, time and labor to achieve what you do. Where would we be without your skills? You are our success makers! We vote you best ethnic food in the area, too!
♥ And our “senior” volunteers (that may be the majority) who unfailingly help each year; you grasp the needs that exist and respond in kind. Our prayers are with you. We pray also that our young people will find in you the model to follow as they sort out discovering their path. We do hope that path includes being a part of St. Michael’s now and in their future.
♥ The people who don’t belong to our parish, who volunteer for their friends! You get a heartfelt hug and prayers of gratitude. You are the best of the best!
♥ Every other role played by volunteers: the bakers, flea market “pricers”, organizers, errand runners, setup helpers, donors of supplies, and on and on.
We thank everyone.
May God bless you in the role you served.
Because in the end, it’s all about serving God in serving others and ensuring the future of our church in our community.
The annual novena to St. Ann draws thousands of faithful pilgrims from July 17 through July 26, the feast day of St. Ann on the Latin calendar (July 25 : Dormition of St. Ann on Eastern rite Calendar). Novena week is observed with multiple daily Roman Catholic Masses and daily novena prayer services with inspirational preaching. Each year for four decades, a Byzantine Catholic Liturgy has also been featured.
The Bishop of the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Passaic, New Jersery presides at the Divine Liturgy with area priests and deacons as concelebrants, and altar servers and choir members assisting. The photos seen below are a sample of the annual event, taken at the 2018 Liturgy with Bishop Kurt Burnett as the main celebrant. The Passionist preachers for the 2018 novena were Rev. Don Ware, C.P. and Rev. Michael Rowe, C.P.. The Rev. Don Ware, C.P. is pictured below with Bishop Kurt.
Photos appear in sequential order including: the great incensing of the church and faithful, chanting of litanies, the Epistle and Gospel readings, homily, singing of the Nicene Creed, the Anaphora (Eucharistic prayers) and Epiclesis (consecration of the Holy Eucharist), and following the Liturgy were the closing with novena prayers and blessing with relic of St. Ann.
† For a description of the history of the Divine Liturgy during St. Ann novena week: click here.
† Click on any photo to open to Slide Photo View
Father Gary and the parishioners of St. Michael’s invite you to visit our 22nd Annual Flea Market on Saturday and Sunday. A special “treasure” might be waiting just for you!
FLEA MARKET TIME:
Saturday August 4 9 am to 4 pm
Sunday August 5 9 am to 3 pm
The Flea Market is in the lower level church hall.
Use left side entrance from Main Street next to parking lot. The line forms early Saturday morning in front of the church. Saturday start time is the busiest. There is always plenty to explore and plenty of food both days. It’s exciting to be part of the fun! Doors open at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday.
Take a break after hunting for bargains and interesting “stuff” and visit the food bar for ethnic food.
Or purchase a Ziti and meatball dinner ticket to eat in or take out.
ZITI DINNER & TAKEOUTS:
A ziti dinner with fresh homemade sauce and meatballs, salad and bread will be a featured item.
Saturday 12 pm to 3 pm
Sunday 10 am to 3 pm
Cost: $10 Adults; $6 Children under 12
Tickets sold at the door; orders are taken in the seating area.
BAKE SALE: Saturday only
Under tent outside. You are sure to find something temptingly delicious! Items sell fast. Be sure to stop by early for the best selection.
TRADITIONAL & DELICIOUS – ETHNIC FOOD
St. Michael’s is known for outstanding homemade ethnic food:
Piggies (stuffed cabbage)
Or try a sampler with a little bit of each! Fast food items such as hot dogs, whimpies, and more. Eat in or Take out on all items. With all these delicious selections there is no need to cook at all.
CLICK ON ANY PHOTO below for larger images in slide show view
Everyone at St. Michael’s thanks all who visit or volunteer in supporting this event each year and look forward to seeing all of our returning and new friends alike. God bless each of you.
† For full description and additional photos: Click Here for Photos of Liturgy with Bishop Kurt Burnette
The annual novena to St. Ann draws thousands of faithful pilgrims from July 17 through July 26, the feast day of St. Ann on the Latin calendar.
Bishop Kurt Burnette of the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Passaic, New Jersery will preside at this year’s Liturgy with area priests and deacons as concelebrants, and area altar servers and choir members assisting.
The Liturgy will be in the upper main church. All are invited to attend in witness to the beauty and expression of our Eastern rite traditions at this blessed and historic site. Everyone attending will receive the traditional blessing with a relic of St. Ann following the Liturgy.
Pope Saint John Paul II declared St. Ann Monastery and Church as a National Shrine to be a Minor Basilica on October 27, 1997. The novena has a long history dating back to the early 1900’s when the monastery was founded by the Passionist order and the Roman Catholic diocese of Scranton.
Novena week is observed with multiple daily Latin rite Masses and novena prayer services with inspirational preaching. This year’s Passionist preachers are Rev. Don Ware, C.P. and Rev. Michael Rowe, C.P.
Over four decades, every bishop of the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Passaic since Bishop Michael J. Dudick, has visited the monastery and celebrated Liturgy at the Basilica. Through the vision of Bishop Dudick, the Byzantine Liturgy during novena week became an established tradition at the Shrine. The entire Passionist community, staff, and parish family at the Monastery have continued to be gracious hosts and friends. It is a gift and blessing to be united as Catholics in worship to God and with reverence to St. Ann.
Opportunities for Sacrament of Reconciliation are available before and after the regular daily novena services; it is recommended to arrive very early for parking, or to have time for a visit around the Shrine; or prayer time in the lower church before the icon of St. Ann and the Holy Theotokos, an icon presented from our Eparchy of Passaic. A food stand is located at the lower end of the grounds courtesy of St. Ann’s parish volunteers.
Hope to see everyone in Scranton for novena week!
Directions and additional information may be found online.
Novena Week Services include:
Novena Preachers : Fr. Michael Rowe, C.P. & Fr. Donald Ware, C.P.
Novena can be heard on local Catholic EWTN affiliate radio: JMJ 98.9 FM 12 noon and 8 to 9 pm daily
Novena Devotions after each Mass : 8:00 & 11:45 am 5:30 & 7:30 pm & Novena Service only 3:30 pm daily in the Basilica — Solemn Adoration Blessed Sacrament 12:30 to 3:15 P.M. Daily – Lower Basilica — Confessions Before all Masses & after all Services
SUNDAY JULY 22 —– Schedule: 8:00, 9:30 & 11:45 A.M. 5:30 & 7:30 P.M. ** 9:30 am in TAMIL Language in Lower Basilica
THURSDAY JULY 19 —– 1:30 pm Mass of the Anointing of the Sick Thursday – Basilica
SATURDAY JULY 21 —– 10 am Children’s Mass & Novena Special Blessing for Families and Grandparents
All Night Adoration (Eve of the Feast) 9:00 pm until first Mass at 4:30 am
THURSDAY JULY 26 St. Ann’s Feast Day ——– Mass Schedule: 4:30, 6:00, 7:00, 8:00, 9:00, 10:00, & 11:45 A.M. 3:30 (Novena only) & 5:30 pm 7:30 pm ** Pontifical Closing with Bishop Joseph Bambera, D.D., J.C.L. ** Language Service – 1:15 pm – Polish (Upper Basilica) **
Visit St. Michael Byzantine Catholic Church, Pittston home page https://stmichaelsbyzantine.com for additional topics
CLICK HERE to see photos showing the severe ice jam on the river in Jan 2018
With the recent unpredictability of ice jams in the river, we were very
concerned about continuing with this event . Even as the ice jam threat has lessened at this time, it is far too dangerous to proceed. Our prayers were and continue to be for all those living along the river and in other potential flood zones. River flooding and threats of flooding are very stressful for everyone in our area, and our focus at this time is on prayer for all who are affected in any way, and for future protection of all.
We especially thank all workers in emergency management,
disaster relief and preparedness, law enforcement and all first responders, and public officials for the services provided during this time. We thank also those volunteers and workers who served in any other way, including our local media broadcasters for their role in communication.