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Bishop Kurt R. Burnette, D.D., of the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Passaic, New Jersery will preside at the Byzantine Catholic Divine Liturgy on Tuesday, July 21st. Joining the bishop will be area priests, deacons, altar servers and regional choir members.
Limitations will be in effect due to COVID-19 precautions. All rules and safety measures are to ensure the health safety of everyone. The Diocese of Scranton has published the following article (see links below) on their website. It describes the challenges faced by those planning this year’s event along with the changes faithful will need to know in advance if attending.
Please carefully read this article if you wish to attend so you can adjust your plans accordingly. There are changes to some of the customary services normally available on the Basilica grounds.
The Liturgy will be in the air conditioned upper main church, however the number of faithful allowed inside the Basilica for the Liturgy will be limited to 135 people. The traditional blessing with a relic of St. Ann will be made as a general blessing and not as individual blessings.
While many faithful cherish the traditions of participating across several generations, this year it is recommended that anyone with underlying medical conditions consider remaining in the safety of home and instead pray the devotions in other ways. Locally, broadcasts by Catholic Television (CTV) will be available. Radio broadcasts, and streaming online may available.
Check back to this webpage for updates.
The annual nine-day solemn novena to St. Ann at the National Shrine of the Basilica of St. Ann, Scranton begins on Friday, July 17 and culminates on Sunday, July 26, the feast day of St. Ann.
We pray that in future years we will be able to celebrate as we have in the past honoring the mother of our blessed Theotokos, the Mother of Our God.
In our present time, God understands our needs, knows the intentions of our hearts and hears our petitions for bringing us through these trials and sacrifices. No matter how we participate in this year’s novena, whether at home or at the Basilica, our voices are united both now and eternally.
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.
Please check back to this page for updated information as we receive it.
You may need to search online for broadcasts and airings by:
DAILY Novena Devotions after each DAILY Mass : 8:00 & 11:45 am 5:30 pm
Novena Service only 3:30 pm daily in the Basilica; No daily 7:30 Masses except for Closing Feast Day
It’s June 2020 and we have reached two milestones. First, you are invited to visit the new Facebook page of our sister parish, St. Nicholas of Myra Byzantine Catholic Church, Swoyersville, Pennyslvania. You can find it here at this link:
Be sure to watch live streamed Eastern Catholic (Byzantine rite) Liturgies from St. Nicholas church. Periodically there will also be news specific to the parish. Live stream liturgies will follow the routine parish schedule of services: Sundays at 11 am and additionally as announced. Please remember to like the new page to get St. Nicholas’ site off to a fresh start.
Our gratitude goes to Fr. Andrii, pastor of St. Michael Church, Pittston and St. Nicholas Church, Swoyersville. Fr. Andrii independently and technically manages the live streaming from both churches. Thank you especially to the St. Michael team of Deacon Larry, altar server Carl, cantors Diana and Donna, sexton Michael, church secretary Linda and our media managers for their reliable service during the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown. Our parishioners stayed connected through the teamwork of all.
A second milestone is the fifth anniversary of our St. Michael Byzantine Catholic Church media outreach with our website and Facebook page. Yes, to everyone who still hasn’t believed …. we do have a website !
Appreciation for building and managing both and media communications in general goes to St. Michael’s tech team (Mary Anne, Nancy, Heather, and Fr. Andrii). An online presence puts our parishes on the map resulting not only in visibility within our local community but extending around the globe! We cannot believe it has been five years already for our church website and Facebook page. These serve as public affirmations of our Byzantine Catholic faith, and honor the call to the new evangelization, the renewal for all faithful to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Listed below are some interesting statistics for the website of St. Michael Byzantine Catholic Church since its inception in 2015. The site was developed for the parish 100th Anniversary.
As of this posting, the site has a cumulative 83,689 hits from 102 different sovereignties including Vatican City (not listed). Also seen below are the top 50 pages visited.
The first week starting with Pascha is known as Bright Week. In our Byzantine Catholic churches, the entire week of Easter or Pascha is given extraordinary significance. Pascha, being the Feast of Feasts is the greatest historical event on the liturgical calendar and we carry the salutations and hymns of the resurrection from Pascha to Christ’s Ascension.
Everything about Bright Week emphasizes the salvific act of Christ’s resurrection and the triumph over darkness. The magnitude of Christ’s Resurrection is intertwined in the liturgical celebrations to such a degree that there can be no doubt in the minds of the faithful that what has transpired has changed the world and humanity forever. Everything is brought into the fullness of the light shining in the world. As the Gospel of John Chapter 1 proclaims about Christ, that it is “through him all things came into being, and apart from him nothing came to be. Whatever came to be in him, found life, life for the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, a darkness that did not overcome it.” (John 1: 3-5).
A tradition of our Byzantine churches on Bright Monday is the proclamation of the four resurrection Gospels. The priest together with the faithful walk in procession while chanting resurrectional hymns to the four corners of the earth, represented by the four “corners” of the church. The significance of this relates to the command of the angel who appeared to the myrrh bearing women upon arrival at the tomb, directing them to go forth and proclaim the good news of Christ’s resurrection and in these gospels we hear this account. It is a beautiful tradition and one that if possible, all are encouraged to participate in when available. It reminds us that in the baptismal vows made by our sponsors on our behalf, that we too are obligated as Christian believers and held accountable to do the same, to witness Christ to the world. When we are able to join in this service, we are publicly making visible our commitment to all that we believe. In every sense, we demonstrate Christ’s life in us. Do we not want to shine to others also?
In the reading of the following Gospels which are chanted at the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy on Bright Monday, we find ourselves mystically at the tomb with the disciples and the holy women.
Matthew 28: 1 – 28
Mark 16: 1 – 19
Luke 24: 1 -12
John 20: 1 – 10
As we listen and meditate on the accounts, our hearts are stirred with the same wonder as the first witnesses. The sheer astonishment of the apostles in seeing the empty tomb and burial garments left in place brings to life – paints an icon – of the reality and actuality of the Resurrection. We can only imagine the rush of emotion they felt at the time as indescribable.
It is why their reading on this day after Pascha further confirms the authenticity of all we profess and believe. While the manner in which the Resurrection physically occurred is beyond the grasp of our human intelligence, the facts of the Resurrection cannot be disputed. Our faith in God lies in our surrender to trust in the mystery. And in our trust, God can do great things. The reading of the four Gospels should inspire us even more of the beauty of God’s plan and love for us. Our faith is emboldened in this beautiful tradition of their reading.
In the liturgical services during this festal period, everything points heavenly and unites all creation in praise and glory to God. Pascha is celebrated as a solemn feast for three days and liturgically observed the whole week. During this week, the doors of the iconostasis or icon screen including the Royal Doors remain open. This symbolizes visually that Christ’s resurrection opened heaven for all of us. We sing the Paschal troparion of “Christ is risen…” with the opening of each liturgy, during and closing. And in the final blessing, the priest continues to bless us three times with the hand cross loudly and emphatically proclaiming “Christ is Risen!” to which the faithful respond enthusiastically that “Indeed He is Risen!” while making the sign of the cross.
Our joy in the resurrection should be jubilant to the highest degree throughout Bright week and in the following 39 days because this is the summit of our Christian faith. As we sing “Shine in splendor” everything in Bright week does shine in splendor in the beauty of the white altar linens, vestments, candles, flowers, and intensified church lighting. Our celebration, as in other particular feast days, also removes the requirement to abstain or fast on the Friday of this week. And so our joy is extended to all aspects of our life. Let us fill our domestic churches – our homes – with joy and symbols of our unity of faith.
Our hearts rejoice in the hope of eternal life with our Lord. Let us sing and rejoice!
The post-festive period of the Resurrection lasts until Ascension, the next feast day in the awesome continuation of God’s plan.
“It is the day of Resurrection. O People, let us be enlightened by it.
The Passover is the Lord’s Passover, since Christ, our God, has brought us from death to life,
and from earth to heaven.
Therefore we sing the hymn of victory!”
The words above are from Ode 1 of the Resurrection Canon sung at Resurrection Matins in our Byzantine Catholic churches. The words summarize what the Resurrection of Jesus Christ accomplished across all measures of time and space for all people. Our hymn of victory is our proclamation that “Christ is Risen” and that He is our God, “the Giver of Life”.
Our Hymn of Victory is made visual each time we see the symbolic letters of
IC XC NIKA, shorthand derived from the Greek language meaning JESUS CHRIST CONQUERS! Everytime we see these letters — on icons, on our hymnal books, in stained glass windows, and also imprinted on the prosphora the priest uses for Holy Communion — we are emboldened with strength in knowing that regardless of any hardships we have, that Christ triumphs over darkness.
We turn to Christ as a trusting child, knowing that the victory he has won for us is the answer.
The victory of our Risen Savior is found in another beautiful hymn sung at Resurrection Matins, the Hypakoje, gives a wonderful description of what we read in the New Testament — the discovery of the empty tomb, and along with this, a short command given to the “myrrh-bearing” women to act immediately. A call to action, nonetheless! This is also a command for us to go and be disciples. To joyfully proclaim the same wonderous news to all. When we share the “kerygma” we are following in the footsteps of the women at the tomb who in their discovery were the first to proclaim the revelation of the good news.
“The women with Mary, before the dawn, found the stone rolled away from the tomb – And they, heard the Angel say: ‘Why do you seek among the dead as a mortal , the One who abides in everlasting light? Behold, the linens of burial – Go in haste and proclaim to the world – that having, conquered Death, the Lord is risen for He is the Son of God, the Savior of mankind.”
And as we rejoice and celebrate, we sing with emphasis the words of another refrain:
“All you who been baptized into Christ, have been clothed with Christ! Alleluia!
The church wisely reminds us that we are clothed in Christ as having been initiated into the Body of Christ through the Sacraments. We live in Christ and Christ lives in us. This is such a great gift freely and sacrificially earned for us by our Lord and Savior. Such a victory! Such a gift ! No one can give such a valuable gift as this ! Every time we receive the Sacraments, we renew our life in Christ. Let us be mindful when we approach the Sacraments, such as Holy Communion, who we are receiving and what a sacred privilege to be so closely united with Christ, to be filled with all the graces and love He pours into our soul.
Not inconsequentially — our promise to God in our baptism is to live our Christian beliefs, all that Jesus taught his own disciples. We are pledged and commissioned, just as the angel instructed the women at the empty tomb, to share through action and words, the message and joy of the Gospel.
This is why in the Byzantine Catholic Church we sing repeatedly: “Christ is Risen!” It is just as He foretold. The amazing power of God.
May we strive with unfailing intention, to bring the spirit of that first Easter and evidence of our life in Christ to those we encounter along our life path.
Christ is Risen ! Indeed He IS Risen !
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Our journey with our Lord brings us to this most solemn week for all Christians. Yet we find ourselves both anxious and expectant of what may come next. It is not the events of our Lord’s passion that has us most anxious. Rather we feel the vulnerability and risk associated with a microscopic adversary, the novel coronavirus. This tiny entity that we cannot see, but fear greatly, has presented every person with never before foreseen challenges. We have been forced to submit to authorities in new ways, we have been stripped of our complacency and distanced from our self-created sense of comfort and self-reliance.
For us as Christians and Catholics it has been a Lenten journey like no other, one seen in a new light if we are able to see all that has come upon us through our spiritual eyes. This Lent has given us a stark reminder more powerful than any of our rituals of faith, of our human condition — the finite reality of our human physical bodies.
Now imagine for a moment the world back in the time of Jesus Christ. We may have an idealized view of what it was like. But it was a world of difficulties, of hardships, and of discomforts. During Jesus’ three years of public ministry he walked and lived the day to day realities of that time. And for what little the apostles had in terms of possessions, Jesus asked them to give up all for the greater treasure he offered. Now consider the works of Jesus during his travels in the many towns and villages around Galilee. Aside from his preaching, you would probably agree that his healing of the sick is among the most mentioned topics in Scripture. Wherever he traveled, Jesus was surrounded by people who sought to be healed.
In the situation of our present moment, we have been humbled to change our behavior, our thinking, our habits, relationships and more. Like the people in Jesus’ time on earth, we are a people and a world in need of healing. We have been in need of healing for some time. Our plea of healing is not only for our physical problems, but for healing of the many ways we fail to live the virtues that Jesus calls us to. Those failings are our sins. Jesus not only wished to heal the people of his time on earth of their physical infirmities, but in many ways their spiritual blindness, a blindness that is prevalent in our time. Jesus’ love and desire is to heal people of all time for all eternity.
A tradition during Great and Holy week in the Byzantine Catholic church has always been the chance for all Byzantine Catholics – not limited to those with physical ailments — to receive the Sacrament of Sick, usually on Holy Wednesday. Our Eastern view of the Sacrament is that we are all in need of healing, whether that is spiritual or physical and we are invited as a church family to receive this Sacrament during Great and Holy Week. Unfortunately, during this time of cloistering and distancing, we are unable to receive this important Sacrament of our Catholic church. However, we can still ask Jesus to heal us wherever we may be. We can “attend” one of the many streamed services online, even to chant and pray along as participants.
We do not know what comes next in our present crisis. In any crisis we do not know. But we do know what comes next in the upcoming and final days of Holy Week. And as we participate in our domestic church services this week, we can appreciate more clearly what Jesus endured for us, we see the price of sacrificial love, and the meaning of the cross. We also see what Jesus wants us to have, wants us to possess, and that is the constancy of hope, a hope in all that is Truth, all that is eternal. For the cross is more than a symbol. Jesus Christ our Lord has conquered what we fear most. He shows us the Way, loves us as children, knows our fears and hears our prayers.
We call to mind the many ways Jesus healed those who sought his help in total trust. In faith we can obtain those same graces and spiritual healing. Jesus, the great Physician of Souls is always near to the hearts of those who seek and ask.
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.