"Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ..." [1 Peter 3:21]
Why do we get baptized?
Saint Paul commonly addresses us as brothers and sisters in his epistles. Why? Because in a post-Jesus world, the Church is the family of God; we are sons and daughters of the Most High.
Baptism is the first of the three Sacraments of Initiation in the Church. Through this Sacrament we welcome a new soul into the Catholic faith. It represents our birth into God's family. It's only through Jesus' Resurrection that we are redeemed and freed from the bonds of original sin -- "O truly necessary sin of Adam, destroyed completely by the death of Christ! O happy fault
that earned so great, so glorious a Redeemer!"
Through Baptism, we're born again as God's children through His grace and filled with His divine life. The Church community (including our parishes) is called called to witness and share in the joy of this gift of new life.
Mission: As parishioners, we need to support and assist the parents and godparents in raising the children in the practice of the Catholic faith.
Chosen by the parents of the newly baptized, godparents should aid in the forming of the child in the faith. This sacrament is required before any others are celebrated or received. Baptism can only be received once.
These are universal requirements that are required under Canon Law. Only one godparent is required for Baptism. If there's only one godparent, there's an allowance for a Christian witness, a practicing/baptized Christian who can prove current membership in a recognized Christian church community.
Baptismal prep for adults
"So Jesus said to them, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you'..." [John 6:53]
The source and the summit of our faith
God first loved us. In His immense love for us, He actually became man, Emmanuel ("God with us"), and dwelt among us. The Sacrament of the Eucharist is the second of the three Sacraments of Initiation in the Church. It is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ -- the very Real Presence of our Savior. First given to His disciples on the night He was betrayed. He continues to nourish us with His presence in the Eucharist even today at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. God's holy presence remains close to us even outside of Mass, placed in tabernacles throughout the world.
The Catholic Church has always taught that Jesus is uniquely present in the Eucharist -- wholly and entirely present. In a most profound way, the Eucharist is Jesus: "This is My Body...This is My Blood..." We profess this belief. Yet sadly, according to a 2019 Pew Research Center survey, only 31% of Catholics believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, a central teaching of the Church.
Mission: As a community of believers, we're called into right relationship with God, others as well as ourself. After receiving this precious gift, we hopefully are transformed and sent out to be Christ to those around us.
First Holy Communion preparation
Children in our parishes, who have reached the age of reason (second grade) and who have celebrated First Reconciliation, prepare for the Sacrament of the Eucharist through our CCD programs.
"Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit; for it had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit." [Acts 8:14-17]
Growing in our faith
The Sacrament of the Confirmation is the third of the three Sacraments of Initiation in the Church. Through it, the gifts of the Holy Spirit (wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, fear of the Lord and piety) are bestowed upon those being Confirmed. This happens through the imposition of the bishop’s laying on of hands and anointing with sacred chrism sealing the Sacrament of Baptism. A sponsor is require for each person being Confirmed.
Mission: The Holy Spirit unites our community, grafting each of us onto the vine, Christ, and strengthening us to bear witness to His Church and Her charge.
The requirements under Canon Law call for each sponsor to be a Catholic in good standing, who has received the three Sacraments of Initiation. They must be at least sixteen years old and not the parent of the person being Confirmed. They should be a registered and practicing member of a Catholic parish and if married, in a valid Catholic marriage recognized by the Church.
Those preparing for the Sacrament of Confirmation usually do so during their seventh or eighth grade year in school, beginning in September with Confirmation celebrated in the spring/summer months. Preparation involves Sunday morning sessions of formation and instruction, times of prayer and reflection as well as completion of service hours. For more information please contact Julie Harvatine, Director of Religious Education (Our Lady of the Abingtons / Saint Patrick's), at firstname.lastname@example.org or Ashley Kenia, Director of Religious Education (Saint Mary of the Lake), at 570-780-6120.
Adult Confirmation preparation
If you've never been confirmed, but have a desire to receive this Sacrament and/or learn more about it, contact Lucy Ziman at email@example.com or Greg Solfanelli at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Jesus said to them again, 'Peace be with you. As the Father has sent Me, even so I send you.' And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, 'Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.' " [John 20:21-23]
The gift of the Prodigal Father
The Sacrament of First Reconciliation (or Confession or Penance) is the Sacrament of the Church, which shares the gift of the mercy and forgiveness of Jesus Christ. The Father is relentless in His pursuit of us. He lavishly pours His mercy upon each of us when we turn back to Him. Through confessing one’s sins to a priest confidentially (under the Seal of the Confessional) and receiving absolution (the prayer of forgiveness) the penitent is restored and made clean. This Sacrament allows us to be so in touch with reality -- a setting that invites us to be completely vulnerable -- expressing our sorrow before God and His priest, acting in the person of Christ.
Mission: As parishioners, we're invited to experience the immense mercy of Jesus Christ. Recognizing the truth of ourselves and our fallen condition, frequenting this Sacrament keeps us on the pathway to holiness.
First Reconciliation preparation
Normally children who have reached the age of reason (second grade) are prepared for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Confession is available on Saturdays prior to the vigil Masses, Wednesdays after Mass until noon, Sundays after the 11 AM Mass and by request/appointment.
"For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the Church, His Body, and is Himself its Savior. As the Church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for Her..." [Ephesians 5:23-25]
Sign of God's profound love
The Sacrament of Matrimony is the Sacrament of the Church which elevates the love shared by the husband and wife to a divine love. Marriage is the superior symbol of covenant that Jesus has with His people: I am yours and you are Mine. For a married couple loves each other far greater in, with and through Christ than they ever could on their own.
Mission: We're a community of believers, the Bride of Christ, unified with Him in one body, one spirit, similar to how a husband and wife become one in this Sacrament. As one, we're sent out to share His joy with those we encounter.
A six-month preparation process is required for engaged couples wishing to marry in the Catholic Church. Couples should notify our pastor at least six months prior to their proposed wedding date. There is a required preparation program that couples participate in together, which includes sessions with our pastor discussing what the Church teaches about the Sacrament of Marriage, communication, role relationships, conflict resolution, family, children and finances. Necessary paperwork for Church, civil requirements and planning for the prayers, readings and music of the wedding Mass or ceremony also needs to be addressed.
A marriage's validity in question?
A declaration of nullity (annulment) is where a Church tribunal (Catholic church court) concludes through a process of much scrutiny that a couple never established the sacred bond of marriage [not a valid marriage]. To begin the annulment process, please contact our pastor.
"Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven." [James 5:14–15]
Persevering through trials
Anointing of the Sick, helps to strengthen the faith of those who may be going through suffering, trials, surgery, etc. This Sacrament absolves all of a person’s sins that they weren't able to confess in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Similar to Baptism and Confirmation, during the anointing the priest uses holy oil on the person’s head and hands. The Anointing of the Sick may be administered to someone if they need healing or if they're dying. People may receive this Sacrament multiple times in their lives.
Mission: As parishioners, we're never alone. God is always there, even in the dark of night. When we need extra help, His mercy and grace abound all the more.
Please call the parish office at 570-563-1622 for visitation of the sick at home, in the hospital or healthcare facility, or if you'd like to receive Anointing of the Sick.
"And He went up into the hills, and called to Him those whom He desired; and they came to Him. And He appointed twelve, to be with Him, and to be sent out to preach and have authority to cast out demons..." [Mark 3:13-15]
A share in His mission
Through Holy Orders, a Catholic man becomes a spiritual minister to the community. It's through this Sacrament that Jesus' mission, which He entrusted to His apostles, is carried out until the end of time. Through the centuries, apostolic mission is passed on to the successors of the apostles -- bishops, priests and deacons (to varying degrees).
Mission: We all have a duty to encourage those we believe exhibit priestly qualities to earnestly consider the priesthood. God may be speaking to you to suggest this to someone else or He may be speaking to you to directly answer His call.
Discerning God's call to the priesthood or religious life? Discover more information here.