Bishop's Letter - February 4, 2024



                                                                              February 3 & 4, 2024 

Dear  Parishioners of Saint Ann Parish, 
Dear  Parishioners of Saint John Neumann Parish, 
Dear  Parishioners of Saint Vincent de Paul Parish, 

In today's Gospel for the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Mark writes about Jesus performing miracles and dealing with crowds who 
want  more. Jesus already finds himself having to withdraw to a deserted place for prayer and having to reset the focus of His ministry 
to where it belongs - proclaiming God's message. 

As  I hope many  of you are aware, for the last several years, the Diocese of Scranton has been engaged in the Vision 2030 Pastoral 
Planning Process, with much the  same goal - creating vibrant parish communities rooted in the life of Jesus Christ. We aim to look 
proactively at the realities of our local church in the present moment, while striving to meet the opportunities and challenges of the 
coming   decade. 

As we endeavor   to be a "mission-driven" church, we must  all work together in a way that we best live out our baptismal calling in 
both  a world - and local environment - that continues to change. Our Church faces significant challenges, among which are a fewer 
number  of parishioners, financial sustainability questions, infrastructure needs and a diminishing number of ordained priests. 

With  this in mind, I write to inform you that Father John Boyle, Pastor of Saint Vincent de Paul Parish, Dingmans Township, recently 
notified the Diocese of his intention to retire following the celebration of the Easter liturgies this spring. We are so thankful for his 48 
years of dedicated and faithful service to the Church of Scranton, the last seven of which were served in Pike County. At this time, 
the Diocese of Scranton is unable to provide another priest who can solely serve as Pastor at Saint Vincent de Paul Parish. 

In recognition of all our Church faces, and after discussions with your Pastors and Parish Pastoral and Finance Council members, I 
have  directed that the parishes of Saint Ann, Saint John Neumann and Saint Vincent de Paul be brought together in a linkage, with a 
single Pastor. 

As many  of your parish leaders have acknowledged, this new linkage will take careful planning. Because of the large geographic area 
your  three parishes cover and the many pastoral responsibilities, we are fortunate to have the availability of an international priest 
who will be assigned to support the pastor in this new linkage, which will become effective on April 2, 2024. 

I know that each of your three parishes has a welcoming spirit and already generously serves the community through food pantries, 
the Saint Vincent de Paul Society and Sharing Funds. I am hoping that as this new linkage is created - all three of your parishes will 
work   more closely together - and with the Grace of God, all involved will continue to serve and minister to our Lord and His Holy 

Please know this decision is just the very first step in a process that will require the involvement and engagement of all of you, our 
faithful parishioners. There will be questions and choices that will need prayerful discernment. Diocesan professionals in pastoral 
formation, financial planning, communication and engineering  are ready to assist in any way necessary. Please know that this new 
linkage is not a consolidation, although your prayerful discussions may lead to that at some point in the future. 

As we continue in our Second  Year of the National Eucharistic Revival, we are reminded that no one who approaches the Lord leaves 
unchanged.  While I know  change is never easy, it is important to remember that every person who encounters Jesus is also sent out 
on mission. Even when  we  face the most difficult questions and circumstances, Jesus is always present with us and reminds us He 
will never  abandon us. 

Be assured that you are in my prayers as this process towards a new hope-filled future begins. 

                                                                    Faithfully yours in Christ, 

                                                           Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, D.D., J.C.L. 
                                                                       Bishop of Scranton