Volume V Number 1                        back                                           January 2019   

St. John Vianney Relic Pilgrimage
Thursday, January 31, 2019
Veneration 7:30 AM - 7:30 PM
Cathedral, Altoona

Day of Recollection
Directed by Father Augustine Wetta, OSB
Saturday, March 30, 2019
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
St. Bartholomew, Wilmore
The Day of Recollection will  conclude with the celebration of Mass at 4:15 PM

Chrism Mass
Monday, April 15, 2019
11:00 AM 
Arrival time is 10:00 AM
Cathedral, Altoona

Parish Mission
Guest Speaker - Dr. John Bergsma
March 31, April 1 & 2, 2019
7:00-8:30 PM
St. Benedict Church, Johnstown 

Ordination to the Permanent Diaconate
Saturday, June 1, 2019
10:00 AM
Cathedral, Altoona

Annual Diaconate Retreat
 Thomas Smith, Retreat Master 
June 16-20, 2019
Antiochian Village, Bolivar
Retreat begins Sunday with  registration at 
3:30 PM and concludes Thursday following the 10:00 AM closing Mass





01       Deacon Tom Papinchak

05       Lisa Roth

08       Dee Schuette

12       Linda Rys

16      Janis Komula

29      Deacon Michael Russo

31      Beth O'Dowd



01       Joanna Duman

05       Deacon Joe Dalla Valle

07       Dee Zernick

08       Deacon Dave Lapinski

09       Karen Underhill

25       Shirley Boldin

26       Deacon Mike Ondik



04       Deacon Phil Gibson

08       Andrea Beavers

09       Colette Orlandi

15       Susan Cronin

18       Deacon Laszlo Ivantis

20       Janine Anna

25       Diane Lapinski




Deacon Frank & Dee Schutte



Deacon Jack & Colette Orlandi



Jerry & Lori Nevling



Deacon Chip & Connie Young



Deacon Tony & Lisa Wagner



Save the date note pinned on the bulletin board
Saturday, March 30, 2019
All Deacons, Candidates, and their wives are invited to attend
St. Bartholomew Parish, Wilmore
9:30 AM - 4:00 PM 
Day of Recollection concludes with the celebration of Mass at 4:15 PM.

A Valiant Retreat: 
The Call to Heroism in a Cynical Age
Directed by Father Augustine Wetta, OSB

So often, we find ourselves saying: "If I only knew God's will, I would do it." Well, sure. Who wouldn't? The point is to accept God's will without knowing it-to sign our lives onto a blank check. But this is harder than ever in an age of scandal and self-doubt.  Lucky for us, we're not the first to face this challenge.  

In 300 AD, the world was falling apart.  The Roman Empire was in decline, and the Church was in a state of crisis.  But the Desert Fathers found a unique solution: Run away! Following Jesus' example, they retreated into the Egyptian Desert, where they invented monasticism-and saved Western Civilization.  
Augustine Wetta is a Benedictine monk. He has two degrees in Theology from Oxford University, a BA in Ancient Mediterranean Civilizations from Rice University, and an MA in English from Middlebury College.  For twenty years, he has taught English,  Classics, and Theology at the Priory School, in Saint Louis, Missouri, where he also coaches rugby and serves as Director of Chaplaincy.  He  sits on the board of T he Servants of Our Lady, Healer of Hearts Love One Another Ministries , and  The Parent Network of Catholic High Schools .

Although most of his writing has been for religious publications, he has read one of his short stories on  NPR's All Things Considered and published other essays and poems in America,  The Tidelines Anthology , and
On Human Flourishing: An Anthology of
Poetry (McFarland). In 2014, he was awarded the Judson Jerome Poetry Scholarship and the Bill Baker Award for Fiction at the Antioch Writers Workshop (the first author in the history of the conference to win both). In 2015, he was awarded the Taliaferro Scholarship for Memoir Writers at the San Francisco Writers Conference, where he was also a finalist for the Emerging Writer Award.

Current projects include:   THE EIGHTH ARROW ,  a fantasy prison break set in Dante's Inferno, SAVING GRACE, an illustrated children's book about a three-legged turtle, BenedicTEEN, a guide to the Rule of Saint Benedict for kids (also an award-winning blog), and HIS WIDE MOUTH HOME, a collection of short stories. He is also the author of Humility Rules: Saint Benedict's Twelve-Step Guide to Genuine Self-Esteem.

Father Augustine was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1971, but grew up in Galveston, Texas. There he learned to surf and developed an enormous ego as a lifeguard on the Galveston Sheriff Department Beach Patrol. During this time, he also worked as a professional juggler ("The Flying Fettuccinne Brothers") and as an archaeologist (at the Agora in Athens). He remains an avid surfer. In fact, if you Google  "surfing monk"  his is the first name that comes up-along with a news report about how he was nearly eaten by a shark.

To learn more about Fr. Wetta visit www.augustinewetta.com
Why Adoration Is Essential for the Soul and Body
By Taylor Tripodi

I can't stand working out. I know there are some incredibly motivated people that revel in every single run and push-up-but that has never been me. I try to force myself to do some sort of physical activity as much as I can, but there are days and weeks that go by when I don't do a single thing to push myself-and that's when I notice a change ...

My energy levels are low. My sleep schedule is off. My stress level increases. My mood is more on edge. My normal bodily functions become less productive. My metabolism slows down. Everything is affected. And finally, after getting mad at myself and having an internal battle about whether or not I should make exercising a priority-I recognize my need for it.   Without it, both my physical and spiritual life are thrown for a whirlwind. When my physical health is a priority, my entire being functions the way it was created to function. 

We Must Accept the Body
C.S. Lewis says very boldly:
"We must accept and embrace the body, in all its glory and buffoonery, remembering that whatever our bodies do affects our souls."
In the same lens, when we neglect prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, it negatively affects not only our soul, but our body as well. And so on the flip side, spending time in adoration is beneficial to more than just our soul. Can't see the connection? Well check this out ...

Used with permission from Ascension Press
Visit them online: www.ascensionpress.com

Parish Mission
St. Benedict Parish
2310 Bedford Street
Featuring Inspirations Speaker
Dr. John Bergsma
March 31, April 1-2, 2019
7:00-8:30 PM Each Evening
Open to all in the Altona-Johnstown Diocese

A Full Professor of Theology at the Franciscan University of Steubenville,
Dr. Bergsma served as a Protestant pastor for four years before entering the Catholic Church in 2001. Dr. Bergsma has a Ph.D. in Theology from the University of Notre Dame, specializing in the Old Testament and the Dead Sea Scrolls. Tickets for this event are not required. A love offering will be taken. All are welcome!
"How the Bible Made Me Catholic: A Protestant Pastor Converts"
In his first presentation, Dr. Bergsma recounts his journey into the Catholic Church as he discovered one passage of Scripture after another supporting Catholic teaching.
"How the Bible Leads to the Eucharist: A Journey through Scripture"
The Bible is so big, most people get lost in it. In this presentation Dr. Bergsma will give an overview of Scripture and how it all climaxes with Jesus' self-gift in the Eucharist and at the Cross. You will never look at the Bible the same again!
"How a Catholic Understands
 the New Testament"
In this third and final presentation, Dr. Bergsma guides us through an overview of the major books of the New Testament, showing how it teaches the truth of the Catholic faith. Learn how to navigate the New Testament as a Catholic and recognize it's central themes.
The Book Shelf

Lenten Reading List

by Ignace de la Potterie

by Martin Hengel

by Gerard Rooney, C.P.

by Richard John Newhaus

by N.T. Wright

by Michael L. Russo
In Search of Praise
By Sr. Bede Luetkemeyer, OSB
"Praise" is not a word we often think of as significant or even often used, whether in our lives of prayer or in our lives of relating to other human beings.  It may come as a surprise, when reflecting on our use of it, what it reveals about our innermost selves: our virtues or the lack thereof, or the depths of our prayer and knowledge of God if we are thinking of it in the spiritual sense.

The word "praise" is rather puzzling.  We use it in many ways, but if asked to explain exactly what it means, different people have different answers.  Those who have a difficult time praising human beings in this world may also find it difficult to praise a divine being in another world.  Words of praise do not always have a clear meaning and may be impossible to translate.  It is as if someone is surprised into saying "Wow!" and then blurts out: "What more can I say?"

A good example may be the joyous rendering of the alleluia after a psalm.  We describe the works of God and are left with nothing more to say except "Alleluia!"  The occasion that most often evokes this kind of spontaneous praise is the beauty of nature in its many forms, its sometimes surprising and unexpected artworks: flowers, trees, water, mountains, sunsets and sunrises, created gifts without end.

What does the word "praise" mean to us as individuals?  When we receive praise ourselves, we know that it means an experience of greater acceptance, of affirmation and perhaps above all, an experience of being loved.  If we receive praise as a sign of acceptance by God, it takes us beyond the disowning of ourselves by ourselves.  It gives us the confidence to say "Our Father."  If we turn to praise as something we ourselves do, praising God and each other, we are in tune with the divine activity which goes on unceasingly.

Our inability to give praise or our hesitation to offer praise of another's good works can reveal our own lack of humility, envy, or unwillingness to be less.

Used with permission: "Spirit & Life"
Janaury-February 2019 issue
New Year's Resolutions for the Catholic Family
By Nancy Flanders
Church People Believe Faith Religious Family
It's that time of year again. Time to make a list of resolutions for the new year and forget about them before the month of January comes to an end. Or at least that's how it usually goes for me. No matter what your resolutions are, if you take on too big of a change - or too many changes - it can be easy to quit. Or maybe you don't buy into the whole New Year's resolutions hoopla and would rather wait until Lent to focus on the changes you need to make. But January is an opportunity to improve not just your health or your spending habits, but your spiritual life as well.

There are countless spiritual resolutions to make for the new year, but picking just one or two is ideal so that you don't become overwhelmed or start to feel like a failure if you miss them once or twice. Just remember to keep it simple at first, and as your resolutions turn into habits, you can add more.

Article taken from Catholic Digest
Education Opportunities Tours has endorsed The Via Dolorosa by Deacon Michael Russo, recommending the book to all their Holy Land pilgrims.

"This book is a great look at the Last Day of Christ and how he suffered physically through the Roman torture and subsequent crucifixion. Deacon Russo gives a comprehensive review of both medical details and the emotional and spiritual toll that Pilate, Herod, and soldiers inflicted on the Christ. This is a wonderful tool if you are going to Jerusalem to walk the Via Dolorosa, or if you just want to meditate on the Stations of the Cross."

Since 1974, Educational Opportunities has been dedicated to providing quality Christian travel programs at an affordable price. Over the years, more than 400,000 Christians have traveled on the various faith-based tours.

From its inception, EO incorporated elements of Christian learning whenever possible. Lectures, study books, and specialized guiding are the pioneering hallmarks of EO's development. Today, many companies have copied the EO educational approach to faith-based travel, but their biblical tours remain some of the highest quality Christian travel programs available. A 2021 trip to the Holy Land is currently being planned by Deacon Michael and EO.

On February 3rd, the Catholic Church celebrates the feast of  St. Blaise.

St. Blaise was born into a wealthy Christian family in Armenia. He was trained as a physician before becoming a priest. Later he was ordained as the Bishop of Sebastea. When a wave of Christian persecution began, God instructed St. Blaise to hide in a desert cave.

While he was in hiding, birds miraculously brought him food, and sick men came to him to be healed. The king's hunters eventually discovered his cave and found it surrounded by a myriad of wild animals who came to the saint to be blessed.

Recognizing him as the local bishop, the hunters took Blaise into custody. As he went with them he continued to preach and perform miracles along the way: he healed a boy choking to death on a bone, and commanded a wolf to release a captured pig that belonged to a poor woman.

When Blaise was sentenced to be starved to death, the woman killed her pig to feed St. Blaise in prison. He was eventually martyred under the reign of Licinius, his body torn with wool combs before he was beheaded.

St. Blaise is known as the patron saint of throat ailments, physicians, woolcombers, and wild animals. His feast day is often commemorated by the Blessings of Throats.

Preparatory Prayer
"Almighty and Eternal God! With lively faith and reverently worshiping Thy Divine Majesty, I prostrate myself before Thee and invoke with filial trust Thy supreme bounty and mercy. Illumine the darkness of my intellect with a ray of Thy heavenly light and inflame my heart with the fire of Thy divine love, that I may contemplate the great virtues and merits of the saint in whose honor I make this novena, and following his example imitate, like him, the life of Thy divine Son.

Moreover, I beseech Thee to grant graciously, through the merits and intercession of this powerful Helper, the petition which through him I humbly place before Thee, devoutly saving, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." Vouchsafe graciously to hear it, if it redounds to Thy greater glory and to the salvation of my soul. Amen."
Prayer in Honor of St. Blaise
"O GOD, deliver us through the intercession of Thy holy bishop and martyr Blase, from all evil of soul and body, especially from all ills of the throat; and grant us the grace to make a good confession in the confident hope of obtaining Thy pardon, and ever to praise with worthy lips Thy most holy name. Through Christ our Lord. Amen."
Invocation of St. Blaise
"St. Blaise, gracious benefactor of mankind and faithful servant of God, who for the love of our Savior did suffer so many tortures with patience and resignation; I invoke thy powerful intercession. Preserve me from all evils of soul and body. Because of thy great merits God endowed thee with the special grace to help those that suffer from ills of the throat; relieve and preserve me from them, so that I may always be able to fulfill my duties, and with the aid of God's grace perform good works. I invoke thy help as special physician of souls, that I may confess my sins sincerely in the holy sacrament of Penance and obtain their forgiveness. I recommend to thy merciful intercession also those who unfortunately concealed a sin in confession. Obtain for them the grace to accuse themselves sincerely and contritely of the sin they concealed, of the sacrilegious confessions and communions they made, and of all the sins they committed since then, so that they may receive pardon, the grace of God, and the remission of the eternal punishment. Amen."
Concluding Prayer
"My LORD and my God! I offer up to Thee my petition in union with the bitter passion and death of Jesus Christ, Thy Son, together with the merits of His immaculate and blessed Mother, Mary ever virgin, and of all the saints, particularly with those of the holy Helper in whose honor I make this novena.
Look down upon me, merciful Lord! Grant me Thy grace and Thy love, and graciously hear my prayer. Amen."
 Taken from "Get Fed" Catholic Blog
The Holy Family 
by Giovanni Bellini
 February Devotion:   The Holy Family

Since the 16th century Catholic piety has assigned entire months to special devotions. The month of February has been primarily asociated with the holy Family, probably due to the feast of Our Lord's presentation at the temple, celebrated on February 2. At the very outset of Christ's work on earth, God showed the world a family in which, as Pope Leo XIII teaches, "all men might behold a perfect model of domestic life, and of all virtue and holiness." The harmony, unity, and holiness which characterized this holy Family make it the model for all Christian families.


O God, heavenly Father, it was part of Thine eternal decree that Thine only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, should form a holy family with Mary, His blessed mother, and His foster father, Saint Joseph. In Nazareth home life was sanctified, and a perfect example was given to every Christian family. Grant, we beseech Thee, that we may fully comprehend and faithfully imitate the virtues of the Holy Family so that we may be united with them one day in their heavenly glory. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

Prayer Source:  Prayer Book, The by Reverend John P. O'Connell, M.A., S.T.D. and Jex Martin, M.A., The Catholic Press, Inc., Chicago, Illinois, 1954
Kissing the Face of God
by Morgan Weistling
Office of the Permanent Diaconate
625 Park Avenue
Johnstown, PA  15902
(814) 361-2000
 Deacon Michael L. Russo                                                                                                               Mrs. Marybeth Heinze             
 Director of the Office of the Permanent Diaconate                                                               Admnistrative Assistant
  michael.russo@atlanticbb.net                                                                                      mheinze@dioceseaj.org