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Below you'll find the latest news relevant to the Diocese of Greensburg. You can also find more news in The Catholic Accent, the official bi-weekly newspaper of the diocese.
July 28, 2017

Bishop Malesic letter to parishioners about the arrest of retired priest of the diocese

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

This is a difficult time knowing that a priest who once ministered in our diocese has been arrested on one felony count of child sexual abuse. As your bishop, I pray for you and all the good, faithful parishioners of the Diocese of Greensburg. I pray for all of our dedicated, hardworking priests. And, most importantly, I ask you to join me in praying for all the victims of child sexual abuse and their families. This is one of the most despicable evils in our society, and it can devastate young lives and tear families apart.

Please know that the diocese — in its ongoing commitment to protecting children, young people and vulnerable adults — responded immediately to the allegations against Father Sweeney.

On Sept. 20, 2016, the diocese was informed by the Westmoreland County District Attorney’s Office that a report of alleged sexual abuse of a child involving Father Sweeney dating back to the early 1990s was made to the PA ChildLine.

In accordance with diocesan policy, Father Sweeney was immediately removed from Holy Family Parish, West Newton, where he had been serving as pastor since Oct. 30, 2008. His priestly faculties were suspended, and he was placed on administrative leave effective Sept. 21, 2016, pending an investigation by civil authorities.

Father Sweeney was prohibited from presenting himself as a priest in public, and his residence was transferred to the diocese’s retired priest facility. He was required to avoid any unsupervised contact with minors.

Father Sweeney retired Dec. 31, 2016, with residence at the diocese’s retired priest facility. He continues to live there because the diocese is responsible for the care of its priests, and he has not been tried or convicted of a crime.

According to diocesan records, it was the first — and thus far is the only — complaint related to sexual abuse of a child that the diocese has received concerning Father Sweeney.

At the request of law enforcement officials, the Diocese of Greensburg did not publicize the allegation. The diocese has been fully cooperating with law enforcement’s investigation of this allegation, and continues to cooperate with the ongoing, statewide grand jury investigation of clergy abuse of minors. Given the fact that the grand jury investigation into six Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania — including the Diocese of Greensburg — is continuing, the diocese is prohibited from making any comments about Father Sweeney.

Father Sweeney served several parishes. He was parochial vicar of Holy Family Parish, Latrobe, (1970-75) and Blessed Sacrament Cathedral Parish, Greensburg (1975-80). He was pastor of the former St. Hedwig Parish, Smock, and its former chapel in Keisterville (1980-82); St. Mary Parish, Freeport (1982-85); St. Margaret Mary Parish, Lower Burrell, and its former chapel in Braeburn (1985-98); St. James the Greater Parish, Apollo (1998-2008); and Holy Family Parish, West Newton (2008-16).

Please know that every report made to the diocese involving the suspected abuse of a child, young person or vulnerable adult — sexual, physical or emotional — is immediately forwarded to the PA ChildLine and the appropriate District Attorney if this has not already been done.

If anyone suspects that a child, young person or vulnerable adult has been abused by any one at any time, call the PA ChildLine at 1-800-932-0313, no matter when the suspected incident might have occurred.

If you have information pertaining to Father Sweeney, call the Attorney General’s hotline at 1-888-538-8541.

The diocese offers free counseling through Catholic Charities to anyone who has been impacted by sexual abuse by anyone associated with the Catholic Church, even if the abuse occurred in another diocese. If you or someone you know seeks counseling for this matter, call Catholic Charities at one of these numbers: Belle Vernon office, 724-929-4699; Kittanning office, 724-548-1009; Indiana office, 724-463-8806; New Kensington office, 724-334-4453; Uniontown office, 724-439-3531; or the Catholic Charities main number in Greensburg, 724-837-1840.

While this is an uncomfortable and difficult subject to discuss, we will continue working to protect our children, our church and our society from this unconscionable evil. We look to the teachings of Jesus for guidance and for hope. He is our compassionate and just judge, the true shepherd of our souls, who asked that we let our children come unto him without harm.

Mary, Mother of the child Jesus and Mother of our Church, pray for us.

Edward C. Malesic, JCL
The Most Reverend Edward C. Malesic, JCL
Bishop of Greensburg

 

July 24, 2017

Diocese of Greensburg priest arrested on charges of sexual abuse of a minor

GREENSBURG — The Reverend John T. Sweeney, a retired priest of the Diocese of Greensburg, has been arrested and charged with one felony count of sexual abuse of a minor. He surrendered to law enforcement officials in the company of his civil counsel at the New Kensington Police Department today, July 24. After being processed, Father Sweeney was arraigned in District Court 10-1-04, Allegheny Township.

On Sept. 20, 2016, the Diocese of Greensburg was informed by the Westmoreland County District Attorney’s Office that a report of alleged sexual abuse of a child involving Father Sweeney dating back to the early 1990s was made to the PA ChildLine.

According to diocesan records, it was the first — and thus far is the only — complaint related to sexual abuse of a child that the Diocese of Greensburg has received concerning Father Sweeney.

In accordance with diocesan policy, as soon as the diocese was made aware of the allegation, Father Sweeney was removed from Holy Family Parish, West Newton, where he had been serving as pastor since Oct. 30, 2008.  His priestly faculties were suspended and he was placed on administrative leave effective Sept. 21, 2016, pending an investigation by civil authorities. In addition, at that time he was prohibited from presenting himself as a priest in public, and his residence was transferred to the retired priest facilities at The Bishop Connare Center. He was required to avoid any unsupervised contact with minors.

Father Sweeney retired Dec. 31, 2016, with residence at The Bishop Connare Center.

At the request of law enforcement officials, the Diocese of Greensburg did not publicize the allegation. The diocese has been fully cooperating with law enforcement’s investigation of this allegation.  The diocese also continues to cooperate with the ongoing, statewide grand jury investigation of clergy abuse of minors.

Father Sweeney, 74, was ordained a priest on May 9, 1970. He served as parochial vicar of Holy Family Parish, Latrobe, (1970-75) and Blessed Sacrament Cathedral Parish, Greensburg (1975-80). He served as pastor of the former St. Hedwig Parish, Smock, and its former chapel in Keisterville (1980-82); St. Mary Parish, Freeport (1982-85); St. Margaret Mary Parish, Lower Burrell, and its former chapel in Braeburn (1985-98); St. James the Greater Parish, Apollo (1998-2008); and Holy Family Parish, West Newton (2008-16).

The Diocese of Greensburg takes the protection of all children, young people and vulnerable adults seriously.  Every report of suspected abuse of a child, young person or vulnerable adult — sexual, physical or emotional — that is made to the diocese is immediately reported to the PA ChildLine and the appropriate District Attorney.

If anyone suspects that a child, young person or vulnerable adult has been abused by any one at any time, the person should call the PA ChildLine at 1-800-932-0313, no matter when the suspected incident might have occurred. Notices to this effect are regularly published in parish bulletins and the diocesan newspaper, The Catholic Accent.

Bishop Malesic calls on Catholics in the diocese to pray for all victims of abuse, and the diocese continues to educate the children and adults in the Diocese of Greensburg on how to spot and report abuse.

Because this is an ongoing investigation, the diocese can make no further comment.

 

July 3, 2017

Donahue_William.jpgFather William Donahue, a retired priest of the diocese dies at 74

GREENSBURG —Father William P. Donahue, a retired priest of the Diocese of Greensburg, died Sunday, July 2, 2017, at Good Samaritan Hospice, Cabot. Pastor of St. Rose Parish, Latrobe, for 19 years before retiring in 2014, he was 74 and had been a priest of the diocese for 47 years. Father Donahue was born March 24, 1943, in New Kensington to the late William A. and Dorothy (Courson) Donahue.
 He attended the former St. Joseph School and graduated from the former New Kensington High School. Father Donahue earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Saint Vincent College and a master of divinity degree from Saint Vincent Seminary.

 He was ordained to the priesthood May 9, 1970, by Bishop William G. Connare at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral, Greensburg. Father Donahue served as parochial vicar of St. John the Baptist Parish, Scottdale (1970-72) and St. Paul Parish, Greensburg (1972-78). He served as pastor of St. Sylvester Parish, Slickville (1978-83); Our Lady of Grace Parish, Greensburg (1983-88); St. Regis Parish, Trafford (1988-95); and St. Rose Parish, Latrobe (1995-2014). He also served as chaplain at the University of Pittsburgh-Greensburg and as clergy moderator of Region 11. He retired from active ministry June 4, 2014.

 In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his sister, Kathleen A. Savio. Father Donahue is survived by two brothers, Ronald Donahue and his wife, JoAnn, of Sarver, and Keith Donahue and his wife, Pam, of Economy Borough; a brother-in-law, Lee Savio, of Patterson Township; his nieces and nephews, Karen Harkaway-Graves, Marti Lawson, Kelly Donahue, Jeffrey Donahue, Patrick Donahue, and John Donahue; and several great-nieces and great-nephews.

Family and friends will be received July 6 from 1-5 p.m. at St. Rose Church, Latrobe, and members of the St. Rose Rosary Altar Christian Mothers will recite the Rosary at 12:45 p.m. A Mass for the deceased will be celebrated July 6 at 7 p.m. at St. Rose Church with the Msgr. James A. Clarke as celebrant and homilist. Additional viewing will be held following Mass until 9 p.m. and again July 7 from 9-10:30 a.m. A funeral Mass will be celebrated July 7 at 11 a.m. at St. Rose Church with Bishop Edward C. Malesic as principal celebrant and Father Thomas G. Bishop as homilist. Private interment will be held at St. Mary Cemetery, Lower Burrell. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that memorial contributions be made to the Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh, 1405 Shady Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15217. Arrangements are being handled by the John J. Lopatich Funeral Home, Inc., 601 Weldon Street, Latrobe. To sign the online guestbook, please visit www.lopatich.com.



June 29, 2017

Greensburg Bishop Edward C. Malesic releases pastoral letter on opioid crisis; announces schedule for listening sessions and prayer services

opioid-image-for-news-release.jpgGREENSBURG — Addressing the opioid epidemic that killed more than 300 people in the four counties of the Diocese of Greensburg last year, Bishop Edward C. Malesic released a pastoral letter June 29 that outlines the Catholic Church’s local response to the crisis.

Watch the press conference

In “A Pastoral Letter on the Drug Abuse Crisis: From Death and Despair to Life and Hope,” the bishop calls on people in the diocese to take action against the opioid scourge, and he outlines efforts that focus on prayer, education and cooperative efforts with government and social service agencies that are already engaged in the fight against addiction.

Noting that rarely a day goes by without news of a death from a drug overdose, he writes, “One especially deadly expression of the crisis of addiction, which is becoming more and more prevalent in our communities, is the current opioid epidemic.”

In the four counties of the diocese — Armstrong, Fayette, Indiana and Westmoreland — there were 319 deaths in 2016 directly related to opioid addiction, he says.

“This is a plague that has come into the homes and families of every city, town, and even the rural areas of our diocese,” he writes. “It has touched the very hearts and souls of our parishioners in the pews and the people living in our communities; it has affected men and women of every age, profession and state of life. Even more tragic is the reality that every one of those 319 deaths was preventable and did not have to happen.”

He said a series of seven Summer Diocesan Drug Education Evenings, which will include a prayer service, will be held around the diocese in the coming weeks.

Dr. Paul Niemiec, director of counseling for Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Greensburg, will lead the education component, which will include a presentation about the facts of the crisis, a discussion and questions.

After the presentation, Bishop Malesic, who will attend every session, will lead the prayer service, which will include his comments. The evening will conclude with a light reception.

The schedule of Summer Diocesan Drug Education and Prayer Service Evenings follows.
Tuesday, July 11 — Immaculate Conception Parish, Connellsville
Friday, July 14 — Immaculate Conception Parish, Irwin
Wednesday, Aug. 2 — St. Joseph Parish, Uniontown
Thursday, Aug. 3 — Our Lady of Grace Parish, Greensburg
Tuesday, Aug. 8 — St. Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Kittanning
Thursday, Aug. 10 — Mary Queen of Apostles School, Greenwald Site, New Kensington
Wednesday, Aug. 16 — St. Thomas More University Parish, Indiana
Each session begins at 7 p.m.

“Our Christian faith compels us to choose hope” in the face of a crisis, Bishop Malesic writes.

And the Catholic Church offers hope by accompanying people who are in the grip of the crisis — including addicts and their family, friends, co-workers and others — with “courageous faith.”

“We offer them the comforting presence and power of Jesus Christ, risen from the dead,” Bishop Malesic writes. “Jesus will provide.”

In addition to the education sessions and prayer services this summer, Bishop Malesic says the diocese will continue to work with the recently-formed Bishop’s Advisory Group on the Drug Crisis in order to continue developing and implementing a pastoral response to the opioid crisis and to work with existing programs rather than create new ones.

The diocese’s pastoral response will include: ongoing educational opportunities for parish and school staffs; continued counseling, education and referrals by Catholic Charities for people and their families caught up in addiction; assistance in the development of family recovery groups; and helping people advocate with governmental entities to provide resources to prevent and treat drug abuse.

Bishop Malesic urges parishes to: work with existing neighborhood, nonprofit and governmental organizations to promote safe communities and drug-free neighborhoods; have priests and deacons continue to offer spiritual support and, when appropriate, speak about drug abuse in homilies and at formational opportunities; consider developing support groups; maintain a list of treatment centers and contact information for referral purposes when needed; use resources from the diocese to educate and form parishioners and community members to combat the opioid addiction epidemic in homes and families; and consider holding ongoing opportunities for prayer and healing related to the addiction crisis.

“The Church must be present to all who suffer in any way,” he writes. “Jesus can and wants us to use his Church to move our communities from being places of death and despair to places of life and hope.”

Members of the Bishop’s Advisory Group on the Drug Crisis
Formed by Bishop Edward C. Malesic; first meeting, January 17, 2017

  • Msgr. Larry J. Kulick, Vicar General, Diocese of Greensburg
  • Msgr. Raymond E. Riffle, Managing Director, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Greensburg
  • Dr. Paul Niemiec, Director of Counseling, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Greensburg
  • Ken Bacha, Coroner, Westmoreland County
  • Tim Phillips, Executive Director, Westmoreland County Drug Overdose Task Force
  • Mimi Brooker, Westmoreland County Drug Overdose Task Force
  • Louis E. Wagner Jr., Executive Director, SpiritLife, Inc., Indiana County
  • Dr. VonZell Wade, Clinical Director, SpiritLife, Inc., Indiana County; Co-founder, Lost Dreams Awakening Recovery Center, New Kensington

Read Bishop Malesic's Pastoral Letter

Watch the press conference

​June 10, 2017

OFFICIAL

The Most Reverend Edward C. Malesic, JCL, Bishop of Greensburg, has made the following appointments:

Effective Thursday, July 6, 2017

Retirements:

The Reverend Monsignor Roger A. Statnick, retired as Pastor of Saint Sebastian Parish, Belle Vernon, with private residence.

The Reverend Leonard W. Stoviak, retired as Pastor of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, North Huntingdon, with residence in Neumann House, Greensburg.

The Reverend Stephen C. West, retired as Pastor of Saint Joseph Parish, Derry, and as Administrator of Saint Martin Parish, New Derry, with private residence.

Pastors:

The Reverend Joseph E. Bonafed, to Pastor of Saint Edward Parish, Herminie, and Pastor of Holy Family Parish, West Newton, with residence in Saint Edward Parish Rectory, from Pastor of Saint John Baptist de La Salle Parish, Delmont, and Administrator of Saint Mary Parish, Export.

The Reverend John J. Harrold, to Pastor of Saint Ambrose Parish, Avonmore, Pastor of Saint Matthew Parish, Saltsburg, and Pastor of Saint Sylvester Parish, Slickville, with residence in Saint Ambrose Parish Rectory, from Pastor of Christ, Prince of Peace Parish, Ford City, and Administrator of Saint Lawrence Parish, Cadogan.

The Reverend Salvatore R. Lamendola to Pastor of Saint Joseph Parish, Derry, and Pastor of Saint Martin Parish, New Derry, with residence in Saint Joseph Parish Rectory, from Pastor of Saint Ambrose Parish, Avonmore, and Administrator of Saint Matthew Parish, Saltsburg, and Saint Sylvester Parish, Slickville. 2

The Reverend John A. Moineau to Pastor of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, North Huntingdon, while remaining as Pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish, Irwin, and continuing with all other Diocesan appointments, with residence in Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish Rectory.

The Reverend Alan N. Polczynski, to Pastor of Our Lady of the Assumption Parish, Coral, while remaining as Pastor of Saint Thomas More University Parish, Indiana, Assistant Episcopal Master of Ceremonies, and Clergy Moderator of Region V, with residence in Saint Thomas More University Parish Rectory, from Administrator pro tem of Our Lady of the Assumption Parish, Coral.

The Reverend Francisco R. Gan, Jr., to Pastor of Saint Sebastian Parish, Belle Vernon, from Pastor of Saint Edward Parish, Herminie, with residence in Saint Sebastian Parish Rectory.

The Reverend Efren C. Ambre, to Pastor of Saint John Baptist de La Salle Parish, Delmont, and Pastor of Saint Mary Parish, Export, with residence in Saint John Baptist de La Salle Parish Rectory, from Parochial Vicar of Saint Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Kittanning, and Saint Mary, Mother of God Parish, Yatesboro.

The Reverend Jose Ricky F. Cortez, to Pastor of Christ, Prince of Peace Parish, Ford City, and Pastor of Saint Lawrence Parish, Cadogan, with residence in Christ, Prince of Peace Parish Rectory, from Parochial Vicar of Saint Pius X and Visitation Parishes, Mount Pleasant, and Saint Raymond of the Mountains Parish, Donegal.

Parochial Vicars / Chaplains:

The Reverend James B. Morley, to Parochial Vicar of Saint Paul Parish, Greensburg, Saint Bruno Parish, Greensburg, Chaplain to Westmoreland Manor, Greensburg, and Co-Chaplain to Clelian Heights School, Greensburg, with residence in Saint Bruno Parish Rectory, from Parochial Vicar of Saint Therese, Little Flower of Jesus Parish, Uniontown, Saint Joseph Parish, Uniontown, and the Partner Parishes of Saints Cyril and Methodius, Fairchance, and Saint Hubert, Point Marion.

The Reverend Patricio D.C. Aborde, Jr., to Parochial Vicar of Saint Therese, Little Flower of Jesus Parish, Uniontown, Saint Joseph Parish, Uniontown, and the Partner Parishes of Saints Cyril and Methodius, Fairchance, and Saint Hubert, Point Marion, with residence in Saint Therese, Little Flower of Jesus Parish Rectory, from Parochial Vicar of Saint Paul Parish, Greensburg, and Saint Bruno Parish, Greensburg, Chaplain to Westmoreland Manor, Greensburg, and Co-Chaplain to Clelian Heights School, Greensburg.

The Reverend Andres C. Gumangan, to Parochial Vicar of Saint Thomas More University Parish, Indiana, and Our Lady of the Assumption Parish, Coral, with residence in Our Lady of the Assumption Parish Rectory, from Parochial Vicar of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux Parish, Indiana. 3

Permanent Deacons:

Deacon Jeffrey Cieslewicz, Sr., to Diaconal Ministry at Immaculate Conception Parish, Irwin, and Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, North Huntingdon, under the supervision of the Pastor, The Reverend John A. Moineau, from Diaconal Ministry at Saint John Baptist de La Salle Parish, Delmont, and Saint Mary Parish, Export.

Special:

Saint Edward Parish, Herminie to Deanery 5, Region VIII, from Deanery 3, Region III, under the Vicar Forane of Deanery 5, The Reverend Monsignor Michael W. Matusak, VF.

OFFICIAL

His Excellency, The Most Reverend Edward C. Malesic, JCL, Bishop of Greensburg, upon the recommendation of The Right Reverend Douglas R. Nowicki, OSB, Archabbot of Saint Vincent Archabbey, Latrobe, has made the following appointment:

Effective, Monday, July 17, 2017

The Reverend James F. Podlesny, OSB, to Pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, Youngstown, and Pastor of Saint Cecilia Parish, Whitney.

The Reverend Peter Augustine Pierjok, OSB, has been reassigned by his religious community to a parish appointment outside the Diocese of Greensburg from Pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, Youngstown, and Administrator of Saint Cecilia Parish, Whitney.

​June 6, 2017

New principals named for Catholic schools in Ford City, Vandergrift

Two Catholic elementary schools in the Diocese of Greensburg will have new principals effective July 1: The Divine Redeemer School, Ford City, and The Cardinal Maida Academy, Vandergrift.

Mark Talarico, principal of The Cardinal Maida Academy the past two years, has been named principal of The Divine Redeemer School. The announcement was made by the school's Board of Trust Administrators, which is chaired by Father Douglas E. Dorula, pastor of St. Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Kittanning, and administrator of St. Mary, Mother of God Parish, Yatesboro.

Talarico, who has been involved in Catholic education for more than 17 years as a principal, teacher and coach, succeeds Nicalena Carlesi, who is retiring after eight years as principal of The Divine Redeemer School.

Patricia Visnick, who has taught for 11 years at The Cardinal Maida Academy, has been named principal there to succeed Talarico. The announcement was made by the school's Board of Trust Administrators, which is chaired by Benedictine Father James H. Loew, pastor of St. Gertrude Parish, Vandergrift, and administrator of Christ the King Parish, Leechburg.

Father Dorula said Talarico's background in Catholic education will help The Divine Redeemer School continue to grow.

   "I am very happy and delighted that Mark has decided to be part of our Divine Redeemer family. Mrs. Carlesi has laid a solid foundation for Mark," Father Dorula said.

Dr. Maureen Marsteller, superintendent of Catholic schools for the Diocese of Greensburg, said, "Mr. Talarico brings a wealth of experience in Catholic education and an exemplary dedication to its values. I am looking forward to a continuation of the excellence in education that has been a hallmark of The Divine Redeemer School.

"And Mrs. Visnick will continue the tradition of educational excellence and commitment to Catholic values at The Cardinal Maida Academy with her experience as a teacher at the school," Marsteller said.

Father James said, "Mrs. Visnick is a well-rounded person whether it is in the classroom or as an administrator. Her diligence in the classroom is extraordinary, and she has a reputation for being very thorough. I have received positive feedback from parents in the eight years I have known her. She is up to the challenge of guiding the school into the future."

Talarico received a bachelor's degree in sociology from Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, and a master's degree in private school administration from the Institute for Catholic Educational Leadership program at the University of San Francisco.  He served as principal of St. Thomas Aquinas School, St. Cloud, Fla., before returning to Pennsylvania in 2004. He is married with five children and is a parishioner of Christ the King Parish, Leechburg.

Visnick has a bachelor's degree in early childhood education with a minor in psychology from Kean University, Union, N.J., and a master's degree in special education from Seton Hill University, Greensburg. She is married with two children, lives in Export, and is a parishioner of St. John Baptist de La Salle Parish, Delmont, where she teaches faith formation classes.

Prior to joining The Cardinal Maida Academy faculty, Visnick taught for five years at a public elementary school in the Tampa, Fla., area; served as a child care center director in Pittsburgh and as an assistant director at a child care center in Newark, N.J.

May 27, 2017
Father Richard Karenbauer, a retired priest of the diocese dies at 74

KarenbauerFather Richard P. Karenbauer, a retired priest of the Diocese of Greensburg, died May 25, 2017, at his home in Latrobe. He was 74 and had been a priest for 47 years.

Friends will be received at the Geibel Funeral Home, 201 East Cunningham St., Butler, Tuesday, May 30, from 7-9 p.m. and Wednesday, May 31, from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. A vigil service will be held May 31 at 7 p.m. at the funeral home. Father Karenbauer will lay in state Thursday, June 1, from 9-11 a.m. at St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church, 864 Chicora Rd., Chicora. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated by Bishop Edward C. Malesic at 11 a.m. at the church. Interment will follow in St. Joseph Cemetery.

Father Karenbauer was born in Butler Dec. 31, 1942, to the late Paul and Marie Benson Karenbauer. He attended the former St. Fidelis Seminary, Herman, where he earned a bachelor's degree in philosophy and Saint Vincent Seminary, Latrobe, where he earned a master of divinity degree.

Father Karenbauer was ordained to the priesthood May 9, 1970, at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral, Greensburg, by Bishop William G. Connare.

Father Karenbauer served as parochial vicar of Our Lady of Grace Parish, Greensburg (1970-71); St. Peter Parish, Brownsville, and its former chapel in Newell (1973-77); Holy Family Parish, Latrobe (1977); Immaculate Conception Parish, Connellsville, and its former chapel in Dawson (1977-80); and the former St. Leonard Parish, Monessen (1980-82).

He was pastor of the former St. Hedwig Parish, Smock, and its former chapel in Keisterville (1982-85); Holy Family Parish, Seward, and its former chapels in New Florence and Bolivar (1985-86); the former Holy Cross Parish, Iselin (1986-87); the former St. Martha Parish, Leechburg (1987-97); St. Mary of Czestochowa Parish, New Kensington (1997-2008); St. Joseph Parish, New Kensington (2008-10) and administrator of St. Mary of Czestochowa Parish; and St. Florian Parish, United (2010-14).

He was a religion instructor at Greensburg Central Catholic High School (1971) and Geibel Catholic High School, Connellsville (1972).

Father Karenbauer was spiritual director of the diocese's Holy Name Society (2006-14), served on the Priestly Life and Ministry Committee, and was the clergy moderator of the Regional Pastoral Council for the New Kensington-Lower Burrell region.

He retired from active ministry Jan. 23, 2014.

Surviving are five brothers: Robert (Barbara), Ronald (Diana), Larry (Jean), Kenneth (Jean) and Dennis Sr. (Lori) Karenbauer; two sisters: Judy (Richard) Kile and Bonnie (William) Giallombardo; a brother-in-law, Robert Murray; and numerous nieces and nephews, great nieces and great nephews.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a sister, Darlene Murray, and a nephew, Jason Karenbauer.

​April 27, 2017
An Evening of Witness and Thanksgiving

Bishop Malesic will preside at An Evening of Witness and Thanksgiving on June 29, at 7 p.m. The event will be held at St. Kilian Catholic Church in the Diocese of Pittsburgh. The service will included prayer, music and testimonials about unity. Refreshments and fellowship will follow the service. This event is sponsored by the Diocese of Pittsburgh

St. Kilian Catholic Church
7076 Franklin Road
Cranberry, PA 16066

For directions visit www.saintkilian.org.

At this time, bus transportation from Greensburg to Cranberry is not available.

​April 12, 2017
Commemorative Day of Prayer

All are invited to attend a Commemorative Day of Prayer for the 100th anniversary of the Fatima Apparitions, Saturday, May 13, at St. James Parish in New Alexandria. The day begins at 9:00 a.m., exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and the Fatima rosary. Prayers offered at each half hour include: litany to Mary; readings from Scripture; Pope John Paul II; Pope Francis, rosary for priests, patriotic rosary for the United States; investiture in the Brown Scapular, and Divine Mercy Chaplet. Benediction will be at 3:30 p.m. and vigil Mass for Sunday at 4:30 p.m. The Greensburg Diocesan Council of the National Council of Catholic Women encourages all families and individuals to attend as you are able. For more information, please contact Denise Pencola at 724-726-5315.

Schedule

9:00 a.m. -- Mass
9:30 a.m. -- Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament
10:00 a.m. -- Fatima Rosary
10:30 a.m. -- Litany -- Mary
11:00 a.m. -- Scripture Reading & Prayer
11:30 a.m. -- Reading from St. Pope John Paul II
12:00 p.m. -- Rosary for Priests
12:30 p.m. -- Papal Reading on Fatima
1:00 p.m. -- Litany -- St. Joseph
1:30 p.m. -- Patriotic Rosary for the United States
2:30 p.m. -- Investure in the Brown Scapular
3:00 p.m. -- Divine Mercy Chaplet
3:30 p.m. -- Benediction
4:30 p.m. -- Mass

Bishop-Malesic-Easter-message-2017.jpgApril 10, 2017
Bishop Malesic's Easter Message: On the third day Jesus conquers death

Dear Friends in Christ:

Jesus loves us. He wants to be with us, and he wants us to be with him forever.

Not even death would keep Jesus from loving us — he rose again on the third day so that he could be with us and we could be with him into eternity. This is the salvation he came to bring us, the new life he died for.

Jesus became a man in the flesh out of his desire to be with us. He walked among us, lived with us, laughed with us, and had a special fondness for the poor and suffering of this world.  He enjoyed being with us, and his friends enjoyed being with him.

Jesus died on the cross out of love for us.  He loved us so much that he would not deny that he was God’s Son, born to save us. That sparked outrage among the religious leaders of his time who orchestrated his condemnation. Yet, even on the cross, Jesus had a heart that was filled with God’s mercy. He said, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).  He did not want our sins to keep us apart from him.

On the third day in the tomb, Jesus has his final say over death.   He conquers it. He shows us that resurrection is also possible for us who believe in him.  Where he has gone, we will follow. We can be together forever.

Until we are together in heaven, Jesus remains with us in many ways, especially through the sacraments we celebrate. He gives them to us as living signs of his powerful presence. I point out, in particular, the sacrament of the Eucharist, through which Jesus unites himself to us under the appearances of bread and wine. It is humbling to know that the Risen Jesus is present in every tabernacle of the world, even to the end of time. We are with him every time he feeds us at the table of his altar or we pray before him in the Blessed Sacrament.

I also want to encourage you to encounter the love of Jesus in the sacrament of reconciliation. He gives us this sacrament to extend his forgiveness from the cross to us. When we confess our sins with sorrow and a firm purpose of amendment, Jesus gives us his mercy in a truly personal and sacramental way through his priests.

Jesus remains with us in the poor and suffering of the world. When we give drink to the thirsty, food to the hungry, welcome to the stranger, compassion to the imprisoned; when we take care of anyone in need, we are taking care of Jesus who is present to us in them. Jesus loves us and wants to be with us in every person who needs our help. And we want to be where Jesus is present — in the suffering of the world.

Jesus is certainly present to us in His Word, which we proclaim in our parishes and homes. The prayerful reading of our sacred Scriptures is a way to become aware of the presence of Jesus alive in our hearts. His Word is everlasting!

Remember that Jesus wants to be with you, and you should want to be with Jesus. This is all possible because Jesus is alive: He is with us, always with us, never abandoning us. He gives us so many ways to touch him, especially in Word, sacrament and one another. His Holy Spirit, his lasting gift to us, assures our hearts and minds that Jesus is alive and real for us and waiting for our next personal encounter with him. Let us not delay running to the Risen Lord and opening our hearts to him.

Please consider using the next few days leading up to the Easter celebration as a time to be thankful for the presence of Jesus in your life.  Here are a few things to consider:

The Chrism Mass at 10 a.m. on Holy Thursday morning in our Blessed Sacrament Cathedral is a tremendously beautiful Mass that witnesses to the strength and unity of our local church.  At that time, laity and clergy gather as oils are blessed, consecrated and sent to be used in sacraments throughout our diocese.

On Holy Thursday evening, the Mass of the Lord’s Supper will be celebrated throughout the diocese to commemorate the institution of the sacraments of the ordained priesthood and the Eucharist. Jesus’ words will remind us that we are called to serve as he has served us.

On Good Friday, a uniquely powerful liturgy of the veneration of the cross takes place. We embrace the cross of Jesus and mourn the fact that our sins played a part in the death of Jesus.  We accept our guilt. But, we also accept the Lord’s forgiveness of our sins. We place ourselves on the cross and offer our own lives as a sacrifice for God.

At the Easter Vigil, we proclaim Christ to be the light shining in our darkness and remember the events of our salvation. At that time we will baptize new believers in Christ and receive into full communion those who are asking to share in the practice of our Catholic faith. This includes more than 130 people in our diocese who are so in love with Jesus that they want to be with him and, we know, he wants to give himself to them in the Easter sacraments. We are grateful to God for his call to them to join us in His Catholic Church.

Use the next several days well in order to recognize the many ways that the Risen Christ shows his love for you. If your schedule permits, take time to participate in one of the Church’s liturgies — the Chrism Mass, the Mass of the Last Supper and the Good Friday liturgy. Of course, we should recall our new life in Christ by celebrating His Resurrection at the Easter Vigil Mass or one of the Easter Sunday Masses. May we hold each other in prayer at those special celebrations of our faith.

God is so good to us! He has given us Jesus crucified, yet back from the dead. Now we can be together with him and each other forever. Have faith and believe.

Please share this joyful news with those you meet: Christ is alive!

Alleluia!

Yours in Christ,
The Most Reverend Edward C. Malesic, JCL
Bishop of Greensburg

​April 3, 2017
A Century in the Making | America's Catholic Church

The mosaic work of the central Trinity Dome of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC is being completed to prepare for the 100th anniversary of the placing of the foundation stone in 2020. This is a monumental undertaking for which the bishops of the United States have approved a special one-time collection to take place in-pew on Mother’s Day, May 14.

The Basilica of the National Shrine is the patronal Church of our nation, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary under her title of the Immaculate Conception. This great Marian shrine exists today because of the historic generosity of American Catholics and clergy, the prayers of the faithful, and the hard work of the artisans and laborers who began building it nearly 100 years ago.

Mary’s Shrine, also known as America’s Catholic Church, is an authentic reflection of the diverse tapestry of the cultures and ethnicities of the United States in its over 70 chapels dedicated to honoring Mary. This place of divine worship also witnesses to the strength of our faith in the Son of Mary, Jesus, Our Lord.

The national collection for the Trinity Dome offers the faithful an opportunity to leave a lasting legacy by honoring their Catholic heritage and entrusting themselves and their families to the Mother of God. - Bishop Edward C. Malesic

About the Trinity Dome

The Trinity Dome is the central and largest dome of the Basicilia of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. This “Crowning Jewel” will be adorned in mosaic according to the original iconographic scheme of the Great Upper Church and will depict the Most Holy Trinity, the Blessed Virgin Mary as the Immaculate Conception, and a procession of saints who have an association with the United States and the National Shrine. The procession of saints includes, among others, St. Juan Diego (the first canonized male Native American), St. Kateri Tekakwitha (the first canonized female Native American), St. Teresa of Calcutta (an honorary American citizen), St. Francis Cabrini, M.S.C. (the first U.S. citizen to be canonized), St. John Paul II (the first pope to visit the National Shrine), and St. Junípero Serra (declared a saint by Pope Francis at the National Shrine in 2015 for the first canonization ever to take place on American soil). The Nicene Creed will encircle the base of the dome, while the dome’s four pendentives will feature the four Evangelists: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

During his visit to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on September 23, 2015, Pope Francis blessed the preliminary segment of mosaic created for the Trinity Dome containing the words of the beginning and end of the Nicene Creed: “I believe in one God.” “Amen.”

Visit www.trinitydome.org to learn more about the Basilica's​ Crowning Jewel.​

March 15, 2017
Popochock_James.jpgFather James L. Popochock, 75, dies

Father James L. Popochock, a retired priest of the Diocese of Greensburg, died Tuesday, March 14, 2017, at his home in Everson. He was 75.

Friends and family will be received from 3-7 p.m. March 17 in the chapel at the Robert B. Ferguson Funeral Home, ​105 Spring St., Scottdale, (www.fergusonfunerals.com) with a parish wake service at 6:45 p.m.

An additional viewing will be held from 8:45-9:30 a.m. March 18 in St. John the Baptist Church, Scottdale. The funeral Mass will be concelebrated at 9:30 a.m. by Bishop Edward C. Malesic and Father Andrew M. Kawecki.

The graveside committal service and interment will follow in the parish cemetery.

Father Popochock credited the strong Catholic faith of his parents for his vocation, along with the invitation of the priest at his grade school, the former St. John the Baptist School, Scottdale.

In an article in The Catholic Accent on the occasion of his appointment as pastor of St. Joan of Arc Parish, Farmington, Father Popochock said, "One of the most rewarding aspects of my priesthood has been the many friendships I have made over the years.

"People have been very supportive of me and my priesthood, and I am very grateful."

Father Popochock was born in Mount Pleasant July 30, 1941, to the late John Popochock and Josephine (Szymanski) Popochock McGivern. He attended the former St. John the Baptist School in Scottdale and graduated from the former Immaculate Conception High School, Connellsville, in 1959.

He attended the former St. Gregory Seminary, Cincinnati, then received a bachelor of arts degree from Saint Vincent College and a master of divinity degree from Saint Vincent Seminary in 1968.

Father Popochock was ordained to the priesthood May 18, 1968, by Bishop William G. Connare at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral, Greensburg.

He served as parochial vicar of Mount St. Peter Parish, New Kensington (1968-71); Holy Family Parish, Latrobe (1971-74); and the former St.  Leonard Parish, Monessen (1974-75).

Father Popochock served as pastor of St. Matthew Parish, Saltsburg (1975-78); the former Assumption Parish, Leechburg (1978-83); Immaculate Conception Parish, Connellsville, and its former mission in Dawson (1983-84); the former St. Procopius Parish, New Salem (1986-2007), and as administrator of its partner parish, the former St. Thomas Parish, Footedale (1994-2007); and St. Joan of Arc Parish, Farmington (2007-16) until his retirement to private residence in Everson June 30, 2016.

He also served diocesan appointments as moderator of the Charismatic Renewal groups, pro-life director and as a regional moderator for Region 18.

In addition to his parents, Father Popochock was preceded in death by his stepfather, Joseph McGivern, and his sister, Joann Wawrzyniak. He is survived by his brother, John Popochock, and sister-in-law Lorraine of Rochester, N.Y., and aunts, nieces and nephews.

March 14, 2017
An Evening of Repentance, rescheduled for April 4

Due to inclement weather, An Evening of Repentance, which was scheduled for March 14 at St. John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic Cathedral, Munhall, has been rescheduled for April 4 at 7:00 p.m.

For information, please call 724-837-0901, ext. 1249.

March 9, 2017
Diocese of Greensburg celebrates excellence in Catholic education

The Diocese of Greensburg hosted its first Celebration of Catholic Schools Breakfast, an event that included the awarding of three Golden Apple Awards for teaching excellence, March 9 at the Greensburg Country Club.

Three Student Spotlight honors were given and four Innovation Grants were awarded at the event.

The Donahue Family Foundation sponsored the Golden Apple Awards, a program the foundation supports in other archdioceses and dioceses, including the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., and the Pittsburgh and Harrisburg dioceses.

Michael Clark, evening anchor for WTAE-TV news, was the masters of ceremonies. The main addresses were by Greensburg Bishop Edward C. Malesic and Dr. Maureen Marsteller, superintendent of Catholic schools.

The winners of the Golden Apple Award received a golden apple and a cash prize of $5,000.

The awards honor outstanding educators for their distinction in and out of the classroom, commitment to Catholic values, and devotion to teaching.

The honorees were: Bernadette Grace, a third-grade teacher at Mary Queen of Apostles School, New Kensington, where she has served for four years; Christy Gilkey, a fifth-grade teacher at Queen of Angels Catholic School, North Huntingdon, where she has served for 10 years; and Joette Salandro, a performing arts teacher at Greensburg Central Catholic Junior-Senior High School, where she has served for 27 years.

The Student Spotlight honorees were recognized for their academic merit, extracurricular success or community service, with an emphasis on their adherence to the values of the Catholic faith.

The honorees were: Parker Sterlitz, a sixth-grade student at The Cardinal Maida Academy, Vandergrift; Grace Fazio, an eighth-grade student at Mother of Sorrows School, Murrysville; and Caroline Perz, a senior at Greensburg Central Catholic Junior-Senior High School.

The Innovation Grants were awarded based on a blind review that evaluated individual projects on their impact on the curriculum; impact on students, teachers and staff; formation of Christian disciples; planning quality; and financial soundness.

The grants were awarded to: Mother of Sorrows School, Murrysville, $10,000 for a SmartLab learning system; Mary Queen of Apostles School, New Kensington, $10,000 for a Make Me a Maker project; Conn-Area Catholic School, Connellsville, $8,300 for a greenhouse; and Christ the Divine Teacher School, Latrobe, $7,000 for a greenhouse.

March 9, 2017
Lutherans and Catholics commemorate Reformation together; Evening service set for March 14 at Byzantine Cathedral in Munhall

As a sign that animosity can heal into friendship, Catholic and Lutheran leaders in Southwestern Pennsylvania are holding a shared commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

The first event will be “An Evening of Repentance” for harm done by followers of each tradition to the other. A public prayer service will take place Tuesday, March 14, at 7 p.m. in St. John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic Cathedral, Munhall. A Lenten meager meal and fellowship will follow the service.

Bus transportation is available from the Diocese of Greensburg. For information, call 724-837-0901, ext. 1249, or go to the “Christian Unity” information on the homepage of the diocesan website: www.dioceseofgreensburg.org.

Events and reflections related to the 500th anniversary can be found on the Facebook page “Lutherans and Roman Catholics on the Way in Southwestern Pennsylvania!” http://bit.ly/500yrsELCACath.  Additional materials are at www.dioceseofgreensburg.org.

The Reformation, which tore apart Western Christianity, began Oct. 31, 1517, when a monk named Martin Luther issued a public challenge to a list of Catholic doctrines and practices. Luther was excommunicated, sparking religious and political conflict that played out in wars and persecution.

The 20th century saw many efforts to heal those wounds and pursue Christian unity. In 1999 the Vatican and the Lutheran World Federation signed the “Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification,” outlining a common understanding on the main doctrine that had sparked the Reformation. Last year the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the U.S. Catholic bishops’ Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs signed the “Declaration on the Way” including 32 statements of agreement on issues that no longer divide the two traditions. Other differences remain, including over ordination and papal authority.

Last month local Catholic and Lutheran bishops formally announced the joint observances.

“[B]ecause we share a warm, forthright and collegial relationship with each other, we invite you to join us as we celebrate our unity in Jesus Christ,” said the letter from Bishop Kurt Kusserow of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; Archbishop William Skurla of the Byzantine Catholic Archeparchy of Pittsburgh; Bishop Edward C. Malesic of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Greensburg and Bishop David Zubik of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh.

“Five centuries ago an attempt to bring reform to the Church resulted in division and schism among followers of Jesus Christ. . . . During this year of commemoration, we invite you to join us in allowing the gospel of Jesus Christ under the power of the Holy Spirit to transform us for a more visible unity manifested in prayer, acts of mercy and common pursuit of peace with justice.”

March 7, 2017
Statement from Bishop Edward C. Malesic lifting obligation to abstain from meat on feast of St. Patrick

Throughout the season of Lent we focus on prayer, fasting and almsgiving in order to draw closer to Jesus and better appreciate the ultimate sacrifice he made for us on Good Friday.

This year, the feast of St. Patrick, March 17, falls on a Friday. Some have asked me to dispense from the obligation to abstain from eating meat on this particular Lenten Friday due to the traditional nature of its observance or for other related personal reasons. After prayerful consideration, I am granting this dispensation for those who desire to include the eating of meat in order to celebrate the Feast of St. Patrick.

However, I ask those who choose to eat meat on the Feast of St. Patrick to select another day to abstain from eating meat or to make some offering on behalf of the poor, whether by prayer, fasting or almsgiving at another time during the Lenten season.

In all things, we attempt to imitate the joy of the saints as well as observe the same seriousness with which they practiced their Catholic faith. My prayers remain with all those who faithfully follow the Way of the Cross to the glory of the Resurrection.

Your brother in Christ,
Bishop Edward C. Malesic

February 27, 2017
Diocese to honor people for service to others at 19th annual Salt and Light dinner

​Communities of Salt and Light Awards Dinner
April 20, 6:00 p.m.
Stratigos Banquet Centre, North Huntingdon
Tickets: $130/person
Visit www.ccharitiesgreensburg.org to learn more.


A county coroner who helps people at life’s most difficult time, a woman who supports her community and the works of the Catholic Church on multiple levels, and an organization that is on the front lines of the battle against substance abuse will be recognized for their good works at the 19th annual Catholic Charities’ Communities of Salt and Light Awards Dinner April 20 at Stratigos Banquet Centre, North Huntingdon.

That recognition will help add to the nearly $1.1 million that has been raised for Catholic Charities since the first dinner in 1999. These proceeds help the most vulnerable and at-risk people in the diocese’s four counties with temporary emergency assistance with food, light, water, sewage, all heating sources and other essentials.

Jerry Lee Overman Jr., the Indiana County coroner and a parishioner of Our Lady of the Assumption Parish, central Indiana County, will be honored for humanitarianism. Patricia Smiy, a parishioner of Immaculate Conception Parish, Irwin, will be honored for philanthropy. SpiritLife Inc., a faith-based inpatient treatment center for drug and alcohol addiction and related disorders, will be honored as the Outstanding Human Services Organization.

“These parishioners and organizations have answered the call to serve their sisters and brothers in the spirit of the Salt and Light theology,” said Msgr. Raymond E. Riffle, managing director of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Greensburg. “In very quiet and unassuming ways, they have assisted so many people, especially ‘the least of these, our brothers and sisters,’ with generosity, charity, justice and peace.”

Overman, a resident of Homer City, was cited in his nomination for service on the Indiana County Suicide Task Force, the Critical Incident Stress Management Team, the county’s Drug Free Coalition and the Center for Organ Recovery and Education. He also was lauded for his and his staff’s work with families when they face the death of a loved one, especially in the cases of suicide and drug overdose.

Smiy, a resident of Irwin, is being honored for giving her time, talent and resources to her parish and the diocese. She was a longtime volunteer at the Norwin Hills Health Care Center for the former Mercy-Jeannette Hospital, has served on multiple parish committees and projects and was an honorary co-chairwoman for the diocese’s “Today’s Challenge ~ Tomorrow’s Hope” capital and endowment campaign. She is a member of the parish’s Christian Mothers/Women’s Guild and the Comfort Blanket Ministry; a member of the Diocesan Council of Catholic Women; serves on the Bishop’s Commission for the Diocesan Heritage Center; and is a Lady Commander in the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.

SpiritLife, Inc., is a nondenominational organization that was founded in 2013 and addresses the physical, psychological and spiritual needs of individuals ravaged by chemical addiction and provides assistance to the families affected by addiction, according to the nomination.

SpiritLife collaborates with other service organizations to help provide assistance to people when they return to their homes, families, communities and jobs.

The nomination included praise for the faith that drives this organization’s work and its compassion and commitment to the recovery of the whole person.

February 23, 2017

Teaching trio all smiles to learn they are first Golden Apple award winners

GREENSBURG — Three teachers at Catholic schools in the Diocese of Greensburg received surprise Publisher Clearing House-type visits in their classrooms Feb. 13 when they learned they are winners of the diocese’s first Golden Apple Awards for teaching excellence.

Dr. Maureen Marsteller, superintendent of Catholic schools, arrived unannounced with the good news and gold balloons in hand.

The award, which includes a cash prize, $5,000, which will be presented to the winners at the first Celebration of Catholic Schools Breakfast, March 9, from 8-10 a.m. at the Greensburg Country Club. This award is made possible by the Donahue Family Foundation.

The awards honor outstanding educators for their distinction in and out of the classroom, commitment to Catholic values, and devotion to teaching or administration in the Diocese of Greensburg’s Catholic schools, according to Mallory Reese, diocesan director of development for corporations and foundations, who helped make the award announcements.

The honorees are: Bernadette Grace, a third-grade teacher at Mary Queen of Apostles School, New Kensington, where she has served for four years; Christy Gilkey, a fifth-grade teacher at Queen of Angels Catholic School, North Huntingdon, where she has served for 10 years; and Joette Salandro, a performing arts teacher at Greensburg Central Catholic Junior-Senior High School, where she has served for 27 years.

“It was a thrill to see the teachers’ reactions and how their students were just as excited as their teachers. Marsteller said. “I hope the award program and breakfast are the beginning of a grand tradition of celebrating all that is great about Catholic education in our diocese.”

In addition to the Golden Apple Awards, the breakfast will feature the awarding of Innovation Grants to advance learning in the classroom and recognition of the businesses that support Catholic education by contributing to the Scholarship Partners Foundation through the state-sponsored EITC tax credit programs.

Bernadette Grace, Mary Queen of Apostles School, New Kensington
Grace teaches at the Freeport Road site of Mary Queen of Apostles School. She has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Penn State and a master’s in elementary education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and became a teacher as a second career after working for many years at GNC as a manager, trainer and franchisee.

She had missed the previous week of school, spending it with her six siblings due to the death of her mother, and almost took off Monday.

“The Golden Apple Award was the last thing on my mind,” she said. “The kids’ reaction was priceless. They thought they had won.
“Their joy was infectious. God sends new blessings every day.”

A resident of Pittsburgh, Grace is a parishioner of North American Martyrs Parish, Monroeville, and frequently worships at Mount St. Peter Parish, which is adjacent to the school building in which she teaches.

“My decision to teach at MQA is affirmed daily,” she wrote in the award application essay. “I do believe my calling to teach is providence. I teach in a Catholic school because I want to, and I am grateful for this opportunity.”

Grace also teaches Spanish in first through third grade; is a youth basketball official; on the boards of the Sprout Fund’s Change Machine, which provides grants to youth-led initiative, and the Gals Scholarship Foundation; and is active in parish ministries that benefit local food pantries and pro-life groups.

Christy Gilkey, Queen of Angels Catholic School, North Huntingdon
Gilkey, who teaches fifth-grade math and language arts and science for grades 5-7, was all smiles when she received the good news during her seventh-grade class.

 “I was very surprised and excited. It took a little while to sink in,” she said. “The students were happy for me. We have a mutual appreciation since this is my third year with this group.”

She embraces the ministry of fostering the spiritual, intellectual and emotional growth of her students and loves watching their transformation as they progress through the school.

 “The first- and second-graders radiate the love of God to our school community. It is fulfilling to watch the upper elementary students coming into their own as they grow in skill and confidence,” she said in her application essay.

 “Watching the transformation in our middle schoolers over the years brings me a sense of pride and appreciation to be part of their journey.”
 Gilkey said that there are days when students help her see Jesus’ love, compassion and understanding.

“My awareness is brought back to my faith as they reflect the Christian message of hope in their words and actions,” said Gilkey, who lives in North Huntingdon and is a parishioner of Immaculate Conception Parish, Irwin.

“I love what I do.”

In addition to her wide-ranging service to the school, Gilkey is active in her parish as an extraordinary minister of holy Communion and a volunteer at fundraising events and the Kentucky Project, which helps people in need in Appalachia.

Gilkey began her educational career as a Montessori teacher at the Carlow College Campus School (1994-99). She was a preschool teacher at St. Bartholomew School, Pittsburgh, (2001-07) before joining the Queen of Angels faculty in 2007.


She has a bachelor’s from Pitt-Johnstown, a master’s of education from Carlow University, Pittsburgh, and an elementary principal certificate.
She and her husband, Brian, have two children who are high school students at Greensburg Central Catholic.

Her mother, Linda Pricer, was a teacher and principal at St. Bartholomew School, Pittsburgh, and received a Golden Apple award from the Diocese of Pittsburgh.

Joette Salandro, Greensburg Central Catholic Junior-Senior High School
Salandro is in her second tour of duty at GCC. She taught there from 1980-86, then left to serve as director of music at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral Parish. She returned to GCC in 1995 and has been there since.

“I was truly speechless when Dr. Marsteller and Ben Althof (GCC principal) walked into the band class,” she said. “I am truly humbled by my selection.”

Ironically, she never intended to teach. She was asked to direct a play at GCC and loved working with the students. That led to her first job at GCC in 1980.

“Now, I can’t imagine doing anything else,” she said. “I like what I do.”

She teaches vocal and instrumental music, drama, and music theory; directs the 7th- and 8th-grade chorus; directs the high school choir and band; and directs four plays every school year, a drama and musical for both the junior high and senior high students.

In her application, Salandro said she is “passionate about teaching and learning.”

“Most importantly, I have the freedom within the Catholic school system to assist students in their faith formation through daily prayer, liturgical celebrations and the study of religious music,” she said.

Salandro has a bachelor of music degree from Seton Hill University, Greensburg, a master of fine arts degree in opera theater from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, and studied at Shenandoah University, Winchester, Va., earning a music certificate.

She serves in music ministry as a cantor at St. Bartholomew Parish, Crabtree, her home parish, and as choir director and cantor at St. Vincent Basilica Parish, Latrobe. She is active in other activities at St. Bartholomew Parish, including the annual Our Lady of Mount Carmel festival.

February 3. 2017
Bishop Malesic's Letter on Welcoming the Stranger
 
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
 
Several actions have been taken and executive orders promulgated in the opening days of the new administration, some of which we applaud and some of which are cause for concern for us as Christian believers.
 
We are able to applaud those actions which are meant to protect the unborn, and we were delighted at the presence of the Vice President at this year’s March for Life.  These are positive developments and hopeful signs.
 
Yet, as a Pro-Life Church, we know that the demands of the Gospel of Life that we preach continue after the birth of our children and extend beyond our national borders. 
 
Let me be clear, the United States has every right to and should secure its borders as a way to protect us from harm.  This right is a basic teaching of our Church.  Yet, many of my brother bishops and I have serious concerns about those executive orders that would make it difficult, if not impossible in some instances, for us to carry out our call from Jesus to welcome strangers and fulfill the commandment of love: “I was a stranger and you welcomed me” (Matthew 25:35).  This is critical for us, since the Lord says he will judge us at the end of time on the basis of how we treated our brothers and sisters during our time on earth.  As Jesus told us, “Whatever you did not do for one of these least brothers of mine, you did not do for me” (Matthew 25:40). 
 
Indeed, there are people, our brothers and sisters, who are fleeing for their lives after experiencing life-threatening terrorism or extreme hardship in their home countries.  Some are young, some are old, some are Muslim, and many are Christian.  They are looking for a place of shelter, comfort and peace for themselves and their families. We would do the same in similar circumstances.  There are innocent people who are knocking at our door asking for safe shelter.  We should not reject their needs like the wealthy man who rejected poor Lazarus sitting just outside his door (Luke 16:19-31). America has been and must continue to be a place of refuge for people such as these.
 
I am gratified to know that Catholic Christians in America have been among the most welcoming people, knowing that nearly all of us have come from immigrant families ourselves.  At one time, our forebears fled the hardships of their homes from many countries around the world.  I think of this when I read the Scripture passage that gives God’s law to His people: “When a foreigner resides with you in your land, do not mistreat such a one.  You shall treat the foreigner who resides with you no differently than the natives born among you; you shall love the foreigner as yourself; for you too were once foreigners in the land of Egypt. I, the LORD, am your God” (Leviticus 19:33-34).
 
The issue of welcoming refugees while protecting our borders is a complicated one, as is indicated by the strong differences of opinion about it in our country today.  As followers of the teachings of Jesus, we must continually bring the light of his Gospel to our discussions surrounding this and other difficult, complex matters.  Balancing the reasonable and appropriate measures we need to take to ensure the safety of our citizens while at the same time fulfilling the Gospel mandate to extend our compassion to others may not always be easy or simple; but, it is both necessary and obtainable when people of good will work together.
 
Recently our Sunday Gospel was taken from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew Chapter 5).  In it, Jesus reminded us that we will be blessed if we hunger and thirst for righteousness, show mercy and make peace.  If we pray — and we should — God will give us the wisdom to know what is right and the courage to live in justice and love with others who share our common world.  This is the only way to find true blessing.  This is the only way to true and lasting peace.
 
Finally, I pray to God that we will make good moral decisions on behalf of our citizens, as well as the many new refugees and immigrants who are seeking safety or a better way of life in our country.  As Christians who believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we have been given the freedom in the Spirit to discern what is right and do what is good.  As Jesus said to his disciples who were being tossed about during a storm: “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid” (Matthew 14:27). 
 
Peace to you and blessings upon those you love.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
The Most Reverend Edward C. Malesic, JCL
Bishop of Greensburg
 
Resources:
To help refugees, especially those from war-torn Syria, go to Catholic Relief Services or the Catholic Near East Welfare Association.
September 16, 2016 

Diocese of Greensburg statement about statewide grand jury

"The Diocese of Greensburg has received a subpoena from the statewide investigative grand jury. The diocese is cooperating, and will continue to cooperate, with law enforcement officials in this matter. No additional comments can be made at this time due to the nature of a grand jury.

The Diocese of Greensburg takes the protection of all children and young people seriously. Names and facts of any allegation of misconduct will continue to be reported immediately to the proper civil authorities. A longstanding policy of zero tolerance has been and continues to remain in place in the diocese so that anyone who has a criminal history of child abuse or a credible allegation of child abuse has been removed from ministry, employment or their volunteer position. Every report of suspected abuse of a child or young person — sexual, physical and emotional — made to the diocese is immediately reported to ChildLine and the appropriate District Attorney.

We pray for all victims of abuse, and continue to educate the children and adults in the Diocese of Greensburg on how to spot and report abuse."