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PLEASE PRAY FOR: Dorothy Ogg, Ford Bartle, Evelyn Tew, Joseph Byers, Jackie Hoffman, Nadine Vellente, Liam Rueberger, William Clarke, John Kutchenriter, Peggy Heldorfer, Tess McCallen, Renee Bost, Bev Chalupka, Mary Ann Biro, Cecelia Alter, Barbara LeMon, Bernice Cieciera, Katie Iacino, Jeff George, David U’Halie and Marie Peterson.

Fr. Tom Whitman
St. Joseph Pastor

 From the Pastor's Desk
3rd Sunday of Lent

The Bishop's Decree for Resuming Mass in the Erie Diocese
Click Here for the Official Statement and More Info
Masses will begin June 1

Click Here to watch Father Tom officiate Mass for this Sunday - 3rd Sunday of Lent

Below are links to 2 documents with information about our Lenten Season.

Lenten Guidelines

What are You Doing for Lent?

Pope Francis has declared this year to be dedicated to St. Joseph. Since his feast is coming up on March 19, there are copies of a novena prayer in the Gathering Space that you are welcome to take and pray each day from March 11 through March 19.

These prayers are also available on our parish website.

There is much we can learn from Joseph even though he often goes unnoticed for his quiet, yet strong faith. He is an intercessor, a support, and a guide in times of trouble. He reminds us that those who appear hidden or in the shadows can play an incomparable role in the history of salvation. Joseph, like many of the saints, reminds us that no one is saved alone. Joseph models for us the daily exercise of patience and offers us hope, taking care not to spread panic, but shared responsibility.

So far in our Catholic Services appeal we have 136 pledges for $59,008. Thanks to everyone who has pledged or donated so far. You still have several weeks to make your gift or pledge.

You should have received a letter outlining the CSA and our parish projects. A pledge envelope was enclosed, and more are available at each exit. You can make your pledge anytime over the next several weeks. This year our assessment to the Diocese is $68,000. Anything we collect over that goal will go toward our two major projects: The restoration of the stained-glass windows, which was recently completed, and the new air conditioning system that will begin work in April and be completed in June.

This past year we were able to collect $27,000 over our assessment to the Diocese and that $27,000 was put towards these two projects. The total cost of the windows restoration was $184,000, and the estimates for the air conditioning system are between $160,000 and 200,000. As you can see these are expensive projects, but projects that cannot be put off. I am grateful for the support that you have given to our parish in these difficult times, and for your continued support of these major projects. I know you will be generous in this appeal to help our parish and those in need locally and throughout our Diocese.

We were unable to give out palms last year because of the pandemic, so you may not have old palms. If you have old palms, please
DO NOT BRING THEM TO CHURCH. You will need to dispose of them yourself. This can be done by either burying them in the ground or by burning them. We ask you not to bring the old palms to church because of the pandemic.

Catholic Education is right here in our community. It is affordable and makes a difference in the lives of our young people and our community. Check out what is going on at Kennedy Catholic and St. John Paul II with these social media links:

Facebook -
Twitter - @KennedyCatholi2
Instagram -
LinkedIn -

Please do not become lax with the guidelines for being in church during this pandemic. We are all tired of doing things differently and being inconvenienced but we need to be vigilant to protect one another, particularly those who are most vulnerable. And that includes most of us, and even me, your priest.

All the guidelines are listed below but here a few that have been neglected lately:

1. MASKS/FACE COVERINGS: Masks must be worn at all times when you are in the Church and should cover both your mouth and your nose. Please keep your mask on when coming to communion. Once you have received the host in your hand, then you can pull the mask down momentarily to receive communion. The mask should then cover your mouth and nose again.

If you have difficult walking please sit in the front rows where you can be seated during the whole Mass and I will bring you communion right at your place.

3. COMMUNION STATIONS: No matter which section you sit in, you must follow the directions for receiving communion. If you go in the wrong direction, you put other people at risk.

4. NO OBLIGATION: remember the obligation to attend Mass has been removed during the pandemic. If you have difficulty attending Mass or are not feeling well, please stay home and watch Mass on TV or on the internet.

5. LEAVE WHEN MASS IS OVER: Please leave the church immediately after Mass. People should not be staying in church to light candles or to talk to other people – this puts people at risk. You can talk outside if you wish. We need this time after Mass to clean and sanitize the church.

6. RECEIVING COMMUNION: I have said this from the pulpit and written it in the bulletin and even said it to people as they come up to communion: PLEASE KEEP YOUR HAND FLAT TO RECEIVE COMMUNION (This includes your thumb!). Your other hand should be UNDERNEATH YOUR FLAT HAND. If you are right-handed, your left hand should be on top and FLAT and you right hand should be UNDERNEATH your left hand. Some people are doing this correctly, but some people are still not keeping their hand flat and are reaching for the host before I can pull my hand away and thus touching me. You should not be reaching for the host until you have stepped to the side and are ready to consume the host. Please be attentive to this.


We have been open for a few weeks for daily and weekend Masses, but this is not a return to normal.

Confessions are being heard on Saturday from 4:00 to 4:30. Because of the restrictions of COVID 19 we are not able to use the confessionals. Confessions are in the main body of the church in front of the confessional, masks are required, and six feet of distance needs to be maintained between the priest and the person confessing. People are asked to sit in the section near the organ to wait for confession. Because of this the church is not available for others to come and pray at this time in order to give privacy to those wishing to go to confession.

The doors for Masses on the weekend are propped open so you do not have to touch the doors. The doors are opened one half hour before Masses. We have mice, squirrels, skunks, birds, and a host of other creatures that lurk around the church and thus cannot leave the doors open 24/7. We have not returned to normal.

Please plan to arrive in that half hour before Mass starts. Please refrain from touching things in the church. Again, we have not returned to normal. When you come to church go to the pew, be seated, and prepare for Mass.

Please refrain from gathering to talk or socializing in the church. Please refrain from moving from pew to pew.

People have been particularly good about leaving after Mass is over so we can clean and sanitize the church. If you would like to volunteer to help with the cleaning and sanitizing after Mass, please let Fr. Tom know.

GENERAL RULES FOR MASS: Masks are to be worn by everyone. Social distancing – six feet apart – must always be maintained – even when in line for communion and when entering and leaving the church. Families in the same household may sit together. Pews will be taped off to indicate where you can and cannot sit. Hand sanitizer is available at each entrance and you are encouraged to bring your own in preparation for communion. We are only permitted to use 1/3 of the church capacity. There will be no collection basket passed, but there will be baskets at the front of church to put your envelopes in either before or after mass. Communion is strongly encouraged to be received in the hand. People should come to Church and find a place to sit and not gather to talk. After Mass people should leave in an orderly fashion keeping the appropriate distance from each other. People should go immediately to their cars and leave and not gather in groups that will block exits and cause people to come into close contact. Please avoid contact with surfaces. Doors and pews will be sanitized after each mass.

I realize these are an inconvenience to everyone, but we need to be very diligent about protecting others. Think of others first.

The best place to find the latest information is our parish APP or the parish website. PARISH APP AND WEBSITE: We find ourselves in uncharted waters with the Coronavirus pandemic. One of the ways to stay connected to what is happening here at Church is with our parish App. You can connect this App to your phone by texting APP to 88202. This App is FREE. This was something the diocese paid to let all parishes and parishioners stay connected about two years ago.

Our parish website will also be a place for the parish bulletin and other information.

To do business with the parish office, please call or email the office at Office@StJosephs- the office between 8:30am and 4:30pm. The office is not open for walk-in business.

The readings this week focus on laws and rules that keep us in right relationship with God and with one another.

The first reading from the book of Exodus gives us the ten commandments which are part of a larger collection of laws known as the Covenant Code. Now that the Israelites had been freed from slavery in Egypt, they need to forge their own community. And as a part of this community, they needed to develop laws and rules to keep everyone in the right relationship with each other. There were also laws and rules to regulate their relationships with God, because their time in Egypt has exposed them to a variety of different gods that the Egyptians worshipped. But now God was leading them away from other gods and into a proper relationship with the one true God. There were also rules and laws about dealing with property, animals, and everything else. There was a sense that they need to restore the proper relationships between God and other people as was originally found in the story of creation. This will happen over and over in the history of God’s people – they will establish order, there will be disorder, and then re-order.

The second reading points out how faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus was central to the Christian way of life, but that Jews and Greeks found it to be a “stumbling block” or “foolishness.” For Christians, the self-sacrificing love of Jesus on the cross became an example of how they were to live their lives. Life was lived in service of others. In our day of rampant individualism and aggressive materialism, the cross is seen by some as “foolishness.” Our culture sees self-preservation and power as the focus of good people. Living our faith in such a culture is often ridiculed as “foolishness.”

In the Gospel we hear the story of Jesus cleansing the Temple. The original purpose of the Temple, a place to worship God, had now become a marketplace to sell the things that were sacrificed in the Temple. It had lost its original meaning. Jesus attempts to re-order what had become disordered over time. Jesus wants to restore the Temple to being a place for prayer. He wants to put people back into right relationship with God, not through animal sacrifices but through real change of heart, through real conversion that involved caring about one another. The proper relationship was being restored between God and human beings. Ultimately, Jesus would do this through the sacrifice of his life, thus ending the need for animal sacrifices in the Temple.


Mass Schedule

Weekday and Holy Day schedules can be found in the bulletin.

Saturday: 5:15 pm (Vigil)

Sunday: 8:30 am and 11:00 am


Baptism: Baptisms are scheduled by appointment. Class is required for first time parents. Please call the church office to schedule your class. No baptisms during Lent and Advent.

Reconciliation: Saturday afternoons, 4:00-4:30 pm. Confessions at other times by appointment.

Matrimony: By appointment six months in advance.

Sacrament of Holy Orders: Some men fulfill God's call to holiness by serving as priests or permanent deacons. Men, high school age or older, who feel God may be calling them to pursue the Sacrament of Holy Orders should contact our parish priest.


Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA): Please call the rectory office.

Prayer Line: For intentions, please call 724-981-3232.

Religious Education Program: CCD Grades K-11, at Case Avenue Elementary, Sundays 9:30 am -10:45 am (during the school year).

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