Father Hoffa Announces New Mass Options at St. Joseph of the Panther Valley

Beginning Sunday, March 29, 2020, we will provide 3 options to be connected to the celebration of the Eucharist.

  1. Facebook Livestream Mass at 8 AM. We will continue our live streaming of Sunday and weekday Mass at 8 AM on the parish’s Facebook page.  The video of the livestream will be posted to the website here – shortly afterwards for those who would like to watch it later or do not have access to Facebook.
  2. NEW! Mass LIVE on the radio! Through the generosity of ETA Benefits Group, the 8 AM Mass will also be live in the radio. Tune in to 1410 AM WLSH for the live broadcast of the 8:00 am Sunday Mass.
  3. NEW! Drive-Up Mass at 10 AM! Through the power of technology we will be able to provide a live, public, outdoor Mass that is in keeping with the guidelines of CDC and the State of Pennsylvania. Parking assistance will be available beginning at 9:15 AM. Those attending will be parked in place and unable to leave their vehicle at any time. Audio of the Mass will be made available through your radio on the FM dial. Fr. Hoffa will celebrate Mass under the pavilion. At this time Holy Communion WILL NOT be distributed. We are working on this for the future but we need to walk before we run, especially in the interest of health safety. Ushers will be on hand to provide bulletins to those attending and to take up the collection. The ushers will be gloved to ensure no transfer of germs. Restrooms will not be available. If this option is successful we will implement the full Mass schedule for Palm Sunday with the distribution of palm.

Remember that the church will remain open 8:30-5:00 PM every day of the week with exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. Confessions are available Monday through Friday from 8:30-9:30 AM. If you are uncomfortable with coming in the church, but would like confession, please contact Fr. Hoffa about an outdoor confession at an agreeable time.

Finally, we pray to St. Joseph, our parish patron, for the protection of all humanity during this difficult time. May Our Lord, the Divine Physician, give strength and healing to those suffering and support to all those in healthcare. And may Our Father take all those who have died, due to the Coronavirus, into His provident care.

In this uncertain time, St. Joseph of the Panther Valley is pleased to offer Drive Up Stations of the Cross on Friday, March 27, 2020 at 7:00 pm.

The concept is simple.  Get out of the house, but stay in your car.  Staff will be available to direct you where to park your car beginning at 6:15 pm.  Station booklets will be provided to each car.

Father Hoffa will walk the Stations of the Cross in the middle aisle of the parking lot.  Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament will be included.

There will be no person-to-person contact, except for those who are in your car.

Come, join us, as we seek to continue our Lenten journey despite these difficult times.

If you have any questions, please call Lisa at the parish office: 570-645-2664, ext. 1.


Just a reminder that the Lenten Retreat, The Seven Last Words of Christ, scheduled for this Saturday, March 28th is cancelled.




Dear People of St. Joseph Parish of the Panther Valley,

I have taken time to reflect upon the mandate issued earlier today concerning COVID-19 or Coronavirus and the suspension of public Mass. I will be honest with you and tell you that the announcement made me angry. It has been almost three years since I have been here in the Panther Valley, and the work of building a strong Catholic family of faith has met with many setbacks. When I came here, I felt the pain of the people from church and school closures and consolidations from both 2008 and 2016. Just as we began to gain momentum, the PA Grand Jury Report, creating new wounds for some and opening old wounds for others. As the rebuilding started again, we were hit with the news of the removal of two former pastors from ministry. We persevered and began to rebuild once more – and now, the place we encounter Jesus and His grace through the Sacraments, has been shut down for all communal gatherings, most especially the celebration of the Eucharist.

Time and time again, I feel we have taken one step forward and two steps back. So yes, after conquering all of the obstacles to accomplish what we have together, to not to be able to gather in various ways as a parish family, I was angry.

However, after this initial reaction, there came the bright light of hope. As Christians and as Catholics believe, it springs eternal! The steps we need to take for the next few weeks, or however long it takes, to ensure the safety, health, and, most importantly, peace of mind of so many is worth the sacrifice. I use the word sacrifice because, throughout history, sacrifice combined with hope has given way to great holiness and heroic virtue, the makings of saints. We are called to be saints during these times. Heroic in virtue and holy in living, sacrificing with our focus always on our hope, who is Jesus Christ. Humanity is remarkably resilient, and the whole human race has the opportunity to show that now. While we may not agree with some of the recent decisions, the overall concern for wellness now will lead to a healthier future, not just physically but mentally, spiritually, and emotionally.

With all this said, I extend to you the following pastoral practices now in place while we observe the mandate to suspend all public worship and gatherings.

  1. Starting today, Monday, March 16th, 2020, all Masses, both weekday and weekend, are suspended.
  2. All scheduled Mass intentions will be celebrated by me on their scheduled day during a private Mass. These private Masses will be live streamed at 8 am on weekdays and Sunday via the parish Facebook page.
  3. All parish activities are suspended.
  4. The church will be open daily from approximately 8:30 am until 5 pm.
  5. The Blessed Sacrament will be exposed during this time, and all are welcome to visit for prayer and reflection. There will be NO formal benediction at the end of the day.
  6. In place of the regularly scheduled Mass times, confession will be available in the church from 8:30-9:30 am on weekdays, 4:00-5:00 pm on Saturday, and 8:30-9:30 am Sunday. Allow this to be an opportunity, especially during Lent, to purify your heart and soul as we are encouraged to purify our bodies and homes.
  7. Holy Communion, Confession, and the Anointing of the Sick will only be administered outside of church to those in danger of death.
  8. Funerals will continue to be held, but only family members are permitted to attend. The number of attendees is limited to 50 persons or less.
  9. Confirmation scheduled for Thursday, April 2, is postponed.  Plans will be made for a future conferral of the Sacrament. We will address this with greater clarity as soon as we are able.
  10. During this time, the parish office will remain open for business during regular operating hours, Monday through Friday, 9 am – 3 pm.
  11. Pastoral Ministry will be afforded to all, to the best of my ability, in light of all restrictions.
  12. Believe me this is last on my list, but important. I have always been humbled and thankful for your financial stewardship. In this time of sacrifice, if you would continue to remember the parish and the good work we will continue to do through Online Giving, mailing your envelope, or dropping it off at the rectory, I would be deeply grateful.

If you have any ideas about how I can best serve you, as your pastor, I welcome your call or email.  If you have a question, please do not hesitate to contact me. I know how easy we can fall into the, “I heard…” or “Father is too busy…” mentality – but I ask you to practice good communication and seek answers from the source so that truth prevails. I once again commend this time that we encounter together, to our parish patron, St. Joseph, whose feast day we celebrate this Thursday. May the righteous and holy man, St. Joseph protect each of us, our families, those in healthcare, and the whole of humanity.

Fr. Hoffa

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