As the universal Church came to the mid-point of the special Year of St. Joseph, Bishop Ronald Gainer continued his pastoral visits to Diocesan parishes named for the patron of the Catholic Church, celebrating Mass at St. Joseph Church in Berwick on June 20.
The pastoral visit and Mass marked a three-fold celebration, as Bishop Gainer conferred the Sacrament of Confirmation on 12 young men and women from St. Joseph’s and nearby Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish. The day also marked the end of Father Matthew Larlick’s pastorate at both Berwick parishes, a bittersweet occasion as parishioners bid farewell to their beloved pastor on Father’s Day.
Father Larlick shared words of gratitude for the parishioners’ faithfulness and generosity during his time in Berwick, and assured them of his prayers as he begins his new ministry as pastor of Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish, Lewisburg, and St. George Mission, Mifflinburg. Father William Barbee succeeds Father Larlick in Berwick.
For the trio of celebrations on June 20, and in observance of the Year of St. Joseph, parishioners lovingly assembled and decorated a traditional St. Joseph Table. The tradition originated in Sicily and is also prevalent in Italy, as a means of showing gratitude for the harvest. St. Joseph Parish in Berwick celebrates its Italian heritage, and the table was adorned with fruits, vegetables, bread, wine, flowers, candles and photos of previous pastors and deceased loved ones, and crowned with a statue of St. Joseph.
Pope Francis announced the Year of St. Joseph – from December 8, 2020, to December 8, 2021 – to mark the 150th anniversary of Pope Pius IX proclaiming St. Joseph as the patron and protector of the Catholic Church.
There are nine parishes named for St. Joseph in the Diocese, and Bishop Gainer is making pastoral visits to each throughout the year. In addition to Berwick, the parishes are in Bonneauville, Dallastown, Danville, Hanover, Lancaster, Mechanicsburg, Milton, and York.
The Catholic Witness is producing feature articles and videos on each parish named for St. Joseph throughout the year, and will highlight St. Joseph in Berwick in an upcoming edition.
(Photos by Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness.)
By Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness