A Message from the Friars

Christ is born: glorify him! Christ from the heavens: go out to welcome him. Christ on earth: exalt him. All the earth, sing to the Lord, and praise him with joy, O peoples, for he is glorified.
–Matins, Irmos of Ode 1

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Hope and Joy fill our hearts as we prepare to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Hope for the future, whatever God may have in store for us. Joy for your presence with us – you are God’s gift to us, praying with us in the chapel or in union with Christ from your homes and churches near or far.

We give glory to Christ who though he was God, was pleased to be born in a lowly cave. The humiliation of poverty and the fright of fleeing to a foreign land reminds us to be grateful for the many gifts God has blessed us with – and to be generous with those who have less than we do.

Our friary continues to sponsor programs in our Emmaus Hall: call or email for more information.

May God grant you peace and joy. And may those who see you and speak with you see this peace of Christ in you, especially those who are not at peace in their hearts. This is the greatest gift that we can give – the peace of Christ to those God is calling to be our brothers and sisters.

With love and prayers from all the brothers at Holy Dormition Friary,

Fr. Jerome Wolbert, OFM

Fr. Jim Carroll, OFM

Br. Augustine Paulik, OFM


Copy of Miraculous Icon Visits Hazleton Area

icon-of-mary-2Her face radiates peace, calm, and confidence. She presents her infant son surrounded by a mandala of glory that shows he is the Christ Child. He holds a scroll, representing that he is the “Word Made Flesh,” one of the titles of this image, also known as the icon “Mary, Helper of Mothers.” It is also called “The Albazinskaya Mother of God,” after the border town of Albazino where the image is well-known and connected with the protection of the Christians during invasions from China and persecutions by the Russian Soviet government.

Catholic and Orthodox Christians share a belief that God can act through material things, allowing the places and images and substances we use in worship to be a conduit of grace that helps us to understand the gift that God wishes to share with us. Icons, images of holy persons and events, are considered windows into heaven or avenues that direct our attention to the holy presence. In light of the importance of icons, local Byzantine Catholic parishes have been hosting a traveling icon connected with miraculous assistance for mothers in conception, pregnancy, and birth.

Our regional Byzantine Catholic Bishop, Kurt Burnette of Passaic, New Jersey, purchased a copy of this icon in part due to such miraculous assistance this image has provided expectant mothers. A copy of this same image at our sister parish in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has been a conduit for divine assistance during medical problems in conceiving a child or during difficult pregnancy. A parishioner there had been told that her child had died in the womb, and she placed the icon on her belly, saying “I am not leaving this church until I feel this baby kick me six times.” Since the baby had not moved in two days, she thought maybe six times would be enough that she would know the child would be healthy. Within half an hour, the baby kicked six times, and he is now a healthy young man. Other cures and assistance gave this icon its reputation as “Helper of Mothers.”

Our copy of the icon will be at St John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic Church in Hazleton for the month of December. At the beginning of January, it will continue its pilgrimage to Holy Dormition Friary in Sybertsville. The icon has already visited St Mary’s Byzantine Church in Kingston and St Mary’s Byzantine Church in Scranton and will be traveling to many of the Byzantine parishes in the Eparchy of Passaic, which encompasses the East Coast of our country.

The icon can be viewed before the Divine Liturgy at St John’s parish: Saturday 3-5pm, Sunday 8-9 a.m., or by appointment. For more information or to visit the icon outside of these times, please call the parish office: 570-454-1142.

Pilgrimage For Peace 2016

Mercy that fosters Peace

visitors to Holy Dormition Chapel

Sunday August 7, 2016, will be our annual Pilgrimage for Peace. This Holy Year of Mercy, we commemorate the 800th anniversary of the Portiuncula Pardon, which St Francis of Assisi requested for those who would come to the Portiuncula Chapel of Our Lady of the Angels in Assisi. This pardon has been extended to anyone who visits any Franciscan church.

The Portiuncula is a “little portion” of land with a small chapel dedicated to Our Lady of the Angels. Here the early friars met each year, Clare was received by Francis, and Francis embraced Sister Death. The Portiuncola is the cradle of the Franciscan movement.

The Pilgrimage for Peace is held on the grounds of Holy Dormition Friary, 712 State Hwy 93 at Main Street, Sybertsville, PA 18251.

Franciscan Friars anointing pilgrims

Pilgrimage Schedule

  • 10am Matins
  • 11am-1pm Food Service
  • noon Holy Anointing
  • 1pm Divine Liturgy with Bishop Kurt Burnette of the Byzantine Eparchy of Passaic
  • 2:30-5pm Food Service
  • 3:30-4:30pm Children’s Program
  • 4-4:30pm Spiritual Talk by Fr Edward Tlucek, OFM, vicar provincial of Assumption BVM Province, which includes Holy Dormition Friary. Fr Ed has assisted at Byzantine parishes for several years; he is a native of Wilkes-Barre.
  • 5pm Vespers
  • Confession/Penance will be available

The Portiuncula Pardon: Receiving an Indulgence

If you would like to receive the Portiuncula Indulgence in a Franciscan Church, after you enter the church, you should say a profession of faith and an Our Father, pray for the intentions of the Pope, and also within eight (8) days before or after entering the church, receive Confession and attend Divine Liturgy (Eucharist) and receive Holy Communion.

Portiuncula Chapel, now inside the
Basilica of St Mary of the Angels, Assisi


With the Our Father, we affirm that we are God’s children in Baptism. We say a profession of faith to affirm and remember our Christian identity. Praying for the Pope, we recognize our membership in the Catholic Church. By receiving that “second baptism” called Confession, we humbly acknowledge our failings and our dependence on God our Father to help us to live better. We also seek a deeper unity in Christ and seal our Confession by receiving the Body and Blood of Christ when we participate in the Divine Liturgy or Mass (Eucharist).

When St Francis asked for this pardon, he asked “not for years, but for souls.” Therefore, this indulgence is a generous experience of God’s mercy. May we who receive this mercy also be generous in forgiving others, as we pray, “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

Portiuncola photo credit: By zyance (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons.