About the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown
The Diocese of Altoona was established in 1901, with the Most Reverend Eugene A. Garvey as the first Bishop. It was renamed the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown in 1957.
Eight counties comprise the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown -- Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Centre, Clinton, Fulton, Huntingdon and Somerset. The Diocese is divided into eight Deaneries, or geographic administrative units. As of 2010, the total Catholic population of the eight-county area was 94,284.
The Church of Altoona-Johnstown is home to 89 parishes, 74 active Diocesan priests and 36 permanent deacons. Two men are enrolled in seminaries in preparation for Ordination to the Diocesan Priesthood. The Diocese is further served by priests from various Religious orders, including the Third Order Regular Franciscans, the Conventual Franciscans, and the Order of Saint Benedict.
Communities of nuns and sisters have served locally since 1848, and today engage in a variety of ministries including Catholic education, healthcare, social services and contemplative lives of prayer.
There are two Cathedrals in the Diocese -- the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Altoona and Saint John Gualbert Cathedral in Johnstown -- as well as the Basilica of Saint Michael the Archangel in Loretto, which Pope John Paul II named a Minor Basilica in 1996. Additionally, the Diocese has three shrines -- the Prince Gallitzin Chapel House/Our Lady of the Alleghenies Shrine in Loretto, Saint Joseph Mission Church at Hart's Sleeping Place in Carrolltown, and Immaculate Conception Shrine in Bitumen.
Since its establishment in 1901, eight Bishops have led the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown. The current Bishop, the Most Reverend Mark L. Bartchak, was ordained a Bishop on April 19, 2011, at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Altoona, and installed as the eighth Bishop of the Diocese on that day.
The Diocesan Administration Center, located in Hollidaysburg, serves as the administrative offices to the Bishop and the majority of his staff. The Diocese also has a Vocations Office at the Prince Gallitzin Chapel House in Loretto; Catholic Charities offices in Altoona, Johnstown and Bellefonte; and a Family Life office in Lilly.
The Church of Altoona-Johnstown boasts a proud education tradition with 20 Catholic elementary schools and three independent Catholic high schools. A fourth high school is scheduled to open in State College in Fall 2011. Enrollment in the elementary schools for the 2010-2011 academic year is 2,978. There are 963 students enrolled in the three high schools this year. Religious Education programs at each parish serve approximately 9,800 students not enrolled in Catholic schools. There are two Catholic colleges/universities located in the Diocese and Diocesan-sponsored Catholic Campus Ministy at all colleges/universities in the Diocese.
Established in 1934, The Catholic Register is the Diocesan newspaper published bi-weekly and mailed to all registered Catholic households in the area. The Diocese also has an active television ministry, based out of Saint John Gualbert Cathedral in Johnstown. The ministry includes the production of Proclaim!, a weekly 30-minute program featuring Diocesan news and the live broadcast of the 11:00 a.m. Mass on WWCP TV FOX 8 each Sunday morning -- one of the few live, hour-long Mass broadcasts in the country.
Several Diocesan councils serve as consultative bodies to the Bishop, including the Presbyteral Council, the Priests' Personnel Board, the Pastoral Council and the Finance Council. The groups meet on a regular basis throughout the year. Additionally, a Liturgy Committee meets regularly to address the Liturgical life of the Church.