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Anatomy of a Photo

The Cathedral has a vast and rich history in service as the Mother Church of the Diocese of Scranton. Go behind the scenes of our commemorative anniversary photo and explore the most important moments in our last 150 years. 

Conception to Reality

When it was decided to artistically commemorate the diocesan sesquicentennial, the Cathedral's vast photo library provided the necessary inspiration. However, the task of narrowing down hundreds of photos to a select few was daunting. Capturing the essence of our diocese and its cathedral while maintaining our identity as a parish church was a task we undertook with a humble appreciation of those who came before us.

Along with the ten Bishops of the Diocese of Scranton, we chose historic and modern photos which capture the most important moments and architectural details of the past 150 years.  

The individual photos were arranged, not in chronological order, but as a purposeful mix of the historic and modern-day so that, when viewed as one art piece, the photo conveys a living, breathing continuation of our history instead of a single snapshot in time. 

Once the art piece was complete, an overlay was added containing a present-day photo of the Cathedral towers with the sun rising in the background. 


The tagline "Your Cathedral Celebrates the Diocesan Sesquicentennial" was chosen because the Cathedral 'belongs' to all the faithful of the diocese. 


The quote from the Gospel of Matthew honors Saint Peter, the patron saint of the Cathedral. 


The mission statement of the Cathedral Parish, adopted in 2015, illustrates our deep commitment in service to all who enter our doors.

In addition to being published on our website, the completed art piece serves as the bulletin cover for the Third Sunday of Lent (Anniversary Sunday), and will appear in a similar format in the commemorative issue of The Catholic Light.

The Photos

Bishop Thomas C. O'Reilly

Third Bishop of Scranton

O'Reilly was born in Cleveland, Ohio, to Patrick and Delia O'Reilly. After attending Spencerian Business College (1887-1888), he studied at St. Ignatius College (1889-1893) and St. Mary's Seminary (1893-1894) in Cleveland. He then furthered his studies at the Pontifical North American College in Rome.


He was ordained to the priesthood by Cardinal Francesco di Paola Cassetta on June 4, 1898. In 1899 he earned a Doctor of Sacred Theology from the Propaganda University.

 Upon returning to Ohio, he served as a curate at St. John's Cathedral until 1901, when he became a professor of dogmatic theology at St. Mary's Seminary. He earned a Doctor of Laws in 1909 from the University of Notre Dame. He was chancellor (1909-1916) and vicar general (1916-1921) of the Diocese of Cleveland before serving as pastor of the Church of St. John the Evangelist.


On December 19, 1927, O'Reilly was appointed the third bishop of Scranton by Pope Pius XI. He received his episcopal ordination on February 16, 1928, from Cardinal Dennis Joseph Dougherty, with Bishops Joseph Schrembs and Bernard Joseph Mahoney serving as co-consecrators. During his tenure, he established seven parishes and fourteen schools in the diocese, despite the economic ravages of the Great Depression.

However, the increased burden of responsibility took its toll on his health, and his tenure was correspondingly shortened. O'Reilly later died in Miami Beach, Florida, aged 65.

Coat of Arms of Bishop O'Reilly

View of the Cathedral and adjacent buildings in the early 1900s.

Bishop William O'Hara

Episcopal Seal and Coat of Arms of Bishop O'Hara

First Bishop of Scranton

Born in 1816 in Dungiven, Ireland, Bishop William O'Hara was ordained as a priest in Philadelphia in 1842. When the Archdiocese of Philadelphia was reorganized in 1868, he was appointed bishop of the new Diocese of Scranton. It encompassed 8,466 square miles and had 24 churches.

It did not have a college, which Bishop O'Hara said was essential to “light up this valley with the fires of learning.” He founded St. Thomas College in 1888. It has educated generations of Scrantonians and is known today as the University of Scranton.

Bishop O'Hara died in 1899. He was 82.

Bishop Bambera and priests of the Diocese of Scranton at the Chrism Mass in 2017.

Bishop John J. O'Connor

Seventh Bishop of Scranton

Coat of Arms of Bishop O'Connor

On May 10, 1983, Pope John Paul II named the Most Reverend John J. O'Connor to become the Seventh Bishop of Scranton. 


On June 28, 1983, the Cathedral and the Diocese once again welcomed a new shepherd at a Vesper Service during which Bishop O'Connor took canonical possession of the diocese. He stood before the 400 priests and a large number of laity for the first time and said simply, "What you see is what you get."


The following day, the Cathedral was once again filled to capacity with four cardinals, forty-one bishops, and archbishops, as well as dignitaries, priests, religious, and laity. Archbishop Pio Laghi, the Apostolic Delegate to the United States, presided and Cardinal Krol officially installed the former Auxiliary Bishop for the Military Ordinate as the Seventh Bishop of Scranton.


Perhaps the number of cardinals present that day should have provided a clue to what lay ahead. On January 31, 1984, just seven months after his installation, Bishop O'Connor was chosen to head the Archdiocese of New York. The following year, he became Cardinal O'Connor at a ceremony in Roma attended by hundreds from the Diocese of Scranton. 

He was diagnosed in 1999 as having a brain tumor, from which he eventually died. He continued to serve as Archbishop of New York until his death.

O'Connor died in the archbishop's residence on May 3, 2000, and was interred in the crypt beneath the main altar of St. Patrick's Cathedral. Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan, President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton, Vice President Al Gore, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former President George H. W. Bush, Texas Governor George W. Bush, New York Governor George Pataki, New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, former New York City Mayors Ed Koch and David Dinkins were among the dignitaries who attended his funeral, which was presided over by the Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano.

Auxiliary Bishop Henry Klonowski and priests on the steps of the Cathedral Rectory. 

The Cathedral Church, Rectory, St. Thomas College, and the Cathedral Convent constitute a block full of faith for Wyoming Avenue in Downtown Scranton.

Boy Scouts receive awards from Bishop Hannan, with Father J. Clifford Timlin and Father Andrew J. McGowan assisting during the annual "Ad Altare Dei Award" ceremony.

Parishioners and clergy line the street to pay their respects as Bishop Hannan's funeral processes to the Cathedral. 

Coat of Arms of Bishop Bambera

Bishop Joseph C. Bambera

Tenth Bishop of Scranton

Bishop Joseph C. Bambera was born in Carbondale, Pa. on March 21, 1956, the son of Irene Kucharski Bambera and the late Joseph Bambera.


In 1978, Bishop Bambera was accepted for studies for the priesthood for the Diocese of Scranton and entered Saint Pius X Seminary in Dalton in September of the same year. He was ordained to the Diaconate on May 14, 1983, by Bishop J. Carroll McCormick and was ordained to the Priesthood on November 5, 1983 by Bishop John J. O’Connor.


Bishop Bambera’s first priestly assignment was as Assistant Pastor of the Church of Saint Mary of the Assumption, Scranton. He served in this position until September 1987, when he was appointed Assistant Pastor of the Cathedral of Saint Peter, Scranton.


In 1989, Bishop Bambera was appointed to further studies in Canon Law. While serving in numerous Diocesan positions, Bishop Bambera was appointed Administrator and then Pastor of the Church of the Holy Name of Jesus, Scranton. He served the parish from January 1994 until July 1997, at which time he assumed the role of Director of Formation at Saint Pius X Seminary, Dalton.


Bishop Bambera was made a Prelate of Honor by His Holiness, Pope John Paul II in March, 1997. He was appointed Pastor of the Church of Saint John Bosco, Conyngham, in July 1998. In July 2001, Bishop Bambera was appointed Pastor of the Church of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Dickson City. Bishop Bambera was appointed pastor of the Church of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Archbald, and the Church of Saint Mary of Czestochowa, Eynon, in July 2007.


On February 23, 2010, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Bishop Bambera to be the tenth Bishop of Scranton. Bishop Bambera’s Episcopal Ordination and Installation Mass was celebrated in the Cathedral of Saint Peter on April 26, 2010.

Bishop William J. Hafey

Fourth Bishop of Scranton

William Hafey was born in Chicopee, Massachusetts, to James and Catherine Hafey. He attended Holy Cross College in Worcester, from where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts in 1909. From 1909 to 1910, he studied at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C. He then attended Mount St. Mary's Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland.


Bishop Hafey was named Coadjutor Bishop of Scranton, Pennsylvania, and Titular Bishop of Appia on October 2, 1937. He later succeeded the late Thomas Charles O'Reilly as the fourth Bishop of Scranton on March 25, 1938. He created new parishes, multiplied the number of buildings, and increased the number of priests and religious. He was also dedicated to social needs such as education, health care, and youth activities.

He later died at age 66. 

Coat of Arms of Bishop Hafey

High altar of the Cathedral circa 1800s. The artwork above the altar featured the Crucifixion of Christ until 1934. 

Exterior of the Cathedral circa 1921. The main entrance was enlarged and the three arches were removed.  

Fresco above the tabernacle with an interconnected 'A' and 'M' which stands for Ave Maria. The monogram is set in a depiction of a sunflower which is associated with the Assumption of Mary depicted in the fresco behind the tabernacle.

Members of the Men's and Boy's Choirs of 1952.

Cathedral sanctuary circa the early 1900s depicting a Tenebrae service during Holy Week. 

Bishop Timlin and Bishop McCormick just prior to celebrating the Cathedral's Centennial in 1984.

Interior view of the Cathedral, circa 1890. Note the skylight over the main altar. 

A 1953 ordination of priests takes place at the Cathedral with the young Father Timlin, future Bishop of Scranton, assisting Bishop Hafey.

Coat of Arms of Bishop McCormick

Bishop Joseph C. McCormick

Sixth Bishop of Scranton

McCormick was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and studied at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Overbrook and the Pontifical Roman Seminary in Rome. He was ordained to the priesthood by his uncle, Cardinal Dennis Joseph Dougherty, on July 10, 1932.


On May 25, 1966, he was installed as the sixth Bishop of Scranton. Twenty-four archbishops attended his installation ceremony in the Cathedral, along with public officials from Washington and Harrisburg, priests, and laity. 


Aside from shepherding his new flock, his first priority was the implementation of the Second Vatican Council's directives. To accomplish this, a massive eight million dollar fundraising campaign was spearheaded by the new bishop. The resulting renovations of 1967, in effect, made a new Cathedral. 


Bishop McCormick served the diocese faithfully not only during his episcopate but also in the thirteen years following his resignation. 


He died on November 2, 1996, at the age of 89.

Bishop Joseph F. Martino

Fourth Bishop of Scranton

Pope John Paul II announced on July 25, 2003 the appointment of the Most Rev. Joseph Francis Martino, D.D., Hist. E.D., as the ninth Bishop of Scranton. At the time Bishop Martino was Auxiliary Bishop and Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.


Bishop Martino was ordained to the episcopacy on March 11, 1996, upon his Papal appointment as Auxiliary Bishop to the Archbishop of Philadelphia, Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua. He was ordained to the priesthood on December 18, 1970, at St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome, Italy.


Bishop Martino holds a doctoral degree in ecclesiastical history and a licentiate in sacred theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome . He is a graduate of St. Charles Borromeo College Seminary, St. Joseph Preparatory School and St. Columba Elementary School, Philadelphia.

Coat of Arms of Bishop Martino

Present-day Cathedral tower. 

The sixth, seventh, and eighth Bishops of the Diocese of Scranton gather with John Cardinal Krol, Bishop of Philadelphia, in 1984 on the occasion of Bishops Timlin's installation as Bishop of Scranton. Left to right, John Cardinal O'Connor, Bishop Timlin, Cardinal Krol, and Bishop McCormick. 

Interior of the Cathedral Church, March 2015.

Bishop Hannan gathers the clergy, the faithful and the Knights of Columbus at a Pre-Vatican II Cathedral ceremony honoring the newly-named Monsignori of the Diocese of Scranton.

Bishop Bambera incenses the Blessed Sacrament at the conclusion of the Mass of the Lord's Supper, 2017. Pictured along with the bishop is Deacon Edward Shoener, Monsignor Rupert, Monsignor Siconolfi, and a seminarian. 

Bishop James C. Timlin

Eight Bishop of Scranton

Bishop James C. Timlin was born on August 5, 1927, in Scranton, the son of the late James C. and Helen Norton Timlin.

He received his elementary education at Saint John the Evangelist Grade School, South Scranton, and Holy Rosary Grade School, North Scranton. He is a graduate of Holy Rosary High School, North Scranton, and St. Charles College, Catonsville, Maryland. He attended St. Mary’s Seminary, Baltimore, Maryland, before enrolling in the North American College, Rome, Italy, where he completed his studies for the priesthood.

Bishop Timlin was ordained in Rome by the Most Reverend Martin J. O’Connor, D.D., then Rector of North American College, on July 16, 1951.

He was named Auxiliary Bishop of Scranton on August 3, 1976, and ordained in Saint Peter’s Cathedral on September 21 of that same year.

He was appointed Eighth Bishop of Scranton by His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, on April 24, 1984, and was installed on June 7, 1984.

Coat of Arms of Bishop Timlin

Bishop Hafey consecrates the second Auxiliary Bishop of Scranton, Most Reverend Martin J. O'Connor, at the Cathedral in 1943. 

Bishop Jerome Hannan

Fifth Bishop of Scranton

Hannan was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to James and Rose Hannan. He studied at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, from where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1916, and then at St. Vincent's Seminary in Latrobe, earning a Doctor of Divinity in 1920. He was ordained to the priesthood on May 22, 1921.


On August 17, 1954, Hannan was appointed the fifth Bishop of Scranton by Pope Pius XII. He received his episcopal consecration on the following September 21 from Archbishop Amleto Cicognani, with Archbishop Patrick O'Boyle and Bishop Henry Klonowski serving as co-consecrators, in Washington, D.C


The Bishop died in Rome, where he was preparing for the closing session of the Second Vatican Council, at age 69.

Coat of Arms of Bishop Hannan

The Chapel of the Holy Family found in the vestibule of the Cathedral celebrates the rich history of the former Church of the Holy Family.

Bishop Michael J. Hoban

Episcopal Seal and Coat of Arms of Bishop Hoban

Second Bishop of Scranton

A son of Irish immigrants, the second bishop of Scranton strived to grow his diocese and keep it together as dissident parishioners threatened to pull it apart. Under Bishop Michael J. Hoban’s leadership from 1899 to 1926, the diocese expanded its number of churches, priests, sisters and parochial schools, but his handling of ethnic strife was perhaps his greatest achievement.

Shut out of the Irish-German church hierarchy, Polish Catholics felt they were treated as second-class citizens. They could not own the churches they built and were ordered to cease teaching Polish language and culture in parish schools. The resulting “schism” resulted in the founding of the Polish National Catholic Church, but Bishop Hoban was praised for reaching out to Poles to ease tensions.


Bishop Hoban’s peacemaking skills extended to labor disputes. He was a figure in the Great Anthracite Coal Strike of 1902 when President Theodore Roosevelt intervened. Bishop Hoban died in 1926 at age 73.

The following photos were not able to be included in the commemorative 150th Anniversary art piece; however, they hold significant historical value to the Cathedral Parish and the Diocese of Scranton. 

Members of the women's 1957 Altar and Rosary Society of the Cathedral Parish gather around a statue of the Blessed Mother.

Crowds line Wyoming Avenue on September 11, 1919, to pay their last respects to John Mitchell, one of the nation's great union leaders.

Cathedral curate Father O'Hara gathers on the steps of St. Cecilia's Academy for this early 20th century graduation day ceremony.

Original Guild Studios Building on Wyoming Avenue, circa the 1920s.

Recalling our diverse ethnic roots, representatives from throughout the eleven counties of the Diocese of Scranton process to the Cathedral adorned in the ethnic attire of their ancestors.

St. Cecilia's Academy across the street from the Cathedral in 1908.

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