Joseph Charles Bambera
|Bishop of Scranton|
|Appointed||February 23, 2010|
|Installed||April 26, 2010|
|Predecessor||Joseph Francis Martino|
|Ordination||November 5, 1983|
by John O'Connor
|Consecration||April 26, 2010|
by Justin Francis Rigali, James Timlin, and John Dougherty
|Born||March 21, 1956|
|Denomination||Roman Catholic Church|
|Motto||WALK HUMBLY WITH YOUR GOD|
Joseph Charles Bambera
|Spoken style||Your Excellency|
Joseph Bambera was born in Carbondale, Pennsylvania, to Joseph and Irene (née Kucharski) Bambera. One of two children, he has a sister, Karen. He attended St. Rose of Lima Elementary School and graduated from St. Rose of Lima High School in 1974. Following graduation, he entered the University of Pittsburgh and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History in 1978.
He then began his studies for the priesthood, attending the University of Scranton and St. Pius X Seminary in Dalton. He continued his studies at Mary Immaculate Seminary in Northampton, where he earned a Master of Divinity degree in 1982. He was ordained to the diaconate by Bishop J. Carroll McCormick on May 14, 1983, and to the priesthood by Bishop John J. O'Connor on November 5, 1983.
In 1987, he was transferred to the St. Peter's Cathedral and also served as auditor on the diocesan tribunal, spiritual director of the Legion of Mary, campus minister at Lackawanna College, and diocesan director of pilgrimages. In 1989, he was sent to further his studies in canon law at St. Paul's University in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. He earned a Licentiate of Canon Law from St. Paul's in 1991.
Upon his return to Scranton, Bambera was appointed a judge on the diocesan tribunal. He was later named diocesan director of ecumenism and interfaith affairs in 1993, and vicar for priests in 1995. He served as pastor of the Church of the Holy Name of Jesus in Scranton (1994-1997), of the Church of St. John Bosco in Conyngham (1998-2001), and of the Church of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Dickson City (2001-2007). He was made a Prelate of Honour by Pope John Paul II in 1997, and became episcopal vicar for the Central Region of the diocese in 2005. In July 2007, he was named pastor of both the Church of St. Thomas Aquinas in Archbald and the Church of St. Mary of Czestochowa in Eynon. He was also appointed canonical consultant for Pastoral Planning for the diocese at that time.
He was elected chairman of the diocesan presbyteral council in 2000 and re-elected in 2002. He also served as president of the Board of Pastors at Bishop Hafey High School and Bishop O'Hara High School, and as defender of the bond for the Eparchy of St. Maron of Brooklyn. He was a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of Scranton from 2003 to 2009, and was named a member of the Board of Trustees of St. Michael's School in Hoban Heights in 2004.
On August 31, 2009, Bambera was chosen to serve as delegate to Cardinal Justin Francis Rigali, who was the apostolic administrator of the diocese following the resignation of Bishop Joseph Francis Martino. In this position, he oversaw the day-to-day operations of the diocese during the sede vacante.
With deep humility, I offer thanks to Almighty God through whose providence and grace I've been called to serve the people of God in the Diocese of Scranton as bishop...As we begin a new chapter in the life of the Diocese of Scranton, may we continue to collaborate and to work together as we pursue charity and truth.
As Bishop, Bambera serves as the spiritual leader of the 350,000 Catholics in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
On August 31, 2018, Bishop Bambera forbade former bishop James Timlin from representing the diocese in public, given Timlin's failure to protect children from abusers. Bambera himself had served as the Vicar for Priests for the Diocese of Scranton from 1995 to 1998, and he admitted that during that time he had helped then-Bishop Timlin reassign a priest who had abused a minor, although the decision was made by Timlin. Bambera emphasized that since becoming bishop in 2010, he has pursued a zero-tolerance policy toward clerical abuse.