The directory includes basic information on Latin and Eastern rite Catholic, Polish National Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches in Bradford, Lackawanna, Lycoming, Pike, Tioga, Wayne, and Wyoming counties. Information on churches throughout the region will be added as time permits and it becomes available. Latin rite Catholics predominate in the area, and information on those churches has been easier to find. If you have information on the history or records of one or more Catholic, PNCC or Orthodox churches, please consider sharing it. I've begun to contact the churches themselves for additional information, but as I've identified over 300, and answering genealogy questions isn't their priority, it could be a while until I get through the list. Generally information on diocesan church name, current address and phone number comes from the Diocesan Directory at www.dioceseofscranton.org. Historical sources should be footnoted.
URLS: Not all parishes have websites as of yet, but links have been included where found. Urls can also be found in the Links section. Most parish websites include photos () of the churches and many have history sections (). Reading them can be very informative. I've also tried to include links to photos, histories and records that I've found on other sites. If you have or know about a link for a particular church, please let me know.
Establishment Date: A church can have many "birth" dates: The day mass was first said in what would become the parish, the day the land was bought for a building, the day the building was dedicated, the day a pastor was first assigned, etc. St Juliana's in Wayne County, for example, was built and dedicated by 1838, but didn't become a pastorate until 1854.1 The most important date for genealogists is often when the church became a pastorate, as that is when it generally would have started keeping its own records. Unless noted otherwise, the establishment dates listed here refer to when the church was established as a pastorate.
Addresses: The address affiliated with a church may be for the church itself, the church office or the rectory. In any case, mail should reach them. If you're trying to visit the church in person and its not at that specific place, look around -- it won't be far.
In recent years due to decreasing and shifting population, aging facilities, and declining vocations, there have been many changes in the diocese. Some parishes and missions have been suppressed (closed) and others have merged. Sometimes the pastoral church has become a mission and its former chapel of convenience the pastorate. An address enclosed in (parentheses) designates a location that may no longer exist, but is included here to help with research.
Directions: is a link to a mapquest map. If next to a street address, the map is set to that address. If next to the city name, it will only take you to the area of interest, not the specific location of the church.
Jurisdiction: Most of us have already realized this in our research, but I'll reiterate just in case. Lots of things change over 175 years. NEPA Catholics began as part of the Diocese of Philadelphia. As of 1868 they were part of the Diocese of Scranton. In 1825 area counties included Bradford, Luzerne, Lycoming, Pike, Susquehanna, Tioga and Wayne. Monroe was created in 1836, Wyoming in 1842, Sullivan in 1847. and Lackawanna not until 1878. Villages, boroughs and townships have come and gone across the area and even churches have changed or modified their names.
Sorting the churches by county is arbitrary, but with hundreds of churches with which to deal, I needed some way to organize things. People living near county lines often crossed over to attend church, so don't get caught in the trap of thinking that your Wyoming County relatives had to belong to a church in Wyoming. I've used county lines as they exist today, but have tried to cross refernce changes in church and town names. E.g.: Back when it was first built in the early 1850s, my great great great grandparents belonged to SS Simon and Jude in Providence Township, Luzerne County. Today the church in known as St Mary of Mount Carmel in Dunmore, Lackawanna County, and that's how it appears in the directory, with St Simon as a cross reference.
Caveat: I began this project because I'm neither Catholic nor Orthodox, and I don't live in NEPA. I needed a way to try to keep straight the various churches that I came across while researching and eventually I decided that others might be as confused as I was. Then my love of historical minutia kicked in. Please let me know if I've misunderstood the assorted denominations, churches, mergers and closures, or the finer points differentiating missions from chapels, etc. And if you have additional information that you'd like to contribute, it would be lovely.