Proclaim! TV Presents Special Christmas Program

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Proclaim! TV is celebrating the glory of Christmas with a television special, “Joy to the World: Christmas in the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown.” 

Hosted and produced by Tony DeGol, Diocesan Director of Communications, the two-hour show will highlight beloved Christmas traditions, the overwhelming spirit of giving, and beautiful music from parish and school musicians. 

It will air on December 20 at 1:00 p.m. on WATM ABC 23 and on Christmas morning at 7:00 a.m. on WWCP FOX 8. 

“This really is a Christmas like no other, but it is still Christmas,” DeGol said. “This special show will remind us that Jesus is still with us, which is the greatest gift we could ever receive. No matter what else is different this year, even a pandemic cannot stop us from welcoming the newborn Christ in our heart.” 

Bishop Mark will share some of his cherished Christmas memories with his family, and he will offer a message of hope for Christmas and the new year. 

The Very Reverend John Byrnes, JCL, JV, Rector of the Basilica of Saint Michael the Archangel and Judicial Vicar for the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, will recall the history of Christmas in Loretto dating back to the first Christmas Midnight Mass celebrated by the Prince-Priest and Servant of God Demetrius Gallitzin. 

The Very Reverend Frank Scornaienchi, TOR, Pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Altoona, will spotlight the Presepio (Italian Nativity) and other Italian Christmas customs, and Father Jozef Kovacik, Pastor of Saint Matthew Parish in Tyrone and Administrator of Saint Joseph Parish in Bellwood, will recall traditions from his years growing up in Slovakia – some of which he continues here in America. 

Diocesan Director of Family Life and Missions Andre McCarville, along with some of his children, will celebrate the importance of the Nativity as a symbol of Christmas, and Diocesan Youth Ministry Coordinator Francine Swope will have a virtual chat with young adults about the joy of Christmas in their lives. 

Other segments include a Christmas conversation with the Franciscans from Saint Francis University in Loretto, and Saint Rose of Lima, Altoona, Pastor Father Brian Saylor’s passion for Christmas cookie baking. 

The Greater Johnstown Diocesan Festival Choir, the Good Shepherd, Port Matilda, Zoom choir, and Vox Nova from Mount Aloysius College in Cresson will be among the featured musicians, along with students from Divine Mercy Catholic Academy in Johnstown and Our Lady of Victory Catholic School in State College.  

The Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown is grateful for the local organizations that partnered with the diocese to sponsor the show, including the DelGrosso Family of Companies, Garvey Manor Nursing Home/Marian Heights Senior Living, the Independent Catholic Foundation, Mount Aloysius College, and Saint Francis University, as well as media sponsor WATM ABC 23/WWCP FOX 8.  

[Photos: (Top) The Very Reverend Frank Scornaienchi, TOR, stands by the Presepio at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Altoona; (First Inset) The Very Reverend John Byrnes, JCL, JV, and Tony DeGol discuss the history of Christmas in Loretto; (Second Inset) Andre McCarville and his children celebrate the beauty of the Nativity.]