SCRANTON -- It's been 150 years since the founding of the Diocese of Scranton. A special Mass was held in Scranton Sunday to mark the occasion.
Parishioners filled pews inside the Cathedral of St. Peter on Wyoming Avenue in downtown Scranton.
A special pontifical Mass was held, marking the beginning of a year-long celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Diocese.
"I actually didn't even realize it was that old until the parishes started celebrating in their own ways. We were asked to attend this Mass, and it was nice being asked," said Debby Zuzelski of Plains Township.
Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop Emeritus of Philadelphia and former administrator of the Diocese of Scranton, traveled from his home in Tennessee to be present for the Mass.
The Diocese of Scranton was part of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia until 1868.
"Now the church is celebrating together, together this wonderful anniversary. They are looking at the past, right here in Scranton, everything that happened 150 years. They are looking at that. But at the same time, they are looking ahead," Cardinal Rigali said.
Bishop Joseph Bambera led the Mass. He says this celebration is a great accomplishment for the Diocese of Scranton.
"It's a huge, huge significance religiously, of course, socially, economically with all of the individuals who are employed by the church, and culturally. We really are so blessed to be a part of the fabric of life in this part of Pennsylvania," said Bishop Bambera.
Representatives from all 120 parishes within the diocese were at the Mass.
Louis Zuzelski of Plains Township says he was happy to see so many people attend the celebration.
"I think it's great. It shows people around here do care, and they are a nice community to be with," Zuzelski said.
The sesquicentennial is expected to be celebrated through next year. In addition to this Mass, another Mass will be held in March on the actual anniversary of the Diocese of Scranton.