CHESTNUTHILL TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- Bishop Joseph Bambera of the Diocese of Scranton, who just returned home the U.S./Mexico border, helped lead a milestone Mass at a church in Monroe County on Sunday.
Inside Our Lady Queen of Peace Church near Brodheadsville, you could barely find a seat. The parish is celebrating its 50th anniversary.
"Makes my heart full of pride and joy, and I am just very grateful and happy that everybody was able to come," said Pastor Michael Quinnan.
The large crowd was also on hand to see Bishop Bambera. Bambera was one of five bishops from across the country who went on a mission to speak with migrant families at the border.
"I was humbled by the invitation. It was clearly a very profound experience. We certainly need to protect our borders, but we need to be compassionate as well, and we need to respond to the people who are in straits," Bishop Bambera said.
"There were so many things that stood out," Bambera continued. "Young people not being with their families, but also the hope individuals had as they fled real persecution and danger in their homelands and look to us for hope."
Following the church service on Sunday, people gathered outside for food and music. Church members say celebrating the 50th anniversary of the church on a beautiful day like this one while seeing Bishop Bambera made for a memorable experience.
"I come here every Sunday, so it's really nice to Bishop Bambera after all of his work. It's pretty cool," said Sophia Salvi of Effort.
"It's nice to have the bishop here to acknowledge that we are a vibrant parish, and we've been here for 50 years," said Anne Jenkins of Lehighton.
The bishop repeated his call to continue protecting the border while keeping in mind the humanitarian needs of the families seeking asylum.