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Mass of Thanksgiving & Sending Forth for Bishop-Elect Kopacz

After serving as a priest in the Diocese of Scranton for the last 37 years, a Dunmore native is getting a higher calling.
After serving as a priest in the Diocese of Scranton for the last 37 years, a Dunmore native is getting a higher calling.

Father Joseph Kopacz is about to be ordained as a bishop in Mississippi.

On Wednesday afternoon, a special "Mass of Thanksgiving & Sending Forth" was held in his honor.

The pews were filled with hundreds of friends, fellow priests and parishoners of the Bishop-Elect.

He called the service "overwhelming."

"He was a born bishop," friend and former classmate John Barrett said. "He was a wonderful guy, down to Earth, the people love him."

Bishop-Elect Kopacz was appointed to his new position by Pope Francis in December.

"It's just overwhelming, all that love," Bishop-Elect Kopacz said. "It's like a review of your life."

From Sayre to Swoyersville, Jessup to mostly recently Mount Pocono, the Bishop-Elect has touched many lives and families here.

"He's a very knowledgeable pastor, wonderful to deal with, very good with people. We loved him," Karen Collins, a former parishoner from St. James Church in Jessup said.

"Joe's gonna make a great bishop. He was a great pastor and a great friend," fellow priest Father Lou Kaminski said.

As Bishop-Elect Kopacz looks forward to his next journey of faith in the deep south, he says his beliefs will be what he relies on.

"That is kind of like the stable ground to stand on but so much of the culture and way of life and pace and history, it'll take some time to settle into that," the Bishop-Elect said.

The Bishop-Elect is currently a pastor of Most Holy Trinty Parish in Mount Pocono. He will be installed in his new role on February 6th.

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