Bishop Bartchak To Speak, Receive Honorary Degree at Seminary Commencement


The Most Rev. Mark L. Bartchak, Bishop of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, will receive an honorary doctorate from Saint Vincent Seminary at the May 8 commencement.

A native of Cleveland, Bishop Bartchak was ordained a Bishop and installed as the eighth Bishop of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown on April 19, 2011, at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Altoona. He studied at Saint Mark Seminary and Gannon University, Erie, where he received a bachelor of arts degree in 1977. He studied for the priesthood at Christ the King Seminary, East Aurora, New York, and he studied canon law at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., where he received a licentiate degree in 1989 and a doctorate in 1992.

Bishop Bartchak was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Erie on May 15, 1981, and in 2000 he received papal honors from Pope John Paul II with the title of Chaplain to His Holiness. After ordination to the priesthood, he served as parochial vicar at Saint Joseph Parish in Warren, Saint Francis Parish in Clearfield, and Saint Leo Magnus Parish in Ridgway. In 1982 he was appointed Defender of the Bond, and in 1986 he was assigned full-time to the Tribunal of the Diocese of Erie.

In the Diocese of Erie, Bishop Bartchak was an ex-officio member of the presbyteral council, the administrative cabinet and various diocesan committees. He was confessor and spiritual director for Project Rachel at Catholic Charities Counseling Services of the Diocese, and chaplain to the Saint Thomas More Society.

In addition to his duties in the Diocese of Erie, Bishop Bartchak has been involved in various roles in the Church on the state, national and international level. In 2004, he was appointed to the Administrative Board and the Executive Committee of the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference. In 2007 he was appointed as a consultant for the USCCB Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance. He has served as canonical consultant for a number of bishops, dioceses, seminaries, and religious institutes and as a judge for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and as a visiting judge in various diocesan tribunals. He has given presentations to clergy and laity in various places (including a study day for priests of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown in 2004).

Bishop Bartchak is a member of the Canon Law Society of America (CLSA) and has published and lectured widely on the topic of canon law.