Father John Manno tells stories from his past, present, and uses those to gage his hopes for the future of Williamsport and the deep love he has for the community.
‘I Love Williamsport’
With one of the most familiar faces and engaging energy in Williamsport, of course we had to sit down and talk with Father John Manno, recently retired Pastor for the Roman Catholic Church, about his belief in the future of Williamsport.
Although born in the area, Father Manno did spend some time in Brooklyn, NY.
“I mean that’s a city, but this is my city,” he comments about how Williamsport always stayed connected to him despite his travels.
Something that resonates with the community of Williamsport regarding Father Manno is his authenticity, colorful humor, and the way he can tell a story. He relived some great memories for us (ask him about the time he got “arrested” as a kid), as well as his admiration for people like Vanessa Hunter and Mr. Chasey of the city who work with different programs to better the community.
Father Manno spends a portion of his ecumenical life teaching youth about positive sexuality and other healthy concepts.
“I would like to see us approach drugs and other things from the experience of knowledge,” he explains, “how we stimulate people’s minds.”
He says that in order to solve certain issues, it starts with the people and their mindset. He also talked about his belief in engaging with people in the community from a simple “hello” on the street to more in-depth conversations in order to bring unity in the already present diversity he finds.
He also, in relation to those conversations, would like to see more people out on the streets of Williamsport. He says that he walks the streets at night and he knows he has people looking out for him; that it is a safe community that people should enjoy.
All in all, the most beautiful and profound story that Father Manno shared was about visiting Bill Picklener in the hospital towards the end of his days.
“I went to visit him and on my way out he said, ‘Oh fudge, John,’ I turned around and he just looked at me and said, ‘I love Williamsport.’”
What did Father Manno have to say in reply? “I love Williamsport. What else could you say?” he concludes.