Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Report from the Diocese of Buffalo

Kelly over at Catholic Ponderings was asked how things were going in her diocese.  Her reply follows ...

Things are great! Many parishes merged last year which shook a lot of people up, of course. It was done with the input of anyone who was willing to attend meetings and I think many have found it to be a blessing (though many refuse to admit it).

Our Bishop fights hard for our schools and frequently states that they are our most important ministry. We have seminarians at our very own seminary. Only one PA and he is an ordained permanent Deacon at a very small, rural parish that is linked to another. Our Cathedral looks like one. Lay homilies are forbidden. You will find that it is a minority of parishioners who assume the orans posture during the Our Father. In our parish, the priest who was teaching at our school instructed the children to NOT hold hands.

In the DOB, people kneel during Communion and do not sit until the priest finishes purifying the vessels and takes a seat himself. Many of our religious sisters wear habits - and the sisters who teach at our school in a full habit. Our Bishop addressed the laity in regard to Spiritus Christi and the virus they were spreading to Buffalo.

Candles, sanctus bells and incense are all seen as good things. We also do not have general confession - though I have known people who travel to the DOR so that they can be forgiven without confessing to a priest - or so they thought until I corrected them.

Is the DOB perfect? No, plenty of humanity to go around. But, many people from the DOR send their children to our school in LeRoy, and some even travel forty minutes to attend Mass with us. You can find out Diocesan newspaper here.

:) Dominus vobiscum!


Anonymous said...

I'm all for Buffalo taking over our diocese then :-)

~Dr. K

Britgalinwny said...

I second Dr. K

(Catholic High School Theology teacher here, came across the cleansingfire blog and followed links)

Scott/Mary said...

I have often thought that after Bishop Clark leaves, our diocese will become (everything West of the the Genesee River) a part of the Buffalo Diocese, and (everything East of the Genesee River) a part of the Syracuse Diocese.

Anonymous said...

I guess it all depends on one's perspective and what one chooses to see. I know plenty of Religious Sisters in Buffalo who do not wear habits (such as the Sisters of Saint Joseph and the Gray Nuns of the Sacred Heart). The announced parish planning process is that by 2015, Buffalo's diocese must be down to 156 parishes - they currently have 174 or there abouts. Many, many people are very upset over the clusterings and joinings of parishes. Catholic schools are being closed, I remember two years ago that 14 schools were supposed to close. I'm not sure if they did. One of the greatest complaints is that one of the reasons given for the closure of schools and parishes is financial, while the Bishop lives in a mansion. They have 13 major seminarians and 8 pretheologians/college seminarians. Rochester has six major seminarians and 4 pretheologians. We should also remember that Buffalo has a larger population than Rochester's diocese (almost 700,000 registered Catholics to Rochester's 300,000). So, all is not rosey over to the west.

By the way, I got the statistics for the seminarians from the Diocese of Buffalo's own website.

Anonymous said...

One more statistic that is not mentioned about Buffalo - since 2005, 77 worship sites have been closed through the "Journey of Faith and Grace" process. 77!

Anonymous said...

According to the Diocese of Buffalo website, there are four parishes with Pastoral Administrators, two of the administrators listed are women:

St. Lawrence in Buffalo - Deacon Paul Weisenburger and Mar Weisenburger listed as Pastoral Administrators;

Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph in Belmont, NY linked (clustered) with St. Mary in Bolivar, NY - Deacon Francis Pasquale listed as Pastoral Administrator;

St. Anthony in Lackawanna, NY - Sr. Barbara Ritter, SSMN listed as Pastoral Administrator (parish linked with Our Lady of Victory in Lackawanna, NY).

In the choir loft said...

Don't the Mercerdarians staff the churches in LeRoy? I heard they are going to convert their house into senior citizen apartments and the Mercerdarians will build a new, smaller place on the rear of the land. Who put up that bell tower in the front. That thing is ugly.

Anonymous said...

I don't know much about the diocese of Buffalo, but I remember when I was reading about the 14 school closings, that I was astounded at how many schools there were in the Buffalo diocese. That 14 was a much smaller percentage of schools than the just about half that were closed here.

Anonymous said...

From the Buffalo diocesan website, there are listed 56 Diocesan Catholic elementary and middle schools. From the Rochester diocesan website, there are listed 27 Catholic elementary and middle schools. That is half of Buffalo's number. Buffalo has twice the number of Catholics that Rochester has a little over twice the number of Catholics Rochester has (700,000 to about 300,000). So the ratio of schools to Catholic population is really the same.

Kelly said...

To the Anons who had a beef with my comment:

*I will say this about the 'Journey in Faith and Grace' and this is all I will say about it: Some people are attached to buildings and memories and would rather a church stay open with a meager attendance than to merge with another church on the other side of town. Our parish merged with another, leaving the smaller church an oratory. One linked church with a weekly collection of around $400 was sold. Now those parishioners have to drive a whole six or seven miles to attend Mass. Church is about being the body of Christ, people. That is wherever you gather.

* Re: Pastoral Administrators in Buffalo Diocese: I missed a Deacon and forgot to mention the other Deacon's wife plus the sister who oversees a very tiny parish which is LINKED to OLV. She's not a PA over at OLV. That is three PAs - each assigned to very small linked parishes. I suppose you'll search for evidence of installation Masses for the PAs as well?

*I said that MANY of the sisters wear habits. I did not say all. Do the ones without habits wear albs and preside at Mass?

*Schools were closed and room was made at other Catholic schools for the children and teachers transferred where space was available. Since the majority teaching are laypersons, and many Catholics do not send their children to parochial school, yes - the expenses are very high. Nothing was said about the 13 regional schools Bishop Kmiec saw to create to serve the underserved. He is quoted as saying, "The impact of Catholic education on the development of future leaders in the Church is profound. The moral development of our Catholic youth and faith formation is woven into the daily life of Catholic schools. The continued success of Catholic schools is critical to the future of the Church." Of course, many would rather a school remain open with three students per class...

No anonymous posters have mentioned the Bishop's new Catholic Elementary School Funding Plan which will serve to stabilize the remaining schools.
I'll wait patiently.

Anyway, I did say that some were shook up about the mergers. LOL. I thought the concerns over at the DOR were primarily ones of liturgical abuse, reiki master priests squirting people with a super-soaker, hand-holding during the Our Father, lack of reverence and the press for female ordination by the Bishop and his followers...

I did not say that everything was rosey in the DOB. I would think that mergers and school closings, which are taking place across the nation (and Bishop Kmiec had to do what the previous Bishop neglected to), would be minor compared to outright stomping upon the Magisterium of the Church. Perhaps I was wrong.

My glass is half full. Yours? :)


Choir Loft: Yes, the Mercedarian Friars staff our Parish, Our Lady of Mercy which includes St. Peter, St. Joseph's Oratory and we are linked with St. Brigid's in Bergen. I do not know what the future for Mercy Grove holds. It is possible that it is up in the air until the word comes down from their provincial. Their chapter was held in Rome in June and he has yet to make known their assignments. The bell tower? I think it was probably there from the Sisters of Mercy - not sure. It is the pool out front that gives me the giggles. :)

Anonymous said...

You are right about the buildings.

gretchen said...

Buffalo has ... a little over twice the number of Catholics Rochester has (700,000 to about 300,000). So the ratio of schools to Catholic population is really the same.

Let's step out of NY and look at the diocese of Wichita, Kansas. There is a Catholic population of 115,967 (http://www.cdowk.org/about/history.htm) with nearly 11,000 Catholic school students (http://www.cdowk.org/offices/schools/index.htm).

There is no tuition; it is completely paid for by the parishes and the diocese.

Now that's real stewardship in action!