St. Andrew Parish and St. Andrew Country Day School to close on or before June 30

St. Andrew Parish and its grammar school, St. Andrew Country Day School, in the Town of Tonawanda, will close on or before June 30, 2024, the Diocese of Buffalo has announced. 
 
The parish and the school have been plagued by financial challenges over the last few years, and in recent months, the financial crisis reached an untenable stage. The decision to close both the parish and the school was reached by clerical and lay leadership of the parish and in close consultation with the diocese.
 
Announcement of the closings of the parish and school began today and will continue through Sunday, Feb. 18 Masses.
 
“The decision was very difficult, but necessary to continue to provide for the pastoral and educational needs of the faithful and our elementary school students,” explained Bishop Michael Fisher. “We will rally together with the family of Parishes in Tonawanda, Kenmore and Grand Island to both welcome and satisfy those needs within our other parishes.
 
St. Andrew is a member of Family #17 in the Family of Parishes which includes Blessed Sacrament, Tonawanda, St. John the Baptist, Kenmore, St. Paul, Kenmore, St. Timothy, Tonawanda, and St. Stephen, Grand Island.
PDF of the News Release

Christ the King Seminary is listed for sale

Town of Aurora, N.Y., Nov. 2, 2023 – The Diocese of Buffalo has announced that Christ the King Seminary located on 117 acres on Knox Road in the Town of Aurora has been listed for sale with the Buffalo office of Hanna Commercial Real Estate. The sale price is $5.3 million.

The seminary, closed in 2020, features renovated classroom and office space, a 460-seat auditorium, a chapel, a large library, six dormitories, a large commercial kitchen and dining hall, a recreation building, and a full gymnasium building. Hanna Commercial Real Estate brokers representing the property are Timothy Hourihan and David Doerr who may be contacted at 716 856-7107.

Christ the King Seminary originally began at St. Bonaventure University in 1857 when it was founded by the Franciscan Fathers of the Order of Friars Minor. In 1974, the seminary moved to Aurora, where it replaced St. John Vianney Seminary. The Diocese assumed sponsorship and administration of the seminary in 1990.

The diocese and seminary board elected to close the seminary to contain costs while allowing students in formation to experience the advantages of larger, more diverse classes and offerings afforded through St. Mary Seminary, Baltimore and St. Bernard’s School of Theology, Rochester.

Investigation by Diocesan Internal Audit Department Reveals Alleged Financial Impropriety at Parish

Buffalo, N.Y., September 28, 2023 – As a result of a review by church and diocesan officials, an employee of St. Amelia Parish in the Town of Tonawanda was placed on administrative leave from the parish on Friday, September 15.

Following further review from the Internal Audit Department of the diocese, the employee was relieved of her duties on Thursday, September 21.

Parish and diocesan officials have turned over evidence to the Erie County District Attorney’s office for investigation of potential financial improprieties.

New York State Catholics to gather for Eucharistic Congress

September 22, 2023 — Thousands of Catholics from across the state will gather at the Shrine of Our Lady of Martyrs in Auriesville, NY on the weekend of October 20-22, 2023, for the New York State Eucharistic Congress. This congress, organized by the eight Catholic dioceses in New York, is part of the three-year national Eucharistic Revival sponsored by the bishops of the United States.

The Congress, which will feature Mass, talks in both English and Spanish by nationally-known Catholic speakers, music, Eucharistic Adoration, and opportunities for fellowship and socializing, will begin at 6 p.m. on Friday, October 20th, and conclude at Noon on Sunday, October 22. Attendance at the Congress is free, but registration is required at Registration. Bishop Edward Scharfenberger, Bishop of the Diocese of Albany where the Shrine of Our Lady of Martyrs is located, said, “Think of the Eucharistic Congress as a personal invitation from the Holy Spirit to a mini-retreat, a springboard for your own reflection on the Eucharistic presence of Jesus in your life and in His mystical body, the Church, of which you are a beloved member.” Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, said “Our Lord loves us so much that He chooses to remain with us in the Holy Eucharist. I pray that through this Eucharistic Congress, many will come to better know, love, and serve Him, by strengthening our love and faith in this wonderful gift of His real presence.”

Among the featured speakers at the Congress will be Bishop Joseph Espaillat, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of New York, Patrick Kelly, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, famed youth minister Mari Pablo, and Sirius XM Radio host Katie Prejean McGrady.

Mari Pablo, currently serving parishes and universities across the country with The Evangelical Catholic and one of the featured speakers at the Congress, said, “We are in need of a revival, to be reminded why the Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith and how our lives are continually transformed by His presence. I am looking forward to gather as the Church on such holy grounds with people from all over the state of New York who desire to encounter the Lord.”

The two highpoints of the Congress promise to be the celebration of Mass on Saturday, October 21 at 11:00 a.m. by Bishop Terry LaValley of the Diocese of Ogdensburg, and on Sunday, October 22, at 11:00 a.m. by Bishop Scharfenberger of Albany, which will mark the end of the Congress.

Diocese of Buffalo Announces Priest Placed on Administrative Leave

Buffalo, N.Y., September 11, 2023 – As the result of an accusation of inappropriate conduct with an adult, Bishop Michael Fisher has placed Rev. Joseph Rogliano on administrative leave, and an investigation of the claim has begun.

Rev. Rogliano is temporarily relieved of his pastoral and administrative duties as pastor of the family of parishes that include Blessed Trinity, SS. Columba-Brigid, St. Lawrence and St. Martin de Porres churches in Buffalo. These responsibilities will be distributed among the other priests serving within that family of parishes.

Rev. Rogliano also has been removed from his role as coordinator of the Priests’ Personnel Board.

Please note that this administrative leave is for the purpose of investigation and does not imply any determination as to the truth or falsity of the complaint. If you have any information specific to clerical sexual abuse you would like to share, please contact Jackie Joy, our Victim Assistance Coordinator, who may be reached at 716 895-3010.

Diocese of Buffalo Announces Substantiated Claim of Abuse

Buffalo, N.Y., September 5, 2023 – As a result of an investigation conducted through the Independent Review Board, Bishop Michael Fisher has accepted the board’s recommendation and has determined that a claim made against retired priest Rev. Joseph Vatter that he had abused a minor female has been substantiated.

Bishop Fisher had placed Rev. Vatter on administrative leave in February of 2023. As a result of the substantiated claim, Rev. Vatter will continue to be removed from ministry and be listed on Priests with Substantiated Claims of Abuse on the diocesan website. Prior to being placed on leave, Rev. Vatter had occasionally celebrated Masses at various churches in the diocese.

If you have any information specific to clerical sexual abuse you would like to share, please contact Jackie Joy, our Victim Assistance Coordinator, who may be reached at (716) 895-3010.

The Diocese of Buffalo and Survivors Find common ground as mediation continues

Buffalo, N.Y., July 31, 2023 – Negotiations have been ongoing between the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo and the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors appointed in the Diocese’s Chapter 11 reorganization proceeding. The Committee is comprised of six claimants entrusted to represent the collective interests of all abuse survivors. Details of the negotiations remain confidential, but the Diocese and the Committee have found common ground on one key issue: they’re searching for more insurance coverage.

The Diocese has robust records of insurance coverage beginning in 1972, but has to this point been largely unsuccessful in locating proof of insurance prior to that time. Nevertheless, the Diocese and the Committee are committed to working together to locate additional policies.

“We know the Diocese owned property before 1972, and that it would have been insured. The question is what companies insured the Diocese in those years,” said Ilan Scharf, an attorney for the Committee. “We’ve agreed to proceed cooperatively on a number of fronts,” said attorney Steve Donato, who represents the Diocese. “That includes further efforts to find policy evidence in old diocesan records and inquiries to insurance agencies that may have placed the coverage.”

Seeking help from the community

The Diocese and the Committee are also asking the public for help. Their hope is to find someone who worked decades ago at an insurance carrier or agency, or who might otherwise have knowledge or evidence of pre-1972 insurance coverage for the Diocese.

Under New York law, insurance coverage may be available even if a copy of the actual policy is never found. Rather, evidence that a policy was issued can be used to prove coverage. Such evidence might include notes in business records, cancelled checks, accounting ledgers or policy numbers or the memories of people who worked for the Diocese, parishes or insurance companies or brokers.

Downloadable PDF version.

Diocese of Buffalo Announces Complaint Resolution on Three Diocesan Priests

Buffalo, N.Y., July 24, 2023 – The Diocese of Buffalo has resolved claims against three diocesan priests. As a result of an investigation conducted through the Independent Review Board (IRB), Bishop Michael Fisher has accepted the unanimous IRB recommendation and has made the determination that the child abuse claim made against Rev. Louis Dolinic has been substantiated. Another child abuse claim against Fr. Dolinic was found to be unsubstantiated.

Rev. Dolinic has been removed from ministry since 2018 because of previous child abuse complaints. Those previous complaints were determined substantiated in 2019. Rev. Dolinic will continue to be on
the list of Priests with Substantiated Claims of Abuse on the diocesan website.

In the second case, the IRB has investigated and made the recommendation to Bishop Fisher who has accepted the IRB’s recommendation and made the determination that a claim of child sexual abuse against Rev. Msgr. Peter Popadick was unsubstantiated. As a result, Bishop Fisher has returned Msgr. Popadick to ministry.

In the third case, the IRB has investigated and made the recommendation to Bishop Fisher who has accepted the IRB’s recommendation and made the determination that the claim of inappropriate comments communicated to a minor was unsubstantiated against Rev. Patryk Sobczyk.

If you have any information specific to clerical sexual abuse you would like to share, please contact Jackie Joy, our Victim Assistance Coordinator, who may be reached at 716 895-3010.

Downloadable PDF version.

Oldest Priest in the Diocese of Buffalo Passes Away at 101 Years Old

Buffalo, N.Y., July 13, 2023 – Rev. Msgr. Dino Lorenzetti, the eldest priest in the Diocese of Buffalo, died yesterday, July 12, 2023. Msgr. Lorenzetti, a priest for 70 years, would have celebrated his 102nd birthday on July 23.

Born in Buffalo, the son of Italian immigrants, he was a graduate of Hutchinson Central High School. He joined the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II, fulfilling assignments in Africa and Italy, from 1941-45. When he returned, he began studies at Christ the King Seminary, then located at St. Bonaventure University, and was ordained in May 1953 by Bishop Joseph Burke. He would go on to serve under seven bishops, with assignments in St. Mark’s in Rushford, Holy Cross, Our Lady of Lourdes, St. Mary of Sorrows, and St. Louis, all in Buffalo, and Christ the King in Snyder. He spent 20 years as pastor of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in Orchard Park. He directed the diocesan Department of Family Life for nearly to 20 years.

After retiring at age 75 in 1996, he continued his ministry throughout Western New York, saying Mass and administering sacraments. Until shortly before his death, he offered weekly Masses at both St. John the Baptist Church in Kenmore and at St. Martha’s in Depew. Msgr. Lorenzetti’s honors include the Curé of Ars Award, the Bishop’s Medal, St. John Neumann Award, Judge John D. Hillery Foundation Award, and the Christopher Award from the Catholic Youth Organization. His name is also on the Wall of Honor at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval Military Park.

He is survived by nieces and nephews.

Msgr. Lorenzetti will lie in repose at St. John the Baptist Church, 1085 Englewood Avenue, Kenmore, on Sunday, July 16, 2023, from 3-6 p.m. and then again on Monday, July 17, 2023, from noon-1:15 p.m., followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 1:30 p.m. Most Reverend Michael W. Fisher will be the main celebrant.

Downloadable PDF version.

Decision Reached on Fire Damaged Our Lady of the Lake Worship Site in Lyndonville

Buffalo, N.Y., July 10, 2023 – Following a period of consultation with diocesan officials, the pastor and parish leaders from Our Lady of the Lake worship site and its Family of Parishes, a decision has been made that the Our Lake of the Lake worship site of St. Joseph’s in Lyndonville, NY will not be rebuilt following the late February fire that caused extensive damage.

On Feb. 28, a fire in a classroom structure attached to the church caused substantial damage to the church building. Because of that extensive damage to the church, no Masses have been able to be celebrated at the worship site that was founded as St. Joseph’s Parish 117 years ago. In a letter to parishioners at weekend Masses, Pastor Mark Noonan said, “the event of this fire was both shocking and saddening for all of us. We love our churches…. Over the course of the past few months, it became apparent that St. Joseph’s worship site could not be sustained long-term, and thus we could not responsibly take the step of rebuilding it following the fire. I know that our entire Catholic community in Eastern Niagara and Orleans counties, Family of Parishes #11, is here to come together and to build one another up in the grace and life of the Holy Spirit.”

Family of Parishes #11 includes Our Lady of the Lake (St. Patrick’s) in Barker; St. Mary, Holley; St. Mark, Kendall; Holy Family, Albion; and Holy Trinity (St. Mary’s and St. Stephen’s), Medina/ Middleport. Work will begin to create appropriate memorials honoring St. Joseph’s at St. Patrick’s in Barker and St. Mary’s in Medina. St. Mary’s Church is a 10-minute drive from Lyndonville, while St. Patrick’s is 15-minutes away.

Note: As a result of the pastoral planning process, St. Patrick Parish in Barker was linked and then merged with St. Joseph Parish in Lyndonville, effective March 30, 2009. The merged parish was then named Our Lady of the Lake. St. Patrick’s site in Barker became the primary site and Lyndonville became the secondary (worship) site.

Downloadable PDF version.