Families of Parishes Announced;

Pilots families begin in January

Western New York Catholic, December 2, 2021

After a year in the consultative process, the Diocese of Buffalo’s Families of Parishes are now finalized. A total of 36 families will be formed by the current 161 parishes in the diocese. These parishes will join together in small groups to share resources and staff under one pastor with an increased role for the laity.

“The goal of the families is to have lay leaders who are elevated and are in positions to share the leadership of the family with the clergy. We’re definitely going to have fewer clergy in the future and we really need them to be focused in on our sacramental and religious ministry. So, having a strong lay leader partnership is going to be a critical part of forming a family,” explained Carrie Frank, member of the Diocesan Renewal Task Force.

Families range in size from three to six parishes and can expect priests, deacons and laity working together as teams to serve the needs of the family. Two families will be split into A and B sections with two pastors. This is due to geographical distance and parishes already established working relationships. Several listening sessions have taken place over the year, along with surveys, meetings, and emails, to gather input from clergy, staff, adult parishioners and youth.

“We wanted to make sure families were not too large or too small, both geographically and parishioner base. The schools were considered while crafting the families as well,” said Father Bryan Zielenieski, vicar for Renewal and Development for the diocese. “Other than geography, we looked at relationships between parishes. Were parishes working together, were they collaborating in some way already, do they share a township, school district, is there something that naturally connects them? Do parishes have a history together, such as a mother/daughter parish. We looked at ministries, do parishes have ministries that could benefit another nearby parish? Socioeconomic data was part of our consideration. We looked at many factors when making these decisions, including the input of the vicar foranes of each vicariate, asking them who they believed would work well together.”

Six pilot families have been selected and will be activated Jan. 17, 2022. Those pilots include the parishes of Sacred Heart of Jesus, St. Mary of the Assumption, Our Lady of Pompeii, St. Philip the Apostle, Blessed Mother of Teresa and St. Martha in the Cheektowaga, Depew, Lancaster area; St. John the Baptist, All Saints, Immaculate Conception, St. Brendan on the Lake in Niagara County; St. Michael, St. Isidore and Mary Immaculate in Wyoming County; Assumption, Holy Spirit, St. Margaret, St. Mark, St. Rose of Lima and All Saints in North Buffalo; Holy Name of Mary, St. Philomena and Our Lady of Peace in Cattaraugus County; and St. Martin of Tours, St. Teresa, St. Thomas Aquinas and Our Lady of Charity in South Buffalo.

Pastors will be announced in April.

“The pilots are an important part of the process as they allow the Renewal team to focus particular attention on making sure these families are successful, and learning about all that is involved in the implementation process,” Bishop Michael W. Fisher said in a letter to all priests.

The rest of the families of parishes will be activated in three phases taking place, October 2022, October 2023 and October 2024.

“The other important thing is that families do some real discerning about what they want to accomplish, what they really can be together, how can they enrich ministry, how can they build more outreach, how can they be disciples and how can they really serve people in need. Really recreating what Church means to that community as they serve as a family is a real important part,” said Frank.

The last of the families will be a Campus Ministry Family comprised of 27 campuses. This family will bring together the mission of campus ministry, but the colleges will have a territorial relationship to the Family of Parishes in which they are geographically located. The Campus Ministry Family will serve as a parent to all campus ministries, providing guidance and leadership among all of the college campus ministries.

The Road to Renewal initiative was launched in August 2020 with a goal to reinvigorate Catholic faith, more fully optimize parish and diocesan resources, and increase the reach and impact of Catholic ministries.

A full list of all 36 families can be found at roadtorenewal.org/families.

Road to Renewal Updates »

Families of Parishes announced; pilots families begin in January

Families of Parishes Announced;

Pilots families begin in JanuaryWestern New York Catholic, December 2, 2021After a year in the consultative process, the Diocese of Buffalo’s Families of Parishes are now finalized. A total of 36 families will be formed by the current 161 parishes in the diocese....

The Appointment of New Bishop

Statement of John J. Hurley of the Movement to Restore Trust On the Appointment of Bishop Michael W. Fisher as the 15th Bishop of Buffalo December 1, 2020 The Movement to Restore Trust (MRT), a movement of the lay faithful committed to rebuilding the Church of Buffalo...

Diocese Renewal initiative seeking Volunteers

Are You Tech Savvie? September 3, 2020 Our Temporary Administrator for the Diocese, Bishop Ed Scharfenberger is working with Leadership Roundtable and a group of volunteers to hold Zoom conversations with parishioners from all across our Diocese during the weeks of...

Vatican issues new guidelines for parishes:

5 things you need to knowDenver Newsroom, Jul 20, 2020The Congregation for Clergy on Monday published new guidelines for the world’s parishes, which aim to encourage parishes to think of themselves as missionary communities of evangelization.The guidelines do not...

The Appointment of New Bishop

Statement of John J. Hurley of the Movement to Restore Trust On the Appointment of Bishop Michael W. Fisher as the 15th Bishop of Buffalo

December 1, 2020

The Movement to Restore Trust (MRT), a movement of the lay faithful committed to rebuilding the Church of Buffalo in the wake of the clergy sex abuse scandal, welcomes the appointment of Bishop Michael W. Fisher as the 15th Bishop of Buffalo.

Bishop Fisher steps into a very challenging situation as the Diocese of Buffalo seeks to complete its reorganization in federal bankruptcy court in a manner that will provide some measure of justice to the victims of clergy sexual abuse over many decades. He must lead a process that is both legal and pastoral and create a Church that is focused on healing and reconciliation. Bishop Fisher’s job is complicated by the Covid-19 pandemic that has kept the faithful from their parishes and has exacerbated the financial challenges the diocese faces.

From its founding in October 2018, the MRT has been devoted to rebuilding the Church of Buffalo and helping the Church and the faithful recover from the devastating effects of the clergy sex abuse scandal. We are committed to being a part of the revitalization of parish life in the diocese. We seek to preserve the Church’s essential ministries in our community, ministries aimed at serving the poor and the marginalized among us. The pandemic has curtailed our public work over the past several months, but MRT members have been playing significant roles in the Diocesan Renewal Task Force which has been tasked to reimagine the organization of parishes and schools and the life of the Church.

The MRT congratulates and welcomes Bishop Fisher to Buffalo and pledges to work with him in bringing these goals to fruition. We are greatly encouraged that Bishop Fisher considers himself first and foremost a pastor. May God bless him, and the Holy Spirit guide him in his pastoral responsibilities to the Diocese of Buffalo.

Families of Parishes Announced;

Pilots families begin in JanuaryWestern New York Catholic, December 2, 2021After a year in the consultative process, the Diocese of Buffalo’s Families of Parishes are now finalized. A total of 36 families will be formed by the current 161 parishes in the diocese....

The Appointment of New Bishop

Statement of John J. Hurley of the Movement to Restore Trust On the Appointment of Bishop Michael W. Fisher as the 15th Bishop of Buffalo December 1, 2020 The Movement to Restore Trust (MRT), a movement of the lay faithful committed to rebuilding the Church of Buffalo...

Diocese Renewal initiative seeking Volunteers

Are You Tech Savvie? September 3, 2020 Our Temporary Administrator for the Diocese, Bishop Ed Scharfenberger is working with Leadership Roundtable and a group of volunteers to hold Zoom conversations with parishioners from all across our Diocese during the weeks of...

Vatican issues new guidelines for parishes:

5 things you need to knowDenver Newsroom, Jul 20, 2020The Congregation for Clergy on Monday published new guidelines for the world’s parishes, which aim to encourage parishes to think of themselves as missionary communities of evangelization.The guidelines do not...

Diocese Renewal initiative seeking Volunteers

Diocese Renewal initiative seeking Volunteers

Are You Tech Savvie?

September 3, 2020

Our Temporary Administrator for the Diocese, Bishop Ed Scharfenberger is working with Leadership Roundtable and a group of volunteers to hold Zoom conversations with parishioners from all across our Diocese during the weeks of September 28 and October 5.  This is part of a Renewal initiative across the Diocese.

They will be running 8 sessions  each week and need some volunteers who can help them “manage and produce” these Zoom events.

The conversations will take place from 7-8:30 pm Monday through Thursday evenings during those weeks.  Volunteers are needed to help the Diocese set up these Zoom events for up to 100 people and to arrange for potential break out sessions during these events. 

If you are tech savvy and can help please contact Eileen Warner at ewarner@buffalodiocese.org  

Families of Parishes Announced;

Pilots families begin in JanuaryWestern New York Catholic, December 2, 2021After a year in the consultative process, the Diocese of Buffalo’s Families of Parishes are now finalized. A total of 36 families will be formed by the current 161 parishes in the diocese....

The Appointment of New Bishop

Statement of John J. Hurley of the Movement to Restore Trust On the Appointment of Bishop Michael W. Fisher as the 15th Bishop of Buffalo December 1, 2020 The Movement to Restore Trust (MRT), a movement of the lay faithful committed to rebuilding the Church of Buffalo...

Diocese Renewal initiative seeking Volunteers

Are You Tech Savvie? September 3, 2020 Our Temporary Administrator for the Diocese, Bishop Ed Scharfenberger is working with Leadership Roundtable and a group of volunteers to hold Zoom conversations with parishioners from all across our Diocese during the weeks of...

Vatican issues new guidelines for parishes:

5 things you need to knowDenver Newsroom, Jul 20, 2020The Congregation for Clergy on Monday published new guidelines for the world’s parishes, which aim to encourage parishes to think of themselves as missionary communities of evangelization.The guidelines do not...

Vatican issues new guidelines for parishes:

5 things you need to know

Denver Newsroom, Jul 20, 2020

The Congregation for Clergy on Monday published new guidelines for the world’s parishes, which aim to encourage parishes to think of themselves as missionary communities of evangelization.

The guidelines do not publish new norms or policies for parish life, but they do encourage Catholics to think prayerfully about what their parishes are, and what they’re for.

Read the full article for themes and takeaways »

Families of Parishes Announced;

Pilots families begin in JanuaryWestern New York Catholic, December 2, 2021After a year in the consultative process, the Diocese of Buffalo’s Families of Parishes are now finalized. A total of 36 families will be formed by the current 161 parishes in the diocese....

The Appointment of New Bishop

Statement of John J. Hurley of the Movement to Restore Trust On the Appointment of Bishop Michael W. Fisher as the 15th Bishop of Buffalo December 1, 2020 The Movement to Restore Trust (MRT), a movement of the lay faithful committed to rebuilding the Church of Buffalo...

Diocese Renewal initiative seeking Volunteers

Are You Tech Savvie? September 3, 2020 Our Temporary Administrator for the Diocese, Bishop Ed Scharfenberger is working with Leadership Roundtable and a group of volunteers to hold Zoom conversations with parishioners from all across our Diocese during the weeks of...

Vatican issues new guidelines for parishes:

5 things you need to knowDenver Newsroom, Jul 20, 2020The Congregation for Clergy on Monday published new guidelines for the world’s parishes, which aim to encourage parishes to think of themselves as missionary communities of evangelization.The guidelines do not...

Statement on Buffalo Diocese Bankruptcy

February 28, 2020

“When the magnitude of victims claims against the Diocese of Buffalo under the Child Victims Act became clear several months ago, the Movement to Restore Trust concluded that a bankruptcy filing by the diocese was inevitable,” said John J. Hurley, Movement to Restore Trust Organizing Committee Member.  

“Resolving the claims of victims of sex abuse under the supervision of a federal bankruptcy judge is the only way to insure the prompt, fair and equitable treatment of claimants.  The bankruptcy court will provide a forum in which the legitimate interest of victims in openness and transparency can at last be assured.  We think that it will provide the essential starting point for the reconciliation, healing, and ultimately, reform of the Catholic Church in Buffalo that so many desire.”   

Families of Parishes Announced;

Pilots families begin in JanuaryWestern New York Catholic, December 2, 2021After a year in the consultative process, the Diocese of Buffalo’s Families of Parishes are now finalized. A total of 36 families will be formed by the current 161 parishes in the diocese....

The Appointment of New Bishop

Statement of John J. Hurley of the Movement to Restore Trust On the Appointment of Bishop Michael W. Fisher as the 15th Bishop of Buffalo December 1, 2020 The Movement to Restore Trust (MRT), a movement of the lay faithful committed to rebuilding the Church of Buffalo...

Diocese Renewal initiative seeking Volunteers

Are You Tech Savvie? September 3, 2020 Our Temporary Administrator for the Diocese, Bishop Ed Scharfenberger is working with Leadership Roundtable and a group of volunteers to hold Zoom conversations with parishioners from all across our Diocese during the weeks of...

Vatican issues new guidelines for parishes:

5 things you need to knowDenver Newsroom, Jul 20, 2020The Congregation for Clergy on Monday published new guidelines for the world’s parishes, which aim to encourage parishes to think of themselves as missionary communities of evangelization.The guidelines do not...

MRT Leader Meets with Papal Nuncio

Archbishop Christophe Pierre tells faithful of Diocese of Buffalo he understands their concerns

John J. Hurley, member of the Movement to Restore Trust (MRT) Organizing Committee, met with Archbishop Christophe Pierre, papal nuncio to the United States, on Jan. 31 at the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington, D.C.

During the hourlong conversation, Hurley briefed Archbishop Pierre on MRT’s December 7 Symposium at Canisius College and the discernment on the qualities necessary in the next Bishop of Buffalo.  Hurley said that the Nuncio agreed that the qualities identified by the faithful in Buffalo were desirable qualities: transparent, honest, humble, holy, collaborative, servant leader, and willing to make tough decisions.

“He told me to tell the people of Buffalo that he understands our concerns,” Hurley said.  “I told him that the major challenges ahead included the expected filing of a bankruptcy petition by the diocese.  Archbishop Pierre said he was concerned about the decline in revenue in the diocese of Buffalo and the recently reported $5 million loss in the previous fiscal year.  I also told him that it will be essential in the bankruptcy case for the diocese to develop a breakeven operating plan, which means the deficit will have to be addressed.”

Hurley and the archbishop also discussed that many of the priests in the diocese are fearful and demoralized.  “I told the Nuncio that the priests of the diocese need someone who will really listen to them and try to meet their needs, even while the bankruptcy case is pending.  This includes giving them accurate and timely information about the bankruptcy case and what this means for their parishes so that they can assure the faithful.”

The two also agreed that it was essential that the diocese begin to work on revitalizing parish life because there has been so much damage done to the parishes over the past two years.

“We talked about where the Church finds itself – at a missionary moment where we need to be focused on the encounter with Christ,” Hurley said.  “Archbishop Pierre said that the Pope’s Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel) provides the vision for the Church.  I told him that I thought that the faithful in Buffalo would be receptive to this message after all we’ve been through.”

Hurley renewed MRT’s commitment to work with the next bishop of Buffalo on this view of the Church. 

“Archbishop Pierre urged us all to pray for the intercession of the Holy Spirit as Pope Francis selects our next bishop,” Hurley said.

The meeting was arranged in response to a letter Hurley sent to the Nuncio informing him of the results of the MRT symposium on Dec. 7.  Bishop Edward Scharfenberger, apostolic administrator of the diocese, was informed of the meeting ahead of time.  Upon his return from Washington, Hurley briefed Bishop Scharfenberger on the meeting.

Families of Parishes Announced;

Pilots families begin in JanuaryWestern New York Catholic, December 2, 2021After a year in the consultative process, the Diocese of Buffalo’s Families of Parishes are now finalized. A total of 36 families will be formed by the current 161 parishes in the diocese....

The Appointment of New Bishop

Statement of John J. Hurley of the Movement to Restore Trust On the Appointment of Bishop Michael W. Fisher as the 15th Bishop of Buffalo December 1, 2020 The Movement to Restore Trust (MRT), a movement of the lay faithful committed to rebuilding the Church of Buffalo...

Diocese Renewal initiative seeking Volunteers

Are You Tech Savvie? September 3, 2020 Our Temporary Administrator for the Diocese, Bishop Ed Scharfenberger is working with Leadership Roundtable and a group of volunteers to hold Zoom conversations with parishioners from all across our Diocese during the weeks of...

Vatican issues new guidelines for parishes:

5 things you need to knowDenver Newsroom, Jul 20, 2020The Congregation for Clergy on Monday published new guidelines for the world’s parishes, which aim to encourage parishes to think of themselves as missionary communities of evangelization.The guidelines do not...