Cleansing Fire

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Diocese of Rochester Pastoral Appointments Update – 5/9/11

May 9th, 2011, Promulgated by Dr. K

I will open Cleansing Fire’s latest pastoral appointments update with a few words from Fr. Norm Tanck, CSB:

He’s right. As we predicted about a month ago, the Diocese of Rochester has arrived at a point where there are more openings than available priests. So what’s going to happen? If you believe what a priest friend of ours has suggested might happen, a large number of parish closings are imminent. There are several possibilities however that Bishop Clark could pursue before carrying out his usual course of action.

First, there are a few Parochial Vicars who can and should be reassigned to fill these openings. This includes Fr. Pius Pathmarajah of St. John the Evangelist (Greece) and Fr. Mark Brewer of St. Charles Borromeo (Greece). I realize this recommendation was not popular with some when I made it last time, but something needs to be done to address these needs! Both of these men serve in parishes where four weekend Masses are offered and where two priests are on staff offering two Masses a piece instead of the bishop’s maximum of three. A second possibility is to import additional priests from outside the United States. We have done this before, and it might be time to do it again. My third suggestion is to cluster more parishes. This idea was also unpopular with our readers, but we have little choice with the number of priests rapidly declining in Rochester and the possibility of replacements from ordinations still a few years away. We will continue to lose priests to retirements, and don’t exclude the possibility that priests could be accused of sexual abuse and placed on leave (at least two were suspended in 2010 alone). A number of three-church clusters could be established in the mold of Peace of Christ and the Gates-Chili cluster. These communities could then be run by a priest Pastor and Parochial Vicar. This would reduce the number of priests required for these three-church clusters from three to two, and free up a priest to fill one of the vacancies.

Mass times will need to be reduced with suggestions one and three above.

Difficult decisions will have to be made by Bishop Clark over the next 40 or so days. This is the harvest that his 30+ years at the helm has produced, and now is the time for him to reap what he has sown. Let us pray that his decisions will be good ones and cause minimal pain to the faithful of Rochester.

Without further ado, here are the updated appointments, “free agents” list, and openings.

Appointments known so far (to take place by the end of June):

Fr. John Yaw Afoakwah from Parochial Vicar of Blessed Trinity parish (Waverly, Newark Valley, Apalachian, Owego) to reassignment in Ghana.
Ms. Charlotte Bruney from Pastoral Administrator of St. Vincent De Paul (Churchville) to Pastoral Administrator of Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Brockport).
Fr. Joseph Canh from Vietnamese Ministry at St. Helen (Gates) to transfer to Boston Archdiocese.
Fr. Augustine Chumo from Sacramental Minister of St. Michael, St. John, St. Patrick (Clyde, Lyons, Savannah) to Pastor of this community. Sr. Diane Dennie, SSJ will no longer be Pastoral Administrator.
Fr. William Darling from Parochial Vicar at St. Mary (Canandaigua) to Pastor of Our Lady of the Snow (Cato, Port Byron, Weedsport).
Fr. William Donnelly from semi-retirement/Sacramental Minister of St. Mary downtown to retirement.
Fr. John Gathenya from Parochial Administrator of Our Lady of the Snow (Cato, Port Byron, Weedsport) to Parochial Administrator or Pastor of Holy Family (Auburn). Fr. Gathenya replaces Fr. Michael Conboy, presently serving as Parochial Administrator.
Ms. Irene Goodwin from Pastoral Administrator of St. Mary of the Assumption (Scottsville) to Pastoral Administrator of St. Mary of the Assumption/St. Vincent De Paul (Churchville)/St. Columba (Caledonia).
Fr. Timothy Horan from Parochial Vicar of Blessed Kateri (Irondequoit) to Pastor of Holy Trinity (Webster).
Fr. Leo Huyen to Vietnamese Ministry at St. Helen (Gates).
Fr. Robert Kennedy from Pastor of Blessed Sacrament (Rochester) to Pastor of Blessed Sacrament/St. Boniface (Rochester) and priestly duties at St. Mary downtown (Rochester).
Fr. William Leone from Parochial Vicar of Blessed Kateri (Irondequoit) to Pastor of St. Jerome (East Rochester).
Fr. Mickey McGrath from Pastor of St. Columba (Caledonia) to Sacramental Minister of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini (Rochester)
Fr. William Michatek from Pastor of Holy Trinity (Webster) to retirement.
Fr. Kevin Murphy from Pastor of St. Louis (Pittsford) to retirement.
Fr. Thomas Nellis from retirement to temporary Sacramental Minister/weekend Mass assistance at Church of the Transfiguration (Pittsford) during sabbatical of Fr. Michael Bausch.
Deacon David Palma from director of deacon personnel to Pastoral Administrator of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini (Rochester). This appointment may be concurrent with his duties as deacon director.
Fr. Robert Ring from Pastor of Our Lady of the Lakes (Dundee, Naples, Penn Yan, Prattsburgh, Rushville, Stanley) to Pastor of St. Louis (Pittsford).
Fr. Robert Werth from Parochial Vicar of Peace of Christ (Rochester) to Sacramental Minister of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini (Rochester).
Ms. Damian Zynda, Th.D to temporary Pastoral Administrator of Church of the Transfiguration (Pittsford) during sabbatical of Fr. Michael Bausch.

“Free agents” – Active priests without an assignment come June, excluding those known to be on leave. Most recent assignment in parentheses.

Fr. Ted Auble (St. Vincent De Paul)
Deacon Scott Caton (ordination in June)
Fr. William Endres (St. Mary of the Assumption)
Fr. Peter Enyan-Boadu (Nativity Blessed Virgin Mary)
Fr. Steven Lape (St. Jerome)
Fr. Michael Mayer (temporarily at St. Pius X during absence of Fr. Timothy Brown)

Total: About 6 free agent priests

Remaining openings – The following is a list of openings yet to be filled or about which we have little to no information

(1) Parochial Vicar at Blessed Sacrament/St. Boniface and St. Mary downtown

(2) Sacramental Ministers at St. Vincent DePaul/St. Columba/St. Mary of the Assumption

(1) Sacramental Minister at Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

(1) Pastor at Our Lady of the Lakes

(1-2) Parochial Vicars at Blessed Kateri

(1) Parochial Vicar at Blessed Trinity

(1) Parochial Vicar at St. Mary (Canandaigua)

(1) Chaplain at Rochester Institute of Technology

Total: About 10 known openings

Difference: 4 openings remain if all priests listed above are assigned.

Changes to free agent list since last edition: Fr. Tracy and Fr. Brickler have been removed from the free agent list. Both appear to be retiring from active ministry. Fr. Brickler’s Catholic Courier article confirms his retirement. The fact that Fr. Tracy was not appointed to St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, a parish with a large Spanish-speaking population, strongly suggests his retirement as well. Fr. Tracy has had difficulty standing in recent years.

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15 Responses to “Diocese of Rochester Pastoral Appointments Update – 5/9/11”

  1. avatar Anonymous says:

    I don’t understand. If we have priests without assignments who are able and willing to serve and live their vocation, why are lay people assigned over them? Why are priests serving under a lay Pastoral Administrator? What is more important – availability of the Eucharist through vocations or beating the drum for women wannabees?

  2. avatar JLo says:

    Bl. Kateri (Irondequoit) lost two Parochial Vicars (St Margaret Mary and St Cecilia churches), leaving each without a priest and with just Fr. Tanck at Christ the King (with the retirees who live there) serving the entire cluster. The problem of celebrants at the three-church BK parish would be solved if all three Sunday morning Holy Masses were said at the 1000-pew capacity St. Thomas the Apostle site and the three evening Holy Masses split among CTK, SMM and SC. Sure wish Fr. Tanck and the bishop would consider such a remedy. +JMJ

  3. avatar Bruce says:

    Lay people are not pastors. Never have been and never will be.

  4. I was aware of the available priests vs. the number of churches via an informed parishioner at St.Francis Xavier Cabrini Parish.

    Please pray or our individual church and parish – St. Andrew Church. We learned near Easter that one of the bids placed on our church was from an outfit that wanted to buy all the property on the grounds. In addition to running the school, they plan to make the church into a gymnasium.-A GYMNASIUM! Parishioners that I have spoke to are upset at the prospect of the church being turned into a gymnasium and regard it to be sacrilegious. There is another bid from a church. Parishioners do not want St. Andrew closed, but if indeed it has to be closed and sold, they would rather it be a place of worship.

  5. Additionally, I would like to say —If the Diocese does decide to sell St. Andrew Church to the outfit who plans to turn it into a Gymnasium, I think the Catholic Community should demonstrate outside of Diocesan Headquarters on Buffalo Road and St. Andrew Church as well.

  6. avatar Anonymous says:

    Better a gym than a mosque

  7. avatar Anonymous says:

    Better a church than a gym AND a mosque.

  8. avatar Bruce says:

    So closed churches and priestesses are the fruits of the LEM movement, eh? Sounds like a train wreck!

  9. avatar Anonymous says:

    Last I looked, the St. Andrew property was listed for $1.2 million dollars.

    Sorry, I’m voting for the charter school. Every time I drive by the “modern” Annunciation, I want to scream.

  10. avatar Hopefull says:

    Rumors abound in Canandaigua that there will not be a Parochial Vicar replacement. Hope the rumors are wrong!

  11. avatar Raymond Rice says:

    If the bishop sells a church property to a secular organization for a profane (non-religious) purpose, is there some way the statues and other sacramentals can be retrieved beforehand and continue to be used in another location or facility?? Many people gave money to the Church over the years to provide the church with beautiful objects to promote devotion. It is pretty sad if these thing are destroyed!!!

  12. avatar Matt says:

    Fr Tim Brown to Peace of Christ

  13. avatar Dr. K says:

    Fr Tim Brown to Peace of Christ

    This addresses our shortage HOW?

  14. Fr. Steve Lape is going to Scottsville-Churchville-Caledonia (St. Mary’s, Scottsville bulletin article May 22nd.)

  15. avatar Dr. K says:

    Thanks, IC. The latest appointments have been posted here. We’re now down to two “free agent” priests, but there still are seven openings to be filled.


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