Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Transfiguration Tidbits

March 29th, 2011, Promulgated by Dr. K

A parishioner at Church of the Transfiguration in Pittsford sent us this Sunday’s bulletin column written by Fr. Michael Bausch. After reading through the column, a couple of items caught my eye.

First, the column details a sharp decline in Mass attendance in the Monroe County towns of Pittsford and Mendon. According to the column, these parishes have lost 26% of their weekly attendees over the past decade. This accounts for a loss of 1,275 people.

That is a ridiculous number of people to lose in ten years! I want to point out that the article appears to be placing the blame on the Diocese of Rochester’s favorite excuse for poor Mass attendance in the area; demographic shifts  (seen in the line, “particularly in the northeast”). I’m sorry, but “demographic shifts” do not apply to this situation. About a week ago, the Democrat and Chronicle newspaper published the 2010 census data for Monroe County. In the graphic below (full credit to the D&C), you will see that the towns of Pittsford and Mendon did not lose people. Instead, these two towns witnessed population increases of 8% and 9.3% respectively over the past decade.

The population increased roughly 8.5% yet attendance fell 26%… Are demographic shifts really to blame, Diocese of Rochester, or might it rather be the progressive Catholicism you have been shoving down the throats of your flock, especially in the large east side parishes?

The second item I’d like to point out is the number of Masses offered at this parish. Since only one priest is listed on staff, I have long suspected that Fr. Bausch offers all four of the parish’s weekend Masses. Now we have the answer to that uncertainty:

Why is it that every other priest in this diocese is forced to offer no more than 3 weekend Masses per Bishop Clark’s mandate while Fr. Bausch gets to disregard this requirement and offer 4 weekend Masses? Being an east side priest and a member of the bishop’s inner circle sure has its perks. If other priests in the diocese were granted the same privilege, then perhaps we wouldn’t need to eliminate Masses everywhere, install so many “lay pastoral administrators,” and close down countless churches.

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12 Responses to “Transfiguration Tidbits”

  1. Bernie says:

    Anonymous @ 12:46:
    Please read the post again. Your question and point are answered in the post.

  2. Mike says:

    Anon. 12:46,

    Bernie (and Dr. K.) addressed your first point. As to “shifting demographics,” no doubt that is a significant factor in the collapse of Catholicism within the City of Rochester. Out in the suburbs though – especially in places like Pittsford and Mendon – it’s utter nonsense.

    As far as Abp. Dolan’s comment goes, I doubt that he did any personal research into demographic changes in this diocese. Why would he? It’s much more likely he was just repeating the spin he had heard from DOR officials.

  3. Mike says:

    Dr. K.,

    FWIW, according to, the 2000 Pittsford/Mendon number was 5,060, not 4,970.

  4. Anonymous says:

    That is quite a howler, linking demographic trends in the Northeast to declines in Pitttsford, of al places. I know of many, many families that have left those two Pittsford parishes because of the strange things that take place at the liturgies and the dominance by lay persons over spiritual matters. Mike is quite right – it is utter nonsense.

  5. Hopefull says:

    We need to be clear. Rome gets blamed for a lot, but under Canon Law a priest can say 5 Masses of Sunday obligation (2 on Saturday and 3 on Sunday). The limit of 3 Masses is a Bishop Clark invention. By getting priests to retire early, pare their ranks and limit their Masses, one can create a scenario to close churches, sell properties and — the big question for another time–WHERE IS all that money going?

    However, since Bishop Clark made the rule, he can change it. Some priests have requested a change in order to serve the needs of their community, which is what they should do when they see the need of souls. One such priest is Fr. Mull in Canandaigua, who admirably provides the needed Masses for his flock, and to whom the Bishop has given permission for four Masses of Sunday obligation. (Fr. Mull very openly explained that publicly last year.) However, many healthy priests seem to hide behind the 3-Mass limit because they don’t WANT to be bothered, or because they have to jump through such hoops to serve the people. Blessings to the priests who feed the sheep.

  6. Dan says:

    About 7 years ago, an African Priest was quoted in the Catholic Courier Newspaper stating that it was very easy for him to say only 3 Masses on the weekend in the Diocese of Rochester. He said that he would say 10 Masses on Sunday in Africa and that included traveling to many villages.

    It was also stated in the Courier that Bishop Clark receives letters and calls from priests around the world, who would like to come to the Diocese of Rochester.

    I have written in the past that our new bishop should call back all of our retired priests and ask them to start saying Masses everyday.

    The new bishop has to stop the parish and school closings in order to stabilize the diocese. The worst thing that a bishop can do to his diocese is close a parish or school against the will of the parishioners.

    It will be a great day in the Diocese of Rochester, when the Cleansing Fire website will be able to focus on evangelization and bringing home our parishioners who have fallen away from the Church.

  7. Monk says:

    Bishop Clark closed the largest church in the diocese, St. Thomas the Apostle in Irondequoit. He keeps open small venues e.g Annunciation’s “church hall.” With the DoR’s own projection of only 50 active priests by 2025, wouldn’t it make sense to keep the larger venues open so that the remaining priests wouldn’t be stressed and running around with the need to say more Masses in smaller venues? It doesn’t appear that Bishop Clark cares about the availability of Masses for his flock in the future.

  8. A Catholic says:

    There are a number of former Rochester priests in good standing who are working in other dioceses or with religious orders, including a former Rochester vocation director and another priest who is now with the Fathers of Mercy. I know but won’t mention their names because I wouldn’t want to speak for them, but one has to wonder how many good priests left Rochester because of all the dissent over the past 35 years. Keeping good priests here in the DOR would go a long ways towards keeping the faithful in the pews on Sunday.

  9. Dr. K says:

    Now that Louvain is shutting down, I wonder if Fr. DeSocio will be returning to the DoR as a parish priest?

  10. Dr. K says:

    Fr. DeSocio is in the Southern Tier, he’s been out of Louvain for a couple of years now.

    Thanks for the info.

  11. Hopefull says:

    Just to clarify in case anyone needs it. Saturday is a weekday, even if the Mass is in the evening as a Mass of Sunday obligation. Thus, 2 Masses on Saturday evening and 3 on Sunday add to the 5 permitted. The planners from the diocese will deny this to parishioners trying to keep their parishes open, but it’s true.

    Personally, I believe if we get a good, holy bishop, that we will get good holy priests. Not every diocese has a shortage and who are we to doubt the Holy Spirit’s ability to provide? But why would the Holy Spirit send good, faithful men in to serve under…..well, you know….

  12. A Catholic says:

    BTW, the former Rochester vocation director that I was refering to in my above post is not Fr. DeSocio (as anon. mentioned, he’s back in the diocese) but a priest who was the Rochester vocation director in the 1990’s and I think is now in the Archdiocese of New York. I’m sure there are others in good standing who left who perhaps would come back once a transition at the top takes place.

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