Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church


Bishop Clark Closes St. Michael School in Newark

May 26th, 2011, Promulgated by Dr. K

From YNN comes the following DoR press release:

“Based on recommendations from the leaders at St. Michael’s Church and the Diocese of Rochester Catholic School Board, Bishop Clark has made the decision to close St. Michael School in Newark at the end of the current academic year. This decision was not made lightly and comes after careful consideration and much prayer.

We were heartened to see the strong community support that St. Michael received in its effort to stay open and viable. Unfortunately, despite all of their efforts, the steady decline in enrollment has continued over the last several years. The parish can no longer continue to incur considerable debt to operate the school.

We believe strongly in the virtues of a Catholic education and will continue to do all we can to support the remaining schools across the Diocese of Rochester.”

Close, close, close.

What is going to happen to the $71,000+ raised so far to keep the school open? I hope the diocese will return this money in full to its respective donors.

Please pray that the students who attend St. Michael will find another place to receive a Catholic education.

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21 Responses to “Bishop Clark Closes St. Michael School in Newark”

  1. avatar Mike says:

    Channel 13 is reporting that St. Michael’s fell 2 students and $27,000 short of staying open.

  2. avatar Diane Harris says:

    How terribly sad. I made my pledge “contingent on St. Michael staying open for the 2011-2012 school year.” If you didn’t, if you actually turned over money and don’t want it used for some other diocesan fantasy, it is important to write asap and ask for its return, since you intended it for a very specific purpose. It would be unethical for them to use it for something else, but if you don’t ask for its return (registered letter is agood idea) it is unlikely the diocese would willingly encourage its return, in my opinion and experience.

  3. You do wonder what happens to money taken in. I have nothing in print to prove this – but someone with connections to D.o.R. on Buffalo Road was upset awhile back when she learned that the Bishop spent…(I forgot the amount but think it was in the thousands) on a heated floor in his bathroom. The parishioners have no accounting how money is being spent by those in office on Buffalo Road, yet Catholic churches and Catholic schools are closing.

  4. avatar Disheartened parent says:

    There is a long story that goes along with this that nobody seems to want to listen to. A reporter from WROC-TV8 CALLED my husband to get his take (the truth) of what has transpired and it was not reported. I see snakes and rats when I think about what has come to light about this situation. The bishop, St. Michael Church (not the school) and the priests have had an agenda of closing this school for years. The church is still going to have to come up with $73,000 a year to maintain the building for it to just sit there. The priest was directed by the bishop not to talk to the media, what does that tell you? Angry, yes, bitter, yes, confident that this will not shake my faith but make it stronger, most definitely!

  5. avatar Disheartened parent says:

    Just an aside…..I hope and pray that the student that donated 100 of her gold coins to the school to keep it open, gets her money back as well!

  6. avatar Bruce says:

    More fruits of the DoR womenchurch

  7. avatar Dr. K says:

    It would be nice if some of the eastern Monroe County social justice parishes were to practice what they preach and offer assistance to the St. Michael school. I guess theater style projection systems are a bigger priority.

  8. avatar Raymond Rice says:

    A parish or school raising money or having a large bank account is sure to draw the fox’s attention to the well stocked hen house!!

  9. avatar Jim says:

    Jim M. here: Dear God, when will this diocesan madness end? Over $71,000 has been raised with only about $27,000 left to go, and only a handful of pupils needs to register, and still Buffalo Rd. will not grant them the courtesy of staying open for another year! This diocese has got to start placing an importance upon Catholic education, and stop alienating people of good faith!

  10. avatar Dr. K says:

    It’s not even a handful. Only two additional students were needed!

  11. avatar Jim says:

    Jim M. here: Boy, they REALLY wanted to close that school! …..only two additional students were needed…that’s pretty tragic! When I think of the pioneer priests who fought so hard to open up new Catholic schools in this area, many years ago…it really makes me feel sad…

  12. avatar Jim says:

    Jim M. here: To Anon 7856: Without much thought?? They only needed two more pupils, and most probably could have raised the necessary funds if they only had a little more time. What thinking process does this involve? The diocese seems to run like a corporate business, with all the compassion left far behind. Our Church needs to function as a Christ-like witness to the rest of the world, not as part of the world!

  13. avatar Jim says:

    Jim M. here: OK, Anon 7856… I didn’t really catch the sarcasm from your response.

  14. avatar Drain says:

    There is money to keep it open.

  15. avatar Wrench says:

    Completely uninspired effort by the Diocese.

  16. avatar Anonymous says:

    OK, so the diocese goes on record saying there weren’t enough students or enough money. There isn’t any set number they would view as “enough” – it’s just an excuse. As a parent of children affected by a school closing, I no longer believe anything the diocese says or puts into print. For whatever reason, Buffalo Rd. has an agenda. I can’t figure out what they hope to gain by closing all the schools and churches (pouring the money into Providence Housing?), but at some point, there won’t be any schools or churches left to cannibalize and we will be meeting and teaching our children in caves.

  17. avatar Disheartened parent says:

    Thus the countdown of the Bishop’s retirement. I am praying that there will be a more conservative Bishop who will listen to his sheep and re-open Roman Catholic schools with parents and students who will turn around the loss in vocations and the morality of this diocese. I believe the Bishop has an agenda. I know at least five families that will not be attending St. Michael’s Church in Newark anytime soon. The priests have a vow of obedience to the bishop and they are following those orders. I will continue to pray and following the countdown.

  18. avatar Disheartened parent says:

    I had another thought. Newark as a village is going to suffer as community with St. Michael’s School closing. Not only will the church lose parishioners but the grocery stores, restaurants, hair salons, etc. will suffer because the students coming from Williamson, Sodus, Lyons, Clyde, etc. will go back to there communities for their patronage. I know for a fact that Newarkfest is going to suffer. 80% or more of the participation for the baked items come from the parents of the school. They have a contest in the classrooms to bring support to this parish festival. The financial council is not as bright as they think they are….they have created the demise of their own parish. Complaints of being a parish with older parishioners is inaccurate. Families come from the surrounding area to attend St. Michael’s Church in Newark because of the school. I think the quote “cutting off your nose to spite your face” is definitely appropriate here.

  19. avatar Diane Harris says:

    The St. Michael School in Newark fiasco is such a disgusting situation, one which no Catholic parents trying to educate their children in the faith should ever have to put up with. I just got a letter thanking me for my pledge but saying “Unfortunately the Diocese of Rochester and St. Michael’s parish did not honor any pledges.” Wonder why they didn’t say that when they received the pledge? Could it be that would have given people a chance to react and maybe send the funds? I have heard, but have not yet confirmed, that the pledges could have covered the relatively small shortfall. I personally would not have converted from a pledge to a donation, because I am totally without trust of the DoR which seems so bent on destroying Catholic Schools and faithful education except where a few select yes-men remain. I don’t trust them not to take the money and run. But I do wonder how many donors have received their donations back at this point?

    Now here’s another question to consider. Last fall, Fr. Ring was named to this DoR school board along with Fr. Hart. (Probably Fr. Ring’s appointment was in anticipation of or at least consistent with his intended future assignment, St. Louis in Pittsford which has a school, and where 3 years ago he positioned his DRE on a work share with OLOL. (It looked to us like the “share” was that we (OLOL) would pay her full salary, and most of her work would be at St. Louis, which also paid something, but which financial terms were secret and never disclosed to OLOL parishioners.)

    What is not as well recognized is that the Business Manager of OLOL, Gary Pierce, whose multiple occurrences of wrong data and withheld information created such a pastoral planning disaster and wrongful decisions under Fr. Ring in OLOL, was coincidentally named as Business Manager for St. Michael Parish and School in Newark at the same time as his job in OLOL. Similar to the secrecy in OLOL, I have been told (but have not yet confirmed) that like OLOL the Finance meetings in Newark were also cloaked in secrecy. It is a legitimate question to ask if the analysis upon which closing the school was based was as full of errors, secrecy, bias and/or inaccuracy as what we experienced with Mr. Pierce and Fr. Ring in OLOL? What a coincidence!

    I welcome any correction of the above, or more information anyone has to post.

  20. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    “Unfortunately the Diocese of Rochester and St. Michael’s parish did not honor any pledges.”

    Diane, just to be clear for my thick-head… does this mean that they did not include your pledged amount to the amount they needed to fundraise to keep the school open?

  21. avatar Diane Harris says:

    Yes, Ben. That is exactly my understanding. I made a pledge, contingent on the School opening this year. The letter to me from “St. Michael School” (no name, no date, but just received,) says that on Thursday May 26, Fr. Felix “announced the decision of the Diocese of Rochester to close St. Michael Shcool at the end of June 2011. Bishop Matthew Clark made the decision to close the school based on input from leaders at St. Michael’s Church and the Diocesan school board.” It goes on to say: “If you pledged money, thank you. Unfortunately the Diocese of Rochester and St. Michael’s parish did not honor any pledges.”

    It continues: “To view the final tally of our success in raising students and monies check out the school website at” and the site still has a solicitation page with a PayPal link and credit card links. I do not see any prohibition on pledges, and when I called the school to find how to get a pledge to them, I was never told that a pledge would not be honored. I cannot help but wonder if this was pulled on them at the last minute. DeSales honored pledges; why would not St. Michael in Newark? The site still has a solicitation page up, and it only shows monies raised as of April, well below what we heard was close to goal. A phone number with questions is given in the letter as the parish office at 315-331-6753. I hope someone calls but I won’t bother because I rarely have received a straight answer from Gary Pierce. Typical response: “Cool your jets, Diane.”

    I do not see how I can reach any conclusion except that pledges were not honored, and that people were misled into believing they would be honored, but that “rule” wasn’t given until after the fact. I saw nothing on the site about return of money, unless I missed it. Another DoR tragedy. Just in time to transfer children to public school where they will be indoctrinated into homosexual curriculum. But at least we have a nice organ in the Cathedral.

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