Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Author Archive

Site Dedicated to Memory of St. Philip Neri Fire

February 20th, 2015, Promulgated by Dr. K

This is Ben re-posting on the anniversary of the St. Philip Neri fire.

Most Rochesterians are probably familiar with the heroic story relating to the fire that destroyed the old St. Philip Neri church on Clifford Avenue. For those unfamiliar, a priest and nun sacrificed their lives in order to save the Blessed Sacrament from destruction by a fire that was consuming their church. A special website has been created to keep alive the memory of these two servants of Christ.

The website can be accessed here:

Below is a video collage:

The Shakeup Continues

May 19th, 2013, Promulgated by Dr. K

I have it on good authority from more than one source at Buffalo Road that Bp. Cunningham has officially reassigned Fr. Michael Mayer from his position at St. Pius X in Chili to Parochial Vicar at Holy Name of Jesus and St. Charles Borromeo in Greece for one year. Fr. John Firpo will be the Parochial Administrator of Holy Name in addition to his duties as Pastor of St. Charles. This change is effective the final week of June. Additionally, the Greece/Charlotte planning group will look into the long-term viability of Holy Name parish. I think we all know from experience what that means.

RIP Fr. Dominic Mockevicius

May 10th, 2013, Promulgated by Dr. K

A good and holy priest passed away this week. Fr. Dominic Mockevicius, most recently administering St. George Lithuanian parish, has gone to his eternal reward at age 90 after serving the Diocese of Rochester for 65 years. Father was a kind man and a faithful shepherd.


Please say a prayer for him.

Bishop Watch – 5/6/13

May 6th, 2013, Promulgated by Dr. K

Since the last installment of bishop watch, Pope Francis has appointed Fr. Michael Barber, SJ to lead the Diocese of Oakland and Bp. Mark Seitz to run the Diocese of El Paso. We also witnessed the death of Bp. Joseph McFadden (Harrisburg) at age 65.

Here are the current lists of bishops serving past 75 and vacant sees. The Diocese of Rochester is #3 in the vacant see list and #6 overall.

Bishops serving past 75
1. Card. Francis George, Chicago [16 months]
2. Bp. Michael Pfeifer, San Angelo [11]
3. Bp. John Kinney, St. Cloud [11]
4. Bp. Joseph Latino, Jackson [7]
5. Abp. Henry Mansell, Hartford [7]
6. Bp. Timothy McDonnell, Springfield [5]
7. Bp. Sam Jacobs, Houma-Thibodaux [2]

Vacant sees
El Paso [17 months]
1. Bridgeport [14]
2. Portland, Maine [12]
Oakland [10]
3. Rochester [8]
4. Ft. Worth [8]
5. Marquette [4]
6. Wichita [2]
7. Harrisburg [1]

Pastoral Appointments 2013

April 21st, 2013, Promulgated by Dr. K

It’s that time of the year again. Yes, pastoral appointment time! Though it’s still in the early goings of the annual pastoral appointment process, we’d like to relay any information that has surfaced as of April 15th. If you notice an error, or have additional information on upcoming appointments, feel free to shoot us an e-mail or post a comment. If you’re a Rochester priest, deacon, or lay employee with information, please contact us using a non-DoR e-mail address and from a non-DoR network connection. Your privacy will always be respected by our staff.

Due to the transitional nature of our leadership in Rochester, all new pastoral leaders will be appointed to administrator positions until the next bishop arrives.

Check back often for updates.

Update 4/21: Confirmation that Fr. Hayes is heading to Our Lady of the Lakes.

Update 4/20: Confirmation that Fr. Gagnier is leaving Holy Name for St. Peter.

Update 4/16: A few more pieces of the puzzle are in place. This post has been updated.

frmull Fr. Thomas Mull from Pastor of St. Benedict (Canandaigua, Bloomfield) to Parochial Administrator of Our Lady of Peace (Geneva). Fr. Mull has served beyond the maximum 12 year limit.
Fr. Stanley Kaczrpak from Pastor of Our Lady of the Lakes (Finger Lakes region) to Parochial Administrator of St. Benedict (Canandaigua, Bloomfield). Fr. K has been in Our Lady of the Lakes for only two years.
frtomasso Fr. Paul Tomasso from Pastor of Our Lady of Peace (Geneva) to Parochial Administrator (?) of Mother of Sorrows (Greece). Fr. Tomasso is resigning his post in Geneva for health reasons. He replaces Sr. Leandra Kosmoski, who has been serving as temporary administrator.
frdinh Fr. Hoan Dinh from Parochial Vicar at Our Lady of Peace (Geneva) to Parochial Administrator at St. Matthew/St. Mary (Livonia, Honeoye).
gagnier Fr. John Gagnier from Pastor of Holy Name of Jesus (Greece) to Parochial Administrator of St. Peter (Shortsville, Phelps, Clifton Springs).
hayes Fr. John Hayes from Pastor of St. Matthew (Livonia)/St. Mary (Honeoye) to Parochial Vicar at Our Lady of the Lakes (Finger Lakes).

Rumor mill:

-Holy Name may cluster and/or share priests with Mother of Sorrows.

-Fr. Donald Curtiss to retire or take a small appointment

Pastoral openings:

-Our Lady of the Lakes, pastor (Could end up being Fr. Hayes or one of the priests on staff)
-Holy Name of Jesus, pastor
-Our Lady of Peace, parochial vicar
-Bl. Marianne Cope, sacramental minister
-St. Agnes/St. Rose/St. Paul of the Cross, sacramental minister
-St. Vincent/St. Columba/St. Mary of the Assumption, sacramental minister
-Our Lady of Lourdes/St. Anne, parochial vicar

Free agents and new priests

-Deacon Michael Costik
-Deacon Peter Mottola
-Deacon David Tedesche


-Fr. William Endres
-Fr. Robert Beligotti
-Fr. Richard Beligotti
-Fr. Walt Plominski

Over 70, but unlikely to retire in 2013:

-Fr. James Schwartz
-Fr. Dominic Mockevicius
-Fr. Thomas Wheeland
-Fr. Frank Falletta

Term limits (2) reached:

-Fr. Ed Palumbos
-Fr. P. Frederick Helfrich

More rumor milling: A policy allegedly has been put in place that would permit a pastor within two years of retirement to continue in his assignment after serving the maximum 12 years. Given that, don’t expect Fr. Palumbos to be reassigned from his influential position at Assumption.

End of first six-year term:

-Fr. Stephen Karani
-Fr. Joseph McCaffrey

Bishop Watch – 4/18/13

April 18th, 2013, Promulgated by Dr. K

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bp. Walter A. Hurley of the Diocese of Grand Rapids. Bp. Hurley had been serving 11 months since reaching the mandatory retirement age of 75. Fr. David J. Walkowiak of Cleveland will be his successor. This is the third American bishop appointment made by our Holy Father in the past ten days.

Here are the current lists of bishops serving past 75 and vacant sees. The Diocese of Rochester is #5 in the vacant see list and #8 overall.

Bishops serving past 75
1. Card. Francis George, Chicago [15 months]
2. Bp. Michael Pfeifer, San Angelo [11]
Bp. Walter Hurley, Grand Rapids [11]
3. Bp. John Kinney, St. Cloud [10]
4. Bp. Joseph Latino, Jackson [6]
5. Abp. Henry Mansell, Hartford [6]
6. Timothy McDonnell, Springfield [4]

Vacant sees
1. El Paso [17 months]
2. Bridgeport [13]
3. Portland, Maine [11]
4. Oakland [9]
5. Rochester [7]
6. Ft. Worth [7]
7. Marquette [3]
8. Wichita [1]

A McQuaid Alumnus Responds to Fr. Salmon

April 14th, 2013, Promulgated by Dr. K

A McQuaid alumnus, rightly upset with Fr. Salmon’s indefensible decision to permit an openly gay couple to attend the junior prom at this Jesuit Catholic high school, has penned the following letter which he has permitted to be shared at Cleansing Fire.

My friends, if you too are offended by the McQuaid decision, don’t hesitate to make your voice heard! Contact our Apostolic Administrator, contact Fr. Salmon’s superiors in the Jesuits, and of course contact Fr. Salmon himself in the hope that he will experience a change of heart.

Related posts: here and here.

Father Salmon:

I recently learned of your decision to allow two male students to attend the Junior Prom as a couple. I do not normally consider it my place to correct ministers of the Church. You have an authority which I do not and it is incumbent upon you, within reason, to understand the nature and duties of your ministry with regard to the moral law. However, it would be a sin of omission on my part, as an alumnus, a practicing catholic, and a father, to remain silent in the presence of so clear and public an act which undermines the faith of the Church and thereby endangers the souls of her children entrusted to your care.

You have said that you are neither condoning nor encouraging sinful acts. Make no mistake, by your decision you do encourage and you do condone sin, both in those two men who glory in their shame and in all those who are witnesses of your decision. A prom is a courtship ritual for the young overseen by adults to help them mature toward the possible vocation of marriage. It is guided discernment. If permitting two men to attend is about mere friendship, as you imply, then let them attend singly and enjoy one another’s company in that capacity. No one opposes or disputes the wholesomeness of friendship at a social event. But, the symbolism of attending as a “couple” is lost on no one. By permitting this act you are encouraging grave sin. If you permit one in your care to walk out into busy traffic, or you declare how “welcome” he is to do so, you are encouraging his death. Except in this case your act is far worse because, more than the death of the body, you encourage the death of the immortal soul.

You appeal to love and compassion as reasons for your decision. Indeed, the true guide of every good and just act is the ordo amoris, the order of love. Ordained to this end, the mission of the Church which you represent is the salvation of souls, that they may be eternally sustained in the love of God. This is why the moral law is preached by her ministers: “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.” All true and enduring compassion is founded in seeking the divine life for ourselves and others. Yet where is the love and compassion in encouraging a man to damn his soul? This is not love of neighbor but hatred of God. You speak of hope. All true and enduring hope is founded in expectancy of the vision of God. Yet where is the hope that fails to announce the glory which awaits those who struggle to imitate the uncompromised purity of Our Lord Jesus Christ and His Mother? To console a student in a public display of acquiescence to sinful inclinations is not hope but despair of the fruits promised to those who fight the good fight for their souls. Our Lord ate with tax collectors, sinners, and prostitutes to call them to repentance not to console them in their sinful lives. “Your sins are forgiven you, go forth and sin no more.” Compassion is not permissiveness.

You speak of dispelling fear. As followers of Christ we are commanded not to be afraid of the dangers that surround us, but to stand in fear of the Living God who can cast both body and soul into hell. But where is the fear of God when darkness is called light, when good is called evil and evil is called good?

You speak of discrimination. While it is not our place to condemn men, it is the duty of priests above all to condemn sin and encourage goodness. We are indistinguishable in that every one of us suffers from the inclination to sin. Yet our Lord comes with His offer of salvation to clearly divide those will accept Him in repentance from those who will reject Him in obstinacy. “For now the axe is laid to root of the trees. Every tree therefore that doth not yield good fruit will be cut down and cast into the fire.” “Whose winnowing fan is in His hand. And He will thoroughly cleanse His floor and gather His wheat into the barn. But the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.”

You are a priest of the New Covenant whose duty it is to preach, teach, and sanctify in God’s Holy Name. But in your letter you refer to the Pope, the Bishops, and the Bible in defense of your decision to encourage sin. In this you blaspheme our Lord’s institution of the Papacy, you blaspheme the College of the Apostles, and you blaspheme the Holy Scriptures. I beg you to consider that you are given the charge to lead souls to God. Of the authority given to each of us in this life an account will be demanded of us from the Lord. Bishops’ conferences, parish committees, and school boards will not be held to account on the terrible Day of Judgment, but each bishop as the shepherd of souls in his diocese, each pastor as the shepherd of souls in his parish, and each catholic high school president as the shepherd of young impressionable students and onlookers.

Do not dismiss my message as a diatribe written out of anger and unjust judgment. I do not harbor anger against you nor do I seek to discern the state of your soul. I am a poor sinner who has no place to judge another. My intention is to denounce manifest sin for what it is. As for my tone, when a shepherd is leading his flock to a precipice, is it more fitting for an onlooker such as myself to whisper or to shout at the impending danger? Woe to me should I remain silent while you are surrounded by those in this wicked and perverse generation who applaud evil acts. Will they applaud on the Day of Judgment when the souls in your care are lost?

You are not only a priest, but a son of St. Ignatius. Of those admitted to his Society he said the following: “As to intention that they be studious of all virtue and spiritual calm, steadfast, strenuous in what they undertake in God’s service, burning with zeal for the salvation of souls, therefore attached to our Institute which directly tends to dispose the souls of men to the attainment of that end from the hand of God our Creator and Lord” (Constitutions: Part I, Ch. 2, #8). He repeats numerous times the clear goal for his Society of God’s glory and eternal life: “…The object of the Society and its studies is to assist their neighbors in the knowledge and love of God and the salvation of their own souls” (Constitutions: Part IV, Ch. 12, #1). The purpose of a Jesuit, your purpose, is to lead souls to salvation.

St. Ignatius is clear in how the Society’s purpose is to be carried out in an educational setting. He asserts that the task entrusted to leaders such as yourself is moral as well as intellectual: “The whole care or superintendence and government of the University shall be in the Rector…endowed with such gifts of God of which mention has been made that he may satisfy the whole University in the fulfillment of the duty committed to him in learning and morals” (Constitutions: Part IV, Ch. 17, #1). Specifically, his vision for those served by his Jesuits in this capacity is learning inseparably united with the spiritual life: “Let diligence be used that they who come to the Universities of the Society to study literature acquire also good morals worthy of Christians to which it will greatly assist if all go to the Sacrament of Confession at least once a month and hear Mass every day and a sermon every holy day when one is preached. And each of the preceptors will take care that this be done by his pupils” (Constitutions: Part IV Ch. 16, #1). In exhortations given by and to students he instructs the following: “Inciting them to increase in all purity and virtue that thus their style may not only be exercised but their morals improved.” (Constitutions: Part IV, Ch. 16, #3). In leading souls to salvation, you are to encourage morality not immorality. Yet St. Ignatius is not alone in defining your mission with such powerful clarity.

The hierarchy of the Church has also been eminently clear as to the purpose of the Society of Jesus in education. When Pope Pius VII reestablished the Society, he pronounced a distinct objective for the institutions under its care: “We declare besides, and grant power that they may freely and lawfully apply to the education of youth in the principles of the Catholic faith, to form them to good morals, and to direct colleges and seminaries…” (Sollicitudo omnium ecclesiarum, #130). The Church has entrusted you with a grave duty to disseminate the very morality which your decision contradicts.

For the glory of God and the eternal good of the souls made in His image and likeness entrusted to your care, please reconsider your decision.

May God Bless You. May He set alight the true fire of charity within our souls and may He have mercy on us who is coming to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire.

In the Love of Christ Jesus,

Fr. Edward F. Salmon, SJ Allows Gay Couple to Attend McQuaid Prom

March 28th, 2013, Promulgated by Dr. K

It’s all over the local news. Here is McQuaid Jesuit president Fr. Edward F. Salmon’s letter announcing that the Rochester Catholic high school will allow gay couples to attend the junior prom.

March 27, 2013
McQuaid President, Fr. Edward Salmon, SJ

McQuaid President, Fr. Edward Salmon, SJ

Dear Sisters and Brothers of our McQuaid Jesuit Community: Our new Holy Father, Pope Francis [He’s hiding behind Pope Francis, a man who has spoken publicly against gay marriage and adoption as evil], in the homily for his Inaugural Mass, had encouraging and inviting words: “Today amid so much darkness we need to see the light of hope and to be men and women who bring hope to others. To protect creation and to protect every man and every woman, to look upon them with tenderness and love, is to open up a horizon of hope, it is to let a ray of light [watch how many times he uses this phrase] break through heavy clouds.

”Darkness and heavy clouds have gathered here at McQuaid recently because of misinformation, fear, misunderstanding, and even anger. That misinformation, fear, misunderstanding, and even anger came about after two of our brothers asked whether they could attend the Junior Ball together. Into the darkness of misinformation, fear, misunderstanding and anger, together with Pope Francis [Again], I invite and encourage each and every one of us in the McQuaid family to be men and women who bring hope to one another. I invite and encourage each and every one of us in the McQuaid family to be men and women who look upon one another with tenderness and love. I invite and encourage each and every one of us in the McQuaid family to open up a horizon of hope, to let a ray of light break through heavy clouds.
I myself would like to let a ray of light break through by correcting some misinformation. It is simply not true, as was reported and as many seem to have assumed, that a decision had been made by McQuaid authorities not to allow the young men in question to attend the Junior Ball. No decision had been made.
I would like to let a ray of light enter into the darkness of fear. I, together with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, who in their Pastoral Message, “Always Our Children,” “. . . call on all Christians and citizens of good will to confront their own fears about homosexuality [So it’s not the two men choosing to be a homosexual couple against God’s design that’s in the wrong, it’s us?] and to curb the humor and discrimination that offend homosexual persons. We understand that having a homosexual orientation brings with it enough anxiety, pain and issues related to self-acceptance without society bringing additional prejudicial treatment.”
I would like to let a ray of light enter into possible misunderstanding of the Church’s teaching. In that same message, Always Our Children, the Bishops are clear –“Nothing in the Bible or in Catholic teaching can be used to justify prejudicial or discriminatory attitudes and behaviors.” The Bishops continue: “It is also important to recognize that neither a homosexual orientation, nor a heterosexual one, leads inevitably to sexual activity. One’s total personhood is not reducible to sexual orientation or behavior.” In that same message, the Bishops refer to a 1986 Letter from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith which emphasizes that “Respect for the God-given dignity of all persons means the recognition of human rights and responsibilities. The teachings of the Church make it clear that the fundamental human rights of homosexual persons must be defended and that all of us must strive to eliminate any forms of injustice, oppression, or violence against them [How far do we go? Could you then argue that we should promote gay marriage because it might not necessarily result in homosexual acts?].”
The Bishops continue, “It is not sufficient only to avoid unjust discrimination. Homosexual persons ‘must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity’ (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2358). They, as is true of every human being, need to be nourished at many different levels simultaneously. This includes friendship, [brotherhood] which is a way of loving and is essential to healthy human development. It is one of the richest possible human experiences. Friendship can and does thrive outside of sexual involvement.”
Lastly, I would like to let a ray of light into the darkness that anger can bring. Based on the misinformation circulating and a certain misunderstanding of Church teaching, some people began posting prejudicial and humiliating comments in the social media. Speaking or writing or acting out of anger is not usually helpful. Others, however, deeply concerned for the dignity and respect of all persons, wrote thoughtful and encouraging e-mail messages to McQuaid officials [Translation: “Those opposed to a gay couple attending the prom are angry and prejudiced. Those who support it are thoughtful and encouraging. If you hold to the Church’s teachings on homosexuality, you’re a bad person”].
In conclusion and in the hope that I and all of us at McQuaid Jesuit will let a ray of light break through the darkness and the heavy clouds that have surrounded us, I have made the decision that, if our two brothers who have asked to attend the Junior Ball together wish to do so, they will be welcomed.
With this decision I am not contradicting the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church with regard to human sexuality [Yes, you absolutely are contradicting the teachings of the Church! You’re putting unnatural homosexual relationships on an equal plane with heterosexual relationships.]; I am not encouraging nor am I condoning homosexual activity just as I do not encourage or condone heterosexual activity at a dance. I am not contradicting the Church’s opposition to the redefinition of marriage. With this decision I invite and encourage us all, as Pope Francis does [Unless he has official word from the Holy Father that he supports this, don’t hide behind the pope], to exercise care, protection, goodness which calls for a certain tenderness “which is not a virtue of the weak but rather a sign of strength of spirit and a capacity for concern, for compassion, for genuine openness to others, for love. We must not be afraid [Typical ploy of the homosexual lobby: imply that opposition to gay marriage is out of fear (they use the term “homophobia”)] of goodness, of tenderness.”
Sincerely in the Lord,
Edward F. Salmon, S.J.


It would seem that McQuaid Jesuit High School has abandoned its Catholic identity. Please consider informing our Apostolic Administrator through one of the following methods below:

Bishop Robert Cunningham
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse
240 East Onondaga St.
Syracuse, NY 13202

Phone: (315)422-7203
Fax: (315)478-4619

Or, contact these high ranking officials in Syracuse to relay a message to our administrator:

Rev. Msgr. J. Robert Yeazel (Vicar General):

Rev. Timothy Elmer (Chancellor):

If Fr. Salmon’s decision stands, it might be time to pull your son out of McQuaid.


There is reason to believe this whole thing was a premeditated stunt intended to stir the pot. Check out the following links:

1. An online petition was created:

2. The student called a sleazy local radio host to garner public support:

“Earlier this month, a McQuaid student called into “The Wease Show” on 95.1. The Brew, saying he had asked permission to attend the Junior Ball with another young man.”

Update 3/29/13: In response to the many requests for appropriate contacts in this matter via comments and e-mail, here are a few contributed by our readers.

Very Reverend David S. Ciancimino, S.J.
Provincial, NY Province of the Society of Jesus
39 East 83rd Street, N.Y., N.Y. 10028

Office Telephone Number: 212.774.5500
FAX: 212.794.1036

– and/or –

Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller.
Prefect for The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei”
[Secretary: Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, S.J.]
Piazza del S. Uffizio ll
00l93 Rome Italy
phone: 011.3906.
phone: 011.3906.
fax: 011.3906.

– and/or –

Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia
Pontifical Council for the Family
Palazzo San Calisto
Piazza San Calisto 16
00120 Vatican City

– and/or –

Archbishop Angelo Vincenzo Zani, Prefect
Congregation for Catholic Education
Office of Schools
Palazzo della Congregazioni
Piazza Pio XII, 3
00193 Roma, Italy

Fruits Indeed…

March 26th, 2013, Promulgated by Dr. K
Bishops Clark and Hubbard receive the "John Cardinal O’Connor Award"

Bishops Clark and Hubbard receive the “John Cardinal O’Connor Award”

An excerpt from Bishop Clark’s acceptance speech, as printed in the progressive America magazine:

“Fruits of the Council – Prayers for the Church”

My overarching awareness of the experience of 50 years of priesthood and 34 years of episcopal service is that it all began at the same time that Vatican II began. That realization leaves me deeply and abidingly grateful for the wonderful fruits of the council. It also makes me aware that there is much yet to be done. It has been my privilege all these years to walk with people whose faith and generosity make the Kingdom come every day. The lay faithful, women and men religious, our priests and deacons in great number really do get it, that they are gifted by and called to holiness, that they are to participate fully, actively and consciously in the life of the church; that they are to be salt and light for others.

They know that we are in this together. They know that we embrace Christ most lovingly when we embrace the poor, the lonely and the dispossessed. They know that we are part of a faith community which is poorer than God wants us to be without the gifts of all. Such people do continually inspire me, and I believe that God’s gracious providence has contributed to my ongoing, continuing human and ministerial formation through all the years. Shifting into this new phase of my life, I welcome the opportunity to pray in gratitude for the people among whom I have served, and for their continued growth. I shall be praying, as well, that God will inspire us to continuing, ongoing conversion.

Among the prayers and hopes I have for our beloved church are these: the revival of a genuine experience of subsidiarity in the church, so that people at every level are free to do what they do best and what they generally can do better than anyone else; and a fresh realization that pastoral authority is meant to serve freedom and communion, not only by setting legitimate limits but by listening and learning from those it serves. To grow in genuine communion, we need much more honest, respectful, even tough conversation in our church, especially around matters that are disputed. Such conversations need to center more on seeking the Truth than on who holds the power. [There is no point in debating matters which have been settled. This dialogue tactic is an attempt to keep the door open on subjects such as women’s ordination and contraception]

I pray, too, that we will strive always to translate into appropriate structures and significant decisions what our pastoral statements say about women in the church [He really doesn’t know when to give it up]; that we will widen the pastoral embrace of the church to welcome more fully and affectionately our gay and lesbian sisters and brothers [And how do you propose we do this in a way that we aren’t already? Gay marriage? Gay-themed liturgies?]; that we will rejoice that God touches the hearts of our laity with a call to pastoral ministry, not seeing that call as in competition with priesthood [In Rochester, you have made the laity superior to the priesthood. Here a group of super-laity runs parishes, delivers homilies, tells the priest what to do, decides what churches close and stay open, etc.]; that we will be especially attentive and open to the faith experience of people who show every sign of being devoted disciples of the Lord, but who say all too frequently, “I am finding it very difficult to remain a Roman Catholic.”

I conclude by telling you that the beginning of the emeritus life has been wonderful. It allows a continued opportunity for apostolic ministry; it has opened the door for more prayer, study and thought about our pilgrimage together. Even at this stage of looking back over the years, I am profoundly encouraged by what has happened. I am also aware that growth is not always linear or uninterrupted, that we always stand in need of reform. But, my friends, I do believe and know at the very core of my being that the good work our loving God has begun in us, God will one day bring to completion.

Most Rev. Matthew H. Clark

Bp. Hubbard’s speech is also available at the link above.

May these two retire down to Florida upon Bp. Hubbard’s resignation and cause no further harm to the Catholic Church.

An Easter Message From Our Apostolic Administrator

March 24th, 2013, Promulgated by Dr. K

Dear Friends in Christ,

The Gospels provide us with beautiful accounts of the Resurrection. Easter Sunday’s account tells us about Mary Magdalene’s visit to Jesus’ tomb and her anguish at finding it empty. We are told that Mary Magdalene “came to the tomb, early in the morning while it was still dark” (Jn 20:1). She is “seeking the Lord.” What a fitting description for us and all committed disciples of the Lord during this Year of Faith. We seek the Lord because He has first found us and moved us to seek Him. We seek the Lord because we hunger and thirst for goodness, truth and beauty. We seek the Lord in order to rediscover the treasure of our faith. We seek the Lord to know Him more personally.

The good news of Easter assures us if we seek the Lord with a simple and sincere mind we too will find Him. He is alive! He comes to meet us in the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, the Sacred Scriptures, the teachings of the Church and in our brothers and sisters. When we find Him we cannot keep the good news to ourselves. We proclaim this good news with enthusiasm and joy.

We are told that the beloved disciple John, on entering the empty tomb, “saw and believed” (Jn 20:8). He saw more than the empty tomb. He understood that death and suffering were not victorious. During the Year of Faith, we are invited to see with the eyes of faith. Sometimes this will mean seeing beneath the surface, seeing what is hidden yet nonetheless an opportunity to encounter God’s presence. Sometimes this will mean seeing the face of Christ in others. Sometimes it will mean seeing God’s plan in unexpected events or in troubling situations. Sometimes it will mean seeing God in the good, beautiful and joyful moments of life. The eyes of faith are attentive and alert. They “see,” meaning they “believe” in the Lord who is alive and present in their midst. Yes, “Christ my hope is arisen” (Easter Sequence). He is alive. He is with us.

Easter is the feast of feasts. It picks us up and fortifies our hope. God lives and we live in Him. The Lord is risen, alleluia! He is our hope. He is our joy. This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad. May profound gratitude for our faith and a new found hope and joy fill your hearts and minds this Easter Sunday and throughout the Easter Season.

Devotedly yours in Christ,

Most Rev. Robert J. Cunningham

Apostolic Administrator of Rochester

Diocesan Lay Pension Underfunded

March 22nd, 2013, Promulgated by Dr. K

From Gannett:

“Battered by years of historically low interest rates, the pension fund for current and retired lay employees of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester is underfunded to the point that its obligations nearly double its assets, raising concerns about the future of those benefits.

Diocesan financial records for the fiscal year ending in 2012, the most recent year for which records are available, show the fund is only 53 percent funded, with $120 million in future payouts and assets of about $64 million. The diocese publishes the records on its website.

The fund covers about 1,000 retirees and 1,000 current employees, including school teachers and parish and cemetery workers, according to the diocese.

“A funding level of 50 percent is a serious level of underfunding,” said Nancy Hwa, of the Pension Rights Center, an advocacy group in Washington, D.C. “I think the employees and retirees should be concerned, and they should ask the diocese what it’s planning to do (to bolster the fund).”

Diocese Chief Financial Officer Lisa Passero acknowledged the underfunding is concerning, but she said steps were being taken to address the shortfall.

Passero cited parishes and other diocesan employers being made to raise their contribution levels beginning in July and the diocese depositing more unrestricted bequests into the fund [Oh really…?]. She added that the diocese plans to deposit about $10 million into the fund by the end of the year, and that the fund has seen $7 million in investment returns since last summer.

Passero said the fundraising campaign for priests was launched by design — the diocese currently has 25 men preparing for ordination — and that the diocese will shift efforts for lay employees as the priests’ plan becomes fully funded.

To quote the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the Diocese of Rochester’s “chickens have come home to roost.” You wanted a bloated lay hierarchy, Bp. Matthew Clark and diocesan powers that be? Now you have to pay for it. Of course the buck will be passed on to the lay faithful, as it always is. While it’s disappointing that the pension shortfall could hurt Catholic school teachers, I’m shedding no tears over the Sr. Joan’s, Nancys, and Anne-Maries of this diocese who shouldn’t have been employed in the first place.

If the diocese is serious about addressing this problem and avoiding it in the future, then cut the bloated lay hierarchy!

Our New Holy Father: Pope Francis

March 13th, 2013, Promulgated by Dr. K

pope francis

Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio *** Pope Francis I


A Jesuit Italian pope from Argentina

the first “American” pope

the first named Francis

76 years old


March 13th, 2013, Promulgated by Dr. K

After five votes, we have a pope:

whitesmoke ballot 5

As soon as he comes out, we’ll make the announcement. Pray friends, pray!

Smoke Signals

March 13th, 2013, Promulgated by Dr. K

Watch live:

Ballot 1: Black smoke.


Ballot 2 + 3: Black smoke.


Ballot 4: No smoke

There will be up to 1 more ballot today – 2:00 PM (Eastern).

“I will make you fishers of men”

March 13th, 2013, Promulgated by Dr. K

A little levity as we await our next pope:

gull 5

The seagull has been perched atop the chimney for over 30 minutes.


March 12th, 2013, Promulgated by Dr. K

The conclave is about to begin! EWTN is covering this glorious event live.

Click here to watch the free live online stream.

Times to watch for smoke: 7 AM and 2 PM Eastern each voting day.

Update 12:40 PM: The doors are closed and the conclave has begun! If you haven’t already done so, start praying for these cardinals as they discern the choice of the Holy Spirit.

Update 1:40 PM: We have added a link to the CBS News live smoke cam on the right side of the blog, just below the papal counter. The first smoke should arise sometime in the next 20 or so minutes.

The Insult Continues

March 12th, 2013, Promulgated by Dr. K

From the Catholic Courier:

State’s bishops to honor Bishop Emeritus Clark

Bishop Emeritus Matthew H. Clark will receive the John Cardinal O’Connor Award for Extraordinary Service, in honor of his years of commitment to the public-policy agenda of the New York State Catholic Conference, which represents the state’s bishops in matters of public policy.

Bishop Clark also will be recognized for his pastoral service, having served more than 50 years in the priesthood, and his 33 years as Bishop of the Diocese of Rochester.

The award will be presented by Bishop Clark’s close friend, Bishop Howard J. Hubbard of Albany [These two men are attached at the hip (along with Fr. Tom Powers)], at the end of the annual Catholics at the Capitol Mass at 1:30 p.m. March 20 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Albany. Bishop Clark also will deliver the homily at the Mass.

In its announcement of the honor, the Catholic conference cited Bishop Clark’s commitment of expanded participation of the laity, particularly women, in the life of the church. It also cited his promotion of Catholic social teaching, the diocesan expansion of Catholic Charities, and his defense of church positions on matters of human life [Really?], including opposition to abortion and capital punishment, and family life, including the traditional understanding of marriage [REALLY??].

Pope Benedict XVI has already honored Bp. Clark by accepting Clark’s resignation the moment he returned from summer vacation.

Evening of Reflection with Mother Olga

March 11th, 2013, Promulgated by Dr. K

mother olgaSt. Pius X church will be hosting a special night of reflection for area Catholic women. Mother Olga Yaqob, founder of the Daughters of Mary of Nazareth, will deliver a reflection entitled “Faith Moves Mountains: In the Steps of Mary and Joseph.” The event will take place Friday evening, March 15th, from 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM at St. Pius X church located at 3000 Chili Ave. Admission is free, and women of all ages are welcome to attend.

This evening of reflection is sponsored by the Station of the Cross. Mother Olga will also appear on Calling All Catholics the same day from 4-5 PM.

Information about Mother Olga is available here:

Fr. Tomasso Resigns His Post

March 9th, 2013, Promulgated by Dr. K

Posted to the Our Lady of Peace (Geneva) Facebook page and in the upcoming bulletin:

“From Father Paul:
Thank you for your many cards and good wishes. I never expected my absence to be so extended. Medical issues in early February delayed my entrance into cardio rehab. Those issues were examined and I finally have begun rehab at a center near Unity Park Ridge Hospital in the suburb of Greece,  N.Y. The diocese told me in January to remain in  Rochester for cardio rehab and not return to work at  least until it was completed, and so I have.

fr paul tomassoAfter recent conversations with diocesan staff I  have decided to resign as pastor of Our Lady of  Peace Parish, effective the end of June, and seek  hopefully a smaller assignment. By resigning at this time notification to priests that Our Lady of Peace Parish will become vacant can be included in the  “first round” of advertised openings for those who  might apply. That “first round” of advertised openings was distributed to priests and eligible administrators this past week. Possibly a new pastor might be announced later this month or early in April.  However since we do not yet have a bishop for our  diocese, Bishop Cunningham most likely will appoint an administrator who the new bishop will later appoint as pastor.  I have greatly enjoyed being with you at Our  Lady of Peace.”

Our prayers are with Fr. Paul Tomasso as he heals from these medical difficulties.

In his absence, Fr. Hoan Dinh, Fr. Jerome Robinson (Archdiocese of Mobile), Deacon Sergio Chavez, and several area priests have handled the pastoral care of St. Francis and St. Stephen churches.

I Can’t Think of Two Worse Bishops to Honor

March 5th, 2013, Promulgated by Dr. K

…aside from Cardinal Mahony.

From the Catholic Courier:

Bishop Emeritus Matthew H. Clark to be honored

Bishop Emeritus Matthew H. Clark will receive Fordham University’s highest honor, its prestigious President’s Medal, during a March 6 ceremony in New York City. Bishop Howard J. Hubbard of the Diocese of Albany also will receive the President’s Medal during the ceremony.

The medals to be awarded to Bishop Clark and Bishop Hubbard are in recognition of their service, which collectively includes nearly 70 years as bishops and 100 years as priests. Bishop Clark was ordained a priest in 1962 and became bishop of the Diocese of Rochester in 1979. Bishop Hubbard was ordained a priest in 1963 and became bishop of the Albany Diocese in 1977.

The medals to be bestowed are “a sign of our immense esteem and gratitude for your graceful and abiding witness through the decades that have wrought enormous challenges within and outside the church,” Jesuit Father Joseph McShane, president of Fordham University, wrote in a letter to the bishops. “You are both courageous leaders who have definitively embraced a preferential option for the marginalized and the poor, faithfully shepherding in a manner that renders you models of episcopal ministry. [GAG!]

Past recipients of Fordham University’s Presidents Medal include the late Cardinal Avery Dulles, who received the honor in 2008. Founded in 1841, Fordham is a Jesuit University with residential campuses in the Bronx, Manhattan and Westchester.

How appropriate that these two men so closely connected be “honored” at the same ceremony. They have a legacy of destruction in upstate New York Catholicism that may never be repaired.