Author Archives: bparker

Local Catholics, Lutherans unite in prayer

Commonality rather than conflict was the prevailing theme among Catholics and Lutherans who came together for a special worship service at Sacred Heart Cathedral Oct. 29.

The Sunday-evening gathering marked the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation while also highlighting ongoing efforts to build cooperation, understanding and mutual respect between Catholics and Lutherans.

“How wonderful it is to be here with each other,” stated Bishop Salvatore R. Matano in his opening remarks for the service, at which he copresided with Bishop John Macholz of the Upstate New York Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Bishop Matano added that the joining of Catholics and Lutherans on Oct. 29 demonstrated the desire “that we all may be one.”

Serving as assistant ministers for the service were Father Scott Caton, parochial vicar at Greece’s St. Lawrence Church, and the Rev. Dan Hoffman, a Lutheran pastor from Buffalo, who together facilitated a four-part series of panel discussions between Catholics and Lutherans earlier in 2017.

The service at Sacred Heart Cathedral coincided with the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s first public posting of his “95 Theses” on Oct. 31, 1517. Luther’s disagreements with Catholic Church teachings ignited a schism that spread through 16th-century Europe, resulting in the rise of Protestantism. However, dialogue between Catholics and Lutherans has increased considerably since the 1960s, when the Second Vatican Council stressed greater ecumenical efforts by the Catholic Church.

Father Caton noted five ecumenical imperatives during the Oct. 29 event. He said Catholics and Lutherans should always: start from a point of unity, rather than division; be open to being transformed by each other; commit themselves toward visible unity; jointly rediscover the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; and witness together to the mercy of God in word and service.

Positive steps also were highlighted during the panel discussions that took place between April and September, two of them at Sacred Heart Cathedral and the others at Rochester’s Lutheran Church of the Incarnate Word. Attendance averaged approximately 25 per meeting, according to Betsy McDermott, the Diocese of Rochester’s project manager for ecumenical and interreligious affairs.

Dialogue during the talks was based on “From Conflict to Communion: Lutheran-Catholic Common Commemoration of the Reformation in 2017,” a document created by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Lutheran World Federation. Participants in panel discussions sought to establish common ground in such areas as social justice, ministry, Bible study and worship.

While acknowledging longstanding divisions between Catholics and Lutherans, Bernard Grizard, diocesan director of Pastoral Services, noted there also is “so much that we have in common.” Grizard added that the discussion series “kind of reinforced that we were on the right track, truly looking for a sense of unity.”

McDermott said the discussions evolved from being educational in nature to considering “what can we do together going forward.”

Meanwhile, the Rev. Frank Hanrahan, dean of the Lutherans’ Genesee Finger Lakes Conference, said he would like to see cooperative efforts between local Catholics and Lutherans extend beyond this 500th-anniversary year. Among the possibilities, he said, are further prayer and dialogue as well as joint community-service projects.

“As we find things we have in common, let’s keep going. I think there’s a sense of mission and ministry that calls all of us,” the Rev. Hanrahan said. “Our hope is that the people will decide our next step going forward, and we will provide leadership for that to happen.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Sacred Heart Cathedral, 296 Flower City Park, Rochester, will host an ecumenical Thanksgiving prayer service Tuesday, Nov. 21, beginning at 7 p.m. Congregations of all denominations are invited.

Annual Blue Mass Oct. 14

You are cordially invited to join Bishop Salvatore R. Matano, as we pray, in gratitude, to God for the safety of all the courageous men and women of law enforcement who so selflessly serve and protect our community.

Joint Lutheran-Catholic Prayer Service

You are enthusiastically invited to participate in this historic prayer service presided over by Bishop John Macholz, Bishop of the Up State New York Synod, ELCA and Bishop Salvatore Matano, Bishop of Rochester. The Journey continues but what a great moment to pause and celebrate what has already been accomplished. Please join us.

Catholic Charities Annual Report

April 24, 2017 marked the 100th Anniversary of the date on which New York State Governor Charles Whitman signed into law a special act of the State Legislature establishing Catholic Charities Corporations in each of the Dioceses in New York State.
For this one hundred years, and for longer in some Dioceses, Catholic Charities agencies have been the primary vehicle through which the Church has responded to the Gospel call to love our neighbors.

2017 Catholic Men’s Conference

“Create in me a clean heart”
Join us for the third annual Men’s Conference on Saturday October 14, 2017.

Saturday, October 14, 2017
7:00 am Registration opens
8:00 am Mass – Bishop Salvatore R. Matano
4:00 pm Conference concludes
St. Jude the Apostle Church
4100 Lyell Road
Rochester, NY 14606
Register online at:
$40 before August 1, 2017
$55 after August 1, 2017
$70 at the door
$15 all men under age 21
Register early to save $15 – $30
Includes Breakfast, Lunch & Snack
Diocese of Rochester
(Memo field: 2017 Men’s Conference)
Rochester Catholic Men’s Conference
P.O. Box 90574
Rochester, NY 14609

Bishop makes pastoral appointments

Bishop makes 2017 parish-leadership appointments

Bishop Salvatore R. Matano has announced the following pastoral appointments, which become effective June 27, 2017, unless otherwise noted:

• Father Anthony J. Amato to parochial vicar, Blessed Trinity/St. Patrick, Owego.
• Father Frederick K. Asuming to parochial administrator, St. Theodore, Gates.
• Father Juan G. Benitez to parochial vicar, St. Louis, Pittsford.
• Father Joseph R. Catanise continuing as pastor, St. Leo, Hilton.
• Father Michael J. Costik to parochial administrator, St. Benedict, Canandaigua.
• Father John A. DeSocio to senior-priest status.
• Father Clifford A. Dorkenoo to parochial vicar, St. Benedict, Canandaigua.
• Father Richard T. Farrell to parochial vicar, Blessed Sacrament, Christ the Redeemer and St. Mary, Elmira.
• Father Raymond H. Fleming to parochial administrator, Immaculate Conception/St. Bridget, Rochester, while continuing as pastor, St. Monica and Emmanuel Church of the Deaf, Rochester.
• Father John V. Forni continuing as parochial vicar, All Saints, Corning.
• Father Michael G. Fowler reappointed parochial administrator, St. Agnes, Avon; St. Paul of the Cross, Honeoye Falls; and St. Rose, Lima.
• Father John F. Gagnier to pastor, Holy Cross, Rochester.
• Father John G. Gathenya reappointed pastor, Holy Family, Auburn.
• Father Paul Gitau reappointed pastor, St. Paul, Webster.
• Father Timothy E. Horan reappointed pastor, Holy Trinity, Webster.
• Father Stanley G. Kacprzak to pastor, Our Lady of the Valley, Hornell.
• Father Robert J. Kennedy to senior-priest status effective Nov. 14, 2017.
• Father Stephen R. Kraus to senior-priest status.
• Father Scott M. Kubinski to pastor, Blessed Sacrament, Christ the Redeemer and St. Mary, Elmira.
• Deacon David L. LaFortune reappointed pastoral administrator, St. John Vianney, Bath.
• Father William B. Leone reappointed pastor, St. Jerome, East Rochester.
• Father John F. Loncle to pastor, Blessed Sacrament, St. Boniface and St. Mary, Rochester, effective Nov. 14, 2017.
• Father Michael D. Merritt to parochial vicar, St. Francis & St. Clare, Waterloo.
• Father Peter B. Mottola to parochial administrator, St. John the Evangelist, Spencerport, with continuing work at the diocesan Pastoral Center, effective Nov. 14, 2017.
• Father Anthony P. Mugavero concluding service as parochial administrator, Immaculate Conception/St. Bridget, Rochester; continuing as pastor, Holy Apostles, Rochester.
• Father Malachy Nwosu to parochial vicar, St. Marianne Cope, Henrietta.
• Father Pius Pathmarajah continuing as parochial vicar, St. Charles Borromeo, Greece, and service in the diocesan Tribunal.
• Father Robert P. Ring reappointed as pastor, St. Louis, Pittsford.
• Father Carlos M. Sanchez Betancur to chaplain, Strong Memorial and Highland hospitals, Rochester, while continuing as parochial vicar, Peace of Christ, Rochester.
• Father Daniel Ruiz-Sierra to parochial administrator, St. Anthony, Groton; Holy Cross, Dryden/Freeville; and All Saints, Lansing.
• Father Louis A. Sirianni continuing as pastor, St. Mark, Greece, and as judicial vicar in the diocesan Tribunal.
• Father Thomas J. Valenti reappointed as parochial administrator, Blessed Trinity/St. Patrick, Owego.
• Father Peter D. Van Lieshout to parochial administrator, St. Peter, Clifton Springs.
• Father Thomas H. Wheeland to senior-priest status.

Theology on Tap Summer 4-pack

August 7, 2017
Beyond Left and Right: The Appalling Strangeness of Catholic Moral Teaching
Dr. Matthew Kuhner
Director of Catechesis & Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology

August 14, 2017
Love and Lies: Theology of the Body
Michelle Kuhner, M.T.S.
Masters in Theology of Marriage and the Family

August 21, 2017
The Real Presence: I Believe…Do You?
Fr. Peter VanLieshout
Parochial Administrator, St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Parish, Clifton Springs

August 28, 2017
Discernment for Your Life: How to Recognize When God is Speaking to You
Sr. Laurie Orman
Vocation Minister Sisters of Mercy

2018 Synod of Bishops Questionnaire

Pope Francis has again requested worldwide feedback concerning issues that will be addressed at the October 2018 Synod of Bishops on “Young People, Faith, and Vocational Discernment.”

To prepare for the Synod, Pope Francis has written a Letter to Young People (ages 16-29) and the Synod of Bishops has released a preparatory document. In response to the Holy Father’s request, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester invites your consultation through an online questionnaire.

Please note: The questions from the preparatory document require a text (written) response. If you would like to review the questionnaire, please read through the preparatory document first. You will be able to skip any of the questions.

Information gathered in our Diocese, through the questionnaire and focus groups, will be included in the final report sent to the Vatican by the U.S. Bishops.

The questionnaire will be open from June 1, 2017 until July 24, 2017. If parishes would like to host a focus group for people ages 16-29, please have a staff person contact Dr. Shannon Loughlin at

To take the questionnaire, click here:

Immaculate Conception School announcement

Immaculate Conception School in Ithaca to close in June
After more than 130 years of educating generations of children, Immaculate Conception School in Ithaca will close its doors at the end of the school year in June.
The recommendation to close the school, presented by Immaculate Conception Parish leadership, was accepted by the Most Reverend Salvatore R. Matano, Bishop of Rochester, after consultation with the Diocesan Presbyteral Council, a council of priests from throughout the Diocese who advise the Bishop.

Diocesan schools earn accreditation

The Diocese of Rochester’s 19 Catholic elementary and secondary schools have been accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, according to a joint press release from the diocese and the national association.

“The Middle States Systems Approach to accreditation examines school systems as a whole, ensuring that all levels are strategically aligned and working collaboratively to meet common goals and help grow and improve student performance,” stated Henry G. Cram, president of the Middle States Association Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools. “I congratulate the Diocese of Rochester Catholic schools for their ongoing commitment to achieving excellence.”

Creating a Safe Environment Newsletter | Spring 2017

Alliance fights to prevent abuse of developmentally, intellectually disabled children
Child sexual abuse is at epidemic levels, but even more so when the victims are intellectually or developmentally disabled children.
Nationally, according to the Rochester-based Bivona Child Advocacy Center, one in 10 children are sexually assaulted before their 18th birthdays; among disabled children, the rate is three to six times higher.
That grim reality prompted the formation of the I/DD (for Intellectually and Developmentally Disabled) Alliance of Greater Rochester in the fall of 2015. The collaboration of 12 agencies (including law enforcement, funders, and organizations that serve the developmentally disabled population) are working together to investigate, evaluate, treat and prevent sexual and physical abuse of children with disabilities.
The alliance is under the umbrella of the Bivona Center, itself a multi-disciplinary collaboration that brings together educators, law enforcement, child protective services, treatment providers and others to streamline the response to reports of abuse and ease the trauma children are subject to when they are forced to retell their stories again and again.

From Conflict to Communion: Catholic-Lutheran Dialogue

Lutherans and Catholics in Rochester to dialogue, worship together in 500th Anniversary Year of the Reformation
Rochester, N.Y. – In hopes of contributing to a long-term relationship of cooperation, mutual respect and understanding, local Roman Catholics and Lutherans will engage in a series of dialogues over the next several months, culminating in an ecumenical service celebrated by the local bishops of both Christian denominations.
Noting the 500th Anniversary in this year 2017 of Martin Luther’s public posting of his “95 Theses,” resulting in the Protestant Reformation, we seek the opportunity to unite in prayer, asking the Holy Spirit to enlighten our minds and hearts that, in the words of Jesus, “all may be one.” (John 17:21) After centuries of division, the Catholic Church’s Second Vatican Council in the mid-1960s opened the way for efforts at reconciliation. On both an international level and on a
national level in the United States, Lutherans and Catholics have been involved in more than 50 years of dialogue aimed at finding common ground in such areas as interpretation of scripture, the sacraments and doctrine.

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month: Resources

The bishops of the United States are committed to their Promise to Protect, Pledge to Heal to parishes. Through the implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, dioceses have put in place effective policies for safeguarding the most vulnerable. Learn how you can take part in ensuring children and vulnerable adults are kept safe in your own communities and beyond with these three easy steps this April.

Day of Penance and Mercy March 28

The Day of Penance and Mercy is March 28 at all parishes. Confession is good for the soul!

Priests will be available extended hours at all parishes. Check your parish bulletin for times.

21st Annual Schools Golf Classic

OR complete the form below.
Make check payable to
Catholic Schools
and mail to: Diocese of Rochester,
Attn: Golf Classic, 1150 Buffalo Road, Rochester, NY 14624

Deaf Catholic Retreat 2017

Witnesses of God’s Love

1. Called to a Loving Encounter with Jesus
2. With Words & actions: Do it!
3. Walking Together with Jesus
4. Bearing Fruits of New Life
5. Celebrating the Joy of Being Missionary Disciples