Author Archives: bparker

Creating a Safe Environment Newsletter | Spring 2016

10 Safety Lessons to Teach Your Children

1. Trust your feelings.
God created us to experience emotions for a reason. When we are faced with danger, we experience fear, preparing us to fight or flee. We experience anxiety or apprehension, at times, as a precursor, warning us in advance of pending danger. Teaching your child to notice and respond to their feelings can help them avoid danger and help you know when to take a closer look at their surroundings.

Bishop celebrates Year of Mercy Masses in June

Bishop to preside at two June Year of Mercy Masses

You are invited to attend two special Year of Mercy Masses in June 2016 at Sacred Heart Cathedral, 296 Flower City Park, Rochester.
June 3, 2016 at 6:30 pm: First Friday Mass/Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus (patronal feast of the Cathedral, with a special intention for the men who will be ordained priests the following morning), followed by Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and individual Confessions until 8 p.m.  Bishop Salvatore R. Matano will preside.
June 22, 2016: 6:30 pm: The Feast of Saint John Fisher, the patron saint of the Diocese of Rochester, with Mass seeking his continued intercession for our Diocese. Bishop Matano will preside.
Pope Francis has declared that passing through the Holy Door of Mercy, located in our Diocese at the inside center entrance of the Cathedral, will offer the possibility of obtaining a Plenary Indulgence, a remission of the temporal punishment due to sins, by participating in the Sacraments of Confession and Holy Eucharist, praying for the Holy Father’s personal intentions, and praying the Profession of Faith (the Creed).
Complete schedule: Link

20th Anniversary Schools Golf Classic

The 20th Anniversary Catholic Schools Golf Classic will be held on Monday, June 27, 2016, at Greystone Golf Club, 1400 Atlantic Ave., Walworth.

Proceeds will be used to provide tuition assistance for exceptional hardship cases for students in any of the diocesan Catholic schools in our 12-county diocese.

Teams, sponsors and donations of auction items and raffle prizes are being sought to help raise funds. For more information, please call 585-328-3228, ext. 1294, or e-mail

You may also

Theology on Tap Spring Series

Theology on Tap is an opportunity for young adults to gather to discuss and reflect on issues of
faith. Sponsored by The Diocese of Rochester Department of Evangelization & Catechesis. Theology on Tap is a copyrighted program of Renew International. Used with permission.
April 18, 2016
Confirmation: What it is, what it isn’t, and why it still matters in your life
April 25, 2016
Go and Make Disciples: The Great Commission
May 2, 2016
Wait! How Many Gifts of the Holy Spirit Are There?
May 9, 2016
Pentecost: Jewish & Christian Traditions

Year of Mercy Divine Chaplet of Mercy April 3

All the Catholic faithful are invited to attend a special Year of Mercy Chaplet of the Divine Mercy on Sunday, April 3, 2016, at 3:00 p.m. at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, 296 Flower City Park, Rochester, with Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Sung Chaplet of the Divine Mercy.

Priests will be available to hear individual Confessions. Presider: Reverend Peter VanLieshout.

For a complete schedule of the special Year of Mercy diocesan events at the Cathedral, visit

Bishop’s statement regarding physician-assisted suicide

Statement Regarding Physician-Assisted Suicide – March 2016

Amidst the joys of this life there is one that looms high above all the others, the joy of parents who welcome their new-born child into their lives. When they cradle this precious gift of God in their arms, there are no words to express adequately the joy in their hearts. Heaven and earth unite in the marvelous gift of life. And so begins a journey for which there are no certain maps or charts. The course is filled with so many surprises and unexpected events, many joyous, some challenging, others disconcerting; there are anxious moments, times of worry and even heartaches. But through it all parents never stop embracing their children; theirs is a love without boundaries, unrestricted, forever alive and without question.

The precious life of the new-born child is the same precious life of the old and the frail, the weak and the suffering, the ill and the infirm, the distraught and the sorrowful. As we care for the child so must we care for all persons in the vast spectrum of human life. When we subjectively determine when life begins and ends, when it is viable or not, or when it is too burdensome to endure, we begin a path toward self-destruction. Life is no longer precious, but just another commodity in the business of living. Relativism becomes the absolute, and even the value of life itself is questioned.

The value of persons who are gravely ill and/or at the end of their lives is currently being questioned and their very lives threatened by a growing movement in our society to end life prematurely. Now pending in the New York State Legislature are two bills that would legalize physician-assisted suicide for patients diagnosed with a terminal illness. They are euphemistically titled the “End-of-Life Options Act” (S.3685/A.2129-A) and the “Patient Self-Determination Act” (S.5814/A.5261-B). These proposals ask those in the medical profession, a vocation dedicated to the service of life, to assist in the termination of the very lives they have pledged to heal and to comfort at life’s most critical moments. Dr. Herbert Hendin, the CEO and Medical Director of Suicide Prevention Initiatives in New York City, has urged New York lawmakers to reject the legalization of doctor-assisted suicide, and to focus instead on accessible quality end-of-life care. He states: “[E]vidence suggests that good palliative medicine can help people face death with dignity; assisted suicide falls far short of that goal” ( see Suicide Prevention Initiatives, New York City).

Dr. Michael Brescia, Executive Medical Director of Calvary Hospital in the Bronx, a specialty hospital serving advanced cancer patients, has recently noted that with groundbreaking advances in pain medicine, “the physical aspects of pain can be managed effectively for all patients. [W]e have found that with attention, affection and high quality care, we can prevent patients from saying they want to die” see Calvary Hospital, Bronx, New York). Indeed, we must not abandon our terminally ill sisters and brothers.

Clearly, then, the rejection of physician-assisted suicide is not solely a Catholic position, it is a human rights imperative. The Catholic Church is the defender of Life in concert with physicians, nurses, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals; in union with these same people, we seek to protect people with physical and mental disabilities, those in life-threatening situations, and those who have no one to speak on their behalf, from being viewed as burdens to society when they are our sisters and brothers in the human family. What is needed is support for and the further exploration of healthcare measures that will effectively relieve suffering, so that the terminally ill might know and feel the love, concern, compassion and care of a society that protects them and cherishes them. This, in itself, eases the greatest pain, which attacks the heart when people feel no one cares!

The Catholic Church, united with persons of other faiths and people of good will, does care, especially for those who are the weakest among us! And our concern is not irrational. It is a very reasonable and noble concern, which appreciates the worth of the human person in his or her most difficult moments of life. In 2011, the United States Bishops stated: “Respect for life does not demand that we attempt to prolong life by using medical treatments that are ineffective or unduly burdensome. Nor does it mean we should deprive suffering patients of needed pain medications out of a misplaced or exaggerated fear that they might have the side effect of shortening life” (“To Live Each Day With Dignity: A Statement on Physician-Assisted Suicide,” USCCB, July 2011, p. 10, The New York State Bishops, in their 2011 “Catholic Guide to End-of-Life Decision-Making, Now and at the Hour of Our Death,” note that “out of deep respect for the gift of life, we must always accept, and others must provide, ordinary medical means of preserving life. Ordinary means are those that offer us a reasonable hope of benefit and would not entail excessive burden on us, our family, or the community” (p. 3, But intentional euthanasia, the willful and conscious act of putting to death those who are sick, are disabled, or are dying, is morally unacceptable and a tragic offense against life!

I urge New York State lawmakers to reject the legalization of physician-assisted suicide, for it will inevitably put tremendous pressure on our most vulnerable citizens to end their lives. As the New York State Task Force on Life and the Law cautioned many years ago (1994), in an era of health care rationing and cost-cutting, assisted suicide could easily rise to the level of the most acceptable, inexpensive, and even expected “treatment” for terminal illness. We owe our brothers and sisters in the human family so much more.

I pray that reason will prevail and be guided by an even greater Wisdom. Shakespeare said it well many years ago: “There’s a divinity that shapes our ends, rough hew them how we may” (Hamlet, V .ii). Indeed there is One greater than ourselves and He said, “I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full” (John 10:10).

Asking the Lord to bless our efforts in the service of His gift of life and united in prayer for all our suffering brothers and sisters in this Jubilee Year of Mercy, I remain

Devotedly yours in Christ,

+ The Most Reverend Salvatore R. Matano
Bishop of Rochester

Lent: The Journey to Easter 2016

The 2018 Lenten season begins on Ash Wednesday, February 14, for Latin-rite Catholics with Easter Sunday on April 1.

During Lent, we are asked to devote ourselves to seeking the Lord in prayer and reading Scripture, to service by giving alms, and to sacrifice self-control through fasting. Many know of the tradition of abstaining from meat on Fridays during Lent, but we are also called to practice self-discipline and fast in other ways throughout the season. Contemplate the meaning and origins of the Lenten fasting tradition in this reflection. In addition, the giving of alms is one way to share God’s gifts—not only through the distribution of money, but through the sharing of our time and talents. As St. John Chrysostom reminds us: “Not to enable the poor to share in our goods is to steal from them and deprive them of life. The goods we possess are not ours, but theirs.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2446).

Assisted Suicide Conference Feb. 20

Historical, medical, legal, and ethical aspects of assisted suicide
Ideal for: Attorneys, health care professionals, clergy, chaplains, caregivers, patients, and family members
Knights of Columbus, Finger Lakes Chapter ● St. Thomas More Lawyers Guild ● Catholic Medical Association, Finger Lakes Guild ● Feminists for Nonviolent Choices ● Rochester Area Right to Life ● Leo Holmsten Human Life Committee ● New Yorker’s Family Research Foundation ● New Yorkers for Life ● generous private donors
For more info:

Message from the Bishop: Day of Penance and Mercy

My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In this Year of Mercy declared by Pope Francis, we especially celebrate, in gratitude, the mercy of our Heavenly Father. In contemplating God’s mercy and forgiveness, we begin with a very basic premise: we are God’s noblest creation conceived by His perfect love for us. In this love by which He binds Himself to us, He lifts us up again and again when we sin.

Day of Penance and Mercy March 9

All Catholics in the 12-county Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester are invited to participate in a special diocesan-wide Day of Penance and Mercy Wednesday, March 9, 2016, to experience the healing power of Confession, formally called the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Priests will hear individual Confessions from 12:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at all parishes. If your parish has multiple worship sites, kindly consult your bulletin and/or parish website for specific times at each site.

The Diocese has created a special website at to explain the sacrament and offer “how to’s.”

Creating a Safe Environment Newsletter | Winter 2016

Protecting Our Children from Strangers and Predators Online
Children can easily encounter predators online; and predators know the places children
hang out online and how to develop online relationships with them. In this article, we
cover the patterns typical of online predators, the likely places where children can encounter them, how you can minimize the risks of your child becoming a victim, and how
to respond if you sense that your child is being targeted by an online predator.
Chances are that your child will never be the victim of an online predator. However, that
doesn’t mean that you or your children should be naive. You and your children need to be
smart about the reality today. We live in a networked, social world. Therefore the “places”
where children can encounter strangers online is becoming increasingly complex. Online
services and technologies are often “faceless.” It’s this online “anonymity” that makes technology an attractive vehicle for predators.

Nine Days for Life

9 Days for Life is a “digital pilgrimage” of prayer and action focused on cherishing the gift of every person’s life. A multi-faceted novena highlighting a different intention each day provides reflections, bonus information, and suggested actions.

Join to receive the novena through the 9 Days for Life app, daily emails, or daily texts. See below for information on how else you can get involved!

#9DaysforLife #OurPrayersMatter

Year of Mercy special events at the Cathedral Door of Mercy

Schedule of Special Masses at Sacred Heart Cathedral
The Extraordinary Year of Mercy is to be the “living experience of the closeness of the Father, whose tenderness is almost tangible, so that the faith of every believer may be strengthened and thus testimony to it be ever more effective.” (Pope Francis).
Periodically, Jubilee Years are called by the Sovereign Pontiffs to lead the faithful to a closer relationship with God and as a sign of unity and charity. The Extraordinary Year of Mercy, (December 8, 2015 – November 20, 2016) is the first Holy Year (hence, extraordinary) which does not commemorate an anniversary of some kind, but focuses our attention on the attribute of God the Father which is exalted in both the Old and New Testaments, His Mercy. In announcing the Year of Mercy, our Holy Father wrote: “The Church makes herself a servant of this love of Christ and mediates it to all people: a love that forgives and expresses itself in the gift of oneself. Consequently, wherever the Church is present, the mercy of the Father must be evident.”

March for Life 2016 information

9:30 AM
Gather for Diocese of Rochester March for Life photo
on steps of the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception
10:00 AM
Celebrate Mass at the Basilica with Bishop Matano
concelebrating (Archbishop Chaput presiding)
12:45 PM
Meet up with Bishop Matano and the Diocese of
Rochester to march together

Theology on Tap series starts Feb. 22

A Lenten Four–Pack
Monday Nights at 7:00
February 22, 2016
Pope Francis: Formed By Mercy
Fr. Robert J. Kennedy Pastor
Blessed Sacrament/St. Boniface/ St. Mary’s
February 29, 2016
A Severe Mercy
Noelle Hiester
Diocesan Director of Evangelization & Catechesis
March 7, 2016
Mass: The Greatest Mercy
Fr. Matthew Jones
Parochial Vicar
Blessed Sacrament/St. Boniface/ St. Mary’s
March 14, 2016
Mercy Extended: Healing Relationships
Don Boice, LCSW-R
Boice Counseling
Theology on Tap is an opportunity for young adults to gather to discuss and reflect on issues of
faith. Sponsored by The Diocese of Rochester Department of Evangelization & Catechesis. Theology on Tap is a copyrighted program of Renew International. Used with permission.

Mass for Life Jan. 17, 2016

Year of Mercy – Every Life is Worth Living

Bishop Matano will be celebrating Mass on Sunday, January 17, at 11:15 a.m. at SACRED HEART CATHEDRAL in support of all human life, especially the unborn

This Mass for Life is a local celebration to give thanks fo God for the gift of human life and to pray for the legal protection of unborn children, coinciding with the anniversary of the U.S. supreme Court Row vs Wade decision.


Urgent Action Alert on Conscience Rights

Protect the Conscience Rights of Health Care Providers

By December 11, 2015, Congress must agree on a year-end spending bill for the federal government.

We need your help to ensure that protections for pro-life health care workers are included in that bill.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops  has long endorsed this bill and is calling on all U.S. Catholics to encourage its passage now. Americans’ right to object to involvement in abortion has long enjoyed broad support, and President Obama has said several times that he supports federal laws protecting this right. But the conscience laws on the books today need to be clarified and strengthened.

The “Abortion Non-Discrimination Act,” or ANDA, will accomplish this goal. It needs to be included in the year-end spending bill.

Go to to send an e-mail message to your federal legislators and for more ideas to spread the word on this critical issue.

More Resources:

Stand with Cathy for Conscience Rights video

Article explaining the need for this law from USCCB staffer Richard Doerflinger,  including links to the video and the Action Alert

2016 Deacon Information Sessions

  • February 11:   7:00 PM  St. Mary, Bath (O’Malley Hall)
  • February 17:  7:00 PM  Assumption, Fairport (Parish Living Room)
  • March 3:  7:00 PM  St. Pius Tenth, Chili (School)
  • March 5: 1:00 PM  All Saints, Lansing
  • March 10:  7:00 PM  St. Mary of the Lake, Watkins Glen
  • April 6:  7:00PM  Transfiguration, Pittsford

We will provide an overview of the 5 year application and formation process and the time commitment involved and answer questions about ongoing ministry.

An eligible applicant for permanent deacon formation is a man of strong and active faith who can demonstrate a record of service in the communities in which he lives, works and worships. He must be at least 35 years of age and no more than 62 years of age at the time of ordination, in good health, emotionally mature and stable in his professional and personal relationships. Men may be single or married.

Interested men and their wives are encouraged to attend. For more information please contact Deacon John Brasley, Director of Deacon Personnel & Director of Deacon Formation, Diocese of Rochester, 585.328.3228 or

Update on Safe Environment efforts

Efforts to create a safe environment have not waned
An Update from the Diocese of Rochester | November
In September 2015, an independent auditing firm, StoneBridge Business Partners, found the
Diocese of Rochester fully in compliance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, a comprehensive set of procedures established by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2002 to address allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy. StoneBridge was approved by the Bishops’ Conference to conduct audits of arch/dioceses in the United States.
The Diocese of Rochester has been found in compliance in annual audits since the first audit was conducted in 2003.
This most recent audit provides another opportunity to review the measures taken by the Bishops of the United States and our own Diocese of Rochester in the years that have followed the extensive media attention and public discussion of the clerical sexual abuse scandal in the early 2000s.