Author Archives: Office of Communications

Statement of U.S. Bishops’ President on George Floyd and the Protests in American Cities

Bishop Matano joins his brother Bishops in prayer and attaches his support to the following statement of Archbishop Gomez, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops:

WASHINGTON, May 31 – Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has issued a statement on George Floyd and the protests in American cities that have taken place over the last several days. This follows the Friday statement from seven U.S. bishop chairmen of committees within the USCCB.

Archbishop Gomez’s full statement follows:

The killing of George Floyd was senseless and brutal, a sin that cries out to heaven for justice. How is it possible that in America, a black man’s life can be taken from him while calls for help are not answered, and his killing is recorded as it happens?

I am praying for George Floyd and his loved ones, and on behalf of my brother bishops, I share the outrage of the black community and those who stand with them in Minneapolis, Los Angeles, and across the country. The cruelty and violence he suffered does not reflect on the majority of good men and women in law enforcement, who carry out their duties with honor. We know that. And we trust that civil authorities will investigate his killing carefully and make sure those responsible are held accountable.

We should all understand that the protests we are seeing in our cities reflect the justified frustration and anger of millions of our brothers and sisters who even today experience humiliation, indignity, and unequal opportunity only because of their race or the color of their skin. It should not be this way in America. Racism has been tolerated for far too long in our way of life.

It is true what Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, that riots are the language of the unheard. We should be doing a lot of listening right now. This time, we should not fail to hear what people are saying through their pain. We need to finally root out the racial injustice that still infects too many areas of American society.

But the violence of recent nights is self-destructive and self-defeating. Nothing is gained by violence and so much is lost. Let us keep our eyes on the prize of true and lasting change.

Legitimate protests should not be exploited by persons who have different values and agendas. Burning and looting communities, ruining the livelihoods of our neighbors, does not advance the cause of racial equality and human dignity.

We should not let it be said that George Floyd died for no reason. We should honor the sacrifice of his life by removing racism and hate from our hearts and renewing our commitment to fulfill our nation’s sacred promise — to be a beloved community of life, liberty, and equality for all.

Statement regarding Governor’s announcement

We are grateful to learn through the Governor’s press conference today, May 20, 2020, that the topic of religious practice was addressed in the New York Forward plan. We are awaiting more information from the state which will help us determine how best we can resume Masses with the faithful present, albeit in some limited manner. Our parishes have begun implementing general protocols for how they will ensure social distancing, regulate the number of faithful who can be in attendance, and achieve the necessary cleaning regimens and safety standards for the well-being of all.

We continue to work with the other Dioceses in the New York province and the New York State Catholic Conference in obtaining the necessary information from the state. As noted in the Statement on behalf of the New York State Catholic Conference: “Our Catholic people are hungry for the Mass and are anxious to gather together again in prayer and worship. At the same time, we have a moral obligation to protect our congregations and our clergy from COVID-19, so we will proceed slowly and responsibly and collaboratively.”

Siena Catholic Academy to Close

Siena Catholic Academy in Brighton, which served students from throughout the Rochester region since it opened in 1993 as a diocesan middle school, will close permanently at the conclusion of the current academic year. The school has experienced years of declining enrollment. From nearly 300 students a decade ago, enrollment has dropped to approximately 130 registered students, an insufficient number to cover costs of operating the school going forward.

“Please know that this decision, made in consultation with our diocesan School Board, Presbyteral Council and diocesan Stewardship Council, is most difficult and made only after very careful and prolonged study and a careful review of available funding,” Bishop Salvatore R. Matano, Bishop of Rochester, and Mr. James Tauzel, Superintendent of Catholic Schools, wrote in a May 1, 2020 letter to parents.

The Aquinas Institute, Bishop Kearney, Our Lady of Mercy School for Young Women, and McQuaid Jesuit schools, each of which offers sixth through eighth grade middle school programs, have agreed to honor the same net tuition for Siena families who wish to enroll this fall. Additionally, Holy Cross School in Charlotte, Saint Joseph School in Penfield and Seton Catholic School in Brighton offer a sixth grade and would welcome families of sixth graders. It is hoped that the families “will make the decision to select one of these schools, knowing so well, through their experience at Siena, the spiritual and academic treasure that is a Catholic school education.”

The Diocese of Rochester extended its “gratitude to the families, Mr. David Carapella (Principal) and the dedicated teachers and staff who strived daily to make Siena Catholic Academy a nurturing environment for every student.”

List of televised and live-stream Masses

In response to information provided by local and state government and health officials concerning the coronavirus, the Diocese of Rochester has suspended public Masses until further notice. Priests will continue to say private Mass and some diocesan parishes plan to continue live streaming. Here is the list of parishes planning to live stream private Masses (we will keep updating this list as more information becomes available)

List of televised and live-stream Masses

James Tauzel appointed Superintendent of Catholic Schools

Bishop Salvatore R. Matano, in consultation with the Diocesan School Board, has appointed Mr. James Tauzel as Superintendent of Catholic Schools, effective immediately. Mr. Tauzel had been serving since September 2019 as interim Superintendent.

Mr. Tauzel, who previously served as Coordinator of Curriculum and Instruction for the Diocese of Rochester, holds a Master of Education in Educational Administration from the University of Texas-Pan American and a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University. He also previously served as Principal of All Saints Academy in Corning and Saint Joseph School in Auburn.

In his Letter of Appointment to Mr. Tauzel, Bishop Matano wrote, “I am grateful for your willingness to serve in this capacity and to provide continued leadership…May your work help our young people, as well as the faculty and staff, to live as God’s daughters and sons.”

For more information about our schools, visit

Statement Regarding the Beatification of the Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

The Diocese of Rochester appreciates the many accomplishments that Archbishop Sheen achieved in his lifetime in proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ worldwide through media, thereby bringing the message of Jesus to a vast audience. His legacy in the area of communications made him a prophet in the future use of mass media to advance the teachings of Jesus, a phenomenon recognized by Catholics and non-Catholics alike.

At the same time, a person’s cause for beatification must entail a review of the person’s entire life. In this regard, the Diocese of Rochester has considered the tenure of Archbishop Sheen as the Bishop of Rochester. The Diocese of Rochester, prior to any announcements of the beatification, provided the Diocese of Peoria and the Congregation for the Causes of Saints through the Office of the Apostolic Nuncio with documentation that expressed concern about advancing the cause for the beatification of Archbishop Sheen at this time without a further review of his role in priests’ assignments. Other prelates shared these concerns and expressed them. There are no complaints against Archbishop Sheen engaging in any personal inappropriate conduct, nor were any insinuations made in this regard.

The Diocese of Rochester did its due diligence in this matter and believed that, while not casting suspicion, it was prudent that Archbishop Sheen’s cause receive further study and deliberation, while also acknowledging the competency of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to render its decision. The Holy See ultimately decided to postpone the beatification.

A beatification process reminds us that we are all called to be saints to live with the Lord eternally in heaven, praying that the Lord judges us worthy to behold Him face to face in that beatific vision that brings everlasting joy. From his place with the Lord, Archbishop Sheen enjoys eternal peace and joy in the everlasting presence of God, Our Father, whom he did serve with dedication and zeal for the salvation of souls.

The Diocese will be making no further comments.