Category Archives: News

Statement on removal of two priests from public ministry

Two priests have been removed from public ministry by Bishop Salvatore R. Matano. The actions follow an independent investigation and a subsequent review and recommendation by the diocesan Review Board, which includes lay professionals in law, child protection, law enforcement and psychology who advise the Bishop in his assessment of allegations of sexual abuse of minors and a cleric’s suitability for ministry.

Reverend Thomas J. Valenti, who served as parochial administrator of Blessed Trinity/St. Patrick’s in Tioga County, is restricted from engaging in public ministry or presenting himself publicly as a cleric.

In June 2018, Father Valenti was publicly accused of sexual abuse of a minor dating back to the 1970s. It was determined that a complete review and investigation of the matter should be initiated. After the investigation and review, the Review Board recommended the action based on new information that Father Valenti had engaged in objectionable and inappropriate behaviors with minors in that time period. Father Valenti adamantly denies the substance of the allegations.

Father Valenti was ordained in April 1976. He served as assistant pastor of Holy Apostles Church, Rochester, from 1976-1977; as assistant pastor of Blessed Sacrament Church, Rochester, from 1977-1979; as diocesan vocations director from 1980-1989; as assistant to the Bishop for vocations and director of Becket Hall discernment house from 1989-1993; and as chaplain at Ithaca College from 1993-1997. He served outside the Diocese from 1997 until 2014 when he began his assignment at Blessed Trinity/St. Patrick’s.

Father Valenti has the right to appeal from the Bishop’s decision to the Holy See, and he intends to do so.

Reverend Erick Viloria, who served as parochial vicar at Our Lady of Peace Parish, Geneva, is restricted from engaging in public ministry or presenting himself publicly as a cleric. The Diocese received a claim against Father Viloria in August 2018. After the investigation, the Review Board’s recommendation was based on information that Father Viloria engaged in objectionable and inappropriate use of social media with an adult. This claim is unrelated to his parish ministry.

Father Viloria was ordained a priest in June 2016. He served as parochial vicar at St. Mary’s Parish and Ss. Mary and Martha Parish, Auburn, from June 2016 to June 2018, when he began his assignment as parochial vicar at Our Lady of Peace, Geneva.

Fr. Viloria has the right to appeal from the Bishop’s decision to the Holy See.

“The Diocese of Rochester is committed to creating a safe environment for all, most especially our children, young people and vulnerable adults,” Bishop Matano said. “As Bishop of Rochester, I pledge to continue the many important initiatives we have undertaken to ensure this. I remain committed to the guiding principles established in the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, which the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops adopted in 2002 and which was most recently updated in 2018.”

A detailed list of the initiatives the Diocese has undertaken can be found at https://www.dor.org/wp-content/uploads/Update-on-Safe-Environment-Efforts2018.pdf. Additional information and resources can be found at www.dor.org under the Protecting Our Children tab.

HELP FOR VICTIMS
Victims of abuse should always report to the civil authorities. To report a case of possible sexual abuse and to receive help and guidance from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester, victims are encouraged to contact the Victim Assistance Coordinator, Deborah Housel, at (585) 328-3228, ext. 1555 (toll-free 1-800-388-7177, ext. 1555) or by email to victimsassistance@dor.org.

New president appointed at St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry


Dr. Loughlin

The Most Reverend Salvatore R. Matano, Bishop of Rochester, upon the recommendation of the Board of Trustees of Saint Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry, has appointed Dr. Stephen J. Loughlin, PhD, as the institution’s fourth president, effective Aug. 13, 2018. Dr. Loughlin joins Saint Bernard’s after a distinguished career as a teacher and scholar at DeSales University in Pennsylvania.

Dr. Loughlin holds a master’s and a doctoral degree in Philosophy from the University of Toronto, as well as a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from Saint Jerome’s University in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. He joined the faculty of DeSales University in 1999. He was promoted to the rank of Associate Professor in 2004 and has served as chair of the Philosophy and Theology Department since 2011.

Dr. Loughlin’s scholarly work in Philosophy has been published in Mediterranean Studies, Nova et Vetera, and The Thomist, among other publications. He has served on the editorial board of the journal Nova et Vetera. He is the author of Aquinas’ Summa Theologiae: A Reader’s Guide, published in London in 2010 by T&T Clark. In addition, Dr. Loughlin directs the work of The Aquinas Translation Project, a web-based project which seeks to provide scholars, religious and any interested individuals with translations of the works of Saint Thomas Aquinas not readily available in English. His areas of specialization include Medieval Philosophy, Thomistic Anthropology and the Philosophy of Nature.

Dr. Loughlin is a member of the American Philosophical Association, the American Maritain Association, the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars, American Catholic Philosophical Association and Collegium: A Colloquy on Faith and Intellectual Life.

“I am grateful to His Excellency, Bishop Matano, and to the Board of Trustees for their confidence, their wisdom and their good counsel,” Dr. Loughlin said. “I look forward to carrying on the inspiring Catholic mission of this institution of higher learning and its long tradition of educational excellence, and helping to guide Saint Bernard’s to further growth and vitality.”

Dr. Loughlin will be formally installed at a Holy Mass to be celebrated by Bishop Matano at 5 p.m., Tuesday, September 18, 2018, at Saint Jerome Church, 207 Garfield Street, East Rochester.

About St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry

Opened as a Roman Catholic Seminary in 1893 and restructured into an institute for theological and ministerial studies in 1981, St. Bernard’s has steadily pursued a course of dedication and service to the Church in a changing world. Saint Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry educates and assists women and men in academic, ministerial and spiritual formation to serve the Catholic Church through various forms of lay and ordained ministries, theological scholarship and Christian apostolates in society.

Bishop Matano serves as Chancellor of Saint Bernard’s. The main campus is located on French Road in Pittsford; the school also offers classes in Syracuse and Albany. Saint Bernard’s offers three master’s degrees in theology and continuing education opportunities for those seeking professional training, personal enrichment or a deeper understanding of their Catholic faith.

For more information, visit www.stbernards.edu.

Service of hope and healing for the opioid crisis Sept. 14

Our Mother of Sorrows Church in Greece will hold a special community Service of Hope and Healing for the Opioid Epidemic on Friday, Sept. 14, 2018 at 5:30 p.m.

The service, to be celebrated by the Very Reverend William G. Coffas, pastor of the church at 5000 Mt. Read Blvd., is free and open to people of all faiths.

“It is our hope and prayer that we can bring the community together to pray for solutions and an end to this societal scourge that has tragically harmed so many people,” Father Coffas said. “All are welcome to join us as we pray the Psalms and celebrate Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament and ask our good and gracious God for help.”

A reception with light refreshments in the parish hall will follow the service.
For more information, call (585) 663-5432, visit www.motherofsorrows.net or Facebook: Mother of Sorrows.

Religious Freedom Week, June 22-29

People of faith are committed to serving others in God’s love in healthcare, child welfare, migration and refugee resettlement, education, and more.
Religious freedom protects the space in which we can continue to serve.
Religious Freedom Week begins June 22, the Feast of Sts. Thomas More & John Fisher. Join Catholics across the country to pray and act for the freedom to serve faithfully and with integrity.

Safe Environment Newsletter | Spring 2018

Bivona Child Advocacy Center helps children heal after abuse
When a child is a victim of sexual or physical abuse, having to re-tell to multiple adults what happened may just exacerbate the trauma. The goal of Bivona Child Advocacy Center is to reduce the trauma that victims experience and provide services to the child and family by coordinating activities of various agencies.

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

The 2017 Annual Report on the Implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, produced by the Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection (SCYP) in 2018, describes the progress of Catholic dioceses/eparchies in implementing victim assistance and child protection policies and programs in the United States, particularly those found within the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. The report is based on an annual audit process, carried out between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017, by StoneBridge Business Partners.