Category Archives: News

Day of Penance and Mercy March 13

All Catholics in the 12-county Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester are encouraged to participate in a special Lenten Day of Penance and Mercy on Wednesday, March 13, 2019, to experience the healing power of Confession, formally called the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Priests will be available at every parish. Details can be found at

The Catholic Church believes the Sacrament of Reconciliation, is a graced opportunity for us to celebrate God’s forgiveness. The Sacrament calls us to a true sorrow for the sins we have committed, along with an intention to repair our lives and our relationships with God and our community. All Catholics are invited to attend, regardless of how long it has been since their last participation in the Sacrament.

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

Statement on Passage of Child Victims Act

NYS Bishops’ Statement on Passage of Child Victims Act Jan. 28, 2019

We pray that passage of the Child Victims Act brings some measure of healing to all survivors by offering them a path of recourse and reconciliation. The legislation now recognizes that child sexual abuse is an evil not just limited to one institution, but a tragic societal ill that must be addressed in every place where it exists.

Sadly, we in the Church know all too well the devastating toll of abuse on survivors, their families, and the extended community. Every Catholic diocese in New York has taken important steps to support survivors of child sexual abuse, including the implementation of reconciliation and compensation programs. We are proud that these pioneering programs have not only helped more than a thousand survivors of clergy abuse in New York, but have also become a model for how to help survivors in other states and in other institutions.

Now, we hope that this same type of survivor-centered approach, that puts the emphasis on healing, is available to all survivors, regardless of when the abuse occurred, or who their abuser was¬ whether it was a priest, a coach, a teacher, a doctor, or, as is all too common, a family member. We have long called for strengthening the Child Victims Act and will continue to advocate for the elimination of the criminal statute of limitations, compensations programs for those who prefer it to litigation, and mandatory safe environment training for anyone who works with children.

We thank the brave survivors who have told their stories of abuse in every sector of society. Their witness has moved us all. We renew our commitment to combatting the monstrous crime of childhood sexual abuse and helping all survivors find recourse and reconciliation as they heal.

Timothy Cardinal Dolan
Archbishop of New York

Most Rev. Salvatore R. Matano
Bishop of Rochester

Most Rev. Terry R. LaValley
Bishop of Ogdensburg

Most Rev. Edward B. Scharfenberger
Bishop of Albany

Most Rev. Nicholas DiMarzio
Bishop of Brooklyn

Most Rev. Richard J.Malone
shop of Buffalo

Most Rev. John O. Barres
Bishop of Rockville Centre

Most Rev. Robert J. Cunningham
Bishop of Syracuse

And the Auxiliary and Retired Bishops of New York State

Statement of the Catholic Conference on Reproductive Health Act

Following is a statement of the New York State Catholic Conference on the passage and signing of the Reproductive Health Act:

“Today, New York State has added a sad chapter to this already solemn date of January 22, the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. With the legislature’s passage, and Governor Cuomo’s signing of the Reproductive Health Act, our beloved state has become a more dangerous one for women and their unborn babies.

“Many of the state Senators and Assembly Members who voted for this abortion expansion are mothers themselves, who felt their child toss, turn and kick in their womb, and delighted in the progress of their pregnancy. Many others, as well as our governor, are fathers, who held their partner’s hand as they viewed the ultrasound videos, watched their child squirm and rejoiced at the first sound of a heartbeat. Many of these same officials were themselves born into less-than-perfect conditions – poverty, health problems, disabilities, broken families. All overcame these issues to rise to leadership in our state, because their parents chose life for them.

“We thank all of our partners in the 12-year-long fight to stop this horrendous policy, and all pro-life New Yorkers who made their voices heard in an effort to stop it. Let us all pray for the conversion of heart for those who celebrate this tragic moment in the history of our state. And we pray in a special way for the lives that will be lost, and for the women of our state who are made less safe under this law.”

The Catholic Conference represents the Bishops of New York State in public policy matters.

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 Additional information and resources can be found at under the Protecting Our Children tab.

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

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