Road to Renewal Announcement

Dear ACRCC Family,

Bishop Michael W. Fisher, Father Bryan Zielenieski, Vicar for Renewal and Development, and Father Mark Noonan addressed the Church community in the Buffalo Diocese today, introducing the next step on our “Road to Renewal.” This step to “Rightsize & Reshape” the Diocese calls for a reduction of 34% of our parishes through mergers, and a reduction of 38% of our worship sites. The decision to move in this direction is based on the decline of Sacramental participation and financially contributing families, and an increase of parishes reporting a negative operating balance. 
The process will involve collaboration between parishes and the Diocese, and will include careful consideration of demographics, geographical areas, regional needs. It will also involve great effort to maintain access to the Sacraments and the spiritual well being of our Catholic communities of today and tomorrow, and the well being of the whole of Western New York. “Even the hairs of your head have all been counted. Do not be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows. I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before others the Son of Man will acknowledge before the angels of God” (Luke 12:7-8). 
Bishop Fischer, Fr. Zielenieski, and Fr. Noonan acknowledged that parishes have been working hard to assess and address their strengths, needs, and properties, and are now looking to the diocese for further guidance on how to move forward. The Diocese is encouraging each Vicariate to join in conversation with diocesan teams to ensure the best outcome for each family of parishes.

We can expect related decisions to be announced in mid to late August of this year. The Diocese aims for all mergers and closures to be completed by Pentecost of 2025, in honor of the Holy Spirit’s bringing new life into our leaner community. This will allow us the ability to focus on our renewed spiritual lives, our personal and communal discipleship, and encourage others toward their journey of discipleship. Our work towards all of these goals is beginning right away through our partnership with Alpha. 
Meanwhile, we must understand that none of these decisions have been made lightly, and remember that it does no good to make assumptions about what the future may hold. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, on your own intelligence do not rely; In all your ways be mindful of him, and he will make straight your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). Let’s come together as a family should in times of uncertainty and begin today to live out our faith with vibrance that the whole world can see.

The Press Release linked below includes an informative FAQ section. All are encouraged to take a look.