Discover the Diocese of Buffalo

The Diocese of Buffalo is a Roman Catholic diocese headquartered in Buffalo, New York,USA. On August 10, 2012, Richard Joseph Malone became its bishop.

Range and population

The Diocese covers 6,455 square miles (16,720 km2) throughout the eight counties of Western New York; and has a Catholic population of 690,000. In the Diocese are 166 parishes, 15 high schools, 52 elementary schools, seven colleges and universities, one seminary, and four hospitals.

History

Establishment

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo was established April 23, 1847. It was set apart from the great Diocese of New York and the See located at Buffalo on Lake Erie, the territory comprising nearly one-third of the State of New York.

Redistricting

In 1868, the Diocese of Rochester was formed from the eastern counties of the territory of the Diocese of Buffalo. In 1896, after Bishop Stephen Vincent Ryan's death, four more counties, including Steuben, Schuyler, Chemung, and Tioga, were taken from the Diocese of Buffalo and added to the Rochester jurisdiction.

Ordinaries

  1. John Timon, C.M. † (April 23, 1847 Appointed - April 16, 1867 Died)
  2. Stephen Michael Vincent Ryan, C.M. † (March 3, 1868 Appointed - April 10, 1896 Died)
  3. James Edward Quigley † (December 12, 1896 Appointed - January 8, 1903 Appointed, Archbishop of Chicago)
  4. Charles Henry Colton † (June 10, 1903 Appointed - May 9, 1915 Died)
  5. Dennis Joseph Dougherty † (December 6, 1915 Appointed - May 1, 1918 Appointed, Archbishop of Philadelphia)
  6. William Turner † (March 10, 1919 Appointed - July 10, 1936 Died)
  7. John Aloysius Duffy † (January 5, 1937 Appointed - September 27, 1944 Died)
  8. John Francis O'Hara, C.S.C. † (March 10, 1945 Appointed - November 23, 1951 Appointed, Archbishop of Philadelphia)
  9. Joseph Aloysius Burke † (February 9, 1952 Appointed - October 16, 1962 Died)
  10. James Aloysius McNulty † (February 12, 1963 Appointed - September 4, 1972 Died)
  11. Edward Dennis Head † (January 23, 1973 Appointed - April 18, 1995 Retired)
  12. Henry Joseph Mansell (April 18, 1995 Appointed - December 18, 2003 Installed, Archbishop of Hartford)
  13. Edward Urban Kmiec (August 12, 2004 Appointed - May 29, 2012 Retired)
  14. Richard Joseph Malone (installed August 10, 2012)

Auxiliary Bishops

Seminaries

School restructuring

In 2005, Bishop Edward Kmiec announced that the Diocese would begin a school restructuring effort as part of the "Journey of Faith and Grace Campaign." In 2007, 14 Catholic elementary schools in the Diocese were closed. The closures, alphabetically by city, included Most Precious Blood, Angola; Genesee-Wyoming Catholic, Attica; St. Agnes, St. Bernard, and St. Rose of Lima, Buffalo; Infant of Prague, St. Josaphat, Kolbe Catholic, Resurrection, and St. Aloysius Gonzaga, Cheektowaga; St. Barnabas, Depew; St. Hyacinth, Dunkirk; Blessed Sacrament, Kenmore; and St. Edmund, Tonawanda. The school closures caused job losses to 158 full-time and 49 part-time employees. More than 1,410 students were negatively affected by the school closures in 2007, and were required to enroll in other educational programs outside of these schools. In the five years immediately preceding the school closures, many families had already begun removing their children from Catholic schools in the diocese due to the instability of the schools, and concerns about not desiring their children to be enrolled in schools in which there was little or no future.

Regarding the 14 school closures in 2007, Bishop Kmiec stated in a February 2007 article written by Mark Ciemcioch in theWestern New York Catholic:

This restructuring is necessary to respond to changing demographics, population and economic realities in Western New York;...this is the most difficult decision I've ever made [while] being a bishop for 24 years.

While the average cost of teaching one student in the 14 schools in 2007 was $4,738, the average tuition cost for the student was $1,525. Therefore, the debt of those schools' parishes averaged $224,160, and totaled more than $3.3 million altogether. Secretary of the Department of Catholic Education Denise McKenzie stated that the deficit can, therefore, lead to a significant deficit in the schools and associated parishes even prior to the beginning of each school year. The Diocese of Buffalo contributed millions of dollars to support schools whose parishes used up monies to subsidize their schools. In early 2007 alone, the Diocese was operating with a $2.1 million deficit, in part, due to the subsidies provided to schools and parishes. Even so, while one of the 14 schools that closed had an enrollment of fewer than 60 students in 2007, St. Joseph School in Gowanda, New York has remained operational with fewer than 100 students, in large part, due to the contributions of Mining Entrepreneur Daniel R. Gernatt, Sr., and the endowment for the school that is in his family's name.

Cheektowaga, the area hardest-hit by the school closures - with five schools being closed, there, in 2007 - experiencing changing demographics in recent years. The area was once heavily Catholic, though the majority of the population of older adults has been replaced by those who are younger and non-Catholic. Younger couples have moved to the area, purchasing starter homes, and have moved out of the area when they begin having children, causing in decline in enrollments in the city's Catholic schools, particularly in kindergarten classes. The dramatic change has resulted in drastically reduced enrollments, for example in the Infant of Prague School in 1960 that had 1,120 students, and had only 117 enrolled students in 2007.

St. Barnabas School in Depew - one of the schools that closed in 2007 - had only 57 students enrolled that year, making it less than minimally viable per Msgr. John Madsen.

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