ROAD TO RENEWAL UPDATE
I wanted to share some updated information about the Road to Renewal process. As many of you know and as we have announced before, Blessed Sacrament is part of Family number 17. This family groups us (Blessed Sacrament) with St. Paul’s in Kenmore, St. Andrew’s on Elmwood and Sheridan, St. John the Baptist in Kenmore, St. Timothy, and St. Stephen’s on Grand Island.
There are 2 phases that the diocese directs us to undertake as we move into the “Family” parish model that we know is coming. The 1st phase is known as the ACTIVATION PHASE, which BEGINS on May 1, 2023. The Activation Phase is when we begin the process of meeting with the other parishes and talk about everything (Mass schedules and locations, religious education programs, sacramental preparation, lay groups and parish organizations, buildings and grounds, and possibly a common rectory where the clergy would live). Again, this phase begins of May 1st, 2023.
The 2nd phase is known as the INAUGURATION PHASE, and this the starting date of the new arrangements and model. This is basically when the family model goes “live” and the new schedule of Masses and locations (and everything else) goes into effect. This phase begins on November 1st, 2023. Therefore, starting with Tuesday, November 1st, 2023, the official changes will go forward and take place.
I wanted to pass this information along to all of you so that, if you hear about these 2 phases mentioned in the coming weeks and months, you understand what they mean, and when they will begin.
SOME CLARIFICATION ABOUT THE SITUATION WITH FR. LEO
Some people have recently been asking for some clarification about Fr. Leo, especially with regards to his possible future return. I especially wanted to offer these comments because some of you have already spoken with Fr. Leo personally on the phone, and he has stated that he will be back to Blessed Sacrament in a matter of weeks or months.
Unfortunately, for his own health, well-being, and safety, Fr. Leo will not be returning to the rectory here at Blessed Sacrament. This was a collaborative decision, agreed upon by many people, who felt that Fr. Leo has reached a point where his needs have gone beyond living independently in a rectory setting. This decision was made by his family (represented by his nephew and health care proxy), the diocesan social worker (who did a full evaluation of Fr. Leo and his abilities), the former Vicar for Priests (who represents the needs of the retired priest community in Buffalo) and myself as pastor. We have discussed this situation at great length and feel that it is the right decision to keep Fr. Leo safe and healthy.
If Fr. Leo does reach a point where he can leave St. Francis Park, his only option would be to take up residence in one of the three priest retirement homes operated by the diocese. It is felt that it would be unsafe for Fr. Leo to reside in any church rectory anywhere, because it would require the active priests in residence to remain with him almost 24 hours, and this is just not possible. Please continue to pray for Fr. Leo and to reach out to him directly, either by mail or by phone.
If you wish to send gifts or cards, please mail them directly to St. Francis Park. We will no longer collect cards and other items at the parish offices, just because we can’t guarantee that they will arrive in a timely fashion (and the cost of mailing large envelopes with multiple cards is a bit pricy). If you wish to visit Fr. Leo in person, please contact St. Francis Park about visiting hours and any regulations they may have in place.
Rev. Msgr. Leo F. McCarthy
St. Francis Park
5229 South Park Ave.
Hamburg, NY 14075
~ Fr. Martin Gallagher