The new Families of Parishes model will bring with it a new role for priests and laity serving in the Diocese of Buffalo. Currently, the diocese is seeking applications for pastors who will lead the 36 Families of Parishes. Currently, the diocese has 161 parishes.
The application to become a pastor of a Family can be found in the Clergy Portal at roadtorenewal.org. The fillable PDF can be submitted to PriestPersonnelOffice@buffalodiocese.org. Applications should be turned into the Priest Personnel Office by Monday, May 23 at noon. The priests that apply for a family will be interviewed by the Priest Personnel Office. This follows current procedures for naming a pastor.
Once pastors are assigned to a Family, the application process for parochial vicars and specialized parochial vicars will begin. Families will be posted with their respective pastor, so parochial vicars will know with whom they will be working.
The number of parochial vicars serving each family will vary. “Several factors were used to determine the number of priests per family – number of Catholics per priest, mileage expected to cover, and there were some specialized families with particular ministries,” explained Father Bryan Zielenieski, vicar for Renewal and Development.
Specialized parochial vicars who have a specific area of responsibility, such as the Catholic School in the family or the faith formation program, will also be named.
t is important to note that filling the role of pastor in the pilot Families is a top priority, so the pastors of those families will be announced first.
A very important note for all applying as a pastor of a Family is that the priestly compensation scale is currently under review. It has been recognized that with the expectations of a pastor in a Family, there needs to be fair compensation. The dialogue on this is currently underway and the Priestly Life Committee of the Renewal is working on this in conjunction with the vicar general and a recommendation will be made to the Temporalities Committee of the Presbyteral Council. The term for a pastor will be six years.
Priests can access data on each Family in the Families of Parishes Playbook found in the Clergy Portal. All information presented reflects the information submitted by parishes in a recent request. The Renewal Team has found that historical data on file with the diocese since Covid is not reliable or accurate. Some parishes do not have Mass times listed in the profile. It is recommended that for specific Mass times of parishes that you look at parish websites. It is important to note that in the Renewal, Mass times will be changing. Sacramental, financial and the other data provided is more important at this time.
Phase one of the Families of Parishes will begin this October.