More on Leadership (Priest/Leadership Resource)

Leaders, regardless of title or application, have always been – and always will be – expected to produce results.  In today’s very different world, however, leaders need to produce results in a fundamentally different way!

Gone are the days of the heroic individual leading from the top. Nowadays, decision-making is much more decentralized within organizations which position leaders to empower and enable their people. Leaders armed with only limited old-style leadership techniques aren’t accustomed to giving up “control” and completely missed the memo that having true people-skills, often referred to as “soft-skills” – are now especially critical for today’s leaders to get the most from today’s followers.

These “soft-skills” or, “people-skills” specifically refer to a wide range of competencies and capabilities, leaving many leaders confused about what they entail. This should not surprise anyone since most hands-on leaders who rely on their more authoritative approach are hardly the type to make the sudden leap to a more people-centric style.

In the absence of formal training, leaders often operate by employing more directive methods that they were managed/led with in their work history. Once they assume higher levels of responsibility, they are reluctant to listen to the scientific research findings of the past 10 years which is reporting that far better results come from becoming a more empowering leader – most of these types of leaders have a difficult time adapting.

How can leaders who fall short on soft-skills develop a more enabling style?

The truth is that there is no one moment when everything suddenly snaps into place – there is no Saul on the road to Damascus here. Most transformations involve study, application and experimentation to broaden a person’s repertoire of the different styles of effective leadership and people skills that Lisa Arnet presented at the Pastor Training session.

That said, there are predictable stages and challenges along the way.

  • The first stage is referred to as the Departure, during which the leader recognizes the need for a change and deliberately starts to gather information and to leave behind familiar ways of working/leading.
  • Then comes the Journey, a time of transition during which the leader encounters obstacles and trials that teach important lessons and open the path to transformation.
  • The New Leader
    arrives with a new understanding of who they are, what kind of leader their new skills allows them to become and when they begin to transfer what they’ve learned to others!

More on the Departure

Research suggests that leaders alter their habitual ways of doing things only when they become aware of a gap between their current reality and where they need to be. The catalyst might be an event or feedback from colleagues. But typically, people embark on a concerted effort to change only after multiple experiences and conversations make them realize that their behaviour is impeding outcomes they care about.

The impetus to change can come in other ways. Some leaders recognize the need when they observe people with more-developed people skills – usually in the context of an organizational shift toward a more empowering culture-and discover that these new skills and behaviours help them to achieve valued results.

It’s also important to note that many leaders initially underestimate the extent of change required and need the help and perspective of a trusted partner – an adviser, mentor, or a coach. Not everyone reaches the departure stage. And the ones who do embark on the Journey will discover it requires humility, self-awareness, patience and resilience to complete it – but the rewards are innumerable and life-changing for everyone.

More on the Journey

Having watched and assisted many leaders through this stage, those who succeed in making the transition engage in three key practices.

  1. Creating a new context for learning: Leaders will often put themselves in situations where they have no direct authority and so are compelled to develop a more indirect, empowering style. This is called outside-in learning.

Example: Take on a project with others where you have no history, and you must adopt a more collaborative manner.

Leaders can also transform their style by taking skills they have developed within their own teams and using them more broadly. This is called inside-out learning.

Example: Attempt to learn and apply active listening, recognizing and managing emotions, asking Socratic-type questions more than telling people what to do and how it should be accomplished.

  1. Enlist Assistance: At every stage of development, to really change, you need mentors and partners to discuss outcomes, options, feedback and next steps. You need someone who can hold you accountable and who can lift the mirror. (For more information on the Priest Mentor Program, see bottom of article for Dcn. Gary Andelora and Jerry Casillo contact information)
  1. Persisting through setbacks and learning from them: The line to any finish is rarely straight – always focus on small wins and watch them accumulate! By demonstrating the potential of your new style and eliciting positive feedback, these small wins start to quickly shift the leader’s motivation:
    • From Necessity – “I need to communicate better.”
    • To Possibility – “I’m working on communicating better because it will help myself and everyone around me to accomplish our goals.”
    • To Identity – “I’m communicating better because that’s who I want to be!”

These subtle changes help leaders become more self-reflective and trusted!

More on the New Leader

The moment of being a New Leader arrives after acquiring new lessons, trials, feedback, setbacks and recoveries. Then, the New Leader internalizes a more empowering leadership style which is a genuine reflection of their new selves and can employ it across the board in both professional and personal situations which will positively impact the lives and achievements of countless others.

More than ever, we need leaders who can harness skills, ingenuity and foster engagement.

While it’s not an easy transformation – it is indefinitely rewarding for so many!

For More Information on the Priest Mentor Program, Please Contact:


New Priest Assignments as Road to Renewal continues

Bishop Michael W. Fisher has announced 47 priest assignments in the Diocese of Buffalo signaling an increase in the momentum of the Road to Renewal program that is grouping diocesan parishes into a collaborative model of two to six parishes per family.

The appointments were conferred Wednesday, May 17 and priests had their weekend Masses to communicate their new assignments to their parishioners.

The one-time assignments of 47 priests may be the largest number of priest assignments conferred in the history of the Diocese of Buffalo. As Bishop Fisher made the assignments, he called his brother priests to remember as in the founding of diocese some 176 years ago that is the continuing mission to bring the sacraments to the people. During the diocese’s early days, five priests ministered to 30,000 Catholics.

“Brothers, I need you. I need you to support the mission of the Church with all of your gifts and expertise,” Bishop Fisher said. “Be supportive of one another and work as a team to provide for our people’s spiritual needs.”

With the current appointments effective June 1, June 5, June 15, and July 1, pastors are assigned to 26 of the 36 Families of Parishes along with two moderators of in solidum families of parishes in the diocese.


Missionary Disciples | May 9, 2023


  • Catholics have lost more people to other religions or to no religion than any other single religious group. (Pew Research)
  • The number of Catholics leaving the church outnumbers joiners by 4-1. (Pew Research)
  • One in five Americans say they attend religious services in person less often than before pandemic. (Pew research)

Suggested Ways to Make Your family of parishes Become a Vibrant Community

  • Make weekend Liturgies outstanding (hospitality, homily, music) 
  • Have clear, visible signs with Mass times.
  • Offer faith sharing groups.
  • Address disabilities (ramps, hearing aid devices, Braille, large print)
  • Leave parish information at real estate offices, hotels.
  • Have attractive parish brochure.
  • Offer babysitting service at Sunday Masses
  • Put parish name and Mass times in local papers.
  • Have a bulletin board for notices and a suggestion box
  • Have a guest book for visitors. Follow up on information.
  • Reach out to new residents in the area.
  • Host or advertise annulment workshops.
  • Host a parish open house.
  • Show openness to new immigrant families. 
  • Welcome visitors during weekend liturgies.
  • Have a process for registration which is welcoming.
  • Assist those who are unemployed:
    1. Baby-sit during job interviews
    2. Assist those who may find it difficult to navigate the computer. 
    3. Offer assistance in writing and editing person’s resume.
    4. Offer to practice interviewing with the person.
    5. Write recommendation letters.
    6. Offer prayers.
    7. Take a person’s resume and give to your contacts. 

Alpha Events and Timeline:

Alpha is working very closely with the Diocese of Buffalo this year. To understand their commitment to us watch the 16 min. orientation video. Also, view the Partnership Calendar with Alpha.

Dates to Remember:

  • May 17 – 1:00 to 1:30. All are invited to come together via zoom to pray for the needs of the Family of Parishes in this diocese. 
  • May 19 or 20: Retreat “A God Who Hears His People”. Two locations: Clarence and Arcade. 
  • June 1: Alpha Preview for Catholic Leaders – (Online) – June – Tuesdays & Thursdays. Event Starting June 1. In each preview session, participants will have an experience of the Alpha sessions put on by parishes as well as understand the cultural values of Alpha: hospitality, listening, empowerment, evangelistic intentionality, and dependence on the Holy Spirit.  
  • June 28: The Culture Conversation – (Online) – Wednesday, June 28th 10:30am-11:30am. Gather with diocesan and parish leaders to explore the challenges and opportunities facing the Catholic Church today. Discuss the importance of sharing values for evangelization that build a culture of making disciples and reaching the unchurched and unengaged in your unique ministry context. Register here.
  • September 17: Start of Adult Alpha in parishes.
  • September 24: Start of Youth Alpha in parishes.
  • Nov. 4: Retreat day for Parishes doing Alpha. There will be two tracks – a track for Adults and a Track for Youth. Location and Time to be determined. The theme of the retreat will be the 4 sessions of the Holy Spirit that are part of Alpha.

Location Needed for Alpha Retreat
Saturday, November 4 there will be an Alpha Retreat that will gather all those who are doing Alpha in their Family of Parishes. We are looking for a place that can host two groups of people: youth and adults. We are uncertain of the numbers at this point but want to begin exploring the possibilities. If you have nice facilities for gathering and would consider hosting this, please contact Sr. Louise to discuss this further.

To learn more about Alpha go to:


The next training will be Sat. June 3 from 9:00 – 1:00. at St. Joseph School Cafeteria, Batavia. Lunch included. Click here to register. Even if you are not sure when you are doing LITE it is good to be trained well in advance. 


On Wednesday, May 10, 2023, Saint Bernadette Parish welcomes mothers of children with special needs and their families to a special Mother’s Mass at 7 PM. If you have questions, contact Paula Potteiger at 716-649-1051 or



Jayson D. Bradley

Here are a few ways your church can approach Mother’s Day with empathy and compassion:

Don’t make motherhood the epitome of womanhood
Being a mom is certainly something to celebrate but when we use language such as:  “Motherhood is the greatest calling,” those struggling with infertility or those who have had miscarriages are feeling less than “perfect”. Also remember those that are single without children. 

Acknowledge the diversity of motherhood
Motherhood takes many forms. In your congregation, there are step-moms, foster moms, adopted moms, grandmothers raising their grandchildren and moms who have been estranged from their children. Acknowledging that motherhood takes many forms.

Pray for those who are hurting
We can’t pretend Mother’s Day is a cheery holiday for everyone. It’s not. If you’ve experienced mom-related trauma like abuse, addiction, mental health issues, abandonment, or death, this is a time when people may feel like they have to secretly grieve something they lost or never had. Church should be a place where even in the midst of joy, we acknowledge and grieve with those who are in pain. By openly praying for people who struggle with motherhood or have been hurt by this relationship, you can use Mother’s Day to open the door to healing and position your church as a community where restoration happens.

Prayers for Mothers

As we celebrate Mother’s Day, let us remember all mothers: biological mothers, foster mothers, stepmothers, godmothers, aunts, mothers in prison, mothers living on the street, unwed mothers, mothers of political prisoners, mothers of the condemned, marginalized mothers, mothers of the homeless, mothers seeking sanctuary, undocumented mothers, mothers pregnant with hope, mothers centered in God, mothers fearful of giving birth, mothers who have lost a child, mothers who have suffered a miscarriage, mothers who have had abortions, abused mothers, divorced mothers, mothers of love.

Dear God, help all the mothers in this world. Help guide them with their children and bring them peace. A mothers work can be hard and comes with little reward. Whisper your love and encouragement into each mothers heart. Let every mother know they are blessed. (author unknown)

Criteria for naming of a Family of Parishes

two women holding pen
  1. It embraces all parishes within the Family.
  2. It is something all parishes can relate to in some way.
  3. It can be a name that reflects historical significance, geographical features, or acronyms that represent the parishes. (example: Beloved Disciples of Christ the Lord… for the family of parishes that represent Bowmansville, Depew, Cheektowaga and Lancaster)  
  4. The only thing the name cannot be is a Saints name, so as not to confuse the Family name with the parish names.