Our Parish Mission Statement
St. Bonaventure Parish is a rural Christian community called to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi. We fulfill our mission by our worship, our witness and our service to the people of the parish as well as to those in the wider community. Our task is to affirm the individual gifts of people of all ages in order to minister the Gospel in solidarity with people of good will.
Weekend Mass Schedule:
Saturday - 4:p.m.
Sunday - 8:a.m.
Sunday - 11:a.m.
August 21, 2021 - A Letter to the People of the Diocese of Buffalo from Bishop Michael
Dear Friends in Christ -
As you have no doubt seen in recent news reports, the window that was opened to allow
individuals seeking civil justice and restitution by asserting claims in the Diocese’s chapter 11
proceeding, or initiating lawsuits against other Catholic entities, due to past experiences of
sexual abuse as allowed for by by New York’s Child Victims Act, has now been brought to a
close. You may also be aware that the Diocese of Buffalo has had an extraordinary number of
claims from individuals who assert that they were abused, in most cases decades ago.
I wish to make abundantly clear that I regard this as a tragedy of truly epic proportions and, as I
have maintained since day one as bishop of the Diocese of Buffalo, it is of paramount importance
to deal with the Church’s obligations to survivors forthrightly and to work to repair the enormous
damage that has been done not only to the reputation of the Church here in Western New York,
but most importantly to the lives of those affected. Toward that end, we are fully focused on
fulfilling what this process is all about, namely bringing about a sense of restitution, closure and
healing for those who were abused by members of the clergy.
The process now continues and will likely be a lengthy one as we work through the chapter 11
process with the court-appointed committee of abuse survivors. We will also be working with the
various insurance carriers of the Diocese as we address the financial implications of these many
claims. Throughout this process, we will seek just treatment for all survivors while also ensuring,
as much as possible, that dedicated Church funds are directed for the purpose they are
intended - sustaining the work of evangelization and ministry across Western New York.
Because the Diocese is currently in chapter 11 reorganization, the resolution of survivor claims
will ultimately be incorporated into and implemented as part of an overall reorganization plan,
which may require another year or more to finalize. There are many complex issues involved
which must be addressed and the terms of the plan must be voted on by survivors and other
creditors before it can be approved by the Federal Bankruptcy Court. Essential to approval is that the Court finds that the plan treats all abuse survivors and other creditors of the Diocese
fairly and equitably.
My reason for communicating with you on these matters has everything to do with my view that
as the Catholic faithful of Western New York, we are very much a family that must face its
challenges together with candor and with as much transparency as we are able to provide. The
well-being and healing of those who have experienced the evil of abuse at whatever stage in
their lives are rightly the concern of us all. These are not merely words but a mandate derived
from the very Gospel of Jesus Christ. We must go to whatever length is required to demonstrate
genuine remorse for what these sisters and brothers have endured, and for how their tragic
experiences have affected them throughout their lives and impacted their relationships with
others, and most especially with God. I regard it as an essential part of my ministry to be
available and to meet with any person who has been harmed; to listen; to express my own
helplessness to erase the pain that afflicts them through no fault of their own; and ultimately to
appeal to the all-encompassing and unconditional love of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit to
provide comfort and bind their wounds.
For our part, we have implemented rigorous policies and protocols to ensure safe environments
for our young people and utmost accountability among clergy, bishops, lay employees and
volunteers for how we conduct ourselves and deal with violations of our strict code of conduct
with the severity that is warranted. To be clear, there is zero tolerance for any act of sexual
abuse toward a child or other vulnerable person, or any act of sexual harrassment toward an
It is my hope and fervent prayer – and I know the hope and prayer of all of you – that we can
begin to move forward and ultimately bring to a close this very painful and sordid chapter of our
Diocese’s history. The truth is, each and every day so much tremendous good is accomplished
by our Church and those who live faithfully and conspicuously Christ’s Gospel of compassion and
service. Basic human needs are being met in ways that restore dignity and hope for those who
simply need a helping hand. We are educating the minds and souls of our young people as we
prepare them for a lifetime of learning and discernment. We extend critical care to the sick, and
comfort and companionship to the elderly. We provide pathways to those whose course has been altered by addiction and influences that for a time has obscured their true potential. We
give shelter to those without a home of their own, or a place of refuge for those in dire
circumstances and with nowhere else to go. This is what our Church is all about, and the work
motivated by Catholic faith that must preoccupy us all as disciples of Jesus Christ.
Please know that we will communicate further with you as the process of resolving the claims of
those who seek justice continues and as we progress toward our goal of emerging from chapter
11 stronger, more focused, determined, and more dependent on one another.
You can be assured that I give thanks and praise to our loving and gracious God each morning
and each night for the opportunity to serve you as your pastor, your shepherd and brother in
Christ. I have full confidence that we are indeed on the road to renewal and that the faith which
unites us will neither be obscured nor diminished by past failings we resolve never to repeat.
Thank you for your constant prayers, for your faithful witness and for your unwavering devotion
to the Lord who is the source of our strength and our light in the darkest of nights.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Bishop Michael Fisher
Bishop of Buffalo
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For those who are homebound or are residence at assisted care facilities viewing a Sunday Mass is possible through the following website:
Live Mass at 10:a.m. on Sundays and past taped Masses from the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at Notre Dame University"
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