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Buffalo Diocese study may result in mergers of churches, schools

The Buffalo Catholic Diocese announced late Friday a “broad-based initiative focused on re-envisioning” its mission, which could result in consolidating some parishes and schools.

No specific plans have been made regarding the 161 parishes and 34 elementary schools in operation in the 8-county diocese, but Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger said the diocese will be working with pastors and other church leaders to decide how to proceed.

“We’re reviewing our core mission and purpose. We’re going to identify what is essential to our mission and put all our weight behind what is essential,” the bishop told The Buffalo News.

The Buffalo Diocese is under financial stress, having filed for bankruptcy protection in February after it was named as a defendant in more than 250 Child Victims Act lawsuits.

He said the diocese hopes to make decisions “as soon as possible,” especially regarding Catholic schools, with the start of the next school year fast approaching.

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