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Crime

Only five of the more than 60 priests who served in the Diocese of Buffalo and have been linked to allegations of sex crimes involving children have actually been charged with crimes. Prosecuted were: Benedict P. Barszcz – A former assistant pastor of St. Peter's in Lewiston, he was charged in July 1999 with exposing himself to two teenage girls in Buffalo. Subsequen…

Religion

A Buffalo priest removed in 2015 from a Lancaster parish due to an allegation of inappropriate behavior with a child was the target of similar complaints decades ago at two other parishes. A 37-year-old woman who is married to a Major League Baseball manager and now lives in Phoenix, Ariz., said the Rev. Dennis A. Fronczak repeatedly fondled her when she was 9 to 12 yea…

Buffalo

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry knew immediately what his message ought to be. Curry is the spiritual leader of the Episcopal Church in the United States. Representatives of Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby in Great Britain made contact with Curry's office last February. There was going to be a royal wedding in May, with Prince Harry marrying Meghan Markle, an Am…

Erie County

Nearly three years ago, the Buffalo Diocese abruptly removed the Rev. Dennis A. Fronczak as pastor of Our Lady of Pompeii Church in Lancaster. Nobody at the parish was told why. A diocese representative announced Fronczak's departure at Masses at the church in October 2015, recalled Dick Wagner, 80, a long-time parishioner. "He told us Father Dennis was going on a…

Education

Within the next two weeks, 34 Catholic schools in the Buffalo Diocese can expect a big change in leadership as a new superintendent will be stepping in. As of June 29, Michael LaFever will be the new superintendent of elementary schools, replacing Sister Carol Cimino, who held that job for five years.  LaFever has an extensive background in education and growing enro…

Buffalo

John A. Polvino took a giant step out of the shadows after the Diocese of Buffalo announced in March it was creating a new fund to compensate victims sexually abused by its priests. For 43 years, Polvino, an Amherst resident, said he had been too ashamed to say a word about being assaulted as a child by the Rev. Donald Becker. "There's the fear that you think you're …

Local News

It's been a difficult past few months for Bishop Richard J. Malone. A retired priest's admission in February that he had molested dozens of boys triggered a cascade of other sexual abuse allegations against Buffalo area clergy. It also thrust Malone into the middle of the historical cover up of abuse by the hierarchy of the Buffalo Diocese. As new revelations of abuses …

Featured

With a backdrop of music, pageantry and a conga line of priestly hugs, Buffalo's Catholics gathered Saturday to welcome four new shepherds to their flock. With a sustained standing ovation that filled St. Joseph's Cathedral in downtown Buffalo, they celebrated the ordination of a world traveler, a computer software engineer, a native of Nigeria and a young man, who even…

Local News

Buffalo Diocese Bishop Richard J. Malone will ordain four graduates of Christ the King Seminary to the Catholic priesthood at a 9:30 a.m. Mass Saturday, June 2 in St. Joseph Cathedral, 50 Franklin St. The new priest candidates are: Peter Nsa Bassey, Paul S. Cygan, Peter Santandreu and Gerard Skrzynski. Bassey is a native of Nigeria who studied theology at Providence …

Local News

When a mother complained that the Rev. Norbert F. Orsolits propositioned her teenage son in a bar, the Diocese of Buffalo quietly sent him away for mental health therapy and listed him as "on leave" in its official 1979 directory. Then, within months, the diocese reassigned him to a new parish, where he later was accused of molesting at least two boys. Orsolits isn't…

Columns

John Phillips was in bed, flickering in and out of awareness, when his daughter Colleen brought him hard news on Mother's Day. She told Phillips, who was overwhelmed by illness, how his grandson, Ryan M. O'Neill, came home late Saturday to Colleen's house in South Buffalo. O'Neill, 27, stayed up for a while talking to his sister Angelina, before he went to bed. When …

Buffalo

Someone smashed a statue of Mary outside an East Side Catholic church on Tuesday, and left an anti-Catholic note beside the pieces of the statue, according to a Buffalo police report. "This building will be destroyed," the handwritten note began. "Stop worshiping Mary. Worship God. Catholics are a man-made religion." The Rev. Michael H. Burzynski, parish administrato…

Buffalo

Josephine Robbins was sitting Monday in her parked car on the East Side, about to attend a friend's funeral at the Pleasant Grove Baptist Church on Cedar Street, when her phone started buzzing. She picked it up and listened as the voice on the other end, a friend she has known and loved since he was a 10-year-old, kept apologizing, feeling badly she had not learned some mo…

Buffalo

A priest in the Diocese of Erie was charged Tuesday with committing sex crimes against two boys, and the Pennsylvania attorney general said the diocese covered up the priest's sexual predator tendencies for six years. The Rev. David Poulson, 64, of Oil City, Pa., a priest in the Erie diocese for four decades until earlier this year, was charged with indecent assault, en…