Lord, how good it is for us to be here -- Matthew 17

Browsing Fr. Rob's Weekly Message

November 13, 2022

Dear Friends,

As most of us know by now, last week the Diocese of Rochester filed a motion seeking approval by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of Western New York of a Restructuring Support Agreement that would outline how survivors of sexual abuse by clergy, religious and laity would ultimately be compensated for claims brought against the Diocese and related Catholic entities.

The priority is to serve justice and compassion for the healing and wellbeing of those abused. The settlement proposed is for $55 million. Details of how these monies would be used can be seen in Bishop Matano’s letter to all of us dated November 3rd. Copies are available in both churches as well as in our Parish Offices. Also attached to the letter are “Frequently Asked Questions”.

Originally, on September 19, 2019 the Bishop hoped that our parishes and related Catholic entities would not be directly affected by the Diocese’s Chapter 11 proceeding; however, this has changed over the past three years. Since then individual parishes and other related Catholic entities were named in individual lawsuits and bear substantial risk of direct liability to claimants in individual state court actions. Our parishes and other Catholic entities understand now that they will benefit from their participation in this Agreement by obtaining a “channeling injunction” which will channel all existing and future claims to the Trust that will be established for this purpose. The Diocese believes that this restructuring Support Agreement represents the fairest approach for the survivors and most viable path forward for the Diocese and its related entities to continue our shared mission of healing and reconciliation.

This has been a time of tremendous pain, hardship, alienation and understandable anger for survivors, their families and friends, our priests and others in diocesan ministries who had no part in these egregious acts. We have had people’s faith shaken and questioned by this horrific situation.

Last weekend the reading from Maccabees Chapter 7 gave me cause to think about my faith and how strong it is. When the innocent mother and her sons met their deaths because they wouldn’t cave into the selfishness of a king and his attendants, they held onto their faith with courage. Their witness drew me into a comparison when I, or perhaps even yourselves, are pressed by circumstances and challenges, would it be easier to abandon our convictions? Can we remain true to our faith in God?

The church is filled with many faithful disciples. We are blessed by the goodness of many men and women faithfully ministering to the Body of Christ. There are good and holy priests and religious who give daily of their lives for the people of God and the mission of the church. I remind myself of this daily and pray that we, the good disciples, will continue to support one another and the ministries entrusted to us by Jesus Christ. Indeed these are troubling and difficult times, but how more so for the survivors of abuse. Among one another, may we act as Jesus would Himself.

More details can be viewed in the materials I mentioned above and on the Diocesan website.

On a side note, it has been brought to my attention that my email has been scammed once again. Many of you have had scammers falsely request gift cards and monies from me in the past. PLEASE know, if I ever would need your help I would directly speak to you. I have only one email address which is fr.rob.bourcy@dor.org.

And on a joyful note, this weekend I will have presided at my eleventh wedding between our two parishes! Yesterday, Carra Vanderstyne and Eric Hankin were married at St. Catherine of Siena. It has been wonderful to meet and be with so many delightful couples. We have one more wedding to go this year! Congratulations to them all!

With faith and love,
Father Rob


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