Complete list of Catholic churches Buffalo Diocese plans to close or merge (2024)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Buffalo Diocese rolled out its recommendations this month for local parishes to merge or close as it seeks to “rightsize and reshape” itself amid a series of challenges.

The complete list will be continuously updated on this page. In total, the diocese plans to reduce in size from 160 parishes to about 106, a decline of 34%.

Bishop Micahel Fisher said he understands these recommendations are difficult, but believes they “illustrate our best faith effort to provide a plan that will ultimately strengthen the Catholic Church In Western New York.”

The reshaping comes during a challenging period for the diocese, with declining numbers of priests and parishioners compounded by its Octoberannouncementthat settling nearly 900 claims of childhood sexual abuse will cost at least $100 million. Roughly 600 of those cases involved clerics, including some with multiple allegations.

WIVB News 4 has obtained lists of parishes recommended to be closed or merged from numerous meetings with church officials and parishioners since the diocese’s initial announcement in late May.

You can see the updated list below, arranged by church “family.” Western New York’s Catholic churches have been organized in a family model since 2022 to help optimize resources, rotating masses and priests through nearby churches in families of three to six (a list of families can be seen by clicking here).

Parish families and the churches that could potentially be closed or merged have until July 15 to make a counter proposal. The full list to cut down from 160 to 106 is set to be finalized by Sept. 1, with mergers beginning in October.

Family No. 1

  • SS. Brendan and Jude: merge with Immaculate Conception (Wellsville), Almond site to close, Alfred site to remain open.
  • Blessed Sacrament (Andover): merge with Immaculate Conception and close.
  • St. Mary (Bolivar): merge with Immaculate Conception and close.
  • Holy Family of Jesus, Mary & Joseph (Wellsville): merge with Immaculate Conception, will remain as secondary worship site.
  • St. Mary (Canaseraga): merge with Immaculate Conception, will remain as secondary worship site.

Family No. 3

  • St. Anthony (Fredonia): merge with Holy Trinity and close
  • St. Joseph (Fredonia): merge with Holy Trinity and close
  • Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Silver Creek): close St. Rose of Lima site, of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel
  • St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (Dunkirk): Merge with Holy Trinity and close. Northern Chautauqua Regional School to remain open and continue at this location with ministry provided by Holy Trinity.
  • Blessed Mary Angela (Dunkirk): merge with Holy Trinity. Sale of St. Hedwig, Dunkirk, and St. Hyacinth, Dunkirk campuses.

Family No. 4

  • Our Lady of Loretto (Falconer): merge with St. James
  • St. James (Jamestown): close Our Lady of Victory site
  • Sacred Heart (Lakewood): close Panama site
  • Holy Apostles (Jamestown): close St. John site

Family No. 5

  • Christ Our Hope (Clymer): close Sherman site
  • St. Dominic (Westfield): close Brocton site

Family No. 6

  • St. George (West Falls): merge with Immaculate Conception and close
  • St. Joseph (Holland): merge with Immaculate Conception and close
  • Post Chapter 11, Annunciation, St. Vincent and Immaculate Conception will merge to become one parish with three worship sites, a list obtained by News 4 said.

Family No. 7

  • St. John XXIII (West Seneca): merge with Queen of Heaven (West Seneca) and close.
  • St. John Vianney (Orchard Park): merge with Queen of Heaven and close. School will remain open.

Family No. 8

  • St. Josaphat (Cheektowaga): merge with Queen of Martyrs (Cheektowaga) and close.
  • Resurrection (Cheektowaga): merge with Our Lady Help of Christians (Cheektowaga) and close.

Family No. 9

  • Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta (Depew): merge with St. Mary of the Assumption (Lancaster) and close.
  • St. Martha (Depew): merge with St. Philip the Apostle (Cheekowaga) and close. School to remain open.

Family No. 10

  • All Saints (Lockport): merge with St. John. Close St. Joseph Campus.
  • Our Lady of the Rosary worship site (Wilson)

Family No. 11

  • St. Stephen (Middleport): merge with Holy Trinity (Medina)
  • St. Mark (Kendall): merge with St. Mary’s (Holley)

Family No. 12

  • St. Brigid (Bergen): merge with Our Lady of Mercy and close
  • Resurrection (Batavia): close St. Mary’s worship site
  • St. Padre Pio (Oakfield): merge with Resurrection. Close Our Lady of Fatima worship site

Family No. 13

  • St. Maximilian Kolbe (Corfu and East Pembroke): merge with St. John the Baptist and close both locations
  • St. John Neumann (Strykersville): close and sell the Queen of Rosary site (Strykersville). Merge with Family #14.
  • Immaculate Heart of Mary (Darien and Bennington): merge with St. John Neumann and close both locations

Family No. 14

  • Mary Immaculate (East Bethany): merge with St. Isadore and close both locations of Mary Immaculate
  • St. Isidore (Perry): merge with St. Michael. Close and sell entire St. Mary site in Silver Springs.
  • New formation of the St. John Neumann Parish including Attica, Sheldon and Varysburg joins Family #14.

Family No. 15

  • Our Lady of Peace (Clarence): merge with Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Family No. 16

  • St. Benedict (Eggertsville): merge with St. Leo the Great. School to remain open.
  • St. Aloysius Gonzaga (Cheektowaga): merge with Christ the King
  • Infant of Prague (Cheektowaga): merge with SS. Peter & Paul

Family No. 17

  • Blessed Sacrament (Tonawanda): merge with St. Paul

Family No. 18

  • St. Francis of Assisi (Tonawanda): merge with Our Lady of Czestochowa
  • St. Andrew Kim RC Mission (Tonawanda): merge with St. Leo (Family No. 16)
  • St. Jude the Apostle (North Tonawanda): merge with Our Lady of Czestochowa

Family No. 19

  • St. Pius X (Getzville): merge with St. Gregory the Great
  • Good Shepard (Pendleton): St. Augustine site to close

Family No. 20

  • Holy Spirit (Dakota Street): merge with St. Margaret (Hertel Avenue)
  • St. Mark (Woodward Avenue): merge with St. Margaret. School to remain.
  • St. Rose of Lima (Parker Avenue): merge with St. Margaret
  • All Saints (Chadduck Avenue): merge with Assumption (Amherst Street)

Family No. 21

  • St. Lawrence (E. Delavan Avenue): merge with Blessed Trinity (Leroy Avenue)
  • SS. Columba Brigid (Hickory Street): merge St. Stanislaus (Peckham Street)

Family No. 22

  • St. Anthony of Padua (Court Street): merge with St. Louis (Edward Street)
  • St. Michael (Washington Street): merge with St. Louis
  • Our Lady of Perpetual Help (O’Connell Street): merge with St. Louis

Family No. 23

  • Coronation of the BVM (Dewitt Street): merge with Assumption

Family No. 24

  • St. John (Olean): merge with St. Mary of the Angels (Olean). School to remain open.

Family No. 26

  • Queen of Angels (Lackawanna): merge with Our Lady of Victory (Lackawanna) and close.
  • Our Mother of Good Counsel (Blasdell): merge with Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (Orchard Park) and close.
  • St. Anthony (Lackawanna): merge with Our Lady of Victory and close.
  • Our Lady of Bistrica (Lackawanna): merge with Our Lady of Sacred Heart and close.

Family No. 27

  • St. Mary (Cattaraugus): merge with St. Joseph and close
  • Holy Spirit (North Collins): merge with Immaculate Conception and close

Family No. 28

  • St. Bernadette (Orchard Park): merge with SS. Peter and Paul (Hamburg) and close.

Family No. 29

  • St. Anthony (Farnham): merge with Most Precious Blood (Angola) and close.
  • St. Mary of the Lake (Hamburg): merge with St. Francis of Assisi (Athol Springs) and close.

Family No. 30

  • St. John Kanty (Swinburne Street): merge with St. Stanislaus
  • St. John Gualbert (Gualbert Avenue): merge with St. Stanislaus

Family No. 31

  • St. Martin of Tours (Abbott Road): merge with Our Lady of Charity (South Park Avenue). School to remain.
  • St. Thomas Aquinas (Abbott Road): merge with St. Teresa (Seneca Street)

Family No. 32

  • St. Bernard (Clinton Street): merge with Our Lady of Czestochowa (Willowlawn Parkway)

Family No. 33

  • St. Jude (Sardinia): merge with St. Aloysius (Springville) and close.
  • St. Mary (Arcade): East Arcade worship site to close.
  • St. John the Baptist (West Valley): merge with St. Aloysius and close.

Family No. 34

  • St. Raphael (Niagara Falls): merge with St. Peter (Lewiston)

Family No. 35

  • Divine Mercy (Niagara Falls): merge with St. Mary of the Cataract
  • St. John de LaSalle (Niagara Falls): merge with St. Vincent de Paul
  • Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph (Niagara Falls): Our Lady of Mount Carmel site to close

“This plan resulted from the lessons learned as we brought parishes together in the parish family model and determined rather quickly that scaling back the number of parishes would best allow us to use our limited resources to help reenergize a spiritual renewal in the diocese,” Fisher said.

To make the recommendations that are being presented, the diocese examined parish demographics, sacramental participation, and financial support, said Rev. Bryan Zielenieski, Vicar for Renewal and Development, who leads the diocese’s “Road to Renewal” effort.

“We also looked at the variations of our urban, suburban and rural parishes because factors like poverty rates, availability of transportation, proximity and limited resources impact overall parish long-term vitality,” Zielenieski said.

The diocese went through a similar process over 15 years ago, which led to the closure of over 70 worship sites across eight counties by 2011.

“This is a natural part of life, change unfortunately change can be difficult, there’s always hope that’s why we are a faith filled people,” Zielenieski said.

Some parishes have already announced plans to close, including St. Lawrencein Buffalo andSt. Andrew’sin Tonawanda. Prior to any closures, the dioceses says 76% of churches have less than one baptism per month and marriages have decreased by 24%. Current trends also point to only having 38 priests available to break bread by 2040.

This is a developing story, check back for updates.

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Aidan Joly joined the News 4 staff in 2022. He is a graduate of Canisius College. You can see more of his work here.

Dillon Morello is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has been part of theNews 4team since September of 2023.Seemore of his work hereandfollow him on Twitter.

Complete list of Catholic churches Buffalo Diocese plans to close or merge (2024)


How many Catholic churches are in Buffalo? ›

Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo
Diocese of Buffalo Diœcesis Buffalensis
Sui iuris churchLatin Church
24 more rows

What is the Buffalo Catholic Church scandal? ›

The lid on the Buffalo Diocese's long-held secrets about clergy molesters was pried open in 2018 when a Catholic priest admitted he had sexually abused dozens of boys.

How many Catholic churches are there in New York? ›

The Archdiocese of New York serves the pastoral and spiritual needs of 2.5 million Catholics in nearly 300 parishes throughout its three boroughs of New York City and seven counties to the north.

What is the RCIA of the diocese of Buffalo? ›

The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) is the place for you. Every year adults (and children over the age of seven) are welcomed into the Catholic Community through RCIA. It is a learning and loving process in which conversion of the heart brings you to Jesus Christ who is our Lord and Savior.

What is the largest Catholic community in the world? ›

As the largest Catholic country in the world, Catholic education has a great tradition in Brazil. The Society of Jesus founded the first schools in the country, with the aim of evangelizing Native-Brazilians.

What is the largest Catholic church in the United States? ›

The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is a Catholic minor basilica and national shrine in Washington D.C.. It is the largest Catholic church building in North America and is also the tallest habitable building in Washington, D.C. Its construction of Byzantine and Romanesque Revival ...

Where is the most Catholic place in the US? ›

Though Catholic adherents are present throughout the country, Catholics are generally more concentrated in the Northeast and urban Midwest.

What is the most famous church in New York? ›

St. Patrick's Cathedral is in the Midtown Manhattan neighborhood of New York City. It takes up a full city block bounded by Fifth Avenue to the west, 51st Street to the north, Madison Avenue to the east, and 50th Street to the south.

What is the new name for RCIA Catholic? ›

RCIA is now called OCIA. During their November '21 U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops meetings, the U.S. Bishops changed the name of the Rite of Christian Initiation (RCIA) to Order of Christian Initiation for Adults (OCIA).

Who is the bishop of the Diocese of Buffalo NY? ›

Michael W. Fisher. Bishop Michael William Fisher was born on March 3, 1958 in Baltimore, Maryland.

Can Catholics go through RCIA? ›

I was baptized in a Catholic church

The RCIA process is also available to individuals who were baptized in a Catholic parish but then did not participate in or received limited faith formation/religious education and was not prepared for other sacramental rites, including Confirmation and Eucharist.

How many churches are in Buffalo, NY? ›

How many Churches are there in Buffalo? There are a total of 212 Churches in Buffalo as of June 15, 2024.

What states are most heavily Catholic? ›

Catholics made up a plurality of the population in four states: Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island. The number of Catholics grew rapidly in the 19th and 20th centuries through high fertility and immigration, especially from Ireland and Germany, and after 1880, Eastern Europe, Italy, and Quebec.

How much of New York is Catholic? ›

A Diversity of Faiths

New York City is much more Catholic (62 percent versus 44 percent) and much more Jewish (22 percent versus 4.3 percent) than is the rest of the United States.

What is the biggest Catholic church in South America? ›

The Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida in Aparecida, Brazil It is the second largest church in the world, after St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City.

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