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Bishop Eyes Strategic Plan to Deal with Variety of Issues

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – The new leader of Buffalo's Catholic Diocese is now in his third month. Bishop Edward Kmiec took the helm as Buffalo's 13th Bishop this past fall. Since that time, he has been learning about the eight county Catholic diocese and its many parishes.

The Bishop says he will soon be calling upon Catholic community leaders to take a good look at a comprehensive strategic plan that would deal with issues from struggling parishes and schools to a shortage of priests. Bishop Kmeic says it is time to be realistic and work toward the best solutions for the Catholic community.

"One of the most painful things is to say we have to consolidate or we have to close. But times have changed, and demographics have changed. And the pattern of the church has also changed," Kmiec said. "We want to maximize what we can do to serve the people."

Kmiec says the church continues to struggle with a shortage of priests. In recent weeks, the diocese launched a media campaign that calls on men to consider the priesthood. But the bishop doesn't believe the recent sex abuse cases that rocked the Catholic Church nationwide will effect vocation awareness efforts. Bishop Kmiec says there are many good priests and they will always be needed to serve.

"Sometimes after crisis like this there is a surge, because people say I want to do something good," Kmiec said. "They will say they want to be the one who will be a force for good. God is not going to stop calling men. We just have to identify and welcome them. We have to ask them, I really believe that."

Bishop Kmiec says as he continues learning about the region, he has discovered many "good people" and is "very impressed."