The Diocese of Buffalo is accelerating plans to realign the operations carried out by Catholic Center departments given the anticipated financial impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic which has required social distancing and the temporary discontinuation of Masses and other liturgical celebrations. These plans necessitate reducing the employment workforce of the Diocesan Catholic Center and impacted employees have been notified.
Given the persistent financial challenges of recent years, a collaborative process began in the spring of 2019 among the Presbyteral Council, the Office of Finance, and the Finance Council of the Diocese to review the functions of various Diocesan departments and ministries and determine which of those best support and facilitate the work and ministry of pastors and parishes. A further aim has been to determine which ministerial activities can be best carried out collaboratively at the parish level, versus from the centralized offices of the Diocesan Catholic Center. These efforts will also identify efficiencies that can be shared among parishes and core capabilities in areas such as finance and human resources that can be leveraged more broadly for the benefit of parishes.
"While we deeply regret the very personal impact that this process of realignment will have on dedicated employees of the Catholic Center, we must assess how best to deploy the resources of the Diocese in ways that reflect responsible stewardship and which offer the greatest benefit for our parishes," said Fr. Peter Karalus, Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia. "We anticipate that the ongoing coronavirus pandemic will exacerbate the financial challenges that the Diocese is already confronting. This is why we are accelerating our plans to better align the functions of the Catholic Center with the needs of our parishes. The Catholic Center exists to serve our parishes and ensure that they have the resources they need to sustain their outreach and ministries to their parishioners. Where and how we can provide administrative support and advance the work of evangelization carried out at the parish level, must be our priority."
The number of employees impacted totals 24; with 21 position eliminations and 3 positions moving from full-time to part-time employment. All whose positions are being eliminated will be eligible to apply for unemployment compensation immediately (versus the standard 7-day waiting period which has been waived). Moreover, health insurance will be continued until the end of April, after which former employees may apply for COBRA or continue their health insurance by paying premiums directly to the Diocese.