A well-know Buffalo priest was found dead over the weekend in the rectory of the parish he led
The body of Father Joseph Moreno was discovered by a church employee at Saint Lawrence Church on East Delavan Avenue Saturday afternoon.
Buffalo Police investigators are not suspecting foul play, but an autopsy is being scheduled. It is suspected that the 54-year-old Moreno committed suicide.
Moreno was known for his ministerial work. He served a number of parishes and as a chaplain at St. Francis Nursing Home.
The Catholic Diocese of Buffalo recently notified Moreno that he would be transferred from St. Lawrence parish. Some say Moreno was upset by that decision. Bishop Richard Malone met with him last Tuesday, but could not discuss personnel matters when asked by reporters.
"Those are personnel matters that we don't discuss." said Bishop Malone. "I don't what we will hear. I don't know if anybody notices signs of despondency. I did not see that when I was with him on Tuesday. He was anxious about he would be moving on to and asked for hospital work, which I was going to honor."
Bishop Malone says learning of Moreno's death was like a "punch in the stomach."
Father Moreno always supported police and firefighters -- bringing food and support out to the streets.
St. Lawrence Parish gathered Sunday night for a candlelight vigil at the church.
The following was posted on the Website of the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo:
Father Joseph F. Moreno, Jr., sacramental minister of St. Lawrence Parish in Buffalo, died unexpectedly on Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012.
A native of Buffalo, Father Moreno was born on June 21, 1958. He was ordained to the priesthood on Apr. 25, 1986, at Holy Spirit Church in Buffalo by Bishop Edward D. Head.
In a statement, Bishop Richard J. Malone, bishop of Buffalo, said, "Father Joe was dedicated to the priesthood, especially when it came to serving others. His presence to the parishioners of St. Lawrence made him much beloved. Those who knew Father Joe would tell you that he never said, 'No' to anyone, that he took care of everyone, regardless of their lot in life. He was a friend to law enforcement, as evidenced by the large police presence Saturday afternoon responding to the 9-1-1 call, and he was called to serve the elderly at St. Francis Home and members of St. Mary Parish in Cattaraugus. May God grant him eternal rest."
Father Moreno served a number of parishes in the diocese, including: St. Aloysius, Springville; St. John, Olean; St. Margaret, North Buffalo and St. Vincent dePaul, Attica. He also served as a chaplain at St. Francis Nursing Home and was very active in providing ministerial support to law enforcement.
Funeral arrangements will be announced at a later date.