About 200 people came out for the first listening session of area Catholics held by Buffalo Bishop Richard Malone. The sessions came about through the recommendation of the Movement to Restore Trust for the diocese to be more transparent and responsive to parishioners' needs.
The abuse crisis, ministry, the laity and women’s roles in the church were among the topics discussed at the gathering.
The format of the two-hour listening session allowed for one speaker from each of 24 tables set up in the parish center. Each table had eight people.
Speakers were given two minutes to express their views. Only one speaker from the group called on Bishop Malone to resign.
More than a dozen priests from different parishes were in attendance. The gathering took place at St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church in Amherst Saturday. Additional sessions will be held future Saturdays:
- June 15, 9:30-11:30 a.m. at St. Vincent de Paul Parish, St. Leo Site, Niagara Falls
- June 27, 6:30-8:30 p.m. at St. Mark's Parish, Buffalo
- June 29, 9:30-11:30 a.m. at Archbishop Walsh High School, Olean
- August 3, 9:30-11:30 a.m. at Ascension Parish, Batavia
- August 10, 9:30-11:30 a.m. at Nativity of our Lord Parish, Orchard Park
- August 17, 9:30-11:30 a.m. at Holy Trinity Parish, Dunkirk
The diocese is not allowing media to record comments made during the session. The first session came after priests gathered at Christ the King Seminary in East Aurora June 4-6 for their annual Convocation.
The Convocation is three days reflecting on current circumstances, learning more about the Movement to Restore Trust and engaging in dialogue about plans for renewal and future goals. Among the speakers was a survivor of clergy sexual abuse.
"The priests recommitted to working with the Bishop, and to immediate and significant action working with the MRT by strengthening the partnership with the laity, enhancing communication, supporting accused priests, increasing prayer, worship and retreats, and among other things, addressing the spiritual well-being of priests," said the diocese in a statement.