Buffalo, NY (WBEN) THe Buffalo Catholic Diocese says the Vatican has upheld Bishop Richard Malone's decision to close three schools.
St. Bernadette School in Orchard Park, St. Francis of Assisi School in Tonawanda, and St. Mary of the Lake in Hamburg will be closing their doors for good. The Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education wrote appeals could not be accepted, “and confirms the legitimacy of the Bishop’s decision to close the schools as part of the diocesan plan for the viability and good distribution of Catholic schools of the diocese.”
Bishop Malone issued the following statement:
I am relieved that the Congregation for Catholic Education has upheld my decision, which was based on extensive research and analysis. It reinforces the authority of the diocesan bishop to make decisions of this nature and reflects my obligation as bishop to take into consideration all Catholic education in Western New York when determining the reconfiguration of our Catholic elementary schools.
Now that the Vatican has ruled on this matter, I encourage the parents from St. Bernadette, St. Francis and St. Mary of the Lake schools to enroll their children in neighboring Catholic elementary schools, where they will continue to receive a superior education.
I understand this has been an emotional few months for many, but now is the time to come together as a Church family, to work to further strengthen our Catholic schools, and serve as an example to the children of our diocese as we live out our Catholic values and evangelize to bring the Gospel message to all.
One person fighting to keep St. Francis of Assisi open is not giving up the fight. Mark Saltarelli is planning on appealing to the highest body of the Vatican to seek a stay of the decision. "We will retain a Canon Law attorney to practice before the Apostolic Signatura," says Saltarelli. "We will not be satisfied until this reaches the Pope's desk." He contends the decision was based on poor data and no planning on the part of the diocese. Saltarelli says the diocese has lied to the people of North Tonawanda when parents of students at other closed schools were able to go to Saint Francis of Assisi.