Monday, January 24, 2022

Warsaw, Perry, Pavilion parishes in pilot program for renewal:
Three area parishes among first to become ‘family,’ in Diocese plan

Rev. Michael LaMarca
As the Diocese of Buffalo adjusts to a mounting series of challenges, three area parishes are among the first in a planned “Road to Renewal.”

The diocese — which covers an eight-county region — will be grouping its 161 parishes into 36 families of parishes in a process expected to last through 2024.

The process is currently in its pilot phase. Among the very first groupings will include St. Michael’s of Warsaw; St. Isadore’s of Perry and Silver Springs; and Mary Immaculate of Pavilion and East Bethany.

The aim is to reinvigorate the Roman Catholic faith, while optimizing parish and diocesan resources, and increasing the reach and effectiveness of parish ministries.

“It’s not so much that parishes are closing and merging, as they’re linking,” said Rev. Michael LaMarca of St. Michael’s and St. Isadore’s. “When parishes link, it’s a call for those parishes to work together. They remain independent but they share resources.

“They might share staff,” he continued. “They certainly share clergy. It’s maybe because of their locations and sizes, but they become more viable when they share expenses and the workload that needs to be done.”

The diocese is currently dealing with its ongoing bankruptcy, along with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, a diminished number of clergy, and reduced parish resources, said Rev. Bryan Zielenieski, the diocese’s vicar for renewal and development. That creates a need to optimize the use of its staff and resources.

“It’s like the perfect storm,” he said. “We can’t just sit back and wait for what the future’s going to bring. We’ve got to be proactive.

“Our way to be proactive is trying to look at what really matters, and that’s the parishes, where the people encounter God,” he continued. “The best way to do that, from our research is the family of parishes model.”

People assume that an individual parish needs to excel at everything, Zielenieski said. But the reality is every parish has it’s strengths.

Combining parishes into families allows them to make the best use of their resources, he said. They can leverage their strengths, whether outreach and feeding poor, or faith formation and religious education. “It gives us the ability to use what’s best in each parish,” he said. In practical terms, parishes will need to adjust Mass schedules based on clergy availability, LaMarca said. St. Michael’s/St.Isadore’s and Mary Immaculate is working to enact a two-priest model with hopefully a deacon.  

Mass times and locations may be adjusted in that instance.

There was once a time when a city or village might have several parishes based on ethnicity, with each featuring Masses in their own languages and catering to each culture, he said. But that simply isn’t needed anymore as times and society have evolved. The diocese doesn’t have the number of clergy it had in the 1970s and ‘80s, he said, so it need to reexamine who it is as a church, and the services provided. The Diocese of Buffalo isn’t the first to pursue a family of parishes structure, LaMarca said. It’s been pursued elsewhere in the U.S. and Canada and has so far worked well. Zielenieski said the concept will allow both clergy and laypeople to become more active in meeting parish and community needs. Each family will have a pastor for overall management, with parochial vicars assigned beneath them assist to handle other assorted tasks where needed, LaMarca said. All the priests of the diocese will take surveys and self assessments to help determine where there skills and talents are best used.

The family of parishes concept is still in its pilot phase and will evolve as needed based on the experiences of the initial parishes. “As a priest you do want to everything possible for the people you serve, but you do have your limitations,” LaMarca said. “I personally am excited about this change and becoming a family. I do believe it will provide more opportunities for the parishes individually and together. I think it will allow for people to tap into their gifts and contribute to growth of the church going forward.”

Future parish families

With the pilot program underway, three more phases will follow, including:

■ Phase 1 is set to be complete in October 2022.

Family No. 11 will include St. Mary’s in Holley; St. Mark’s in Kendall; Holy Family in Albion; Holy Trinity in Kendall; and Our Lady of the Lake in Barker. Family No. 33 will include St. Mary’s in Arcade; St. Jude in Sardinia; St. Aloysus in Springville; and St. John the Baptist in West Valley.

■ Phase 2 is set to be complete by October 2023.

Family No. 12 will include St. Brigid in Bergen; Resurrection and Ascension parishes in Batavia; Our Lady of Mercy on Le Roy; and St. Padre Pio in Oakfield. 

■ Phase 3 is set to be complete by October 2024.

Family No. 13 will include St. Maximilian Kolbe in Corfu; SS. Joachim and Anne in Attica; St. John Newmann in Strykersville; and Immaculate Heart of Mary in Darien.

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SILVER LAKE EXPERIENCE (SLE) - Registration now Open for this August 4-6, 2022's SLE. See:


Walter D. “Pete” Mairs, 81, died peacefully on July 23, 2021. Born in Avon, N.Y., on Sept. 3, 1939, Pete was a longtime resident of Geneva, N.Y., and these past many years in Buffalo, N.Y., as well as his beloved Silver Lake. Pete is survived by his wife, Linda Bergstrom Mairs, a loving and true companion; children, Mimi C. Mairs, Jonathan B. Mairs; sisters, June Huff, Helen Dole; brother, Thomas Mairs; stepchildren, Daniel Brinkworth, Jennie Ramsey; sister-in-law, Anne Bergstrom, eight beautiful grandchildren, and nieces and nephews. A service and celebration of life is planned for the fall when all can share the joy of Pete’s life together. Arrangements by Stephenson – Dougherty Funeral Home, Avon, N.Y.

Editor's Note: It was a privilege knowing and working with Pete Mairs during his presidency of the Silver Lake Institute. He was a kind and gentle man, but also firm in his leadership. I served as Treasurer and Chaplain of SLI during those years and I could always depend on Pete's presence in the worship service. He was a man of faith and a gem of a human being. May he rest in God's care.


Gerald C. Sahrle, 80, of Perry, passed away on Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021, at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester. He was born on Oct. 10, 1941, in Wayland, N.Y., to the late Charles A. and Helen I. (Blowers) Sahrle. Gerry was a line foreman for 32 1/2 years for NYSE&G, working out of the Perry and Hamburg locations, and was a Town of Perry Councilman. He was a member of the Free and Accepted Masons of the Constellation Lodge -404 in Perry. He was an avid fisherman, hunter and woodworker. He is survived by his wife, Valary A. (Conley) Sahrle; 1 son, Gerald (Pamela) Sahrle II of Silver Springs; 2 sisters, Millie Edmond of Greece, Bonnie Fink of Winston-Salem, N.C., 3 brothers, Ronald (Linda) Sahrle of Dansville, Robert (Susan) Sahrle of Springwater, Kenneth Sahrle of Dansville; 5 grandchildren, Bradley Musscarella, Stone and Winston Sahrle, Conley and Cooper Gayton; along with many nieces, nephews and friends. Along with his parents, he is preceded in death by a brother, Thomas Sahrle, who passed away in 2012. Services will be held at the convenience of the family. Gerry will be laid to rest in West Perry Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to the Perry Center Fire Department, P.O. Box 204, Perry, NY 14530. For more information, please call (585) 237-2626 or to leave a message of condolence, visit Arrangements completed by Eaton-Watson Funeral Home, LLC. 98 North Main Street, Perry, NY 14530.

Editor's Note: Gerald and Valarie could always be seen in the family pew with Pamela, Stone and Winston at Perry First United Methodist Church and continue to be loved. Gerry will be sorely missed. Both were supporters of the Arts at the Silver Lake Institute and Valarie was active in painting and participating in the Annual Show in August. Valarie's presence was always valued and appreciated.


"Kathy P." passed November 8, 2021, of Hamburg and Boston, NY. Beloved daughter of Joseph and Barbara Michalak; loving sister of Daniel Michalak; devoted wife of the late Jeffrey Praczkajlo; cherished mother of Jennifer (Shawn) Jump; loving babcia of Lily Jump; also survived by many beloved family members and friends who became her family. A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.

Editor's Note: "Kathy P." as she was better known to us at Silver Lake was an annual summer visitor for most of the last number of years at the invitation of Silver Laker Julia Hoffner. She stayed at the Hoffner Cottage, and became known as both the fun visitor with the vivacious smile to the neighbors at the intersection of Haven Ave. and the Ames Walkway. Kathy P. and Julie could be seen walking and talking between the cottage and the Hoffner boathouse where they could be close to the water. She was also occasionally seen at the Saturday morning breakfasts at Stoody Hall. Her stay was anywhere between 4 days and a week where she had the opportunity to develop a love for Silver Lake. She was not yet eligible for retirement when late last week she developed "a cold" and had to remain home from her job. She did not update her condition over the weekend so the local police made a wellness visit and found her deceased on Monday. She was one of those many people who found Silver Lake and friendship for brief respites where she also found new strength and energy to return to work. She is being particularly mourned by those in the Haven/Ames neighborhood. She will be memorialized next summer at the annual Celebration of Life Memorial Service at Epworth Hall.


Brenda Joan Paddock, 82, of Perry, born April 15, 1939, now resides in heaven with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Brenda met Jesus as her Savior in 1965. She met him in person on Nov. 14, 2021. She had a beautiful homecoming with music, singing and praying, leading her into Glory. Her last words were “I am well, I am well.”

Brenda’s greatest loves were her family and friends. Brenda had five children with her husband Roger: Don and Daelene Paddock of Florida, Jody and Tim Von Sanden of Pavilion, Bradley and Jeanie Paddock of Warsaw, Jennifer and Paul Guy of Massachusetts, and Nathan and Jill Paddock of Perry.

Brenda dearly loved her grandchildren: Jessica Morillo, Nikki and Clint O’Brien, Luke Paddock, Paul Paddock, Ian and Brooklyn Paddock, Joe and Louana Paddock, Burke and Megan Paddock, Aaron Paddock, Ellen Paddock, Andrew Paddock, Rachael Paddock, Abigail Paddock, Erik and Cassandra Von Sanden, Jacquelyn and Michael Jones, Tim Von Sanden, Brandon and Brandee Paddock, Jamey and Laura Paddock, Peter and Kara Guy, Candy and Jay Waitkevich, Marlo and Ryan Bolger and Jenna and Rory Peterson.

Brenda was blessed and loved her great grandchildren: Chloe, Olivia and Nicholas Von Sanden, Joshua and Jaxon Morillo, Jameson and Cassandra O’Brien, Atlas Paddock, Noah and Ezra Jones, Colton, Brantley and Charlotte Guy, Cameron Waitkevich, Amelia Bolger and Brennen Leonard.

Brenda is also survived by her brother and sister in laws; Frank and Emma Paddock, Viva and Jim Phillips-Richardson and Kurt and Lynn Paddock.

Brenda first started working as a secretary at Perry Central School. She then assisted her husband building Paddock’s Breeding Service. Roger and Brenda together built and ran the Sandsabarn teenage nightclub. Brenda was owner and operator of Serendipity Travel. Brenda’s pleasures included playing organ and piano. She played at a number of area churches along with performing for her loved ones. UPDATED -- Brenda also played with conviction at both indoor and outdoor services at the Silver Lake Institute where her grandson, Luke, sang at Epworth Hall on several occasions and was appreciated by all who heard his inspiring voice.

Brenda was preceded in death by her parents Noble and Freda Buckland, her husband Roger and son Bradley.

A Committal service at West Perry Cemetery will be held tomorrow, Wednesday, November 17 at 11 a.m., followed by a Celebration of Life at LaGrange Baptist Church at 4 p.m.

Memorial donations may be made in Brenda’s honor to the LaGrange Baptist Church 7092 LaGrange Rd. Perry, NY 14530 or to the First Congregational Church P.O. Box 156 Perry, NY 14530. Arrangements completed by Eaton-Watson Funeral Home, LLC. 98 N. Main St., Perry, N.Y. 14530. For more information or to sign the online guest registry please visit

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