Wednesday, April 23, 2014

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Cattaraugus Church Cancels Sunday Masses Following Pastor's Death

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Buffalo: Cattaraugus Church Cancels Sunday Masses Following Pastor's Death
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CATTARAUGUS, N.Y. - A recording at St. Mary's Church in Cattaraugus details the loss.

"Our mass is at 4 p.m. on Saturday, at this time we do not have a Sunday mass..."

"It makes it an incomplete parish experience to not have the ability to go to church on Sunday," said Patrick Cullen, St. Mary's Parishioner.

"Well, its a little bit of an adjustment for us," said Joan Cullen, St. Mary's Parishioner.

Joan Cullen and her husband Patrick have been parishioners of Saint Mary's in Cattaraugus for more than forty years.

Yet mass on Sunday has been canceled indefinitely, since their weekend assistant pastor, Father Joe Moreno, took his own life last month.

"He was a wonderful, happy gentleman, priest, very sincere in his love of God, and we were blessed to have him here," said Joan Cullen.

"You felt as though you were in the presence of greatness, every single person that I ever talked to that was in his presence, and we really appreciated the time he was here, and he taught us a lot," said Patrick Cullen.

"We all struggle," said Father Dan Walsh, Pastor.

Father Dan Walsh is Pastor of St. Mary's and St. Joseph's in Gowanda.

He officially retired last month, but will stay on at the newly renovated St. Mary's on Saturday until a replacement is found.

"To use a football analogy, the bench used to be weak, but now the bench for the priests is empty," said Father Walsh.

The search for a new priest at Saint Mary's here in Cattaraugus comes at a very difficult time, as there is a critical shortage of priests not only in Western New York, but all across the nation.

"When a town like Cattaraugus loses a priest, or doesn't have mass on a Sunday, part of that towns soul is gone, we need that faith to help us cope with things," said Father Walsh.

Faith that keeps the Cullens hopeful for a new priest in time for the holidays.

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