Pointing to the need for a continued pastoral presence in St. Lawrence Parish following the unexpected death of Father Joseph Moreno, Bishop Richard J. Malone has reappointed Deacon Paul and Mary Weisenburger as pastoral administrators, effective immediately. They will remain in place until a new leader of the parish is appointed. There is no timetable for that appointment to be made.
The Weisenburgers have led the parish for the past six years, and were planning to retire. During a meeting Monday morning at the Catholic Center with Bishop Malone, the couple agreed to postpone their retirement.
"I am most grateful to Deacon Paul and Mary Weisenburger for their willing acceptance to continue in their ministry to the parish," Bishop Malone said. "Despite their own personal grief in the loss of a dear friend, they have agreed to remain in place in order to continue to provide pastoral care and leadership to the St. Lawrence faith community, allowing for the healing process to begin."
Prior to Father Moreno's passing, Bishop Malone had appointed Father Francis "Butch" Mazur to be temporary administrator of St. Lawrence. That appointment has been rescinded. Father Mazur will continue in his role as chaplain at Erie County Medical Center and as the bishop's representative on inter-faith matters.
"I appreciate Father Butch's readiness to step in and lead the parish on a temporary basis," Bishop Malone said. "But we all agreed that it is best for St. Lawrence Parish that the Weisenburgers be the ones who are present to the parish during their time of tremendous loss. We all continue to pray for the repose of Father Moreno's soul."
Last Tuesday, Bishop Malone and Father Moreno met to discuss a future pastoral assignment, which was expected to be determined sometime in the coming days. Bishop Malone was considering Father Moreno's request that he be assigned to hospital chaplaincy. Funeral arrangements for Father Moreno are expected to be announced on Tuesday.