Anyone from Dio of Rochester (NY)?


Hubby is finishing up a fellowship and has a job offer from Strong Hospital in Rochester. We both attended U of R and have some friends in the area, so we are somewhat familiar with it, but our needs have obviously changed from when we were single college students to a married couple with 4 young children. It would not be my first choice of places to move to, but the hospital REALLY wants my husband, and the dept seems very family friendly, as would his job (as family friendly as a physician’s job can be).

One of my major issues is the diocese. It is not known to be one of the more conservative ones (the state itself is pretty liberal, so I don’t know what I am expecting, although I am sure there are pockets that are better). Does anyone have church recommendations? I am pretty “picky” with my church/mass wants - although I fi.nd them evolving often. I like masses where people participate, not just stand there like bumps. Although I appreciate the beauty of the Latin mass, I find it hard to appreciate it, since I do not understand any of it. I like music to be a part of the service, and yes I am one of those who occasionally enjoys more contemporary, upbeat styles versus some of the more traditional stuff (gasp, I know), but not necessarily cymbals and drums. (we have a contemp choir that sings some popular Christian music and this can be a nice change at times. I know alot of you do not appreictae this, and that is fine. I find it helps me get more involved in worshiping, as long as they are not changing the “required” music - gloria, alleluia, great amen, our father, etc.) I would like a parish that is family friendly, preferably ones that are associated with schools, as we have a newborn, 16 month old, 2yo , and 3 1/2 yo. The older two will be in preschool, with the others to follow in a few years, and I am a big proponent of Catholic Education. Do any of the schools have daily/weekly mass? I searched some of the individula ones from the diocese website, and see First Friday masses on the calandar, but no others mentioned. At the school here in Pittsburgh where my son is now, the students attend weekly mass in addition to 1st Fri and other Holy Days. My parish here has alot of support for us - large families are the norm, a mom’s group that is great, priests that are not afriad to stand up and say “You should not be doing x, y, or z if you intend to call yourself Catholic.” I do not want to lose this.

Can anyone make suggestions??



just to clarify - I DO like contemp music, but do not like “contemporary mass.” I would like to find a church that follows the GIRM, is not full of blatant abuses, where the priests are in line with the Holy Father, etc.

Thanks for your help.



I just sent you a really long PM.
Have hope, there are great people here!
Hope to hear from you soon!


Towns in the Buffalo Dio. aren’t that far away - in Genesee and Wyoming Counties. The Buffalo Dio. isn’t perfect (hey it’s run by people too) but it is a whole lot better the Rochester (at least I think so). Batavia, Byron, Bergin, Pavalion, Leroy, even Darien, Corfu, and Alexander are still not too far from Strong Mem. Hey, take a look - it never hurts to check.

God bless you,



Hello RCMom,

I live in the Rochester Diocese and have just accepted a job at the University of Rochester. Just down the steet from Strong Hospital on Mt. Hope Avenue is St. Anne’s Church which I believe has a good reputation.

St. Stanislaus on Hudson Avenue has a TLM every Sunday at 1:30PM

A very reverent Novus Ordo Mass is to be found at Our Lady of Victory in downtown Rochester.

Another very good place to worship is St. Thomas the Apostle in Irondequoit. I even has a communion rail where people kneel for communion and it has a chapel where the Blessed Sacrament is exposed from 9AM to 11PM daily.

Hope this helps,



See, see, I told you so! :stuck_out_tongue: That is our Church!


Yes, our diocese is deviant in many ways and there are divides. The same bishop has been in place a long time and there is a prevailing spirit of Catholic “Lite”. I try not to focus on it, and just focus on what is true and right and good, and on my own faith growth. Its not to be expected that you will ever hear anything uplifting coming out of the diocean offices on any level. But have faith that God is everywhere and He has not abandonned us even here.

[Continued in the next post - (my post was too long)].


Our Lady of Victory is a small humble church in an office district in the heart of downtown. There is a 12:15 Mass daily. Fr. Antinarelli is a holy priest who offers Mass most reverently. He is there daily at 11am for confessions (the old-fashioned, private kind) and there is a line. You don’t see that everywhere. You feel the gentle uplift of your spirit heavenwards.

OLV is not associated with a school and the music is not contempory but it is so lovely and so reverent. You can’t really live near this church so you won’t get the community feel there. If you want those things, then perhaps OLV will become a “second” church home for you. But many from the suburbs make this their first church home. It also has the latest Mass on Sunday, 7:30pm.

Holy Spirit in Webster has very reverent masses. It’s ugly 70’s boxy architecture has been turned, with Catholic devotion, into a beautiful, truly reverant space that defies it’s design. There are several Masses and two daily masses and Eucharistic adoration. I recommend this too. But no school is associated with it. Webster is a nice town to live in.

St. Leo’s in Hilton is very reverant, and has nice contemporty music, but also no school. The priest there is a convert and very holy and Catholic, and this chruch is growing. This is rural and not too bad a commute.

St. Agnes in Avon has weekly Mass and is a great little school with a nice homey feel. I don’t know that the same can be said about the church there. Its rural and not a close commute for your husband to Strong.

St. Johns school in Spencerport K-6 is a very good one; good teachers, a dedicated principal, a good community feel. Mass there is not weekly though. But, there is time for your own Daily Mass, across the parking lot, before school starts. Its a nice town to live in - the village really defies the suburban sprawl you get elsewhere. And not a bad commute.

Unfortunately, it will be hard to find weekly Mass in our Diosean schools. That truly speaks something about our diocese and its schools. But, if you call individual schools (if you can’t find the info on the websites), and find one that has actually weekly Mass - in spite of being associated with our diocese - that *is *saying a lot. It takes effort and commitment to swim upstream.

St. John of Rochester in Fairport is a really good Catholic Church with lots of young families and a school. I know the church is good - perhaps the school too. Oh - I just checked their website - lots of prayers and 35 masses a year - this one may be the one!

After sixth grade, Sienna is a good middle school, and thats close to Fairport. The principal/Priest who used to be at Sienna was awesome.

Fairport has nice homes, in a wide variety of styles, prices, neighborhoods to choose from. The downside, IMO, of Fairport, is the public school district is so BIG (if you don’t like that) but that won’t matter if you aren’t using the schools. Also there is nice shopping and parks and if you decide to homeschool (my first reccomendation!) there is a great Catholic homeschool group in the area, and it holds meetings in that Fairport area.

I think you may like St. Josephs in Penfield (also a nice town to live in) but do find out about their Masses and prayers. (I don’t know about it). Even though I know people like it, I wouldn’t if where they choose to skimp is the Masses.

There is St.Louis in Pittsford. I know people who like the school, with reserves. It may be the toniest Catholic school choice, in the toniest town. Charming but materialistic is Pittsford. If you think it will be tempting to get caught up with having the best of everything, you may want to avoid Pittsford.

There is a unique non-diosean school option, Archangel School. Very small. Traditional Catholic. Lots of Masses, prayers, a good Catholic program. I do not think a “community feel” will be a part of the package. It is associated with a Ukranian Catholic Church by location and therefore thats where they go to Mass, although, unlike that church, the school is Roman Catholic. (But I here that Eastern Catholic Churches may be the only way to go though when one is fed up with our diocese). This school has an Open House in February sometime. It is in Irondequoit so probably not far from the St. Thomas the Aposle church mentioned here by TomS.

Realize that any very small school has a distinct feel and character, so, find out from those associated what that character is. Or go see, and feel.

These are the schools I have heard of as being good ones. There may be other schools that are good that have not been mentioned to me, so, my first choice for evaluating any school here in Catholic “lite” Land is: see how many Masses they have.

Feel free to message me for any more info on the Rochester area or the schools. I have lived here most of my life.


St. John of Rochester also offers 24 hour Perpetual Adoration.
While it is on the right track, there are some aspects to the Mass which are of concern at St. John’s, such as lay women giving the homily or improved words of the Mass. That is a big problem to me.

Henrietta is a nice place to live, if you can find a quiet neighborhood. Pittsford is nice but VERY expensive. Fairport is ideal because of Fairport electric which is VERY inexpensive but often the taxes are way higher. Webster is closer to the lake and, from what I understand, makes it more difficult to travel during winter.

I do have a concern about when some people try and find VERY traditional Masses (and this is my personal opinion). I have known several people who have been lured into teachings not accepted by the church while in their traditional search. Of course, that is foudn in a lot of dioceses.


Thanks everyone for your replies.

I am pretty sure Buffalo is out of the question. DH doesn’t want a commute anymore (he has an hour one now due to traffic), especially since his days are already long (10-12h common) to add an hour drive each way is insane. It is unfortunate, because I have heard that diocese is much better.

Lynnie and Eliza, thanks so much for your detailed info. I am sure I will have more questions once I get a chance to sit down and look at it all more thoroughly. I think DH and I will just need to pop up a few weekends and check out some masses, as a good parish and Catholic school are HUGE to me.

L - we went to St. Annes a few times while in college. Is it still an “older” parish? When we went there it seemed like there were very very few families. As a mom of four young kids under four, I NEED to be surrounded by other families who support and embrace our NFP lifestyle, especially since the popular society does not. We left an otherwise great parish here about 2 years ago because the average age had to be around 60! As for lay women giving the homily, that is a MAJOR negative for me. (Is that the Fairport church Eliza mentioned? Shoot - I hope not). At my parent’s home church (also in the Dio of Roch, but near Elmira/Corning) the priest only gives the homily once a month. Other weekends are a lay person, the PA, etc. Not really what I want. Here, even if the Deacon reads the gospel, the priest gives the homily 99% of the time, and NEVER a lay person. I am also not a big fan of inclusive language. (For crying out loud, Jesus was a MAN, why do we need to say “He became human” in the creed!) I think I know what you mean by going overboard with the search for traditional. What I really want is to avoid blatant abuses - such as lay women and the homily, changing /adding inappropriate things to the mass, etc. I am also concerned about some of the priests thinking they can do things their own way, and not needing to follow the Vatican. I have heard of several priests in Roch telling people it is ok to use ABC, live together before marriage, etc. If I go to a priest for advice/confession/counseling, I want him to tell me what is right from a Catholic standpoint, not what he thinks I want to hear.

Eliza - it does look like the Fairport school attends weekly mass, although it appears that it is only grades 3-6. I guess that is a start. It is very sad that that is not more prevalant. I like the fact that at the school my son would attend here (he is in prek 3 now) K-8 goes weekly. I think K-3 go one day and 4-8 the next. Everyone goes together on First Fridays and other Holy Days. Thanks for your detailed list of the churches. I guess we just need to start checking some out. We have family near Spencerport, so that one seems a plausible option. I grew up in Brockport and was very sad to hear that Nativity school closed. I have more extended family there and in Clarkson, but their kids are in public or Christian schools, and that isn’t an acceptable option for me now.

I’ll PM or post later if I have some more questions.
thanks again



RC Mom,

St. Anne is no longer an “older” parish. In fact the community has grown so much, with young families, that they are adding a whole bunch of activities especially for children like "Breakfast with St. Nicholas (actulaly dressed as the Saint, not the Claus :slight_smile: ), All Saints Day party, etc. When I mean there are a ton of kids, I am not exaggerating. I used to remember when it was an older church and in the last 4 yeras I have seen a big change.

You will find a very good support and NFP too! My husband and I teach at the PreCana retreat too.

As far as schools go, St. Anne has a wonderful school associated with it called Seton Catholic. My sister’s 4 children go/went there as did my daughter. We only put her in public school due to special ed needs. Seton is very solid in my experience and the experience of my sister.

While the church and the school may not be on the same street there is definately a sense of community there.

Please don’t be afraid to move here because of the diocese. Just remember that the diocese is made up of people and families and that is what turns the tide. :wink:

Feel free to PM or email me too! And no, I am not the personal saleswoman for St. Anne or Rochester! I just would hate for you to move here with the thought that it is not a good place. Don’t forget, even in darkness there is light! :yup:


Hi, RCMom!

I’m a member of St. Anne’s parish too, and I think you’ll find it much more family friendly than your previous experience of it. There are a lot of families, many kids. Not all large families, but there are some. You can always hear kids (not in a bad way). No one expects kids to be segregated into a cry room (unless they start throwing a fit or something. One complaint is that I hate our cry room (one pew set perpedicular to the window–you have to stand to see the Mass) but maybe a poorly planned cry room is the reason why there is NO expectation that you ought to use it just because some members of your families happen to be kids. NFP is supported by our priests and everyone I’ve ever talked to about such things (not that I bring it up with everyone). I’m not sure what else you include in “NFP lifestyle”, but I’ve never had any trouble with breastfeeding in the pews, chasing a wayward child down the aisle, or coming with my child to the children’s liturgy so she wouldn’t be nervous to try it. If there are specific concerned on your mind, let us know what they are.

Our pastoral assistant, a nun, used to give a “homily” occasionally. Then father started going to the 2 minute official homily and then saying, “Now Sr. R will share her thoughts.” Not really any better. Then the whole thing just stopped. I don’t know if someone complained, but I think I heard that Sr. R was just “too busy” to keep up that responsibility. Anyway, it’s been nothing but priests and an occasional deacon giving homilies for at least a year.

We say the creed with MAN and all.

Rochester is a liberal diocese. I’ll admit that. But at the grassroots level, there are a lot of truly orthodox Catholics. We have an EWTN radio station. I’ve been seeing an increase in what I would term “conservative” practices, such as women wearing headcovering and people kneeling to recieve the Eucharist. Many people here are hungry for true orthodoxy.



My wife just stumbled across this thread. We’ve gotten fed up with our parish priest’s heterodox homilies and lack of support of all things orthodox. I’m a recent convert ('07) and didn’t realize how bad our diocese is. I heard grumblings when I first became Catholic and thought, “come on, people, what’s the big deal”. 2 years later, I see how deep this rabbit hole goes. eg, Our diocese officially supports an organization that has written a letter to the USCCB criticizing their support of CA’s prop #8. Obviously, our diocese is definitely in need of reform.

I was just so encouraged to read this thread and see how many faithful Catholics there are in the area. We hope to attend either OLV or St. Anne this coming weekend.


St. Anne’s has recently become a “hotbed” of abuse, or so I have heard…

I’d suggest OLV or St. Stanislaus if you would like something more conservative.


Welcome to Rochester. I’ve been in Rochester all my life and really like it. Many mock it as it’s not “popular” but then again - that’s sort of why I like it.

Went to Catholic Elementary (1-8th) as well back in the 70’s.

One other church you may want to investigate is St. Judes in Gates. We love the newer Pastor and his staff. Beautiful church and very receptive to new folks.


just to update my findings. I was working a job in the city and started hitting OLV for weekday mass as much as I could. In the meantime we found another suburban parish that was more reverent than our original parish and the priest didn’t make you feel bad for believing in Catholicism. However, it just wasn’t the same as OLV. We finally went as a family this past Sunday and they loved it. Anyone who wants to worship God instead of diversity would enjoy this parish.


My husband’s family lives in the Rochester area, we have been visiting for years. We try to arrange our trips so that we are not in Rochester on Sunday, because it is so difficult to find a Mass that is not full of abuses. My husband grew up in St. Joseph’s in Penfield, and their website said that their children make their first confessions before first Holy Communion which we took to be a good sign, but a lay woman preached at the Mass we attended there. She actually shook hands with the parishioners after the Mass with the pastor. I would have walked out, but I was so shocked that I couldn’t move. That was a couple of years ago, so I hope that things have improved. We tried Holy Spirit in Webster, but they took it upon themselves to solve the “pro multis” problem by changing “all” to “many” in the consecration. I know that change is coming, but it isn’t here yet. At one Mass we attended at St. Louis in Pittsford, the phase “holy Catholic Church” was changed to “holy christian church,” and we have often heard any reference to “men” changed in some way there. Since we can’t always get back to the Diocese of Arlington or even to the Buffalo area where my family lives, we have now begun attending Mass at 8:00 am on Sunday mornings at the Carmelite Monastery where a beautifully, reverent Mass is offered. The little chapel is always packed. When we took my sister-in-law, she thought that it was Catholic Lite! We had to explain to her that what she experienced was a proper Mass. They say the black and do the red, as Father Z says. I am sure that one of the posters on this forum will help you to find a good parish, but we haven’t had much luck finding one in the area where we were looking. I apologize if I have offended any Rochesterian, and you are in my prayers.

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