Charlotte M. Bruney, a beloved, longtime pastoral administrator in the Diocese of Rochester, died Jan. 5, 2014, after a nearly year-long battle with cancer. She was 60 years old.
"Joy is just a wonderful way to describe her and the way she lived her faith. And that made a lot of people attracted to her," remarked Father Edison Tayag, parochial vicar at Greece’s St. Charles Borromeo and Holy Name of Jesus parishes.
Ms. Bruney was a 1971 graduate of Mater Christi Diocesan High School in Astoria, N.Y. She earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Fordham University in 1975 and a master’s in education from Southern Connecticut State University in 1980. From 1976-89 she taught math, mostly at the high-school level, in Connecticut.
After earning a master’s degree in 1989 from St. Joseph College Pastoral Ministry Institute in West Hartford, Conn., Ms. Bruney served for six years as a parish administrator in Oxford, Conn., and two years as a hospital chaplain in New Haven.
Father Ed Palumbos recalled meeting Ms. Bruney while both were on sabbatical in 1996. He encouraged her to check out the Rochester Diocese, since pastoral administrators — people who are not priests but who are appointed by the bishop to lead parishes — were a new and growing model in Rochester.
Father Palumbos, currently pastor of Church of the Assumption in Fairport, said he was quickly impressed by Ms. Bruney’s many gifts — "her vision of church and ministry, her passionate love of people and her incredible leadership skills."
Ms. Bruney began ministering at Churchville’s St. Vincent de Paul Parish in 1998, becoming pastoral administrator there in 1999. Father Tayag recalled that with Ms. Bruney’s encouragement, his time attending St. Vincent de Paul marked "the beginning of my more active involvement in the church" and that Ms. Bruney eventually recommended him to diocesan officials for priestly discernment.
Deacon Matthew Dudek, a parishioner of St. Vincent de Paul, also credited Ms. Bruney for advancing his own vocational journey.
"Charlotte often spoke in such a way that it reached deep inside our hearts. I believe I am a deacon today because the Holy Spirit spoke relentlessly to me through her," said Deacon Dudek, who was ordained to the permanent diaconate in 2012.
"She was a real mentor to me," said Sister Karen Dietz, SSJ, who first became a pastoral administrator in 2006. Sister Dietz noted that Ms. Bruney represented pastoral administrators for many years on the diocesan Priest Personnel Board.
"We could look to her for wisdom and conversation," added Sister Dietz, currently pastoral administrator of St. Paul of the Cross, Honeoye Falls; St. Rose, Lima; and St. Agnes, Avon.
Ms. Bruney led St. Vincent de Paul until 2011 when she became pastoral administrator at Brockport’s Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish. She served in Brockport until stepping down in July 2013 for health reasons. She also served in temporary administrative roles at Rochester’s Corpus Christi Parish and North Chili’s St. Christopher Parish. In addition to the Priest Personnel Board, she was a member of the diocesan Commission on Women and Society as well as the Liturgical Commission.
She is survived by her brother, Joseph G. (Elaine) Bruney Jr., and two nieces.
Calling hours will be from 4 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014, at St. Vincent de Paul Church, 11 N. Main St., Churchville, with evening prayer at 7 p.m. Ms. Bruney’s funeral Mass will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014, at Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 152 Main St., Brockport, with Bishop Emeritus Matthew H. Clark presiding. Interment will be at St. Vincent de Paul Cemetery.
Memorial donations may be made to St. Vincent de Paul Church, Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary or Patrick Place Comfort Care Home, 99 Main St., PO Box 73, Scottsville, NY 14546.