Father Michael Schramel, pastor since 2004 of Holy Family Parish in Steuben and Livingston counties, left that position in late June to take over administrative duties at a Monroe County parish.
The priest announced his reassignment in a bulletin notice dated June 17, noting that Bishop Matthew H. Clark had asked him to make the change a few days earlier. His new parish is St. Jude the Apostle in the Rochester suburb of Gates. The reassignment was due to take effect June 27. As of press time June 23, the Diocese of Rochester had not yet named a successor for Father Schramel at Holy Family.
The opening at St. Jude had arisen suddenly after Father John Steger, the previous pastor, was arrested May 17 on two misdemeanor counts of second-degree sexual abuse and two misdemeanor counts of endangering the welfare of a child. At that point, the diocese placed Father Steger on administrative leave.
“I suspect we’re all aware of the difficulties facing the St. Jude’s parish community in Rochester. The bishop has asked me to lead that parish through this difficult time in their journey,” Father Schramel wrote to Holy Family parishioners.
Father Schramel came to Holy Family two years ago from the pastorate of St. Ambrose in Rochester. He took over a first-year parish made up of four faith communities: St. Mary in Dansville, Livingston County, and the Steuben County churches of St. Joseph, Wayland; Sacred Heart, Perkinsville; and St. Pius V, Cohocton. For the previous six years, all four had been clustered — as independent parishes sharing the same pastor — under the title of Holy Family Catholic Community. The new Holy Family Parish — formed in 2004 in conjunction with the churches’ pastoral plan — consolidated all staff, finances and parish pastoral councils.
In his June 17 bulletin article, Father Schramel praised the combined community, saying Holy Family “has already grown into a strong and vibrant parish,” thanks to efforts by the parish ministry team and pastoral council, as well as other committees and ministries.
“The difficult decisions you’ve made in the past are a credit to your deep faith. I am confident that the challenges yet to be faced will continue to be guided by the Holy Spirit, and blessed with success,” Father Schramel wrote.
During his short pastorate, Father Schramel dealt with challenging issues related to the planning process. According to his prior bulletin columns, those challenges included an excess number of buildings within the parish, the high cost of maintaining these buildings and the feasibility of continuing to operate Holy Family School amid decreasing enrollment and rising parish subsidy expenses. Located in the former St. Mary School building in Dansville, the school was formed in 2004 when St. Joseph School in Wayland ceased operation and merged with St. Mary.
Father Schramel is only the second leader at St. Jude. Father Steger was founding pastor when the parish was established in 1968.