Parents use billboard to question bishop

HAMBURG, N.Y. (WIVB) – Parents from St. Mary of the Lake School in Hamburg are taking unique measures to make sure Bishop Richard Malone knows they’re looking for answers.

They’ve purchased a billboard on Route 5 in Lackawanna.

Chris Herzog, a parent of a student at St. Mary of the Lake, said, “What we are trying to do is to soften the bishop’s heart and to have him realize what a negative impact and how much he’s hurting our parish faith communities.”

Their school is one of the 10 slated to close at the end of the year, and even months later, they don’t fully understand why.

Herzog said, “We were just heartbroken and it’s really painful watching this happen. He’s taken away so much from our community so we just decided to come together as parents.”

The parents compiled their questions on the school’s website and put up the billboard to get the word out.

Greg Herzog said, “We feel like we’d like to communicate and be on the same side of the bishop and be part of the solution and solve the problem to grow faith in the community.”

Bishop Malone is out of town and was not able to do an interview with News 4, but his spokesperson Kevin Keenan said the bishop has answered dozens of parents letters, emails and phone calls.

Prior to the decision, parents were encouraged to speak with their pastor to provide input.

He also said that although the bishop did not visit the various schools, the diocese superintendent attended several parent meetings.

Greg Herzog said that’s not what they want to hear.

He explained, “It’s very frustrating that him and the bishop and the administration officials haven’t really responded specifically to our questions. It was more a canned ‘this is our answer,’ ‘these are the steps that we’ve taken’ and more of the same rhetoric.”

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