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Archives Bishop announces new deanery structure

February 22, 2023

OGDENSBURG – Effective March 1, the Diocese of Ogdensburg will change the way its deaneries are structured.

Bishop Terry R. LaValley approved the new structure, which reduces the number of deaneries from six to four and made changes to the role of the vicars forane, known locally as “deans.”

A review of the structure was recommended by the Council of Priests, and Bishop LaValley formed a committee to complete the review.

“I appointed Father Garry Giroux to lead a committee to study this issue and to recommend what changes, if any, should be made,” Bishop LaValley said. “The other members of the committee are the current deans: Monsignor Dennis Duprey, Fathers Albert Hauser, Arthur LaBaff, Mark Reilly, Sony Pulickal, and John Yonkovig.

The group has recommended a revised description of the authority and duties of deans. I accepted the new job description proposed by the group.”

Effective March 1, the new deaneries will be:
• St. Lawrence Deanery, which will include the parishes served by a pastor residing in St. Lawrence County. Father Mark R. Reilly will serve as dean of this deanery.

• Jefferson-Lewis Deanery, which includes the parishes served by a pastor (or PLC) who resides in those counties. Father Arthur J. LaBaff will serve as dean of this deanery.

• Clinton-Northern Franklin Deanery, which is comprised of the parishes where a pastor resides in Clinton County, and the parishes of St. Regis Falls, Brushton, North Bangor, Fort Covington, Constable, Chateaugay, and Malone. Msgr. Dennis J. Duprey will serve as dean of this deanery.

• Adirondack Mountain Deanery, which includes the parishes in the former Adirondack Deanery (Saranac Lake, Lake Placid, Keene and Tupper Lake), former Essex Deanery (Elizabethtown, Essex, Willsboro, Port Henry, Schroon Lake and Ticonderoga) and former Hamilton-Herkimer Deanery (Old Forge, Lake Pleasant and Wells, and Indian Lake). Father John R. Yonkovig will serve as dean of this deanery.

The deans of each deanery “have an important role in assisting the diocesan bishop in the service of the people of God,” notes the outline of “the authority and responsibility of deans,” essentially a job description for the role.

The deans promote and coordinate pastoral and/or diocesan activities within the deanery, including providing assistance in coordinating seasonal penance services, ministry to hospitals, nursing homes and/or Catholic schools, and participation in personnel and diocesan planning.

Additionally, the deans attend to the spiritual and physical welfare of the priests and deacons within the deanery. They do so by developing and supporting “strategies which cultivate fraternity among the priests and deacons.” The deans are also asked to check in with priests – both active and retired – and deacons within their respective deaneries and “convene, on a regular basis, priests, deacons, and those members of the lay faithful involved in Church ministry to foster greater collaboration.”

Deans are also responsible for annual reviews of sacramental registers and corporate minutes of parishes within their deaneries, as well as additional duties as requested by the bishop.

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