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The priest secretary for the past three Catholic bishops in Buffalo – a top administrator in the diocese – is moving out of the chancery and back into parish work.

Bishop Richard J. Malone has appointed Monsignor David G. LiPuma to serve as pastor of St. Peter parish in Lewiston, effective Aug. 24.

LiPuma has been serving as vice chancellor of the Buffalo diocese and secretary to Malone. He was first appointed as priest secretary in 1997 by Bishop Henry J. Mansell, who headed the Buffalo diocese until 2003.

Mansell’s successor, the Rev. Edward U. Kmiec, who retired in 2012 and is now bishop emeritus of the Buffalo diocese, retained LiPuma in the post during his episcopacy.

For years, LiPuma has been the diocese’s most visible priest next to the bishop, accompanying him on almost all trips to parishes, confirmations, press conferences and other public appearances.

The Rev. Ryszard S. Biernat, a native of Poland and parochial vicar of St. Amelia Parish in the Town of Tonawanda, will succeed LiPuma.

The shuffling is Malone’s first major administrative change since he was installed as Buffalo bishop last August.

Malone said in an interview with The News earlier this year that he was reviewing the setup of the Catholic Center to determine whether its departments and offices are structured effectively, but he has given no indication of whether further administrative changes are forthcoming.

Ordained in 2009, Biernat will be responsible for the bishop’s schedule and will serve as his master of ceremonies, among many other public duties.

Biernat, 32, has become known to many area Catholics because of his unusual hobby as a beekeeper.

He maintains more than 100 beehives at apiaries in Elma, Orchard Park and Hamburg.

LiPuma, who was ordained in 1987, served in parishes in Amherst and Cheektowaga prior to first joining the chancery in 1993 as acting director of the Office of Worship.

In Lewiston, he will succeed the Rev. Michael Zuffoletto, who is retiring.

email: jtokasz@buffnews.com