Monday, February 28, 2011

Ash Wednesday - 15 Hours of Ashes

St. Benedict's

Return to the Lord!
Please join us at any time from 6:00 am right through 9:00 pm on Ash Wednesday, March 9th.

We have masses at 7 am, 8:15 am and 7pm.  There is a prayer service at 12 noon. We highly encourage your participation in our liturgies and prayer service. Ashes will be distributed during Mass and at the prayer service.

Additionally, between 6am and 9pm, we will also be distributing ashes to those who wish to turn back to the Lord.  Whether you have been away for one day, one year, or haven't set foot in a Catholic Church in decades, we invite you to receive ashes as a sign of repentance and continual conversion.  You are welcome here! And you are welcome to receive ashes at anytime between 6am and 9pm at St. Benedict's.

Ashes are a biblical sign of penance. Here are some Biblical verses mentioning ashes - Jeremiah 6:26, Isaiah 58:5, Daniel 9:3, Matthew 11:21 and Luke 10:15. Ashes in the Catholic Church are the burnt remains of last year's palms used on Palm Sunday.  Ashes are placed on your forehead as a sign to others of your change of heart. You may hear either of these prayers as the minister puts ashes on your forehead: "Remember that you are dust and to dust you will return,"  OR "Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel."

At Mass on Ash Wednesday, we hear the prophet Joel exclaim "rend your hearts, not your garments and return to the LORD, your God."  Can you hear God's call within you?

Perhaps the most amazing result of keeping St. Benedict's Church open all day, as we have the past three years, is seeing the hundreds of people, from all walks of life, truly striving to reform their lives.  Three of our four priests (how blessed we are as a parish to have FOUR priests!) are kept busy all day hearing confessions of people who want a fresh spiritual start. [Say a prayer for our Pastor, Fr. Joseph Porpiglia, who is in Rome on sabbatical.]

Will you repent with us this year?  Don't worry if you forgot how to go to confession; we have information about the sacrament ready for you. 

Please invite all your friends and family members to join us Ash Wednesday. Directions are available under our Visitor tab on our website
We are here to be the welcoming hands of Christ. 
Return to the Lord!
Share this blog post -

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Organ Concert - St. Benedicts


Sunday, March 13th at 4:00 pm
Featuring Roland Martin, Adjunct Professor of Music  - Organ & Harpsichord Performance - at the State University of New York at Buffalo (UB) and Music Director at St. Joseph University Parish.

This is a special part of our parish Lenten experience. Please join us.

The program includes hymn settings by Paul Manz, chorale preludes by Bach, and works by Jeanne Demessieux, Gerald Near, George Shearing, James Biery, and Sigfrid Karg-Elert.

About our organ
Our parish is the only Catholic parish in Buffalo with a Schlicker organ. These organs were built right here in Buffalo by Herman Schlicker, and are well known around the world. Herman Schlicker was the most notable Buffalo organ builder of the 20th century. Our organ is exemplary of the renewed interest in classical organ design which arose following the war. At that time, Schlicker had built the organ at Kenmore Presbyterian Church and in subsequent years his work would be installed at Trinity Episcopal Church, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Kenmore Methodist Church, First Trinity Lutheran Church on Niagara Falls Blvd., and many other area churches. Donald Ingram, who worked for Schlicker in the 50s and 60s, relates that every time the famous blind French organist André Marchal [see wikipedia article ] visited Buffalo, they would bring him to St. Benedict’s to play before visiting the Falls! Mr. Ingram often demonstrated our organ to prospective Schlicker clients before he became organist of St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Although it was designed on a budget, our organ has now gone 60 years without a major overhaul, which attests to the quality of his work. It also exemplifies the durability of the pipe organ; many churches which installed electronic instruments have discovered that they age rapidly, both in terms of technology and the durability of components. If you have any stories regarding our organ, please talk to Glenn Hufnagel, our organist or email

[addition 21 March 2011 - the following is from the program used at the concert]
The following essay contains material from Donald Ingram, “Memoir: Herman Schlicker and the Schlicker Organ Company, in particular from 1956–1963,” in The Tracker, 48:4 (2004), 14–18, and from personal correspondence.

Herman Schlicker arrived from Bavaria for the first time in 1924 and worked for a while at Wurlitzer in North Tonawanda. He decided that theater organs were not his style and returned to Germany, but he settled in Erie the following year and went to work for Tellers-Kent, whose work is well-represented in Buffalo Catholic parishes. In 1932 he established his own business in the Bailey-Broadway section, and during this time, he rebuilt the organ at the former St. Francis Xavier Church in Black Rock, now the Buffalo Religious Arts Center. In 1947 the firm moved to Military Road in Kenmore. Under the influence of Paul Bunjes and Robert Noehren, who would build the organ at First Presbyterian Church in 1969, Schlicker became interested in the neo-baroque organ move-ment. In January 1947, a roofer’s torch sparked a fire which devastated Saint Mary of Sorrows Church The assistant pastor reported that the organ and choir loft had sustained “only” water damage. Schlicker built a new organ with what could be salvaged from the historic E. & G. G. Hook & Hastings instrument and incorporated elements of neo-baroque design. He had removed the huge Möller organ from the Larkin Administration Building before its ultimate demise, and some of that pipework was used to build the organ at Kenmore Presbyterian Church in 1948, with Noehren as consultant. The bicentennial of Johann Sebastian Bach’s death would be observed in 1950. Schlicker installed a new chancel organ in St. Paul’s Cathedral in 1951 with Ernest White, a noted organ designer, as consultant. In 1954 he also installed the organ at Trinity Episcopal Church, which was featured in a Sunday broadcast by E. Power Biggs that November. The Diocese built St. John Vianney Seminary (now Christ the King) in the early 60s, and Schlicker provided the organ , which was only recently completed.

Saint Benedict’s parish dedicated their new church in 1952 and the pastor, Msgr. William Tobin, opted for a cutting-edge instrument. This presented Schlicker with the opportunity to build in a fine acoustical setting, and the result was the pride and joy of Howard Vogel, parish choirmaster. It was dedicated by Louis Huybrechts, organist of St. Louis Church. Donald Ingram worked for Schlicker from 1956 until he became organist at St. Paul’s Cathedral in 1963, and he relates that “this instrument was one of the favorites of the famous blind French organist André Marchal. We took him to play at St. Benedict’s every time he came to Buffalo”—and then to Niagara Falls! Marchal gave a recital at St. Benedict’s some time prior to 1956. Following the American Guild of Organists’ convention that year, “people came from all over the country to hear Schlicker’s work in Buffalo,” and it fell to Mr. Ingram to demonstrate this organ to prospective clients when “the only hymn I truly felt comfortable playing was ‘Holy God, We Praise Thy Name.’ . . . In those days, if I had played [‘A Mighty Fortress Is Our God’], I would have probably been asked to leave.”

This organ has been supporting the worship of St. Benedict’s parish for nearly 60 years without a major overhaul, a testament to the workmanship of Herman Schlicker. Those who opted for electronic instruments have discovered how quickly the technology and hardware age. One oddity in the design of our organ was the lack of a Swell-to-Positiv coupler, considered standard equipment on most organs, which enables the top manual to be played from the bottom manual. Since the only way to play those divisions together was through the Great, or middle, manual, the ivories on that keyboard had worn out by the 90s and were falling off and the key springs had became sprung, while the Positiv manual had hardly any wear at all. The Great manual was refurbished several years ago, and the missing coupler was recently installed, allowing us to use the organ’s resources with greatest flexibility. Don Ingram attributes this quirk to a simple oversight on the part of whoever drew up the specification, since Schlicker had never formally foresworn such couplers. Nonetheless, some other Schlicker organs in this area share this characteristic. Our organ was designed to best effect within budgetary constraints, e.g. the missing swell reed. Likewise, some of the intra-manual couplers would not be typical of Schlicker’s design, but they enable us to do the most with the sounds at hand. There is space on all the manual chests for another rank of pipes, but no blank stop-keys on the console. Typical of neo-baroque stoplists, 15 of our 39 ranks are mixtures, high-pitched, multiple-note stops which lend brilliance and definition to poly-phonic and symphonic music. However, the placement of the “cornet” (a combination of stops which sounds trumpety) and the trumpet on the same manual makes it impossible to authentically interpret music from the French classical era — which apparently did not bother André Marchal! Ingram figures that Schlicker anticipated a Great trumpet that could be used in dialog with the Swell cornet, but mid-century organ design did not consider a trumpet in the Great division necessary, and in fact such a trumpet was only added to the St. Paul’s Cathedral organ in 1966, donated by Herman and Alice Schlicker.

16' Pommer
8' Principal
8' Spitzflöte
4' Octave
2' Hohlflöte
IV Mixture
Chimes (electronic)
Gt/Gt 4'

8' Gedeckt
4' Rohrflöte
2' Principal
1 1/3' Larigot
1' Sifflöte
IV Scharf

8' Rohrflöte
8' Viola
8' Viola Celeste (TC)
4' Gemshorn
2 2/3' Nasat
2' Waldflöte
1 3/5' Tierce
IV Mixture
16' Dulzian (prep)
8' Trumpet
Sw/Sw 16', 4'

16' Bourdon
16' Pommer (Great)
8' Principal
8' Quintadena (from Pommer)
4' Prestant
4' Gedeckt (from Pommer)
2' Gemshorn
III Mixture
16' Posaune
8' Trumpet (ext)

Sw/Ped 8',
Gt/Ped 8',
Pos/Ped 8'
Sw/Gt 8',
Pos/Gt 16',
Pos/Gt 8'
Sw/Pos 8' (installed 2009)

About Professor Roland Martin
from UB Department of Music webpage
Roland E. Martin is a member of the Music Faculty of the University at Buffalo where he teaches organ, harpsichord and piano. Since November of 1992 he has been Director of Music for St. Joseph's University Church in Buffalo.

He is also Assistant Musical Director and accompanist for the Chautauqua Chamber Singers, as well as founder and director of Speculum Musicae: an ensemble for early music.

Mr. Martin received his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the State University College at Fredonia New York where he studied organ with Dr. John Hofmann; earlier instruction was with Hans Vigeland. He became Staff Accompanist at Fredonia in 1979 and remained in that position until 1985.

Mr. Martin is a member of the Trumpet/Organ duo "Baroque Consort" with trumpeter Wade Weast. Together they have completed successful tours including one in Europe (England, Germany, Austria) in August 1987.

As accompanist, Mr. Martin has performed throughout the Eastern United States, Canada and Bermuda. He has, served as such for the Metropolitan Opera National Competition on several occasions.

As organist he has played recitals in the U.S. (including the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.) and Canada, Spain (1978), Germany/Austria (1982) and England (1994). In February 1986, Mr. Martin was honored to perform the New York Premier, and third American performance of the complete collection of J.S. Bach's recently discovered "Neumeister Chorales."]

Mr. Martin has served as Associate Conductor for the premier of "The Beggars' Christmas" by Richard Proulx in Rockwell Hall.

An active composer and conductor, he is the recipient of two "Meet the Composer" grants. Mr. Martin was also honored with two Pennsylvania State Council of the Arts grants, and two Alcoa Arts Endowment awards for commissioned compositions. Recent works include the critically acclaimed "A Hymn for St. Cecilia", commissioned by the Cheektowaga Community Chorus, and "A Medieval Triptych" commissioned by The University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee.

In addition to his concert experience, he has worked as a Church musician since 1976. He has served at St. Paul Lutheran Church, Fredonia, Trinity Episcopal Church, Hamburg, and since 1992, St. Joseph University Heights, Buffalo.

[addition 21 March 2011 - the program]
God of Grace and God of Glory . . . . setting by Paul Manz (1919–2009)

Bach Through the Church Year
 Preludes on hymn chorales by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685¬–1750)
     Advent: Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme (Sleepers, wake!)
     Baptism: Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier (Blessed Jesus, we are here)
     Lent: O Mensch, bewein dein Sünde groß (O Man, bewail thy grievous sin)
     Holy Week: Herzlich tut mich verlangen (O Sacred Head, now wounded)
     Easter: Erstanden ist der heilige Christ (Arisen is the holy Christ)
     Pentecost: Komm, Gott Schõpfer, heilige Geist (Come, God Creator, Holy Ghost)
     Corpus Christi/Communion: Schmücke dich, O liebe Seele (Deck thyself, my soul, with gladness)
     Ordinary Time: Gott der Vater, wohn uns bei (Father, dwell in every heart)

INTERVAL — 10 minutes

Attende, Domine (Hymn for Lent) . . . . . Jeanne Demessieux (1921–1968)
There Is A Happy Land . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . George Shearing (1919–2011)
Sarabande on Land of Rest . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Gerald Near (1942¬– )
Three Hymn Settings by Paul Manz
     Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme (Wake, awake, a thrilling voice is sounding)
     Seelenbräutigam (“Bridegroom of the Soul”: Jesus, Lead Thou On)
     Nun danket alle Gott (Now Thank We All Our God)
Elegy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . James Biery (1956– )
Nun danket alle Gott . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sigfrid Karg-Elert (1877–1933)

Monday, February 21, 2011

St. Benedict's School - 90th Anniversary

Attention Alumni
Mark Your Calendars!
Saturday, September 10, 2011
5:00 Mass followed by a
Saint Benedict School
90th Reunion Party!

On September 8, 1921 Saint Benedict School opened its doors for the first time with 34 pupils and two Sisters. The beginning of the 2011-2012 school year will celebrate the 90 years that those doors have remained open. In honor of the school’s 90th anniversary, we are planning a party and would like your help. Please click on the invitation link below.

If you are an alumni and want to join us in planning this evening of shared memories and fun, please contact Carol Boerema at 837-4721 or email We would love all the help we can get. Thank you.  Please "like" our St. Benedicts School Alumni page too -
Schedule of Events -
Share this blog post -
For more on the history of St. Benedict's Parish -

Saturday, February 19, 2011

St. Benedict's Digital Exhibition 1 - Fra Angelico

St. Benedict's has begun its Digital Exhibition site.

Our first Digital Exhibition highlights the work of Blessed Fra Angelico, Patron of Catholic Artists.

We think you will enjoy the beauty and spiritual aspects of his art.

We encourage you to share this Digital Exhibit with others.
This exhibit ends 1 April.

Thank you!

To view our
Fra Angelico Digital Exhibition simply click -

Thursday, February 17, 2011

St. Joseph's Day Table March 20

The St. Joseph's Day Table was a huge success!
Thank you for joining us.
Please make plans to join us again next year.
A special "thank you" to all our volunteers!

The photos are in...

The St. Vincent de Paul Society ( is sponsoring a St. Joseph Table on March 20th 2011 at 4:00 pm at Saint Benedict Church, 1317 Eggert Rd. Amherst, NY. There will only be one seating at 4:00 pm. Tickets are $20.00 for adults and $5.00 for children who are having spaghetti only. There will be only 200 tickets sold, but we will offer take out service for families of 4. Tickets will be on sale after all Masses and in the rectory.

For information or tickets please call Agnes at 832-2086 or email

Here's the menu:
*Zuppe- Lentils and Rice
    (A time honored St. Joseph's Day tradition to start the meal)
*An Intermezzo of Hard-boiled Egg, Orange, and a Relish Tray.
*Pasta Consardi
    (A full flavored red sauce with sardine over spaghetti - red sauce available)
   (A fresh, Italian fully dressed salad.)
   (A Loin of Cod, Stuffed Hot Peppers & Fritattas of Spinach/Artichoke)
*Desserts of Cannoli, Cookies and Coffee

THANK YOU and Viva San Giuseppe!
Share this Blog post -

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Death of Fr. Joe Porpiglia's Mother

St. Benedict Church
1317 Eggert Road
Eggertsville, New York 14226

February 15, 2011

Dear Friends:

I am saddened to inform you that my beloved mother, Angeline Porpiglia, passed away on Monday, February 14.

A wake will be held on Wednesday, February 16 and Thursday, February 17 from 2:00-4:00 p.m. and 7:00-9:00 p.m. at the McGraw-Kowal Funeral Home, 736 Central Avenue, Dunkirk, New York 14048.

The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Friday, February 18 at 10:00 a.m. at Holy Trinity Church, 1032 Central Avenue, Dunkirk.

Please remember the peaceful repose of my mother's soul in your Masses and prayers.

Sincerely in Christ,
Rev. Joseph D. Porpiglia

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

History of St. Benedict's Parish

St. Benedict’s Church

This article is based on information given to the rectory by Mr. Fran Scheda. His files were from Mary and Earl Lynch and are based on an interview (probably by Mr. Lynch himself) with Monsignor William F. Tobin, founder of St. Benedict’s Parish. Msgr. Tobin was interviewed on Sunday, November 16, 1958.

This article recounts the parish's history from 1920 through 1958.
St. Benedict’s was the first Catholic Church and is an important landmark in the development of this area.

In October 1920, the Rt. Rev. William Turner, D.D., Bishop of Buffalo, sent Father Tobin to explore the area in the neighborhood of Eggertsville and Snyder to find out the number of Catholic families living there. When Father Tobin arrived at Main Street and the City Line, he began to punch doorbells and look for Catholics. The first house was of a Catholic family, but they informed him right away that he was not wanted. On foot, he kept at his job and two weeks later reported to the Bishop that he had discovered about thirty Catholic families in the district. Right then and there he was made head of the parish! He started out without any funds, no place to stay, and no church in which to hold services.

The majority of his people felt it was useless and impossible to try to start a new parish because of the small number of Catholics in the area.

However, at the Eggertsville Fire Hall Father found a place to hold services. The first Mass was celebrated on Sunday morning, November 21, 1920, and everything for the occasion had to be begged and borrowed. There were about fifty persons present, and the collection amounted to $52.00.

After Mass a meeting was held to discuss the matter of building a church.

They decided to purchase the property of Jacob Brunner at the corner of Main Street and Eggert Road for the sum of $25,000. – although this seemed like an outrageous sum at the time, because all the people had was the collection of $52.00. The property had a frontage of 266 ft. on Main Street and 329 ft. on Eggert Road. They used the fire hall from November 21, 1920 to August 7, 1921. and were given free use of the hall for Fairs and Card Parties during their stay.

On Sunday, November 28th, the first choir was organized which sang the Midnight Mass at Christmas in the Fire Hall. In December 1920 Father Tobin came to live in Eggertsville at the home of George Ferrick. Shortly thereafter he astounded the people when he said that they should have a Fair to raise money for their new building. They openly laughed at the idea and said he had big Cathedral notions. However, they did organize for the Fair and it was held on January 18. 19 and 20, 1921. Everyone was really surprised when their net profit amounted to $5,172.42.

On April 1, 1921 the first payment of $5,000. was made to Mr. Brunner for his property, and ground was broken for the first Catholic Church in Eggertsville. The men of the parish volunteered to build the church. Every evening they came from work and helped Father until it became absolutely too dark to work any more. A time keeper on duty each evening kept a record of the time each man worked, and this was credited to each individual as a contribution to the church.

Father commented that many Non-Catholics also worked very willingly. [note from Deacon Bill 9 February 2011 - there is a photo in the sacristy of those who built this church with their total volunteer hours listed.  The photo was placed there by Fr. Gary Bagley.]

The church was a wooden structure which cost $5,473.33. Since the labor was donated. This amount was completely for materials. The church seated 300 people and served the parish from August 7, 1921 to March1, 1931.

On August 7, 1921, Bishop Turner and twenty other priests came to solemnly dedicate the church under the name of St. Benedict’s.

In June of 1921 they took possession of the old building that stood on the property, which was a combination of saloon and dwelling. The saloon was immediately transferred into a school, and Father Tobin lived upstairs from June 1921 until June 1928. There the first parochial school in Eggertsville opened on September 8, 1921, with an enrollment of 34 pupils (the children originally went to St. Mary of the Angels in Williamsville). Two Sisters of St. Francis from St. Mary’s had charge of the school at first, and later the number was increased to four. The enrollment gradually grew to 63 pupils. The Sisters could tell many stories about thirsty travelers who occasionally stopped at the corner to quench their thirst – forgetting that there had been enacted a Prohibition Law and not knowing that the saloon had changed hands.

In September 1924 the Eggertsville School Board donated the use of the public school building which stood on Main Street near the present Sacred Heart Academy. There the children attended until 1928 when two additional rooms were built on the saloon building and classes resumed there and continued until a real school building was erected. The first class graduated in June 1926.

In 1930 the teaching staff was changed and the Sisters of St. Francis from Sacred Heart Academy took over. This change was brought about through and agreement between the Nuns themselves. At present there are 17 Nuns and 6 lay teachers.

The large debt of $25.000 contracted in 1921 was finally paid by 1923 through the parish efforts in organizing fairs, bazaars, lawn fetes, barbeques and card parties. After they were free of this debt they set up a building fund, but Father Tobin said it was very unsuccessful because the people did not want to contribute unless they had something material to show for their money.

However, in 1925, plans were made for a new school.

During this time the congregation had become so large that the parish was divided, and Christ the King Church in Snyder was established for the people in that area, and in 1926 St. Benedict’s boundaries were revised as follows:

South Side Beginning at the intersection of Bailey and Winspear Avenues, going east on Winspear to meet Eggert Road and south to meet Kensington Avenue; east to meet Washington Highway. The dividing line along the south side was the center of the street East Side Began at Kensington Avenue and Washington Highway continuing to Kings Highway to meet Harlem Road, to Sheridan Drive, Getzville Road on to Ellicott Creek Road. North Side Beginning on Ellicott Creek Road on Getzville Road to the west to meet Niagara Falls Boulevard. West Side Beginning at Ellicott Creek Road down Niagara Falls Boulevard to meet Eggert Road. This side also included Delta Road and Longmeadow to Bailey Avenue.

These dividing lines were approved on February 5, 1929.

Father Tobin said he could vividly remember making his regular visits to the members of the parish and having to walk, since he didn’t have a car, as far as Ellicott Creek Road, over Niagara Falls Boulevard, up to Kenmore Avenue, and finally to Main and Eggert. He said it was a full day’s work from early morning to late at night, and he often had nothing to eat all day when he did his visiting.

Since the parish had grown so large, Father Tobin could no longer handle it alone, and on June 18, 1927 ground was broken for a rectory to accommodate three priests. While building the foundation a gas well was accidentally discovered on the property, and it is interesting to note that from then on this gas furnished heat for the old building then on the corner and for the new school today.

The rectory was made of sandstone with a slate roof, and was completed in June 1928. The pastor and his assistants then left the old saloon on the corner for their new home. The rectory, equipped, cost $40,000. and was completely paid for in 1929.

In May 1930, they purchased additional property on which to build a new school. This property adjoined the original land, and had a frontage of 120 ft. on Main Street and a depth of 408 ft. on the east side. The cost was $22,000. It could have been purchased for less than half that price in 1921 when the original land was purchased, but the people did not have the courage to invest in it then, nor did they consider it necessary.

Ground was broken for a new combination church, school, and auditorium on May 1, 1930. The building was completed and dedicated on Sunday, March1, 1931, by Bishop Turner of Buffalo. This structure, which is still standing next to the most recent church and school addition, is a two-story building of sandstone with a slate roof. It had a capacity for ten classrooms and lavatories with hot and cold showers. The church was locatedon the second floor with a choir balcony, and had a seating capacity for over 500 persons. The auditorium also had a balcony, and could accommodate about 600 people. It also had a fully-equipped kitchen and cafeteria to be used for the school children and parish parties. There was also a private room for the teachers. The lower floor was devoted to the classrooms and the new building, fully equipped, cost $147.095.72.

Fom 1930 until 1950 these facilities met the needs of the parish, but at the end of this period it was found that the church was again too small to accommodate everyone.

On July 19, 1950 ground was broken for a third church. It was built in the area where the previous saloon was situated, which had been used as a playground for the children. An additional six classrooms, kindergarten and cafeteria were incorporated, and the total cost amounted to $800,000.00.

On Thaksgiving Day, November 27, 1952 the newest church was dedicated by the Most Rev. Joseph A. Burke. D.D., Bishop of Buffalo.

Shortly after this, since thecongregation was again too large, another division took place and new boundaries were set up. The parishioners from the Ellicott Creek section, Niagara Falls Boulevard and North Bailey area were transferred to the newly-extablished parish of St. Leo’s on Sweet Home Road in Eggertsville.
At the present time the old school, the new school and church, plus a few additions mentioned in the next chapter, comprise St. Benedict’s.

In 1949 still more property next to the old church on Westfield Road was acquired to facilitate parking space. On July 1, 1957 ground was broken for a Convent so that St. Benedict’s could have their own school nuns. This convent will be opened in December 1958.

At present [i.e. 1958] there are 17 Sisters teaching in the school and 6 lay teachers.

The registration is 1120 pupils. The parish has increased from the original thirty families in 1920 to a tremendous growth of 2,000 families – not including the divisions that created the two new parishes.
Share this Blog Post -

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Generations of Faith - St. Benedict's

A new option for religious education

When a child is baptized the parents and godparents pledge to share their faith with the child. The Church believes that parents are the primary educators of their children in the ways of faith. This is why our parish has begun a family faith-sharing program called "Generations of Faith." This program is an alternative to traditional religious education for young people in grades 1 - 11, including those who attend a Catholic school. Parents and their children meet once a month, for three hours on a Sunday from 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. During each session the families attend Mass together, share a light meal with each other, and receive additional materials that the families use to teach about religion at home during the other three weeks of the month. This program is open to all families in the parish. If you are interested in "Generations of Faith" or would like more information, please contact us at
Share this Blog Post -

Youth Ministry - St. Benedict's

Ministers to All

Creating a safe, positive environment for teens to grow socially, intellectually, and spiritually while empowering young adults to grow into fully functional members of the Parish and community is the mission of St Benedict's Youth Ministry. It also seeks to participate in service projects, social events and spiritual retreats that promote the presence of God in the daily lives of our young people.

The ministry is open to all high school students from St Benedict's as well as their friends, however, you do not need to be a parishioner, nor, Catholic to become a member. Teens are also welcome to attend events even if they aren't members. Adults interested in ministering to and assisting teens with the many events throughout the year are also welcome. Meeting are held every other Sunday from 7-9 pm in the new youth room located in St Benedict's School. Anyone interested in learning more about St Benedict's Youth Ministry can contact the rectory at 834-1041 or email
Share this Blog Post -

Technology Group - St. Benedict's


The parish has formed a committee to explore ways that technology can be used in the parish. Parishioners with an expertise in technology are invited to attend our meetings. Come and join us to discuss new ways to spread the Gospel.

For information contact the Rectory at 834-1041 or email
Share this Blog Post -

St. Vincent de Paul Society - St. Benedict's

Bringing help to the Needy in Body and Spirit

The St Vincent de Paul (SVDP) Conference at St Benedict's is an active group of individuals whose mission is to seek out those in the Parish who may be in need and combine their efforts to answer those needs in whatever way it can. Some of the group's activities include a Spring and Fall clothing drive, monthly contributions to the food pantry at Blessed Trinity, sponsoring children at the SVDP Summer Camp and responding to referrals of individuals in need.

Referrals may come from the SVDP Main Office, our Parish office and, sometimes from social workers at our area schools, but, regardless of the source, the members of SVDP are always there, ready to lend a helping hand.

Meetings of the Society are held at 7 pm once every month in the Faith Formation Office, located on the first floor of the School, Room 13. (Use the Westfield Lot School door for easist access.)

Some of our SVDP members at the Friends of the Poor Walk, 2012

If you are interested in joining or learning more about the Saint Vincent de Paul Society and how you can help in its efforts to minister to others, call the Rectory at 834-1041 or email

New members are always welcome, as well as your ideas and enthusiasm!

Senior Citizens - St. Benedict's

Offers Fun and Friendship for All

Saint Benedict’s group of Senior Citizens is open to parishioners of any age, as well as to non-parishioners who are simply looking for an enjoyable way to form new friendships, have some fun at sponsored events and join in ministering to others in the community.!”

The group holds many events throughout the year offering everyone the opportunity to learn about upcoming events, and to get acquainted with other members and visitors. Meetings are held every Wednesday at 2 pm, in the cafeteria refreshments are served and everyone has a chance to try their hand at card games. Other activities include a monthly Bingo game, picnic, holiday dinners and ice cream socials to name a few..

The group also runs trips during the year. Day trips have included a visit to the Casino and dessert atop the Minolta Tower overlooking the mighty falls. Overnight trip accommodations include a luxury coach complete with a restroom, movie, TV viewing, games / prizes.

With regular minimal dues of $5 / member, things are made affordable and enjoyable for everyone. As with the many other dedicated organizations at Saint Benedict’s, the Senior Citizens help others in need too, donating needed funds or materials to the Church and the School. If you are interested in learning more please call the Recory at 834-1041 or email
Share this Blog Post -

Rosary Altar Society - St. Benedict's

Offering Service Through Prayer and Friendship

The Rosary Altar Society is a group of dedicated women from St Benedict’s Parish who seek to promote the spiritual welfare of its members and give financial assistance to the Parish when possible. In addition to their spiritual services, this very active group holds many enjoyable social events during the year including a potluck dinner, Christmas party, bake sale, spring luncheon, quilt raffle and installation luncheon. They also join with the Holy Name Society on the second Sunday of each month to celebrate a Mass and participate in an informal social afterwards, allowing members of both committees to get together, talk about upcoming events, or just share a good conversation. Meetings are help on the second Monday of each month in the School’s cafeteria. Each meeting includes a special program and social hour. If you would like to become a member or learn more about the Rosary Altar Society, contact the Rectory at 834-1041 or email
Share this Blog Post -

Respect Life Ministry - St. Benedict's


The Respect Life Ministry endeavors to increase the Culture of Life through our participation in the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. In order to do this, we focus on prayer, education, community outreach and civic participation on a range of life issues including, but not limited to:

•ethical stem cell research
•capital punishment
•disability rights awareness
•Natural Family Planning vs. contraception

Information on life topics may be found in the bulletin and parish newsletter. More literature is available in the main foyer on the Respect Life bulletin board and pamphlet rack.

Regular meetings are held on the 2nd Tuesday of each month. All are welcome, but attendance is not mandatory. We welcome your participation on a variety of different levels and are looking for new ideas and opportunities in which to expand this ministry.

Parish Devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe
Currently, St. Benedict's offers participation in a parish-wide devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of Life. Each month a new family takes our parish image of Our Lady of Guadalupe into their home and strives to pray as family each day for all life issues.

Holy Hour on the Anniversary of Roe vs. Wade - on or around 22 January. See the bulletin/parish facebook/twitter for exact schedule as the date nears.

We also encourage parishioners and interested visitors to participate in the National March of Life on or around 22 January every year.  See the bulletin/parish facebook/twitter for exact schedule as the date nears.

October Baby Item Collection
Each October, the Respect Life Ministry sponsors a month long baby item collection. Many thanks go out to all who contribute. We were also able to donate many items and diapers to St. Luke's Mission of Mercy for local mothers in need.

For information call the Rectory at 834-1041 or email
Share this Blog Post -

Parish Council - St. Benedict's

The Parish Council is the chief consultative body in the parish and it should fully represent every segment of our parish. The Parish Council meets once a month.. If you are interested in serving as a member of the Council by running for a three-year term, please contact the rectory at 834-1041 or via email:
Share this Blog Post -

Legion of Mary - St. Benedict's

Dedicated to Our Lady & to One Another

The Legion of Mary is a Catholic organization made up of both men and women who offer their services to the Pastor on performing spiritual works. The Legion was originally formed under the banner of Mary Immaculate Mediatrix of all Graces to develop greater holiness in their own lives and among others. To imitate her virtues as well as the performance of apostolic works prescribed by the Legion, members regularly participate in the recitation of the rosary, visit the sick and infirm, distribute Catholic literature, help with RCIA, minister to those who are incarcerated, and work with those who are estranged from the Church. They do this, as they seek to spread devotion to Mary and the enthronement of the Sacred Heart in the home. As Marie Lillian, member of the Legion says, "All these things are intended to lead us closer to the Lord and a place in heaven."

The Legion offers both Active and Auxiliary memberships. Active members meet once a week, perform two hours of apostolic work that week as prescribed by the Legion, and perform daily recitation of Catena (Legion Prayer). Auxiliary members are required to pray the rosary daily as well as the Legion prayers found in the Tessera leaflet. Meetings of the Legion of Mary are held each Saturday at 9:00 am in the School's faculty lunch room. If you are interested in becoming a member contact the rectory at 834-1041 or email for more information.
Share this Blog Post -

Ladies of Charity - St. Benedict's

Making a Difference in the Lives of Many

Ladies of Charity is an international ministry of service to the needy and membership is open to all women in the Diocese of Buffalo. In Western New York, major programs including those for emergency clothing and household goods; layettes; Christmas gift packages for children and adults; reading enrichment for children; and a thrift store, are organized through the Diocesan Ladies of Charity Center in Buffalo.

Currently there are about 75 members at St Benedict's and the programs they administer are supported in a variety of ways. For example, one group of ladies may work at a thrift store one day a month, while other members may go to day care centers and similar sites to read and talk with the children. Other events include preparation of Christmas packages for the needy, winter coat collections, and Parish-wide collections for paper-products and other essentials. If you are interested in learning more about Ladies of Charity, call the rectory at 834-1041 or email

For more information on the Ladies of Charity, visit their national website -
Share this Blog Post -

Holy Name Society - St. Benedicts

Offering Service to Others & Camaraderie Among Parishioners

There are 235 paid members involved in the Holy Name Society at St. Benedicts, which shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering that fellow members say, “The best part is the people from all walks of life!”

Dues of just $7 for the year give you the opportunity to take part in a variety of annual events including a tailgate party, Christmas party, clam bake, sports breakfast and steak roast. In keeping with their commitment to service, some members of the Society also serve on a committee and attend wakes of fellow parishioners who have passed away.

Meeting of the Holy Name Society are held on the second Sunday of every month following the 8 a.m. Mass which they celebrate along with members pf the Rosary Altar Society. An informal social with coffee and pastries follows in the cafeteria where upcoming events can be discussed and people can enjoy some conversation. Regular business meetings of the Society are held on the second Tuesday of each month in the School’s faculty lunchroom. The Holy Name Society is always looking for new members and new ideas, so, if you are interested in becoming a member, call the rectory at 834-1041 or email
Share this Blog Post -

Faith Sharing Groups - St. Benedict's


One evening a month is a good investment when the pay-off is feeling more refreshed, more connected to the parish community and most importantly, more deeply in relationship with Jesus. Our Faith Sharing Groups are already seeing the benefits of the 2-hour-a-month investment. Friendship, fellowship and a deepening of faith await you! New groups can be formed at any time. There is no cut-off date. Do yourself the favor!

For more information or to join a Faith Sharing Group send an email to or call us at 834-1041.
Share this Blog Post -

Bible Study / Scripture Study - St. Benedict's

St. Benedict's offers a number of Bible Studies. 

Are you looking for meaning in the scriptures? Do you open the Bible and wonder what God is saying to the world, to you? Do you feel it is time to do something more as a Catholic other than going to Mass? Come to Bible Study! We are a small group who meet weekly for an hour to study the Bible and we WELCOME new members.

Here is a link to the New American Bible which is the translation we use during our liturgies -

Here is a brief history of our Monday evening Bible Study:
The group was started by then seminarian Richard Cilano during the first summer he was with us in 2003. He is now a priest in our Diocese. He had two classes at the time, a morning group and evening group. He asked for input and those attending wanted to go book by book starting with Genesis.

When he had to return to the seminary, he asked CArol Mathner to take over when he found out out that she had received a MAT (1997) from Christ the King Seminary. Carol directed the evening group and has ever since!. He encouraged the morning group to join us but only 1 person did (and she is still with us).

The Collegeville Commentary is used as a resource for the classes. Although it was not very good for the Psalms so a Hebrew commentary from the Jewish Center is also used. It works great. It is amazing to see how 1 or 2 words could change a meaning!

We started out with about six members. Five have always stayed. People come and go. Some would join for a year, then illness, a painting class , moving to care for a parent.. what ever life gave people, would stop coming. Some came once or twice, said they enjoined it but didn't come back.

The prologue of The Catechism of the Catholic Church says God "calls man to seek him, to know him, to love him" and the way to hand on faith is through "Catechesis..and education in faith of children,young adults and adults". For four of our members, this is the 2nd -3rd -4th Bible group they belonged to in their lifetime. They thirst for God's love and they know to find it in the scripture. It is this thirst which has them devoted to coming together weekly all these years. As we are in the now [July 2011] in the middle of the New Testament they have expressed concern as to what will come when we finish Revelations.

In the hour we gather (and is exactly an hour) we read a passage. Carol points out historical, sometimes archeological, theological facts on the passage. Since we are in the synoptic gospels, Luke is compared to Matthew and Mark. Anyone can comment, with any background they know of, which may get a conversation going. Conversation also may involve how the passage affects us today. May not always happens and Carol does all the teaching! It all depends upon how the Spirit moves us.
We would love to have you study the Sacred Scriptures with us.

If you are interested, send us an email at or call us at 834-1041.
Share this Blog Post -

Bereavement Committee - St. Benedict's


Is this a ministry you are being called to?

The Bereavement Committee at St. Benedict's is a ministry whose mission is to reach out to parishioners who are mourning the death of a loved one. In providing consolation, support and hope, we make an effort, as representatives of their Catholic community, to share their grief.

In 1986, the Bereavement Committee at St. Benedict's was founded by a young widowed parishioner, Mary Lou Kaye, and funeral director, Richard Wedekindt. Since then, we have provided prepared food, sent sympathy cards, Spiritual Remembrance cards, and helpful literature to numerous families who have experienced the loss of a loved one. The committee maintains a rack in the vestibule of the church with literature on grief and personal loss. Twice a year a Memorial Mass is offered to which all parishioners are welcomed to celebrate the lives of those recently deceased. At Christmastime, our members sponsor a -Memorial Tree which parishioners are encouraged to decorate in remembrance of their deceased loved ones.

In order to continue to serve those who are grieving, the committee needs your assistance. If you were a recipient of the Bereavement Committee's assistance at some time, perhaps you would like to bring that same comfort to others now in need. As a parish committee, it is our hope and prayer to do more for families who have experienced the death of a loved one. Since there are so many opportunities to serve on the committee, many hands are needed. Please consider joining our committee.

If you would like to become a member or if you have any questions, email or call us at 834-1041.
Share this Blog Post -

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Social Justice Group - 28 FEB. - TOBIN ROOM

The time is ripe!


Monday 28 February at 7:00 PM in the Tobin Room
You are invited!

Recently, many "big idea" things have taken place at the parish:
-Reaching Out 2 Africa weekend,
-JustFAITH classes held here recently,
-Our Youth Group's party at Vive La Casa,
-National Immigration Week,
-my recent awareness of unemployment issues in the parish,
-connections to the Diocesan Peace and Justice Commission.

Not to mention the phenomenal outreach work of our St. Vincent De Paul Society, the Ladies of Charity, and so many other individual acts of charity and justice from parishioners.

I am hoping that our new group will keep social justice issues "on the front burner."  I envision it working on a few projects per year as well. I think we would only need to meet occasionally; once we agree on our projects, we could work in committees via email for the most part.

But perhaps you have other ideas and directions?  Please come to the meeting on 28 February.  You are the experts in this area, so please share your ideas with us!

For some people, Catholic Social Teaching is a new discovery. Yet our Catholic Faith is so profound in this area! I hope that our new group will help make the teachings of the Church more widely known and incorporate them into the very fabric of parish life from now on.

Please help us get the word out about our first meeting.
7:00 PM in the TOBIN ROOM

FYI - Use the Eggert Road parking lot, enter the School door, walk up the steps, and turn right to access the Tobin Room/Church Library.

See you there!
Pax Christi,
Deacon Bill+
video invitation -

Share this blog post -


Do you know someone who is divorced and in need of an annulment?
This weekend on Friday and Saturday there is an Annulment Writing Workshop to help people get started on their annulment papers. The workshop will be held Friday, February 4 from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm and Saturday, February 5 from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm in the UB Newman Center, 495 Skinnersville Road (the traffic light just past Sweet Home High School) in Amherst. There is a $20 registration fee includes snacks, breakfast, lunch & a book. To register, call Barbara Wyse at 633-7786.

This is a great opportunity for someone who is divorced to begin the annulment process. The session Friday is an introduction and Saturday is a work session. People can attend on Saturday even if they can not attend on Friday.

Please help us spread the word.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Pastor's Sabbatical - Rome/Sicily

Journal entry 2 Feb 2011 Tuesday (Venerdi)

This is my first attempt to write to all of you. I have been in Italy only three and a half days and I am just getting settled in. The first couple of days were traveling. I landed in Rome on Saturday and stayed the night at the seminary where I will be staying for the sabbatical program starting on the fiftieth of February. The next two weeks I will spend taking Italian classes in Sicily. I arrived here renting a room from a family arranged through the school. It turns out she is a widower who speaks very little English and is very religious. Tonight she was reading at mass and led a couple of songs in singing.

My first couple of days have been very interesting. I was only in town a couple of hours and they had a special mass with the Arcbishop from Messina who was the main celebrant. They are celebrating the Feast of St John Bosco. My landlady Antonina Spadoni introduces me to the pastor and they ask me if I want to concelebrate, I agree and they dress me vestments as I meet a number of the priest who are waiting for the Archbishop to arrive. There are some younger servers that are there and they are working on their English as I am working on my Italian. I am not yet over my jet lag and I am in a church right out of a Fallini movie. It ends up being packed with altar servers sitting on the steps of the altar and a children's choir in the balcony. They introduce me at the beginning of the mass which are the only words I understand. I smile and nod approvingly, I wish you could be here, I think you would enjoy it if you have a sense of adventure. After mass is finished the archbishop leaves and they start a possession from the church of St Joseph to the Basilica a half mile down the narrow cobble stone street with banners flying overhead. You should see they statue of St John Bosco they carry down the from steps of the church to be a part of the procession, they put a wooded ornate canopy on top of the statue with lights and with the priest with a relic and a band they head down the street. I pinch myself that I am really here a part of it all. It is very powerful seeing all the people and the energy.

That was Sunday night, last night they had the second mass for the feast at the basilica which was packed again and I arrive just in time after class to concelebrate and some young people remember me from the night before and they usher me back to the sacristy, put me in vestments. I meet the main celebrant who is the head of the Salesian province in this area. He speaks English and we have a few words after mass. I realize they are introducing me at the beginning of mass because I hear Fr. Giuseppe, I smile and have it confirmed the next day at school because two of the secretaries where there at the mass. I don't know how I got so fortunate. During the mass they realize it is raining too hard to have the possession back to St Joseph so they postpone it for two days when the weather is suppose to be better. At this mass they have dignitaries from the community and some military people there as well. They are dressed very ornately and you can tell this is a very big celebration.

After talking with a few people I inquire of a good local place to have dinner, one lady tells me of a place just a few meters down the main road and I fine my way there. There is a birthday party for some children in the basement and a wood burring oven in the kitchen for pizza. I am happy, the place is warm and the waiters speak some English. I order some "pasta normale" which is the normal pasta of the area with eggplant and cheese. It is hot and tasty and I have that with "insalate mista", mixed salad and I am very happy! As I ask for check I am informed a man at the table next to mine has bought me dinner, he was at mass that night and remembers me. I give him my business card from the parish and he gives me his, he is the president of their local government council and he invites me to his office in a couple of days. I am still very happy!

I have regressed for a couple of days to get you up to some of my happenings. Tonight as I was mentioning, they had mass at 5:30 at the church of St Joseph. One of the priest from last night said he would be the main celebrant and invited me to join them. There ended up being three priest there and a few people from the congregation. They dressed me up and I smiled nicely, my land lady was there and she seemed pleased that I was concelebrating. I was greatly pleased just to be there.

After mass was over, I started wandering the street to find a place for dinner. You need to picture this, it is raining hard, few people are out and many of the restaurants are closed because this is not tourist season and they are on holiday. As I walk down the street there is an umbrella which as gotten away from its owner in the wind, I stop to pick it up to return it and it belongs to a restaurant owner who is trying to tape his sign up to a post in the rain. I hold the umbrella while he is working and he suggests that his restaurant is good place to eat. I know it is too early for the locals to eat, they usually eat around 8:30 or 9 o'clock but since it is raining and I have no other place to go, I venture up to get out of the rain.

He is suggesting heavily that I try some seafood that he shows me telling me the fish is very fresh. I order that and some pasta as my first plate. I order gnocchi with eggplant, sauce, onions, mushrooms and squash. My condition for ordering is that I get to watch him cook, he doesn't seem to mind. I wanted to take a cooking class, I just didn't think it would be this way! I watch him make a great pasta dish and vegetables he cooks on the grill as well as the fish caked in sea salt. It is all wonderful. I realize in the process he is the owner, the waiter and the dish washer, it is the off season. I ask him he minds if I work at the table and he tells me I am like family and he is happy for the company. I did tell you it is the off season and it is now about two hours after I arrived and no one else has shown up. I am still working on my wine and water and listening to music. He asked me what I want to listen too, Italian of course! I still don't understand a word but it is fitting for the experience.

I am sorry for the rambling, but it has been a wonderful experience so far and I hope I can share some of it with you. As you can tell I have been in church a few times already and you have been in my prayers, please keep me in yours. Next time I will try to tell you about some of my classmates and classes, it is all very interesting to me. Also say a special prayer that I can find a part for my camera which is missing so that I can recharge the battery. It will take me a half hour train ride and some of the best Italian I can muster! Bono Notte!
fifth Sabbatical Blog post -
fourth Sabbatical Blog post -
third Sabbatical Blog post -
second Sabbatical Blog post -
this Sabbatical Blog post -