The year 2021 marks the 150th anniversary of the founding of Most Precious Blood Roman Catholic Church in Angola, New York.
To commemorate this important occasion, Most Precious Blood Parish will celebrate various aspects of its past by remembering the people and events that shaped its rich history.
To begin, the bulletin will publish portions of MPB’s story in approximately 30 consecutive issues, beginning Sunday, March 21 and continuing through Sunday, October 3. These articles will also be posted on the parish website. The anniversary celebration will begin Sunday, March 21 with Mass at 8:30 a.m. and will conclude September 26. Announcements of additional activities will be made in future bulletins.


Our History 

 After the Diocese of Buffalo was established in 1847,  the spiritual needs of Catholics from 1850 to  1870, in what is now Angola, was attended to by the Passionist Fathers of Dunkirk. At the  request of  residents, priests traveled to the area to say Mass in the larger homes.  This continued until 1871 when Most Precious  Blood Parish  was  established.  The Rev.  Thomas Ledwith was its first pastor.
 Fr. Ledwith purchased a vacant schoolhouse on Lake St., which, after extensive repairs, became the first church of the newly formed parish.  The first baptism was performed March 26, 1871 for John Woods, son of  John and Bridget Fitzgerald Woods.  Bishop Ryan confirmed 52 persons at the parish’s first Confirmation  July 9, 1871 and Fr. Ledwith  performed the first marriage  June 30, 1872 for William Eggston and Bridget Hannon. 


In 1874 the Rev. Thomas Caraher came to Angola (incorporated in 1873) as MPB’s pastor. He purchased land on the Transit and Brant-Angola Roads for a parish cemetery. Prior to that time, all Catholic burials from the area took place in Dunkirk. The first burial in Holy Cross Cemetery was March 7 1879 for Dennis Graeney. During the next few years, the Pastorate at Angola had many changes and many pastors. The Rev. Arthur Barlow became pastor in 1878, followed by the Rev. James O’Laughlin (1879), the Rev. Christopher O’Byrne (1881), the Rev. George Burris (1881), and the Rev. J. P. Grant (1884). 


 In 1886 the  Rev. J. M. McCarthy arrived in Angola as the newly appointed pastor of the Church of the Most Precious Blood.  He would serve as its pastor for the next sixteen years. While continuing to use the old schoolhouse as his church, Fr. McCarthy began formulating plans for the construction of a new brick structure.  The men of the parish arranged to  buy an acre of land adjacent to the Lake St. property already owned by the parish.  It was purchased for $145 from Abner Dewey.  The church was dedicated in 1897.

     The Rev. Richard T. Burke succeeded Fr. McCarthy in 1902.  Seeing the need of a parish hall, he had a basement dug beneath the newly constructed church. He also bought additional property for the parish’s cemetery.  Holy Cross Cemetery was dedicated October 21, 1904.  

 The brick structure on Lake St. served as the Church of Most Precious Blood from the time of its dedication in 1897 until it was replaced by a new  building located on  Prospect St., which was completed  in 1962. The brick church was eventually sold and is now a private residenc


The Rev. John Keavin was appointed pastor in 1912. Using an enormous tent, he began the practice of celebrating Mass at Angola-on-the-Lake for sum-mer residents. The Rev. Campion continued this tradition after succeeding Fr. Keavin in 1929. He rented the pavilion at the Municipal Beach for the purpose of celebrating Mass. In 1935 the Rev. Mi-chael Martin was appointed pastor, followed by the Rev. John J. Lalley in the same year. When Fr. Lalley became pastor, members of the parish numbered 700 and the church seated 300. In addition, 2500 -3000 summer residents and tourists took part in the Mass at the Municipal Pavilion every Sunday. Recognizing the need to accommodate the many summer vacationers of the Catholic faith, Fr. Lalley approached Bishop Duffy about the possibility of constructing a chapel on Old Lake Shore Rd. The plan was approved at a meeting at the Chancery and became a reality in 1938. The new structure was named St. Peter’s Chapel. Fr. Lalley also organized the first troops of Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts in the parish. During the 14 years as pastor of Most Precious Blood Parish, he was assisted by the Rev. Bertrand J. Gulnerich, the Rev. W. L. Hatch, the Rev. Joseph L. Jensen, the Rev. Leo J. Hammerl, the Rev. Peter Huesges, the Rev. Paul C. Schreck, the Rev. Bernard D. Sexton and the Rev. Paul Hammerl.

St. Peter’s Chapel St. Peter’s Chapel, a wooden structure located on Old Lake Shore Rd. between Lake St. and the entrance to the Evans Town Park, looked upon the Lake Erie and beach areas from across the street. In existence as a humble house of worship for approximately 60 years, the summer chapel served the Lake residents and vacationing visitors by providing the opportunity of attending Sunday Mass in the area.While the chapel was utilized in the summer, it is pictured above with remnants of a winter’s snow-fall. The statue of Our Lady of the Lake can be seen on the right. The statue was donated in the early 1950s by Dr. and Mrs. Walter King. Some may recall from the summers of the ’50s that the pastor, Fr. Thomas Fernan, also supervised the weekly offering. With a suppressed smile, he handled the collection basket saying quite audibly, “Let’s have a quiet collection. I don’t want to hear any clinking!

As the successor to Fr. Lalley, the Rev. Thomas E. Fernan came to Angola in February 1949. During the next ten years, the parish enjoyed a period of growth, improvements and innovations: acquisition of a convent to house eight nuns in 1949; redecorating of the church and refurnishing of the sanctuary; installation of a new organ; the acquisi-tion of land on Prospect St. in 1951 and the building of a school on part of it. The doors of the school opened for classes September 9, 1953.Assistants to Fr. Fernan during his tenure included Rev. Salvatore Cusimano, Rev. S. Faiola, Rev. P. Magiewski, Rev. E. Halloran, Rev. F. Barrato, Rev. James Cotter, Rev. Herbert Engelhardt, and Rev. Joseph Spahn.Following Fr. Fernan’s death in May 1959, Rev. Alan Zielinski served as interim administrator until the Rev. Dennis P. Shea became pastor Aug 16, 1959.

 In its July 9, 1953 issue, the Evans Journal published two pictures of major construction sites nearing completion: the Lake Shore Central Junior-Senior High School on Beach Rd. and Most Precious Blood’s Elementary School on Prospect St. When MPB’s school opened in September 1953, twelve young teenagers were members of the eighth grade class, which would become the first graduating class of the Parochial Grammar School of Most Precious Blood Parish. The total enrollment in grades K-8 numbered approximately 235 in the first year of the school’s existence. The first graduates (1954) were Gayle Chiappone, Patricia Grady, Joan Guzzeta, Thelma Helberg, Sarah Holcomb, Kathleen Knack, Patricia Laws, Donna Lischarelli, Joseph Reinard, Thaddeus Sara-nia, Sandra Sciarrino and Noreen Smith. Through the years, MPB Parochial School served its parish well, providing a Catholic education for children of its faith community. As total enrollment increased, so did the number of graduating eighth-graders: 20 in 1955; 45 in 1962; 48 in 1966. Enrollment numbers were relatively steady through the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, but began to dwindle in the 2000s. As a result, plans began to emerge for the school’s closing in 2007, after 54 years of educating over 1300 children.Members of the last graduating class were: Alisa Butlak, Zachory Kosnik, Daniel Lohr, Nicholas Lopez, Geoffrey Panfil, William Rogers and Rachel Szwed.
After  Fr. Shea  became  pastor in  1959,  he  acquired  property  on Prospect   St.   (inward   from   Lake St.) for a proposed driveway.  This was followed by a groundbreaking July  30,  1961  for  a  new  church and   rectory.   The   first   Mass   to celebrate    their  completion  took place June 21, 1962.  One  can  see  in  the  photo  that  the  wall  figures, now    located  on  the  outside  of  the  church  building, originally were placed inside the church, around the crucifix above the altar. The  Parish  Council  voted  unanimously  in  January 1969 to build a new convent  adjacent to the church.  Construction  began  in  July  with  its  completion  and occupancy  in  1970.  The  parish  celebrated  its  Hundredth Anniversary in 1971.  Assistants  to  Fr.  Shea  were:  Rev.  H.  Huber  (1959-1967);    Rev.  Fred  Fingerle  (1967-1969);    and  Rev. James  Kasprzak (August -November 1969).  Fr. Shea  retired  as  pastor of  Most Precious  Blood in 1981, remaining as Pastor Emeritus until his death June 24, 1995. Church of the Most Precious Blood1871 -Angola,  N.Y.   -2021Most  Precious  Blood Parish  commemorated the hundredth  year  of  its  founding  with  a  week-long celebration.  The  banner  shown  above  contained the  official  logo  of  the  Centennial  and  announced  the event from the front lawn. In a letter to  parish-ioners, printed in the Centennial program book, Fr. Shea wrote: Today  we  begin  the  celebration  of  the  Centennial  of our  parish  with  the  Apostolic  Blessing  of  his  Holiness Pope Paul  VI  and  the  visit of  our  Auxiliary Bishop, Most Rev. Pius A. Benincasa. The Bishop will offer with us the Holy  Sacrifice  of  the  Mass  in  gratitude to  Almighty  God and   for   one   hundred   years   of   grace   and   blessings       bestowed upon our parishioners through these years.The schedule of the week’s events included:Sunday -Pontifical Opening Mass (Aux. Bishop Benincasa); Dinner for clergy and nuns; Parish reception.Monday -Pre-teen skating party.Tuesday -Latin Mass for the Living; Discussion --“Liturgical Changes”.Wednesday -Rosary Altar Society card party, Smorgasbord; Teen Folk Mass ; Teen Dance.Thursday -Mass for the Deceased.Friday -Centennial Bingo.Saturday -Barbecue and Kiddy Rides; Mass for the People of the Parish.Sunday -Thanksgiving Closing Mass (Aux. BishoP Bernard  J. McLaughlin).Fr.  Shea continued his message by adding: "I feel honored and privileged to be your Pastor on this joyous  occasion  and  I  am  grateful  to  all  who  have   assisted me in any way in my 11 years at Most Precious Blood Parish. In return I shall continue to show my gratitude  by  remembering  you  all  in  my  daily  Masses  and prayers.  May  Almighty  God  continue  to  bestow  His graces  and  blessings  upon this  parish  and  its  parishioners for as many years as it shall exist. "
The  Rev.  J.  Grant  Higgins  was  pastor  of  Most    Precious  Blood  Parish  from  1982  until  1998.  His    assistants  were  Rev.  Charles  Zadora  and  Rev.  John Hajduk.  The lake property, on which St. Peter’s Chapel stood,  was  sold  and  the  structure    demolished.  The statue  of  Our  Lady  of  the  Lake,  which  had  been    donated  by  Dr.  and  Mrs.  Walter  King  in  the  early 1950s, was moved to the church grounds. The parish property in the village acquired a small structure for the  use  of  the  school --a  relocatable    classroom. And  the  parish  benefitted  from  the  services  of  its  Permanent Deacons. The   Second   Vatican   Council   (1962-1965)   re-established the Permanent Diaconate in the Church, allowing  married  men  to  be  ordained  ministers  of the  Church  and  to  perform  the  duties  of  a  priest   with  two  important  exceptions:  Reconciliation  and the Consecration. The   first  permanent   deacon   at   Most   Precious Blood  was  Joseph  Kane,  a  parishioner  and    Chief  of the  Village  of  Angola  Police  Department.  He  served from  1977  until  1998.    Deacon  Kane  was  joined  in the  80s  and  90s  by  Deacon  Paul  Schreiber,  working with RCIA; Deacon Richard Kelsey, involved with the school;   and   Deacon   Frank   Polizzi.   Deacon   David Velasquez served in 2006 and 2007 and to date was  the last deacon  at MPB. Deacons  were  eligible  to  deliver  homilies,  attend to  the  sick  and  dying  and  to  preside  at  baptisms, weddings  and  funerals.  In  addition  to  their  spiritual duties at MPB, they also took an active role in parish carnivals , lawn fetes and other fundraisers.

The Annex  The  small,  white  structure  between  the  Parish Hall  driveway  and  Lake  St.  has  been  part  of  the MPB “campus” since the 1980s.  It was originally a Lake Shore Central “re-locatable” classroom but is now known as MPB’s “Annex.” The  Lake  Shore  School  District    purchased  three of  these  classrooms  in  the  1970s  to  accommodate overflow  enrollment  at  three  elementary  schools. Each  installed  unit    provided    all  of  the  necessary utilities: heat, electricity, water and plumbing. Sr. M.   Theophane was principal   when   MPB school became a flourishing educational institution. She  saw  the  need  for  occasional  remedial  services in  grades  K-8  but  was  unable  to  provide  them.  She contacted  William  Houston,  Superintendent  of  the Lake  Shore  Central  School  District,  and  asked  what could be done.  Fortunately,  New  York  State  educational  regulations  had  eased  a  bit  to  enable  public  school  personnel to provide services to parochial students un-der  a public  school  roof.  Since there  was  no  longer a need for all three classrooms at LSC, Mr. Houston made one available to MPB at the Prospect St. site.  Public  school  teachers  began  to  administer  reme-dial lessons in reading, speech and math. Mr.  Houston  recalls  meeting  Most  Rev.  Edward D.  Head,  Bishop  of  Buffalo  and  accompanying  him to  the  schoolroom.  There  the  bishop  blessed  the structure as the superintendent looked on. After  the  school  closed  in  2007, the  building  eventually  became  property  of MPB.  Known  as the Annex,  it  has  been  used  as  the  meeting  place  for RCIA, Parish Council and many other church groups.
Rev.  Bernard  U. Nowak  became    pastor    of    MPB  in  1998 and immediately made  repairs   and   improvements to   various   properties   and structures in the parish.  He  had  the  sanctuary  renovated and updated; the altar was reconstructed  and the   acoustical   tile   was   re-moved,  revealing  a  magnificent wooden ceiling; carpeting  was  replaced;  and  a  baptismal  pool  was  con-structed in front of Mary’s altar. Roofing and furnaces   were   replaced   at   the   rectory,   school   and    convent. Through  monetary  gifts  made  by  parishioners,   Fr.  Nowak  purchased  a  new  sound  system  and  an Allen  organ  for  the  church.  In  addition  to  these    projects, he  had a chapel built as an addition to the church.  This  was  accomplished  with  funds  donated by parishioners. Completed  in  2004,  the  chapel  houses  original paintings  depicting  the  Five  Luminous  Mysteries  of the  Rosary.  Through  the  years  It  has  been  used  for Masses,  religious  instruction  classes  and  as  a  meeting  room  for  various  parish  groups  and  organizations.  Fr. Nowak promoted a fuller participation by both men  and  women  in  parish  ministries  and  encouraged    girls  as  well  as  boys  to  become  altar  servers.  The parish at this time numbered over 1,000 house-holds. The Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary, Introduced  by  Pope  John  Paul  II  in  2002,  the  Five Luminous  Mysteries  of  the  Rosary  are  recited  between the  Joyful  and  Sorrowful  mysteries  and    highlight  the role given to Jesus as the “Light of the World.” These mysteries,  according  to  some  sources,  are  commemorated on Thursdays. During the time that Fr. Nowak was MPB’s pastor and  was overseeing the construction of the new chapel,  he  considered  the  Luminous  Mysteries  appropriate  to identify  with  the  new  structure.  He  enlisted  Chester Dimitroff  and  Rose  Bogdan  Szwed,  the  artists  who  earlier  painted  most  of  the  wall  art  in  the  school  cafeteria. The five paintings for the chapel were  created by Rose, Chet and Fr. Bernie in the Dimitroff basement art studio. Their  renditions  favored  symbolic  concepts  rather  than the traditional illustrations of biblical scenes. Here, then, are the chapel paintings and their titles:  
In  January  2005,  when  Fr.  Nowak  left  for  assignments  in  Chautauqua  County,  Bishop  Edward  Kmiec appointed   Rev.  Matt   Mieczyslaw   Nycz   pastor   of Most Precious Blood Parish.  Fr. Matt continued  improvements  and  updates,  renovating  the  liturgical brass  in  the  sanctuary  and  replacing  the  stairs  from the gym area to the cafeteria with a handicap ramp.  He   reorganized   the   Parish   Council   and   created Finance  and  Maintenance  Committees.    In  addition, he   organized   the   Youth   Group   as   well   as   adult funeral servers.  In 2006 the ceiling and lights in the cafeteria  were  replaced and  new  round  tables  were purchased. Fr.  Matt  began  the  tradition  of  offering  classical concerts as part of an outreach program.  He formed a  committee  in  August  2005  to  bring  performers  to MPB  and  to  promote  the  concerts.    During  the  year that  followed,  nearly  a  dozen  classical  and  sacred programs  took  place  at  the  church.  In  addition,  a Kurtzmann baby grand piano was donated for use in the sanctuary for worship and concerts.  A  major  change  to  the  parish  occurred  when  the Diocese  of  Buffalo  announced  that  Most  Precious Blood  School  would  be  one  of  the  thirteen  Catholic schools to close in June 2007 as part of  the diocesan restructuring  process.  Fr.  Matt  implemented  many changes  in  the  Faith  Formation  Program  to  accommodate  youth  no  longer  served  by  the  school.  A Youth  Ministry  was  begun  for  those  of  middle  and high school age.  
MPB  Concerts:
After  its  formation,  the  concert  committee  met regularly  to  make  arrangements  for  each  program.  This   included   scheduling,   promotion,   admission, ushers,  program  book  and  post  concert  reception. While the concerts were considered public relations for  the  parish,  they  also  served  as  fundraisers  for MPB with the exception of two concerts that  bene-fitted Operation Good Neighbor. When  the  committee  first  convened,  the  parish already  had  sponsored  two  concerts:  Ewa  Lewendowski,  soprano,  and  Pawel  Staszczyszyn,  piano, musicians from Poland; and the Villa Maria Chorale. The  third  concert  spotlighted  Cristina  Voto,  piano, and Maria Szczepanik, soprano.  The two sisters had been MPB parishioners in their childhood, had participated in the parish choir in their teens and later were  organists/pianists  and  directors  of  the  choir. This  concert  was  followed  by  a  string  quartet  that included another former resident of the area, Lynda Dimitroff, cello. During  the  next  five  years,  various  area  groups performed at MPB: St. Mary of the Lake choirs and musicians,  hand  bell  choir  of  the  Angola  Congregational   Church,   Canisius   College   Chorale,   Chopin Singing Society, Chautauqua Children’s Choir, Fredonia Chamber Singers and the Lake Effects (Sweet Adeline)  Singing  Group  that  included  parishioner Sandie  Emhof.    Lake  Shore  music  teachers  Annette & Jim Ieda also performed as did Tom Herlihy. Concerts often celebrated  holiday seasons: Palm Sunday --the   Kosta   Manojlovich   Choir   of   St. Stephen’s Orthodox Church, Lackawanna; the Gift of   Christmas --Brittany   Mruczek   (soprano)   and members  of  New  Horizon;  Eastertide --Resound with Joy (MPB Music Ministry). From  April  2005  to  May  2010,  MPB  hosted  28 concerts   that   included   many   professionals   from outside of the county and state. The concerts  were well    attended  with  audiences  not  just  from  MPB, but from throughout  Buffalo and Erie County.

Our Lady of the Lake Prayer Garden: Under  the  leadership of  Fr. Matt  Nycz, the  creation  of  a  prayer  garden  was  the  major  project  of 2009.  While  its  purpose  was  to  provide  a  serene area   for   contemplation,   its   plan   incorporated handicap  accessibility  to  the  church,  chapel  and rectory. 
The statue of Our Lady, once residing at  St. Peter’s Chapel  at  the  lake,  was relocated  to  a  place  of prominence  on  a  black granite pedestal over-looking a cascade of water. She became the garden’s central figure and its name-sake.  Parishioners supported the Prayer  Garden  project  by  purchasing  various  components:     commemorative     medallions,     bricks, pavers, benches and pedestal space.  Four  circles  extend  outward  from  the  walkway.  two on each side.  Within each circle is a   medallion   etched   with   a   scripture message,  the  name  of  a  loved  one,  a family or a group.
Surrounding each medallion and forming  a stone “floor” are bricks and pavers, each  with  a  name  of  the  one  it honors. Three   wooden   benches   are   grouped   on      the  “floor”  of  each  circle,  providing seating  for  visitors  as  they  pray, meditate  or  simply  enjoy  the  serenity of the venue. The walkway and central areas serve as gathering space  for Mass,  prayer, meetings  and  other  special events.   The   granite   altar   has   the   parish   motto     inscribed on its front. Our  Lady  of  the  Lake  Prayer  Garden  was  dedicated  by  Auxiliary  Bishop  Edward  Grosz  February 11,  2010.    Fr.  Matt  fortunately  was  able  to  be  present  at  the  event  before  departing  for  his  new     pastoral  assignment. 


Following Fr. Matt’s departure, Rev. Msgr. Fred  Voorhees was  appointed  temporary  administrator of  the parish.  On April 24, 2010,  MPB Parish welcomed its new pas-tor,  Rev.  John  S.  Kwiecien.    Fr.  John  had  been  pastor  of Holy Spirit Parish in North Collins where he also served as part-time  chaplain  at  the  prison  facility,  a    ministry  he continued  while  at  MPB.    His  service,  in  turn,    inspired some from the parish to volunteer their time in this  ministry.  Parishioners  soon  learned  that  occasionally,  within the celebration of Mass, Fr. John  was inclined to  play his guitar and sing during a psalm or hymn.  Fr.   John   continued   various   maintenance   programs throughout  the    buildings and  grounds of MPB  with spe-cial  attention  given  to  energy-saving    projects:  lighting, windows,  heating.   He  also  updated  areas  of  the  church, replacing the sound system and the carpeting and adding brass  railings  (donated  by  a  parish  family)  at  the  altar steps. The  school  building,  now  known  as  the  Parish  Hall,  became  the venue  for community outreach.  It has been  available for rental by community groups, such as the Girl Scouts,  and by  parishioners for private gatherings.  In addition to a long-term occupancy by  a Karate Club, the gymnasium is  used by the Erie County Board of Elections  to  house  some  of  Evans  election  districts  for  local, state  and  national  elections.  Most  consistently,  though,  the Lakeshore  Association of Christian Churches, through Operation  Good  Neighbor,  continues  to  use  the  hall  for its weekly food distribution to  community  recipients.  To  develop  further  a    spirit  of  fellowship,  Fr.  John  encouraged   participation   in   the   monthly   Sunday   parish breakfasts,  the  parish    picnic,  its  pork  chop  dinner,  the Holy  Name  Society’s  chicken  barbecue,  and  spaghetti dinners,  the  seasonal  Mardi  Gras  celebration,  St.  Patrick Dinner and St. Joseph Table.  He  also  began  the  ministry  of  Helping  Hands,  a  group of parishioners who prepare  and serve  funeral brunches following  the Mass  and  interment.  The  purpose  of  these  gatherings  is to provide a time of comfort for those who are grieving. Food for the Soul One  might  question  why  the  dinners  at  MPB  are  so noteworthy  when  considering  the  history  of  the  parish.  Outside of the obvious “spirit of fellowship” motive, the dinners  have  developed  into  identifying  who  we  are.  They  require  hours  of  preparation,  teamwork  and  con-geniality.  Along with providing a purpose for some, they are  known  to  build  friendships  and  camaraderie  among those who volunteer their time. Over the years, dinners at MPB became quite popular and  attracted  a  larger  group  of  diners  each  year.    Even with limited or no advertising, some  attendees at some dinners  came  from  outside  the  parish,  outside  the  village, outside the town, from distant areas of the county. Each   of   the   three   seasonal   dinners   has   its   own unique  characteristics  and  attractions.  Beginning  with Mardi  Gras,  celebrated  before  Ash  Wednesday,    guests are   provided   with   masks,   beads   and   hats.    Activities   are   designed   to   entertain   all   age groups:  a  parade,  activities  in  the  gym,  movies with  pop  corn.    The  menu  has  included  soup, pancakes, chili, hot dogs and King Cake. The Irish Dinner takes place close to St. Patrick’s Day and entertains with a live band and Irish dancers. The   menu   features   classic   Irish fare:   corned   beef   and   cabbage with  boiled  potatoes  and  carrots, soda  bread  and  bread  pudding.  An  alternate  choice  is  a  Reuben on Rye. The St. Joseph’s Day Table, March 19, is known for its absence  of  meat.  It  offers  lentil  soup,  pasta,  frittatas (omelets),  fish,  artichokes,  burdock,  dandelions,  broccoli,  cauliflower,  eggplant,  etc.    The  desserts  usually  include cannoli, sfinge, cuccidati and pizzelles. There is no charge for admission, but  offerings  are accepted. The proceeds, according to tradition,  are donated locally to such charitable  organizations as St. Vincent de Paul, Ladies of Charity and  Operation Good Neighbor.
Fr. John was a member of Reynolds Battery, a group of Civil War
re-enactors who portray Union soldiers when they appear at schools
or in community programs. He was the musician-soldier who played the guitar to accompany his singing of the songs of the era. He presented a concert of these songs, Echoing thru the Camp, at MPB in April 2011.
 The present-day Reynolds’ Battery is over 30 years old and is chartered by the NYS Board of Education. Its stated purpose and objectives are to inform, instruct and educate the public of the life and trials of a Civil War Artillery soldier during the 1860s. MPB Parish became a participant in its traditional activities (2013-2018) by annually hosting a Victorian Dinner that offered authentic dishes of the period. The purpose was to raise funds for the battery, enabling its members to continue to educate the public and to “keep history alive.” In 2015 the dinner commemorated the 150th anniversary of the Surrender at Appomattox. Also included in these annual events were demonstrations and displays of items associated with the Civil War era: a forge, medical tent, fashions, weapons. Revisiting the Civil War Era On October 8, 1861, 81 men and officers swore an oath to the Union and were mustered into federal service while stationed in Elmira, New York. Most of these men were from the Rochester area. On November 23, 1861, Company L reported for duty at Camp Barry, Washington, D.C. under the command of Captain John A. Reynolds. The captain used his own personal funds as a guarantee to secure the first six Model 1861, 3” Ordnance Rifles from the Phoenix Iron Works.
 The Battery saw action in twenty engagements from 1862 to 1865. These included the Second Battle at Bull Run (August 28-30, 1862) (Manassas), the Battle at Antietam (September 17, 1862) and the
Battle at Gettysburg (July 1-3, 1863). A total of 320 men entered the service as members of Reynolds’ Battery L. Of these 320, nine were
killed or died from wounds received in action, while 14 died from sickness contracted during their service.
 Throughout the six-year cooperative venture with Reynolds Battery, MPB volunteers researched Victorian recipes to provide a variety of food at each banquet. Among the culinary achievements were: (Soups) split pea, Mullagatawny, mock turtle; (Meats) venison, pork chops, rabbit stew, pork pie, meat loaf, turkey, beef pasties; (Vegetables) onion casserole, stewed carrots, dandelions, sliced beets, cabbage stew, green beans; (Breads) corn bread, sweet potato rolls, biscuits, Sally Lunn bread, honey butter, maple butter; (Desserts) blueberry cobbler, maple rice pudding, Indian pudding, molasses cookies. Beverages included coffee, tea, fruit punch and artillery punch.

After  spending  an    active  nine  years  at  Most    Precious Blood Parish,  Fr. John  retired in June 2019.  Rev. Timothy Koester celebrated his first Mass as pastor June 10, 2019.  He had served in the Military     Chaplain  Program  for  28  years  before  returning  to Western New York in 2018. After  being  at  MPB  for  a  few  months,  at  the    beginning  of  Lent  2020,  Fr.  Tim  commented  on  and praised the volunteerism that characterized the parish.  He  cited  various  volunteer  activities,  including lawn and cemetery clean-up, dinners and the funeral brunches, Rosary & Altar, Holy Name, St. Vincent de Paul  societies, Ladies of Charity, and funeral servers.  In    addition,  he  praised  Faith  Formation  and  Youth program  leaders,  as  well  as  community  service  projects. He expressed a strong  enthusiasm to continue these existing programs and events into the future.  Two  weeks  later, an  abominable  occurrence  took control  of  civilizations  throughout  the  world --the      Corona  Virus,  commonly  known  as  the  COVID-19 pandemic. On  March  16,  2020,  Bishop  Edward  B.  Scharfenberger  announced  that  there  would  be  no  regularly scheduled  public  Masses  in  the  Diocese  of  Buffalo until  further  notice.  All  Catholics  were  dispensed from the obligation of attending  Sunday Masses and Holy  Days  of  Obligation.  In  addition, all  other  parish events  and  large  gatherings  were  to  be  postponed, including Confirmations.  This  declaration  totally  destroyed  all  plans  and  preparations  for  the  annual  St.  Joseph  Day  Dinner scheduled  for  three  days  later.    Funerals    continued to be conducted, but with only the immediate family in attendance.  Funeral brunches, as well as all social gatherings, were cancelled.  The ban on gathering at Mass continued to be in effect  until  June  2020  when  churches  were  given the go-ahead to open to 25% of capacity (still with-out obligation). But there were strict conditions and mandates. The  wearing  of  face  masks  was  a  major  require-ment  as  was  proper  distancing.    The  use  of  sanitizers   at   the   church   entrances   was      suggested. There would be no holy water, no sharing of books, no  touching,  no  hand  shaking  at  the  Sign  of  Peace.  Receiving  the  Eucharist  would  be  in  the  hand  only but  taking  of  the  wine  would  no  longer  be  an       option.  The music ministry throughout the diocese would  be  reduced  to  a pianist/organist  and  cantor.  There would be no singing by the congregation. Fr.  Tim  added  to  the  warnings  by  stressing  that persons  65  and  older,  especially  those  with  com-promising  health conditions, should be very careful being in public settings. He suggested television and radio  Masses  being  aired  as  well  as those  “live streaming”  from  area  churches.  MPB  began         recording its weekend Masses and posting them on the parish’s website.  Upon   arrival   at   the   church,   attendees   were guided  by  ushers  to  every  third  pew,  with  seating restricted    to  three  individuals  or  a  family  unit  In each pew. At Communion, recipients  stood in place until  Fr.  Tim  or  one  of  the  Eucharistic  ministers    approached them with the Eucharist. Following  the  celebration  of  the  Mass,  volunteers  sanitized  all  entrances  (handles,  door  plates), the  pews,  all  areas  that  could  have  been  touched by  a  member  of  the  congregation.    All  of  this,  of course, was for the protection of parishioners. At  the  end  of  May  2021,  Most  Precious  Blood Parish went to 50% of capacity

Pandemic regulations essentially shut down social activities, but   MPB   Parish   and   its   organization still  managed  to  provide  their  traditional  dinners (spaghetti, pork chop, chicken barbecues) by way of Drive-Thru    delivery.    These  activities    have    served as examples of the efforts  being made to normalize as many services and aspects of  parish life as possible.  At  the  helm  of  MPB    during  this  uncertain  time,  Fr.  Tim     is  succeeding  in    meeting the   spiritual and financial  needs  of  the  parish.  Through  his  homilies and bulletin messages, he shows a deep concern for strengthening    individual    and    parish    spirituality,   raising  morale,  and  providing  an  assurance  of  hope for the future. Fr.  Tim  has  been  at  MPB  for  only  two  years.       The  challenges  brought  about  by  the  pandemic  and the  diocesan  spending  restrictions  have  prevented him  from  moving  ahead  with  major  parish  projects. He  intends,  as  soon  as  possible,  to    resume  needed improvements to the windows in the Parish Hall and to the parking lots.
Parish Trustees: According   to   civil   and   ecclesiastical   law,   a     parish  is  a  corporation  managed  by  a  Board  of   Trustees:  Bishop  (president),  Vicar  General  (vice-president), Pastor/Pastoral Administrator (secretary-treasurer) and lay trustees.  Lay  trustees  are  parishioners  who  are  selected by  the  pastor  for  their  financial  knowledge  and  experience.  They  serve  as  advisors  to  the  pastor, working  closely  with  the  business  manager,  and   attend meetings of the Finance Committee and the Parish  Council.  Their  responsibilities  also  include reviewing    and  signing  such  financial documents  as budgets,  quarterly  reports,    annual  reports  to  the parish,  updated  cemetery  information,  and  financial  reports to the Diocese of Buffalo. At  the  time  of  the  Centennial  celebration  of Most  Precious  Blood  Parish  (1971),  the  two  parish trustees pictured in the commemorative book were Clarence V. Leising and Eugene J. Heil.   It was noted that  before  them,  the  following  had  served  the  parish  in  the  same  capacity:  William  Distel,  F.  B. Miller,  Norman  Whitty,  Louis  DiMartino,  Justin  V. Walters  and  Edward  Smith.  Those  who    followed, from  the  1980s    to  the  present  time,  are  Joseph Newland,   Joanne   Sack,   Barbara   Guest,   Conrad Piskorz and Elizabeth Duzen
Most Precious Blood School A school is a combination of the tangible and the intangible.    It  is  a  building  of  bricks,  mortar,  concrete,  panes  of  glass,etc.   Above  all,  It  is also  a  place  where  knowledge  is  imparted  by  a group of people dedicated to  developing the minds and  talents of others through facts and experiences. October  5,  1952  was  the  date  of  the  ground-breaking  of  the  building  that  was  to  be  known  as Most Precious Blood Parochial Grammar (Elementary)    School.    Its  construction took nearly  a year.    The  building,  whose  cost  totaled  $250,000,  opened  in  September  1953,  ready  for the  beginning of  a  new  (and  unprecedented)  school  year  for  children in Kindergarten through grade 8.The  Franciscan  Sisters  of  St.  Joseph  were  the guiding force at the beginning of parochial education at  MPB.    As  time  passed  and  enrollment  increased, lay  teachers  were  hired  to  fill  the  need  and  round out  the  faculty  roster.  The  first  principal  was  Sr.  M. Felix, FSSJ, who served from 1953 until 1959.  Those who followed were: Sr. M. Amelia, FSSJ (1959-1965); Sr.  M.  Theophane,  FSSJ  (  1965-1999);  Mrs.  Karen  L. Schiavone   (1999-2005);   Mrs.   Erica   Aikin   (2005-2007).In  addition  to  the  basic  K-8  curriculum,  special instructions  were  added  as  personnel  and  time  be-came  available.  These  included  computers,  Spanish, music,   art,   technology,   the   DARE   program,   and physical  education.  Classes  were  enriched  by    field trips to various local and Buffalo  venues. Eleven  students  comprised  the  first  graduating class.    The  largest  class  numbered  48  in  1966  and the  smallest  was  7  in  2007,  the  last  year  of  the school’s existence. In 54 years a total of 1,266 graduated from MPB.
Devoted to Education Throughout  its   54-year   history,   the School  of  Most  Precious  Blood  and  its  educational programs  were  administered  and  guided  by  the Franciscan  Sisters  of  St.  Joseph.    Their  origin  dates back to 1889 when five Charity Sisters of St. Charles Boromeo  arrived  in  the  United  States  from  Poland to  teach  children  in  Pittsburgh,  Pa.  Eventually  their motherhouse and novitiate were established in Buffalo  until    1928  when  they    were  moved  to  Hamburg. More than 44 Sisters served MPB as educators   during the half-century of the school’s existence. Deserving  of  special  recognition  for  their  service to the school and parish are:  Sr.  M Theophane, Sr Frances Anne and St. M. Severine. Sr. Theophane  taught  fifth  and  sixth  grade  at MPB  and    became  principal  in  1965,  a  position  she filled  until  her  death  in  1999.    She  was  known  for her  unbending  determination  to  provide    students with    programs    and    services    she    knew    they            deserved.  She often relied on the assistance of the   superintendent of the Lake Shore School District. Sr.  Severine  was  a  member  of  the  MPB  faculty from the time the school opened. Through the years she  taught  over  1,300  youngsters  in  grades    4-7.  After she retired, she continued to serve the school in  various  capacities,  including  secretary  for  atten-dance.  A  special  Mass  of Appreciation  and  Farewell was celebrated   June   22,   2008  to   honor   Sr.   Severine    before her departure from MPB.  Sincerely humble,  she  was even a  reluctant guest at her own  reception that followed. When a parishioner asked, ”How are you doing, sister?,” she replied, ”Oh, I hate this,” indicating her distaste for the spotlight.  Sr.  Severine died January 22, 2011.  A   Memorial Mass  was   celebrated   at   Most   Precious   Blood  Church  February 2.

Most  Precious  Blood  Parochial    School  (K-8)  has been  closed  now  for  fourteen  years.    Although  the formal  education  of  children    in  the  various  grades has ceased, the structure still serves the parish well.  Now  known  as  the  Parish  Hall,  the  building  has been  home  to  Faith  Formation  programs  (K-5)  and the  youth  groups  of  middle    and  high  school  age.  The auditorium and stage have continued to provide the   setting   for   various   programs   and   pageants. Classrooms have become meeting places for several parish  organizations  and  the  kitchen/cafeteria  areas have  seen plenty  of  action providing  for  annual dinners, parish breakfasts and funeral brunches. In  cooperation  with  the  Lakeshore  Association  of Christian  Churches  and  Operation  Good  Neighbor, MPB has been able to provide the site for the distribution  of  food  to  area  residents.    In  addition,  the  parish  has  been  able  to  rent  out  its  facilities  to  out-side groups.  The gymnasium is a regular training site for a local karate  group.    It  is  also  used  by  town  election  dis-tricts for occasional town/county  and  state/national elections.  Scout  troops  have  utilized  classrooms  for weekly  meetings.    Private  families  also  have  the   opportunity  to  rent  parish  facilities  for  large  social gatherings.

   The Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph,  as educators at MPB, are now a memory, but they  will  long  be  remembered  for  their dedication   to   the   children   and   to   their    ultimate  goal  of  Peace.    The  Peace  Pole, located in front of the school building, was a gift from them to the parish. Its message, “May Peace Prevail on Earth,” is in six languages:  English,  Sign,  Paw  Prints,  Seneca,  Latin  and Spanish. It reminds us that each individual is responsible for spreading peace throughout the world.
  MPB’s school  always  had  its  fervent  supporters.    The  original School Guild became the Mother’s Club and then the Home School Association. The group’s purpose was  to  provide  personal  and  financial  support  for MPB education.   A description of the first group’s activities was presented in the 1971 Centennial book: “The  School  Guild  was  organized  in  1953  for  the purpose  of  aiding  the  sisters  in  their  many  endeavors in the school.  As a “Helping Hand” organization, the guild undertook various activities during the first year,  which  enabled  them  to  purchase  gym  equipment, books for the library and dishes for the cafeteria.  Members  have  involved  themselves  in  clothing exchanges,  Christmas  fairs,  dances,  raffles,  fashion shows and baked goods sales. ”Years  later  the  Home  School  Association  raised funds  to  pay  the  salary  of  a  physical  education teacher  and  to  provide  the  school  and  staff  with many “extras.” With the creation and continued development of the  30-Week  Club  as  a  major  fund-raiser,  members paid  one  dollar  a  week  for  30  weeks  and  participated  in  weekly  drawings.    The  final  event  was  a dinner and the grand-prize drawing. In  the  memory  book  published  in  anticipation  of the school’s closing, it was stated that “Many lasting memories  and  friendships  grew  from  Home-School events.“  

Competition encourages achievement not only in sports  but  in  academics  as  well.    Once  experienced in athletics, it can easily be transferred to the learning process in the classroom. The  sports  program  at MPB began  soon  after the school  opened  but  did  not  come  into  its  own  until the  70s  and  80s.    A  combination  of  determined coaches  and  groups  of  caring  and  untiring  parents (boosters) took MPB sports to new levels. Karen    Erickson,    in    summarizing    the    sports       program in the 2007 memory book,  wrote: “The 30-week  club  was  formed  in  1973  by  Kathy Connors  and  myself  and  ran  for  23  years.    Captains [through  the  years  included]  Kathy  Connors,  Karen Erickson,  Eileen  Hansen,  Jerry  Fortain,  Teresa  Latimore,   Teresa   Jerozal,   Barbara   Alfano,   Barbara Guest.  Sandy  Parisi,  Evelyn  Paradiso,  Marge  McIntyre,  Loretta  Radder,  Helen  Bress,  Shirley  Bogdan, Dave  Pezzimenti,  Chris  Taylor,  Mary  Waring,  Mary Lou McEvoy and Gene Kauzala.“ The first year we paid for the students to visit the  Science  Center.    The  next  year  we  hired  a  gym teacher  (Moms  volunteered  as  gym  teachers  in  the first years).”Teams  were  formed  in  basketball,  baseball,  soft-ball,  track,  bowling  and  soccer.    MPB  soon  established a reputation of strong sports performance.  It won its first diocesan baseball championship in 1986 and continued to dominate  in other sports as well.   In  1973  Erickson  helped  to  organize  a  basketball tournament.  “Eventually 32 teams would be represented,” she wrote.  The kitchen  offered soups and snacks,  prepared  and  donated  by  parishioners  and parents, making it a parish event. The tournaments paid  all  athletic expenses.  There  was  never  any cost to the parish for any athletic or sports expenses.
The Spirit of Competition
George Laettner was the longest serving coach in MPB’s sports history.  He coached basketball for over  30  years,  retiring  in  1996.    In  the  memory book, Erickson noted:“George was the ultimate coach.  He loved the game, loved the kids and knew how to coach. Sometimes  we  thought  that  MPB  played  more  games than  the  Celtics.  George  taught  honesty,  integrity and good sportsmanship. ”The  most  known  and  talented  athlete  from  MPB is  Christian  Laettner,  son  of  Bonnie  and  George, who  went  on  to  Nichols,  a  private  high  school  in Buffalo.    While  competing  in  basketball  there,  he scored  over  2,000  points  and  the  team  won  two state titles. He attended Duke University where he continued in  basketball  from  1988  to  1992.  His  fame  soared when  he  scored  the  game  winning  basket  at  the buzzer  in  the  1992  East  Regional  Final  against  Kentucky.    In  basketball  circles  it  is  known  simply  as “the shot.” He was the only college player selected  to  participate  in  the  Olympics  that  year.    He  was  a part of  the group known as the “Dream Team” that won  the  gold  medal.  He  was  inducted  into  the     College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010.Christian  Laettner  played  in  the  NBA  from  1992 to 2005. The 6’11” forward/center was first drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves and was associated later with the Atlanta Hawks,  Detroit Pistons, Dallas Mavericks,  Washington    Wizards,  Miami  Heat  and the Jacksonville Giants.*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *Karen  Erickson  ends  her  article  with  her  retirement as sports director in 1998, passing the position on to Mary Lou McEvoy, followed later by Fran Sullivan,  the  Coopers  and  the  Freidenbergs.  She  concludes with “I am sure I speak for many when I say ‘thank you’ MPB for giving my children a terrific start in life, great fun and wonderful memories.


CAFETERIA  ART It all started with an informal conversation about biblical artwork,” explained Rose Bogdan Szwed, a parishioner  and  one  of  the  artists  of  the  wall  paintings in the cafeteria of MPB’s school, now the Parish Hall.  “One  thing  led  to  another,”  she  continued, “when Fr. Nowak suggested that it would be great if we  created  murals  depicting  some  of  the  stories  of the  Bible  with  such  themes  as  creation,  faith,  love, hope, trust, etc.  They would serve as teaching tools for the children.” Fr.  Nowak  asked  her  to  contact  Chester  (Chet) Dimitroff,  another parishioner  and  a  member  of  the Evans Art Guild, to find out if he would be interested in  the  project. Chet’s first reaction to the request was a bit negative. “It seemed like a monumental task and the thought of climbing up and down a lad-der to and from scaffolding really didn’t appeal to me,” he confessed. “But  I  felt  guilty  about  refusing to  contribute  something  to  the  church,  so  I  agreed to do it,” he said.  Once the project was underway, he had a change of attitude and admitted, “It truly became a labor of love. ”After  researching  numerous  subjects  and  visiting many reference books, Rose reported to the “team” who  decided  on  ten  wall  paintings.  Work  began  in 2000 and lasted for two and a half years.  Rose   was   responsible   for   the   research,   the     charcoal  sketching  and  some  of  the  painting.    She        acknowledges  others  for  their  major  contributions:  Fr. Nowak for “the Vision;” Chet Dimitroff as the Master Portrait Painter; Alphonso Butlak IV for finishing   the   painting   of   the   last   work;   inspired     parishioners  for  their  donations   for   art   supplies, paint and brushes, and for the scaffolding. Rose  summarizes  her  role  in  the  art  project  by commenting, “It was truly an exciting adventure. I was so honored to be a part of it. ”The “Agony and the Ecstasy” At MPB The title of Irving Stone’s 1961 historic novel about    Michelangelo and the painting of the Sistine Chapel describes the passions and frustrations that accompany the desire to create. The  first  work  is  that  of  the Creation.  “We  were  halfway through the painting,” explains Chet  Dimitroff,  “and  already had  depicted  a  God  figure  hovering over his creation as a very old  man  with  long,  white  flow-ing hair and a long white beard.  Fr. Nowak reminded us that God is neither man nor woman.  So we repainted the God figure by remov-ing the beard and softening the   facial features. ”The   next   painting   is   of   the sons  of  Adam  and  Eve.    Cain farmed    the    land    and    Abel tended  the  flock.  Both  are  preparing to make a sacrifice to the Lord as indicated by   the flames in  the  background.  Cain  offers up the wheat from the land and Abel  is  ready  to  give  up  the  first  born  of  the  flock.  Cain  became  jealous  when the  Lord  was  so  pleased with Abel’s offering and not his, all of which motivated the killing of his brother. This   depiction   of   the   Great Flood begins after God           instructed  Noah  to  build  a  boat large  enough  to  hold  his  family and  seven  pairs  each  of  clean and  unclean  animals  and  birds.  The  flood  was  to  destroy  all  of mankind. Noah, listened to God and did what he was told.  The white dove holding a twig and leaf was a sign to Noah that the water was receding and the flood would soon be over.
CAFETERIA  ART (con't) Jacob’s  Ladder shows  the sleeping  Jacob,  with  his  head upon  a  stone,    dreaming  of  a ladder  reaching  up  to  Heaven. Angels  are  pictured  ascending and   descending   the   ladder. Jacob   awoke   after   the   Lord came  to  him  and  assured  him of    being    protected.    Upon    rising,    he    took    the    stone, anointed    it,    and    said    this would  be  the  place  where  he would worship.  Chet Dimitroff admitted that this was the most difficult  of all the paintings because of the detail of the ten angels  moving  in  various  directions  and  the  larger  figure  of Jacob in a reclining position. Ruth,  a  woman  from Moab,  married  the  son of   an   Israelite   family.  Her  husband,  father-in-law   and   brother-in-law all   died.      She   had   to  decide  whether  to  stay in  Moab  or  to  accompany  her  mother-in-law, Naomi,   to   Judah.   Be-cause   of   her   love   and compassion  for  Naomi, Ruth  journeyed  back  to Judah  to  the  city  of  Bethlehem  where  the  two  women settled.    To  provide  food  for  them  both,  she  worked  in the  fields  gleaning  (gathering  left-over  grain  after  the harvest).  Boaz, a relative of Naomi, owned the fields and noticed Ruth  and  respected  her  for  being  so  faithful and watchful  over  her  mother-in-law.    The  two  eventually married.  Ruth  trusted  the  Lord  and  He  rewarded  her  faithful-ness  by  giving  her  a  husband,  a  son  (Obed),  a  grandson (Jesse)  and  a  great-grandson  (David,  King  of  Israel).    He also blessed her with being listed in the lineage of Jesus.The “Agony and the Ecstasy” At MPB The  title  of  Irving  Stone’s  1961  historic  novel  about    Michelangelo  and  the  Sistine  Chapel  describes  the  passions and frustrations that accompany the desire to create.  This painting is of the peaceful kingdom coming from the  royal  line  of  David  (Isaiah  2:4,  11:6) --“when calves will  lie  down  with  lion  cubs  and  weapons  shall  be  hammered  into  plow  shares.”  For  this  painting  the  calf      became  a  lamb.  The  peaceful  scene  replaced  the  depiction  of  Samson  and  Delilah  that  the  artists,  Chet  Dimitroff   and   Rose   Szwed,   already   had   completed.   That painting was of Samson with gouged-out eyes after Delilah tricked him into  divulging the source of his strength and   after   his   capture   by   the   Philistines.   The   pastor strongly suggested that it be painted over because it was too graphic for the school children. Consider the contrast between the two paintings .... and the agony of having to destroy one. Daniel's  raised  to  high office  by  King  Darius.    But jealous  rivals  trick  the  king into    issuing  a  decree  that anyone  who  prays  to  any-one  except Darius would be  thrown  to  the  lions.  Daniel continues   to   pray   to   the God  of  Israel  and  Darius  is forced  to  condemn  him  to death.    The  next  day,  when Darius rushes to learn of the outcome of his edict, Daniel is  still  alive  and  informs  him    that  his  God,  finding  him blameless,  sent  an  angel  to  close  the  jaws  of  the  lions.  The  king  then  commands    the  conspirators,  their  wives and  children  be  thrown  to  the  lions  and  that  the  world should fear the God of Daniel.


Jesus in the Temple His parents looked for him  and  found  him  in the  Temple  talking  to the    Jewish    teachers, who  were  amazed  by him.  When they asked him      of   his   whereabouts,   Jesus   replied, “Didn’t you know I had to  be  in  my  Father’s house?” According  to  Chester Dimitroff,   there   is   a personal touch in this painting: “While I was painting  Jesus’ right hand, I had no hand reference, so I looked  at mine and copied all the lines of my right palm.  ”Baptism of Jesus. “When all the people were   being   baptized, Jesus     was     baptized too.    And  as  he  was praying,    heaven    was opened  and  the  Holy Spirit    descended    on him  in  bodily  form  like a  dove.    And  a  voice came    from    heaven: ‘You  are  my  Son, whom  I  love;  with  you I  am  well  pleased.’ Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry.”  (Luke 3:21-24)“This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.”(John 1:30-34)The Good Shepherd. The   figure   of   Jesus   is hanging   over   a   cliff   to save   one   of   his   sheep who  has  gone  astray. We are  told,  “I  am  the    Good   Shepherd   who   is willing    to    die    for    his sheep,” (John 10:11) and “I  am  the  Good  Shepherd.     As     the     Father knows   me,   and   I   know the  Father,  in  the  same  way  I  know  my  sheep  and  they know me.  And I am willing to die for them.”             (John 10:14-15) Jesus Feeds the 5,000The disciples wanted Jesus    to    send    the crowds away, but  Jesus told the disciples to  feed  them.  “We have  only  five  loaves of    bread    and    two fish,” was the   reply.  Jesus directed that the food   be   brought   to him  and  that  the  peo-ple   sit   down  on   the grass.  He  took  the  loaves  and  the  fish  and  looking  up  to heaven,  he  gave  thanks  and  broke  the  loaves.    Then  he gave  the  food    to  the  disciples  to  give  to  the  people.  They  all  ate  and  were  satisfied,  and  the  disciples  picked up  twelve  basketfuls  of  broken  pieces  that  were  left over. This  was  the  painting  that  was  sketched  and  left    for months  unpainted.    Ultimately,  a  talented  young  man, Alphonso Butlak IV, was called upon to paint the scene. Many thanks to the artists for their magnificent works and to Chester Dimitroff and Rose Szwed for their colorful accounts of their experiences. For  anyone  who  was  wondering, acrylic  paints  and  sealers were   used   to   ensure   the  murals   would   be   preserved   and      remain water resistant.

A   parish   is   defined   as: an   area,   or   administrative     district,  that  has  its  own  church  and  pastor;  it  is  also  the group of people who attend the church in that  particular area. Over the past 150 years, parishioners of Most Precious Blood  Church  have  come  together,  especially  in  the  last 75  years,  to  be  organized  into  special  ministries,  organizations and committees for the benefit of the parish. It was Mother Teresa  (1911-1997) who gave direction  to volunteerism  when she  expressed, “Not all of us can  do  great  things.    But  we  can  do  small  things  with  great love.”  This has become MPB’s motto: Let  us  do  little things  with  great  love.   She also said, “Love cannot remain  by  itself --it  has  no  meaning.    Love  has  to  be  put into action, and that  action is  service. The next phase in commemorating MPB’s history is to spotlight  these  special  service  organizations  by  pointing out  their  purpose  and  their  accomplishments.  Some  of them  are  no  longer  active  because  their  need  has  disappeared or volunteers have not been forthcoming.
Prayer  Shawl  Ministry:
Through  the  efforts  of  Arlene  Vail,  the  Prayer  Shawl Ministry  was  formed  in  March  2008  with  approximately 15  members,  including  one  man.    It  was  a  group  of     people  who  used  their  knitting  and  crocheting  talent  to create  prayer  shawls  and  lap  blankets  to  comfort  the  seriously ill and those  undergoing medical procedures or surgery. In  seven  years  the  group  created  about  400  shawls and lap blankets which were distributed to: parishioners, MOMM (Mothers of Military  Ministry), Roswell Institute, Lake  Shore  and Autumn View nursing homes,  Buffalo VA Hospital,  F.S.S.J.  Mother  House,  and  various  other  nursing homes.  Seventeen blankets were sent to Soldiers Angels which  distributed  them  to  the  VA  Hospital  in  Spokane.  The group also teamed with the MPB Baptismal Ministry to  provide  blankets  to  babies  and  children  receiving  the sacrament.  The ministry disbanded in the spring of 2015.
Knights  of  St.  John:
The  Knights  of  St.  John,  a  society  of  Catholic  men, organized  in  the  United  States  in  1886.    A  number  of  uniformed  semi-military  Catholic  societies  banded  together  under the title of “Roman Catholic Union of the Knights of St. John and grew rapidly in the United States, Canada, South America and Africa. Founders  placed  the  society  under  the  protection  of St. John the Baptist, the patron of the Knights of St. John Hospitallers,  which  dates  back  to  1048.    Catholic  merchants  formed  a  military  society  to  protect  them  from the Turks attacking their trade routes. The  modern  Knights  emulated  the  virtues  of  their  medieval  counterparts:  filial  devotion  to  and  respect  for the  authority  of  the  Roman  Catholic  Church;  a  sense  of honor;  love  of  truth;  courage;  respect  for  womanhood; charity motivated by love for God. In  1963  Clarence  Leising,  with  help  from  the  Buffalo Regiment, succeeded in establishing a local commandery of the Knights in Angola.  At its spiritual head was MPB’s pastor, Rev. Dennis Shea. The  Knights  took  an  active  part  in  Church  activities and liturgical functions at MPB.  They added dignity and color  to  First  Communions,  visitations  of  dignitaries  and other  church  functions.  They  also  had  the  honor  of guarding    the  Blessed  Sacrament  in  processions.  The group is now “dormant” but has not officially disbanded.
Bishop’s  Committee:
The Bishop’s Committee was made up of two groups: the  Visiting  Committee  and  the  Discussion  Group.    Both had  as  their  purpose  the  educating  of  children  from    infancy in the knowledge and love of God. To  fulfill  their  purpose,  the  Visiting  Committee  made home  calls  at  regular  intervals  on  mothers  of  infants.  They   provided   pamphlets   to   help   parents   meet   the moral  and  spiritual  needs  during  the  early  development of their child.  This group organized at MPB in 1949.The Discussion Group began in 1965 in order to bring together mothers interested in educating themselves on how  to  teach  their  young  ones  about  their  Faith.  No longer is either group of the Bishop’s Committee  in   existence.
Rosary  and  Altar  Society:
The  Rosary  and  Altar  Society  is  associated  with the  Confraternity  of  the  Most  Holy  Rosary,  Domini-can  Friars,  Province  of  St.  Joseph,  headquartered  in Columbus,   Ohio.      Established   by   charter   dated      October  27,  1957  at  Most  Precious  Blood  Church, the initial membership was 349. Members are called Rosarians.  Once enrolled, a woman is a Rosarian for life. Prior to 1957, the women’s organization at MPB was  the  Ladies  Sodality.    A  plaque  on  the  door  of Room 2 in the Parish Hall reads: Kindergarten Room, donated by Ladies Sodality 1953. Members  of  the  Rosary  and  Altar  Society  share common  devotional  and  service  goals.    They  praise and  honor  the  Blessed  Virgin  Mary  and  secure  her patronage  by  the  recitation  of  the  Rosary.    Through such  fundraising  activities  as  bake  sales,  raffles  and towel  parties,  they  contribute  financially  to  MPB, especially for the needs of the altar. All  women  of  the  parish,  17  years  and  older,  are eligible  for  membership.    In  the  past  64  years,  821 women  have  been  inducted  into  the  society.    At  present there are 275 members.
Ladies  of  Charity:
Beginning  in  1970  with  nineteen  women  of  the parish, the Ladies of Charity came together to assist the needy.  Through the collection of donations and gifts for  the  Giving  Tree at  Christmas time,  they distribute clothes and toys  to families in need. The group also raises the spirits of shut-ins by visiting  them  at  Christmas  and  Easter  with  a  gift  of  a small plant.
Holy  Name  Society:
An  organization  for  the  men  of  Most  Precious Blood, the Holy Name Society serves to promote the welfare  of  the  parish  through  religious  and  social activities.  The  primary  purpose  of  the  group  is  to revere the Holy Name of God and Jesus Christ. To raise funds for the benefit of the parish, mem-bers  annually  host  activities  including  those  that promote  dining:  Spaghetti  Dinner,  Pork  Chop  Dinner, Chicken Barbecue.
St.  Vincent  De Paul  Society                                                               The  Society  of  St.  Vincent  de  Paul  is  the  oldest layman’s organization in the diocese.  Its conference,  or  branch,  is  the  oldest  organization  in  Most Precious  Blood  Parish,  having  been  organized  in  November 1937.  The  original  Society  of  St.  Vincent  de  Paul  was founded in France in 1833 by a group of students at the  University  of  Paris,  led  by  Frederic  Ozanam.    In an  era  when  the  Church  was  being  called  decadent by   its   enemies,   Ozanam   and   eight   colleagues formed,  in  the  name  of  Christ,  a  Conference  for Charity.    It  was  dedicated  to  St.  Vincent  de  Paul, who 200 years before was known as the “Apostle of Charity.” These young people cared for the poor of Paris  and  were  such  an  example  of  Christianity  in action, that Conferences began to spring up all over France  and  soon  in  Spain,  Germany,  England,  Ire-land  and  other  parts  of  Europe    and  the  rest  of  the world. John  Timon  founded  Conferences  in  New  York City  and  St.  Louis.   When he  became  Bishop  of Buff a l o ,  h e  s t a r t e d  o n e  i n  t h e  a r e a .The  local  Conference  provides  material  help  to persons  and  families  in  need.    Financed  by  donations,  special  collections  and  the  congregation’s generosity  to  the  Poor  Boxes,  aid  is  in  the  form  of food,  clothing  and  shelter  on  a  short  term  basis.  When  more  assistance  is  needed,  contact  is  made with social agencies.
Parish  Council:
The Parish Council of Most Precious Blood Church was  established  in  1967  as  a  result  of  the  many changes made  by Vatican II.  These changes led to  a more involved role by the laity in the activities of the Church.  Rev.  Dennis  Shea  selected  the  members  to  serve on the first Parish Council.  They represented various parish organizations  whose  interests  included    charity,  liturgy,  religious  education,  parish  construction, fundraising, and general parish welfare.  Fr. Matt Nycz, almost forty  years later, drew up a constitution  that  stated  that  the  purpose  of  the    organization was : “to  nurture  the  growth  of  Chris-tian faith within the parish by advising, assisting and supporting  the  pastor  as  he  leads  the  parish  on  its spiritual   journey.   It   shall   also   encourage   fellow      parishioners to remain faithful to the parish mission of  using  their  time,  treasure  and  talents  to  serve God  and  one  another  by  doing  little  things  with great love.” The   constitution   also   provided,   in   addition   to members representing parish organizations, an election  of  three  members  each  year  for  a  two-year term.    Eventually,  through  a  constitutional  amendment  when  Fr.  John  Kwiecien  was  pastor,    these three “elected” members were then selected from nominations by means of a random drawing. In  this  Sesquicentennial  year,  amid  the  COVID protocols, Parish Council continues to meet and dis-cuss  pertinent  issues  with  its  pastor,  Fr.  Timothy Koester, who serves, like those before him, as council president.
Finance  Committee: The Finance Committee serves as a review board whose  purpose  is  to  ascertain  that  parish  spending is within the bounds of budgeted amounts.  Members,  whose  expertise  is  in  finance  and/or business, are appointed by the pastor who is presid-ing officer at monthly meetings. 
Respect  Life:
The  primary  purpose  of  Respect  Life  ministry  is to encourage parishioners to reaffirm their Christian commitment to human life.  The focus is respect for all human life at all stages of existence. One  of  the  important  activities  of  the  members of  Respect  Life  is  to  collect  infant  items  for  the  St. Gianna Molla Pregnancy Outreach Center in Buffalo. The  center  serves  life  by  providing  material,  emotional  and  spiritual  support  to  single  mothers  and young families in need, from pregnancy through the first years of life. Members   of   the   local   group   also   makes   the     parish  aware  of  other  activities,  such  as  peaceful prayer  demonstrations  in  the  Buffalo  area  in  support of life .
Most  Precious  Blood  Parish  in  the  60s,  70s  and 80s joined with many other parishes in  offering  its constantly  successful  fundraising  project - Bingo.  At  least  25  loyal  workers  attended  to  their  duties once a week to bring the popular game of chance to hundreds of hopeful residents of the  community. Whether  handing  out  cards,  calling  the  numbers or  checking  the  numbers  of  possible  winners,  the workers  took  their  job  seriously  while  enjoying  the fellowship.  But    the    fundraiser    eventually    disappeared.  Poor  attendance  resulted  from  strict  governmental rules on prize amounts as well as the ban  on smoking on  the premises.

Vatican Council
(A  brief  look  at  Vatican  Council  2  is  a  preface  to  this week’s historical account of the laity’s participation in the Mass at Most Precious Blood Church.)The  Second  Vatican  Council  was  opened  in  1962  by Pope  John  XXIII  and  ended  in  1965  by  Pope  Paul  VI.    Its purpose  was  to  meet  the  needs  of  the  modern  world.  Among  its  many  changes  were  those  directly  affecting the  celebration  of  the  Holy  Mass.    It  allowed  the  laity more of a role in the celebration of the Mass, it changed  the language of the Mass from Latin to the vernacular, it provided  for the celebrant  to  face  the  congregation, and included  contemporary  Catholic  liturgical  music  and  art-work. Almost sixty years later, at the end of 2020, Pope Fran-cis reaffirmed the spirit of Vatican Council 2 and formally spelled out that women were allowed to serve as lectors, distribute communion and act as altar servers.  Although these  practices  have  been  in  place  in  the  United  States for   nearly   fifty   years,  Pope   Francis   felt   the   need   to  emphasize their existence to the rest of the world.                                         
Altar Servers:
At  the  present  time,  because  of  the  rules  brought about by COVID-19, there has been a noticeable absence of  altar  servers  at  Mass  at  MPB.    Despite  this  absence, altar  servers  have  been  an  integral  part  of  the  parish history  in  assisting  the  priest  during  Mass  on  Sunday,  during  the  week,  at  funerals,  at  weddings  and  at  special   celebrations.  Those  who  participate  as  altar  servers  may  be  boys, girls,  men  and women.    Their  duties  include  carrying the cross  and  processional  candles,  holding  the  book  when the  priest  is  not  at  the  altar,  carrying  the  incense  and censer,  presenting  the  bread,  wine  and  water  to  the priest  during  the  preparation  of  the  gifts or  assisting  the priest  when  he  receives  the  gifts  from  the  people,  and washing the hands of the priest.  Love cannot remain by itself --it  has no meaning.  Love has to be put into action, and that action is service. -Mother Teresa

Defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a sacristan is the person “in charge of the sacristy and church related ceremonial equipment.”  MPB’s sacristan, Mrs. Diann  Hosler,  has  served  in  that  position  for  twenty years.  In addition to setting up for Mass, she  attends to the candles as well as the floral arrangements.
Eucharistic  Ministers:
A Eucharistic Minister, or an Extraordinary Minister of the  Eucharist,  is  a  lay  person  who  assists  the  priest  in administering  the  sacrament  of  Holy  Communion,  the consecrated bread and wine.  The minister may also take the  sacrament  to  those  who  are  ill  or  unable  to  attend Mass.    At  every Mass,  there  should  be  a  sufficient  number  of ministers of  Holy  Communion  so  that  its  distribution is reverent and orderly. While  Vatican  Council  2  provided  for  these  members of the laity, it wasn’t until the latter part of the 70s that women began to serve in this ministry at MPB.
In  1971,  Most  Precious  Blood’s  centennial  year, eleven  lectors  served  at  Mass  , all  men.    By  1977 women were added to the roster of readers.  The   centennial   book,   in   describing   this   ministry stated, “For the first time in centuries, members of the laity  were  permitted  to  be  heard  in  a  Catholic  Church during Mass.”  During the first few years, the lay reader was  almost  invisible,  reading  from  the  choir  loft.  Today the  lector  reads  at  a  lectern,  facing the congregation who responds to each reading.
  During  the  time  of  the  centennial,  there  were  about thirty  ushers  who  served  to  meet,  greet  and  seat  the congregation,  to  supervise  the  weekly  collection  and  to aid  in  the  comfort  of  those  in  attendance.  They  would also  invite  persons  to  present  the  gifts  at  the  Offertory. Fifty years later, their duties are the same although their numbers  may  not  be  as  great  or  COVID  has  caused      restrictions of some duties.
Over  the  years  Religious  Education  has  had  various titles to identify its role in disseminating the Word of God and the teachings of Christ. Fifty years ago the term Con-fraternity  of  Christian  Doctrine  (CCD),  although  having ancient  origins,    referred  to  the  religious  instruction  of public school youth (middle and high school ages). Teaching  of  Church  doctrine  to  children  from  Kindergarten through grade 5 or 6  was designated simply as  Religious Ed. or Religious Instruction. After the closing of Most Precious Blood School in June 2007, “Faith Formation” was used to denote religious education  for  all  ages.  This  was  the  all-encompassing term for public school students K-12 as well as continuing religious learning by adults (Bible Study). Middle and high school    students  continued  to  be  known  also  as  youth groups. From  1953    religious  education  was  managed  by  the faculty, mainly the sisters and eventually lay teachers or a combination  of  the  two.    Theresa  Walker  was  named  Coordinator  of  Religious  Education  in  2006  and  later    Director  of  Faith  Formation.    She  was  joined  by  Carolyn Grassmick, who directed the youth ministry. A number of parishioners  are  K-5  classroom  instructors  (catechists)  or  help with the youth ministry. In recent years the addition of the Children’s Liturgy of the  Word  aims  to  clarify  readings  at  Sunday  Mass  in terms  understandable  by  young  children.  After  the  opening  prayer,  the  children  are  summoned,  given  a  blessing and  led  to  a  site  close  to  the  church.    There  a  catechist leads  them  in  reflecting  on  the  Word  of  God  after  which the  children rejoin their  parents.  Elizabeth  Emhof  has  led this ministry since 2012.  The Rite of Christian Initiation (RCIA) is a program  for both adults and children wanting to know more about the Catholic  religion,  desiring  to  become  a  Catholic  or  for those  who  have  missed  any  of  the  sacraments.  Marie O’Connor has been in charge of the program  for children since  2010  and  is  now  RCIA  Coordinator.  Many  RCIA “graduates”  have become active parishioners of MPB. The children’s Christmas pageant in 2012 was set in Jerusalem.    A  portion  of  the  pageant  depicted  Santa Claus in a conversation with God. In  December  2012  MPB’s  High  School Youth  Group  and  the Ladies    Auxiliary    of the VFW, Post #5798, prepared special holiday  boxes  to  be  sent to servicemen and women stationed overseas. The youth groups also participate  in fundraising projects to finance their  expenses  or  to  contribute  to  charitable  organizations.    Their  service  has  included  spring  cleanup  at  the cemetery  and  at  the  Prayer  Garden,  helping  other  organizations  in  various  events  or  projects,  and  providing baby-sitting services during Christmas shopping days.  After  fourteen years of service to MPB,  Theresa Walker retired September 18, 2020.  Carolyn  Grassmick   retired  from  Youth  Ministry  in  2021,  also  with  fourteen years of service to MPB.

Music Ministry“ The musical tradition of the Universal Church is a treasure of inestimable value...” (Second Vatican Council) In A Short History of Liturgical Music, Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of Phoenix wrote, “Preserving the old forms, fostering new growth: this is how a gardener cares for a plant, how Christ tends our souls, how the Church’s sacred  music --carefully  preserved --is  able  to  surprise us   and   more   importantly   glorify   God   with   new   and      delightful growth.  ”The  music  ministry  here  at  MPB  followed  the  world-wide  trend  in  combining  the  traditional  with  the  new  in liturgical  music  and  its  presentation.    At  one  time  an   organist  accompanied  a  choir  in  a  loft    behind  the    congregation.    When  more  contemporary  music  was  introduced  as  part  of  the  Mass,  it  still  emanated  from  the choir loft. Eventually a piano was located in the sanctuary area, next to the altar, and the choir faced the congregation. Thefolk groups added guitars and percussion instru-ments.  All these changes were to encourage the congregation to participate in the singing. Today,  Barb  Reuman  heads  the  music  ministry  with assistance  from  Corinne  Best  and  Nicholas  and  Stacey Cappitummino.   Sandra   Emhof   led   the   folk   group   for  thirty-five  years, beginning in 1975.

   *According   to   information   published   in   the   1971      Centennial book, the first mention of a choir and organist at  Most  Precious  Blood  Parish  was  during  the  pastorate of  Rev.  J.M. McCarthy (1886-1902).  Anna Woods served as organist and choir director at that time  and during the pastorate  of  Rev.  Richard  T.  Burke  as  well  (1902-1912). She  was  followed  by Mayme  Wiatrowski,  Hattie  Schwert and Louise Woods (1912-1935).Renee  Parks  was  the  organist  at  MPB when  Rev.  John J. Lalley was named pastor (1935-1949).  After she moved out  of  the  area,  Veronica  Walters  assumed  the  music  duties.  Her  brother,  Rev.  Bertrand  J.  Gulnerich,  was  Fr. Lalley’s  assistant  and  directed  the  choir.  When Rev.   Thomas   E.   Fernan   became   pastor   (1949-1959),   he        appointed Mae Voltz church organist.  Mrs. Walters returned in 1959 to resume the responsibilities  of  the  music  ministry,  which  emphasized  youth participation.    With  the  exception  of  a  few  adult  mem-bers,  the  choir  was  primarily  made  up  of  youngsters  of elementary  and  junior  high  ages.    Her  service  as  church organist  spanned  at  least  thirty  years,  more  than  any  provider  of  music  on  record.    During  that  time,  she     inspired  and  nurtured  many  of  the  young  people  who   performed with her. Among  her  protégés,  who  eventually  continued  serv-ing  in  the  music  ministry,    are  Cristina  (Tina)  Scaglione Voto  and  her  sister  Maria  Scaglione  Szczepanic.    When Mrs. Walters vacationed, twelve-year-old Tina filled in at the organ. Three years later, when Mrs. Walters  retired, Tina  assumed  the organist  position  until  1983  when she left for college to study music.  After becoming a teacher of  music,  Tina  has  continued  her  avocation  as  church musician  in  her  home  parishes  for  the  past  thirty  years. She  is a teacher of stringed instruments  and the orches-tra director at Frontier Central High School. Maria   replaced   her   sister   at   the   organ   until   she started  college  studies  in  music  in  1986.  She  came  back to  the  area  in  the  90s  and  became  the  organist  and    vocalist until 2005. For a brief time she also taught music at MPB’s school.  She returned in 2008 and continued as organist/vocalist until 2017.  A teacher of vocal music in Orchard Park High School, Maria served in MPB’s music ministry for twenty-five years.

27 The   Sesquicentennial   celebration   of   Most   Precious Blood  Church  has  been  in  the  spotlight  for  the  past  six months.    It  will  conclude  Sunday,  September  26  with  a special Mass beginning at  10:30 a.m. Throughout  this  six-month  period,  parishioners  have been  reminded  of  MPB’s  150  years  with  the  banner above  the  front  entrance  of  the  church,  a  special  prayer at  the  beginning  of  weekend  Masses,  and  the  weekly  historic segments in the bulletin. The first 100 years were recorded in the 1971 Centennial book.  It  contained messages from the bishop, auxil-iary  bishops,  and  the  pastor.    Its  pages  were  filled  with photographs  of  former  pastors,  the  church  staff,  members  of  ministries  and  organizations  and  buildings  that showed the growth of the parish.  The book also provided a calendar of events in its week-long celebration: a Latin Mass, a teen folk Mass, a discussion group, pre-teen skating party, a card party, a teen dance, Bingo, barbecue and kiddy rides,  and a  cocktail party.  The opening Pontifical Mass  was  celebrated  by  Auxiliary  Bishop  Pius  Benincasa.  Auxiliary Bishop Bernard J. McLaughlin presided over the Thanksgiving closing Mass. In stark contrast, this year’s 150th anniversary celebration  has  had  severe  restrictions  placed  on  it,  caused  by strict  adherence  to  COVID  protocols.    In  addition  to  the Masses  planned  to  open  and  conclude  this  important historic milestone, the outdoor picnic that took place last weekend is the single social-gathering  event.  For eighteen months now, parish life has been altered considerably.   As   previously   reported,   churches   were closed and there would be no regularly scheduled Masses in  the  Diocese  for  three  months.  This  occurred  from March 16, 2020 until June, when they were permitted to open  at  25%  of  capacity.  In  May  2021  Mass  attendance was permitted at 50% of capacity at MPB.  After most parishioners received doses of the vaccine to  curb  the  transference  of  the  virus,  the  wearing  of masks  became  optional at Mass except  for those  distributing   Communion.   Other   rules,   however,   are   still   in     effect: the absence of holy water, no carrying the gifts up to the altar, no sign of peace, standing in place to receive the Holy Eucharist, no sharing of wine. 
28 Sesquicentennial Celebration
A 10:30 a.m. Mass will be celebrated Sunday,  September 26  for the people of the parish and will conclude  MPB’s  150th  Anniversary  commemoration. This  is  in  addition  to  Masses  at  4:00  p.m.  Saturday and at 8:30 a.m. Sunday. This  Mass  will  welcome  back  former  pastor  Fr. John Kwiecien and a group of Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph. Following  the  Mass,  those  in  attendance  will  be able  to  walk  through  the  Parish  Hall  to  rekindle memories of the school.
A Look Back on the History of MPB 
--By Rev. Timothy Koester, Pastor.

Through  the  darkness  of  the  lock-downs  I  made  my way down to the lake.  In good weather and bad, I tried to catch the sunset.  I would sit on the beach or overlooking the  beach  sometimes,  watching  workers  clean  up  after storms  or  winter  devastation.  In  awe  I  reflected  on  the sun’s rising and setting at sea, on some beautiful and amazing coasts. The Lake  Erie  coast  in the  Town of Evans is right up at the  top  of  the  list  of  places  I  have  been  and  seen.  I  look up  toward  Buffalo  and  down  toward  Dunkirk  and  have come  to  discern  certain  landmarks  from  different  points.  I’ve been able to recognize ships anchored, waiting to enter the Welland Canal. My imagination has allowed me to envision the Griffin, the flagship Niagara and the  many grain ships sailing and steaming by.  Evans came into being as Buffalo burst into growth because of this lake and the Erie Canal.  Congratulations on 200 years, Town of Evans! Fifty  years  on,  the  Catholic  presence  in  the  town    be-came prominent enough to establish a parish and open a church.    We  have  been  greatly  enlightened  by  the  wonderful    history    columns    put    together    by    Rosemary Scaglione  and  the  committee  that  prepared  this  commemoration.  What a wonderful job.  Thank you. It   was   an   important   and   interesting   journey,   first through  the  pastors  and  buildings;  through  the  school and  religious  women  who  were  essential  to  the  community.      The   long-serving   Protestant   Superintendent   of Schools was heard to call us his “fifth building” because of how  integral  to  the  community  we  were.    It  is  a  great  testament  to  him  and  his  character,  and  a  wonderful   acknowledgment to our commitment to our home. We  had  a  chance  to  walk  through  our  organizations and  ministries,  all  of  which  reached  out  to  the  greater community.  Social support and camaraderie have always been central to our existence.  Personal commitment and sharing of talents are truly a highlight of our history. The  cemetery,  supported  by  the  Passionists,  to  the beautiful memorial park today is an ongoing testimony to the names that have made us.  I find it very  comforting to walk through and offer an extra prayer to individuals as I pass. There-in  lies  the  truth.    It  is  the  people  who  have made and now make this parish.  The people who found friendships,  spouses  and  family.    People  who  scraped together the funding to help us continue on. People will-ing  to  learn  from  and  teach  one  another.    People  who cried  and  mourned,  laughed  and  celebrated  together. People who have prayed for and supported one another. At  the  core  we  have  been  and  are  a  community  of faith,  steeped  in  the  Catholic  tradition  that  gives  us  purpose and eternal life.  It is the highest honor for me to be a  part  of  this  godly  community  today,  to  be  in  the  near-est  moment  of  heaven  on  earth  when  we  gather  in  the   celebration of the Eucharist. The  committee  worked  diligently  for  our  celebration.  We  looked  at  the  100th  Anniversary  and  talked  about  a fair,  a  school  reunion,  a  ball,  and  a  week-long  festival.  But,  alas, COVID and threats of COVID, constant changes and a chancy future brought us to a program I enthusias-tically endorsed. From the anniversary of our first  recorded Baptism to today,  we  endeavored  to walk  through  our  history  here, our  praying  our  Anniversary  Prayer  together  and  hope-fully at home, and our Eucharistic gatherings. I thank and congratulate  the  committee for their conscientious  and  committed  hard  work.    Please  acknowledge   with   me   our   co-chairs,   Karen   Young   and   John     Latimore, and a special recognition to the parish staff and most importantly to Mary Lou McEvoy, who always does  make it happen. Thank  you  to  all  who  have  been  a  part  of  this  awe-some community for 150 years.  Welcome and thank you to all who have come back during this time.  We appreciate  those  who  have  been  here  through  so  much  of  the   modern  era.    Thank  you  for  sharing  in  our  faith  journey.  May the coming years always reflect the Glory of God.
Anniversary Prayer :
Heavenly Father, as we celebrate our past and rejoice in our present,  we  give  thanks  to  You  for  Your  goodness  through  all the  years  of  worship  and  camaraderie  in  our  parish  of  Most Precious Blood. “Let us do little things with great love” into a future  of  hope  and  promise  in  you  Name.  Glory  be  to  the     Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.  As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.   Amen.

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