April 12 – April 19, 2020
Weekly Activities –
As of March 16, 2020, all services, meetings and activities are cancelled until further notice, with the exception of the Food Pantry.
Wednesday, April 15, from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. ~ EXTENDED HOURS ~ Catholic Central Food Pantry in St. Charles Hall
Now operating every other Wednesday (April 15, April 29, May 13, etc.) but with extended hours. Volunteers will distribute pre-prepared bags of groceries.
Mass Intentions – As of March 16, 2020, all services are cancelled until further notice.
During these extraordinary times, several area Catholic churches are live-streaming weekend Masses. For your convenience, we are providing links to two of them:
Live-streaming Saturdays at 4pm and Sundays at 9am (Spanish) and 11am (English)
St. Leo the Great (scroll down to “Live Stream”)
Live-streaming Saturdays at 4pm and Sundays at 9am and 11am; weekdays at 8am
We also invite you to follow the daily Mass readings for the week.
Readings for Easter Week, April 12-19, 2020
Easter Sunday: Acts 10:34A, 37-43; Ps 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23; Col 3:1-4; 1 Cor 5:6B-8; 1 Cor 5:7B-8A; Jn 20:1-9
Easter Monday: Acts 2:14, 22-23; Ps 16:1-2, 5,7-11; Mt 28:8-15
Easter Tuesday: Acts 2:36-41; Ps 33:4-5, 18-20, 22; Jn 20:11-18
Easter Wednesday: Acts 3:1-10; Ps 105:1-4, 6-9; Lk 24:13-35
Easter Thursday: Acts 3:11-26; Ps 8:2, 5-9; Lk 24:35-48
Easter Friday: Acts 4:1-12; Ps 118:1-2, 4, 22-27; Jn 21:1-14
Easter Saturday: Acts 4:13-21; Ps 118:1, 14-21; Mk 16:9-15
Second Sunday of Easter: Acts 2:42-27; Ps 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24; 1 Pt 1:3-9; Jn 20:19-31
Pope Francis’ Easter Vigil Homily
April 11, 2020
In his Easter 2020 message, Pope Francis related our present situation to that of the women identified in Matthew’s Gospel, focusing on the gift that the women “prepared at home.”
“After the Sabbath” (Mt 28:1), the women went to the tomb. This is how the Gospel of this holy Vigil began: with the Sabbath. It is the day of the Easter Triduum that we tend to neglect as we eagerly await the passage from Friday’s cross to Easter Sunday’s Alleluia. This year however, we are experiencing, more than ever, the great silence of Holy Saturday. We can imagine ourselves in the position of the women on that day. They, like us, had before their eyes the drama of suffering, of an unexpected tragedy that happened all too suddenly. They had seen death and it weighed on their hearts. Pain was mixed with fear: would they suffer the same fate as the Master? Then too there was fear about the future and all that would need to be rebuilt. A painful memory, a hope cut short. For them, as for us, it was the darkest hour.
Yet in this situation the women did not allow themselves to be paralyzed. They did not give in to the gloom of sorrow and regret, they did not morosely close in on themselves, or flee from reality. They were doing something simple yet extraordinary: preparing at home the spices to anoint the body of Jesus. They did not stop loving; in the darkness of their hearts, they lit a flame of mercy. Our Lady spent that Saturday, the day that would be dedicated to her, in prayer and hope. She responded to sorrow with trust in the Lord. Unbeknownst to these women, they were making preparations, in the darkness of that Sabbath, for “the dawn of the first day of the week”, the day that would change history. Jesus, like a seed buried in the ground, was about to make new life blossom in the world; and these women, by prayer and love, were helping to make that hope flower. How many people, in these sad days, have done and are still doing what those women did, sowing seeds of hope! With small gestures of care, affection and prayer.
At dawn the women went to the tomb. There the angel says to them: “Do not be afraid. He is not here; for he has risen” (vv. 5-6). They hear the words of life even as they stand before a tomb… And then they meet Jesus, the giver of all hope, who confirms the message and says: “Do not be afraid” (v. 10). Do not be afraid, do not yield to fear: This is the message of hope. It is addressed to us, today. These are the words that God repeats to us this very night.
Tonight we acquire a fundamental right that can never be taken away from us: the right to hope. It is a new and living hope that comes from God. It is not mere optimism; it is not a pat on the back or an empty word of encouragement. It is a gift from heaven, which we could not have earned on our own. Over these weeks, we have kept repeating, “All will be well”, clinging to the beauty of our humanity and allowing words of encouragement to rise up from our hearts. But as the days go by and fears grow, even the boldest hope can dissipate. Jesus’ hope is different. He plants in our hearts the conviction that God is able to make everything work unto good, because even from the grave he brings life.
The grave is the place where no one who enters ever leaves. But Jesus emerged for us; he rose for us, to bring life where there was death, to begin a new story in the very place where a stone had been placed. He, who rolled away the stone that sealed the entrance of the tomb, can also remove the stones in our hearts. So, let us not give in to resignation; let us not place a stone before hope. We can and must hope, because God is faithful. He did not abandon us; he visited us and entered into our situations of pain, anguish and death. His light dispelled the darkness of the tomb: today he wants that light to penetrate even to the darkest corners of our lives. Dear sister, dear brother, even if in your heart you have buried hope, do not give up: God is greater. Darkness and death do not have the last word. Be strong, for with God nothing is lost!
Courage. This is a word often spoken by Jesus in the Gospels. Only once do others say it, to encourage a person in need: “Courage; rise, [Jesus] is calling you!” (Mk 10:49). It is he, the Risen One, who raises us up from our neediness. If, on your journey, you feel weak and frail, or fall, do not be afraid, God holds out a helping hand and says to you: “Courage!”. You might say, as did Don Abbondio (in Manzoni’s novel), “Courage is not something you can give yourself” (I Promessi Sposi, XXV). True, you cannot give it to yourself, but you can receive it as a gift. All you have to do is open your heart in prayer and roll away, however slightly, that stone placed at the entrance to your heart so that Jesus’ light can enter. You only need to ask him: “Jesus, come to me amid my fears and tell me too: Courage!” With you, Lord, we will be tested but not shaken. And, whatever sadness may dwell in us, we will be strengthened in hope, since with you the cross leads to the resurrection, because you are with us in the darkness of our nights; you are certainty amid our uncertainties, the word that speaks in our silence, and nothing can ever rob us of the love you have for us.
This is the Easter message, a message of hope. It contains a second part, the sending forth. “Go and tell my brethren to go to Galilee” (Mt 28:10), Jesus says. “He is going before you to Galilee” (v. 7), the angel says. The Lord goes before us. It is encouraging to know that he walks ahead of us in life and in death; he goes before us to Galilee, that is, to the place which for him and his disciples evoked the idea of daily life, family and work. Jesus wants us to bring hope there, to our everyday life. For the disciples, Galilee was also the place of remembrance, for it was the place where they were first called. Returning to Galilee means remembering that we have been loved and called by God. We need to resume the journey, reminding ourselves that we are born and reborn thanks to an invitation given gratuitously to us out of love. This is always the point from which we can set out anew, especially in times of crisis and trial.
But there is more. Galilee was the farthest region from where they were: from Jerusalem. And not only geographically. Galilee was also the farthest place from the sacredness of the Holy City. It was an area where people of different religions lived: it was the “Galilee of the Gentiles” (Mt 4:15). Jesus sends them there and asks them to start again from there. What does this tell us? That the message of hope should not be confined to our sacred places, but should be brought to everyone. For everyone is in need of reassurance, and if we, who have touched “the Word of life” (1 Jn 1:1) do not give it, who will? How beautiful it is to be Christians who offer consolation, who bear the burdens of others and who offer encouragement: messengers of life in a time of death! In every Galilee, in every area of the human family to which we all belong and which is part of us – for we are all brothers and sisters – may we bring the song of life! Let us silence the cries of death, no more wars! May we stop the production and trade of weapons, since we need bread, not guns. Let the abortion and killing of innocent lives end. May the hearts of those who have enough be open to filling the empty hands of those who do not have the bare necessities.
Those women, in the end, “took hold” of Jesus’ feet (Mt 28:9); feet that had travelled so far to meet us, to the point of entering and emerging from the tomb. The women embraced the feet that had trampled death and opened the way of hope. Today, as pilgrims in search of hope, we cling to you, Risen Jesus. We turn our backs on death and open our hearts to you, for you are Life itself.
News from our Parish Community
Prayer for Times of Confusion
Lord Jesus Christ,
who feels the struggles of every heart,
sees the doubts of every mind,
we lay our confusions before you.
Already you know our thoughts.
You hold our bewilderment in your hand.
Whatever our falterings, you call us
to be your witness in the world.
Love us through this uncertainty.
Be present in this dim place.
Give us the light and hope of your presence
We pray in your name. Amen
Stewardship ~ In late March, Father Victor mailed a letter to all parishioners enclosing a copy of the the Annual Parish Financial Report for the fiscal year 2018-19. At this time, Father Victor and the parish finance council have done everything possible to cut expenses. Members of our relatively small staff are making great sacrifices, working drastically reduced hours or none at all. However, expenses — including large utility bills — continue. We realize that many of you may have experienced a loss of income during the economic shutdown. However, if you are in a position to continue supporting the parish financially, please consider your responsibilities as a “good steward” and help us to survive the difficult weeks ahead. Checks payable to “Blessed Trinity Church” should be sent to the church at 317 Leroy Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14214.
New Office Hours ~ The parish has temporarily reduced office hours to one day each week. Our secretary, Pat Pendleton, will be in the office every Wednesday from 10:30am-2:30pm.
Until the current COVID-19 restrictions on services and activities are lifted, we will not be preparing a weekly bulletin. However, there may well be announcements that Father Victor would like to share with our parish family. The most efficient way to do this is to utilize email messaging, but our secretary has email addresses for only about 40 parishioners. Please share your current email address with Pat so that you will be able to receive such announcements in a timely fashion. You may submit this information using the contact feature at the bottom of this page or by calling Pat at 716-833-0301 on Wednesdays between 10:30am and 2:30pm.
Keep abreast of the latest Diocesan announcements by visiting their Facebook page.
A Message from Catholic Charities Appeal 2020:
Catholic Charities is doing everything possible to continue to serve our neighbors in need at this time. We are operating every service we safely can and especially those most vital at this time such as basic emergency assistance, including our food pantries (all nine are up and running, assisted by CC staff from other departments) and counseling and mental health services. We are here to help! Many of our staff are working remotely and returning office calls daily.
For the Appeal, our office at 741 Delaware Ave. is closed to visitors. Parishes (and even individual parishioners) are asked to mail donations to our office, 741 Delaware Ave., Buffalo, NY 14209, Attn: Appeal Department. We also encourage online donations:https://www.ccwny.org/donation when possible. Appeal staff are working remotely and returning office calls daily. Please call Clara Moran, 716-713-4410, with questions or concerns. We are grateful for the returns that are being mailed already!
For a daily update about Catholic Charities, go to our home page at ccwny.org. Thank you!
Our “Congregation Book Read” ~ We hope that you have been participating by following along in your copy of Matthew Kelly’s Rediscover Jesus,and that it has inspired you on your journey to a joyful Easter.
Faith Formation Program Provides On-line Opportunities ~ Buffalo’s Department of Lifelong Faith Formation’s Youth and Young Adult Ministry has officially partnered with “ProjectYM Live” a program designed especially for youth and young adults. In this time of “Social Distancing,” try Church in a way our parents could never have imagined. And, everyone in the parish is invited to join our Confirmation students as they prepare for receipt of the Sacrament. Here is a link to Lesson 2: Catholic Social Teaching: A Brief Overview.
Our Faith Formation Program now has its own page on our web site. Click HERE to find complete information on the resumption of programs, classes and volunteer opportunities as it becomes available.
Call to Stewardship ~ Our Parish Finance Council seeks a parishioner with accounting skills to join our committee. Please see Father Victor if you are able to serve in this capacity.
The Diocese of Buffalo has joined other faith communities and civic organizations in partnering with the Census Bureau to help encourage all people in our community to participate in the 2020 Census. The census is a once-in-a-decade chance to inform how billions of dollars in funding are allocated for critical public services. Census statistics are used to determine the number of seats each state receives in the U.S. House of Representatives, and will also have an impact on planning and funding for health clinics and highways, fire departments and disaster response, education programs such as Head Start and college tuition assistance, and so much more. You can inspire others. Tell everyone – your friends and family, your neighbors and co-workers – that you will complete the census, and tell them why it’s important that they respond too. For more information, contact 2020census.gov.
The Buffalo Diocese “has determined that it is in the best interests of victims of past clergy sexual abuse, as well as the ongoing and essential work of Faith in WNY to pursue reorganization through Chapter 11 [Bankruptcy].” Their Office of Communications has created an informative page, “Reorganizing for the Future…together” to help explain this choice. Find it at buffalodiocese.org
Anyone interested in coordinating a prayer group, such as Pious Society, Sacred Heart, St. Jude, Altar Rosary, etc., please see Fr. Victor or email the church office at blessedtrinitychurch [at] gmail [dot] com.
Is it time to update your contact information? During this period when the COVID-19 Protocols prevent us from attending church services, there will surely be occasions when the parish has important information to convey to the faithful. Does the church office have your correct mailing address and phone number? Have you shared your email address? Make sure that we have been notified of any changes in your contact information by completing this form. This is also a chance to let us know if you: wish to be included in our online email list, register as a parishioner, or request envelopes. You can also submit the requested information by phoning our secretary at 716-833-0301 any Wednesday between 10:30am and 2:30pm; sending an email to blessedtrinitychurch [at] gmail [dot] com; or using the contact feature below to submit the information. If you choose either of the last two, please use “Contact Update” as the subject of the email or message.
Home Visits ~ Because of the COVID-19 protocols, Father Victor has had to discontinue his “last Friday” visits to homebound parishioners. However, if someone is ill and in need of Last Rites, please call him at the rectory.
News from our Vicariate Cluster and the Wider Community
Food Assistance for Seniors ~ The County of Erie advises anyone over the age of 60 who is in need of food assistance to call 716-858-8526.