August 16 – August 23, 2020
The Celebration of 10 A. M. Mass on Sunday has resumed.
Sunday services resumed on June 21, 2020; daily and Saturday Masses, meetings and activities are cancelled until further notice, with the exception of the Food Pantry.
Monday, August 17 at 6:30 p.m. ~ NEW ~ 40-minute Bible Study via ZOOM, featuring the Acts of the Apostles. Visit our Faith Formation page for sign-in link!
Wednesday, August 19, from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. ~ EXTENDED HOURS ~ Catholic Central Food Pantry in St. Charles Hall
Now operating every other Wednesday (August 19, Sept 2, Sept 16, etc.) but with extended hours. Volunteers will distribute pre-prepared bags of groceries.
Sunday, August 16 ~ Mass at 10:00 a.m. – Thanksgiving for Blessings Received (Requested by Bud & Mickey Dick)
The celebration of Daily Mass for the public has not yet resumed at Blessed Trinity. Daily Mass readings for the week of August 16 are available on the website of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops by Clicking HERE. Select the desired day on their Roman Liturgical Calendar, and the text of the readings for that day will appear.
Sunday, August 23 ~ Mass at 10:00 a.m. – Birthday Remembrance of Marion Hartzell (Requested by Madonna Hartzell) and Birthday Remembrance for Liz Dick (Requested by Bud & Mickey Dick)
Lector Schedule ~ August 16: Mary Kresse; August 23: Greg Gaglione
News from our Parish Community
Zoom Bible Study begins Monday, August 17 at 6:30pm ~ Study The Acts of the Apostles as we explore the beginnings of our Church and the Church of today. The group meets every other Monday. Get a free account at zoom.com and use Meeting ID: 772 2468 2835 (Pass Code: 8jZY0h). The session is scheduled to last 40 minutes. Those without computers might consider social distancing with a friend (wearing masks). Call Pat Dyer at 716-256-2586 for additional information.
A Reflection on Sunday’s Readings: Is 56:1, 6-7; Rom 11:13-15, 29-32; Mt 15:21-28
The prophet Isaiah describes the heart of God: it is filled with a desire to bring under his protective embrace everyone, even foreigners, who choose to “join themselves to the Lord” (v. 6). Isaiah recognizes that God invites everyone to his holy mountain – the place where God can always be found by those who seek him, by those who never stop longing for the joy of living in God’s presence. This surprising revelation is also what motivates Paul’s outreach to the Gentiles, as well as Jesus himself, as we see so clearly in his joy over the faith expressed by the Canaanite woman. She knew in her heart that God would heed her desperate call; she knew that God loves all of his children, and that it was impossible for anyone to ever be excluded from his mercy. Jesus therefore praised her for believing in such a God.
We too can, at times, find our beliefs about God exposed and tested. Too often we imagine that God’s heart is as small as our own: that God sees as we see, and values what we value… But God’s Heart is not defined by such limitations. God embraces all: the good and the bad, the worthy and the unworthy. God seems to almost rejoice when certain circumstances allow him to surprise us with his generosity and desire to forgive. The Solemnity of the Sacred Heart which we celebrated recently may offer us a deeper insight into this. The feast focuses us on coming to understand the Heart of God. The decision to love is costly, even for God – Good Friday taught us that. But Good Friday also revealed that God’s “Love on a Mission” cannot be defeated. Jesus was sent into our world as Emmanuel, God always with us, God always loving us… The feast of the Sacred Heart probes that mystery.
From 1673-74, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, through a series of visions, came to understand, and brought the Church itself into a deeper understanding of God’s all-consuming love for us. The Incarnation had allowed God to do something new. In the God/man Jesus, God was able to experience human life – not from the outside, watching – but from the “inside”, living it. God, in Jesus, would experience human life just as we humans experience it, and thus also experience the full spectrum of those human emotions often attributed to the heart. Jesus was able to experience the joys of human relationships, but also those sorrows that relationships marred by human failures can bring. He experienced the very real pain of rejection and betrayal when those he had come to save turned away. The “human heart” of Jesus was vulnerable… What a mystery!
Jesus spent his life reaching out to those his Father loved: those who were broken, bleeding, and drowning in sin. And in the end, he endured the unimaginable in an effort to prove the genuineness of his love – yet he was still rejected! Margaret Mary understood that the Heart of Jesus was actually surrounded by a Crown of Thorns… She understood that God’s heart had truly been pierced by sin. Pierced – but NOT shattered… Yes, sin had pierced and penetrated what we now understand to be the “tender” heart of God. Yet that reality only served to strengthen God’s resolve to heal and restore his wayward beloved children. God’s Heart is bound to us forever. (And God has never and will never regret his decision to bind himself to us). God will also never stop surprising us by offering yet another chance to experience and return love for Love. This is a mystery we can never fully grasp. We need to experience, as Margaret Mary did, God removing our hearts of stone, placing them into his own Heart, purifying them, and returning them to us ablaze. Then we need to become vessels which will bring that Love to a waiting, love-starved world.
Sister Patrice Yarborough, SSMN
Know Your Faith: One Bread, One Body – Some of you may already know that my husband Luke and I raised two of our grandchildren. One of them has both developmental and psychiatric disabilities. For a time, we were unable to bring him to Mass with us and also unable to leave him home alone. Most weekends, Luke went to Mass on Saturday evenings and I went on Sundays. This particular weekend, Luke had been unable to go on Saturday, so I went to an early morning Mass at another parish. I was feeling particularly discouraged. After Communion while kneeling in prayer, the tears came. I felt a hand on my shoulder and I heard a voice say, “It’s going to be okay.” There was no one around me yet that voice was very real. I knew that it would be okay.
I did not know how it would change or how long it would take, but I knew that it would be okay. Some years earlier a seminarian had come to talk about his vocation story. I was surprised to hear him say that though he was studying to be a priest he often doubted that Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist. He went on to say that it was in Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament that he came to truly believe. With these experiences in mind I sat to talk with a group of teens on a mission trip. That morning we had gone to Mass and Adoration together. One young girl reminded me of the seminarian, “I so want to believe, but sometimes I just can’t.” In her I heard words recorded in Mark’s gospel: “I do believe, help my unbelief.” (Mk 9:24)
From the earliest days the Church has taught that Jesus is really truly present in the Holy Eucharist, that when we go to Communion we receive him in a special way. Recall that the Liturgy of the Word parallels the Jewish practice of scripture readings interpreted by learned men – bishops, priests and deacons (consecrated for that purpose.) This should make sense to you. Jesus was a Jew. The disciples of Jesus were Jews. The Liturgy of the Eucharist also parallels the Jewish sacrificial rite and the offering of bread and wine by Melchizedek (Gen 14:18.) This is later mentioned by Paul in his letter to the Hebrews (7:17.)
There are numerous scriptural references to the bread and wine becoming the body and blood of Jesus. Jesus himself makes that statement at the Last Supper and it is recorded in three of the gospels in very similar language: “… take … this is my body” (Lk 24:30-31, Mt 26:26, and Mk 14:22.) St. Paul admonishes the Church at Corinth when they seemed to have strayed from the meaning of the Eucharistic ritual, “For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over, took bread, and, after he had given thanks, broke it and said, ‘This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’” (1 Cor 11:23-24.)
It seems that Jesus has indeed given us exactly what he promised, “… And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Mt 28:20). This is why we approach Communion without serious sin and with respect and reverence for the Presence of Jesus. It is why we fast from food and drink in the hour before Mass – so that we might experience a physical hunger as a reminder of our hunger for the Lord. God has called us each by name (Is 43:1). Waiting for the ushers, bowing before the Lord and holding our hands so as to receive the Host into them are all signs of reverence and respect.
…Patricia Dyer, MAPM
Pastoral Associate and Religious Education Coordinator
Family Promise of WNY ~ Blessed Trinity has partnered with Family Promise (formerly Interfaith Hospital Network) as a support congregation since 1994 when the agency first established a presence in Western New York. Having just completed renovations to their facility on Hickory Street, Executive Director Luanne Firestone was happy to take parish team members Amy Johnson and Mickey Dick on a guided tour. The renovations are impressive, especially the addition of bedrooms, bathrooms, and individual family cupboards, all designed with COVID-19 protocols in mind. When they are able to resume intakes this month, they will do so with double the capacity as “a safer, more private and more comfortable shelter” for temporarily homeless families. Their anticipation is heightened as they brace for the housing crisis that they know is coming with the lifting of the current NYS eviction moratorium. New meal guidelines will make it easier for parish partners, like Blessed Trinity, to provide dinners for guest families. If you are in a position to assist us with dinner drop-offs, please contact Amy Johnson at 716-836-4694. To learn more about Family Promise of Western New York, Click HERE.
Have your responded to the 2020 Census? It is a once-in-a-decade chance to inform how billions of dollars in federal funding are allocated for critical public services. The current corona virus pandemic should certainly enforce in our minds how crucial such funding can be. 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. The Diocese of Buffalo has joined other faith communities and civic organizations in encouraging all people in our community to participate. If you have not yet returned the census form mailed to you in March, you may receive a home visit from a census worker who will be carrying official identification and census forms. Please cooperate as he/she is there to help make sure you and your family are counted. If you have internet access, go to 2020census.gov and complete the census online. If you do not have a computer, you can go to any branch of the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library and ask for assistance with the online census form.
Sunday Mass Under Re-Opening Guidelines ~ Our church resumed Sunday services on June 21. We hope those of you who have been able to return are satisfied with our efforts to welcome both parishioners and visitors while keeping everyone safe. If you will be joining us for worship for the first time since March, please know that we are observing guidelines as required by the Diocese of Buffalo and/or the State of New York. When inside the church, everyone over the age of 2 is required to wear a mask. (You are expected to bring your own mask or face covering. If you forget, an usher will supply one). Hand sanitizer is available at each of the church entrances.To maintain social distancing, some pews are “off limits.” Families and couples may sit together; unrelated individuals must sit 6 ft. away from each other. Copies of Breaking Bread have been removed, and there can be no music sheets or bulletins. Congregational singing is discouraged (except in our hearts). Please follow the lead of our ushers when it is time for Communion and dismissal at the end of Mass. We appreciate the fact that you are all anxious to see each other, but to protect everyone’s health please refrain from shaking hands or hugging. If you wish to visit (from an acceptable distance), please wait until you are outside and do not congregate in the vestibules.The church will be sanitized before we gather again each Sunday. We hope that everyone joins in worshiping as community this Sunday, but please remember that — for now — there is no obligation to do so. If you are not feeling well or are just uncomfortable being in a group setting, please remain at home. Those of us who are lucky enough to attend will continue to pray for everyone who cannot be physically present.
The 2020 Catholic Charities Appeal concluded on June 30, falling $1.6 million short of its $10 mill goal. Deacon Steve Schumer, president and chief executive officer of the agency however, chose to see the positive aspects of having reached 84% of the goal “given everything going on….” Although Catholic Charities is a separate non-profit, human services agency, its fund raising was impacted by reaction to the diocesan bankruptcy filing and the coronavirus pandemic which shut down parish life and church services during the height of the annual appeal effort. In an article published in The Buffalo News on July 9, Deacon Schumer admitted that Catholic Charities “was facing a ‘perfect storm’ in that the need for its services grew because of the pandemic, while revenues to fund those services were hampered by the pandemic and a continued erosion of the agency’s tradition donor base, Mass-going parishioners.” In the early days of the pandemic before federal government made additional food stamps available, the News reported that the “agency’s food pantries were inundated.” Now it is “trying to handle an uptick in requests for counseling and mental health services, and Deacon Schumer admits the agency “will have to ‘make some difficult decisions’ to address shortfalls….” It is never too late to make a contribution to Catholic Charities. You may mail a donation to their office, 741 Delaware Ave., Buffalo, NY 14209, Attn: Appeal Department, or make an online donation at:https://www.ccwny.org/donation. Bob Heicklen, the appeal chair for our parish, will be happy to accept a contribution in any amount. If your pledged during the early days of the drive, please remember to honor your pledge.
Regular Office Hours ~ We are happy to report that the parish has been able to resume regular office hours. Our secretary, Pat Pendleton, will be in the office every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10:30am-2:30pm.
Rosary Video for All Ages ~ Our pastoral associate and director of religious education, Pat Dyer, would like to share her YouTube video on The Rosary. The opening portion of her video was made with the children in mind, so be sure they join in.
Do you miss being at church? Of course long-time parishioners can probably close their eyes and picture the view from a favorite pew. But if you are not yet able to be physically present, it is possible to make a virtual visit. Buffalo Rising and Explore Buffalo teamed up to give their online followers a “tour” of Blessed Trinity. You can join them, by Clicking HERE. You will be treated to both exterior and interior photos and more than a little history. Take the “tour” and test your knowledge about your house of worship.
Is it time to update your contact information? During the past 4 months when the COVID-19 Protocols prevented us from attending church services, the ability to keep in touch by telephone or email took on increased importance. Even though we are now able to resume Mass attendance, this may be a good time to ask yourself: Does the church office have my correct mailing address and phone number? Have I shared my 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 Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday 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
Orientation for Spiritual Exercises in Daily Life, Wednesday September 16 at 7pm. An 8-month program at St. Michael Rectory (651 Washington Street in Buffalo). Applications (visit SpirExlgnatius.org) are due September 1. Find out more by calling Joseph Ritzert at 716-627-5530 or Fr. Len Kamiensky SJ at 716-854-6726.
Help for Victims of Domestic Violence ~ Because of COVID-19, the Family Justice Center (“FJC”) is not accepting walk-in appointments or in-person meetings. In case of emergency, call 911. For help with safety planning or other services you may need during this time, call or text the FJC Safeline, 716-558-SAFE (7233).
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.