“[Y]ou are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church…. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven.” Mt 16:18-19
St. Peter appears at the far right in Joseph Mazur’s painting of evangelists and apostles in the great dome. St. Bartholomew, whose feast we celebrate on Aug. 24, is depicted at far left (holding sword).
Photo credit: Gary Kelley

August 23 – August 30, 2020

Weekly Activities

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 24 at 6:30 p.m. ~ #OneBody ZOOM conference call. “Racial healing … One heart at a time, one mind at a time.” Please email althea [dot] porter50 [at] gmail [dot] com for instructions on how to join.

Monday, August 31 at 6:30 p.m. ~ NEW ~ 50-minute Bible Study via ZOOM, featuring the Acts of the Apostles. Visit our Faith Formation page for sign-in link!

Wednesday, September 2, from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. ~ EXTENDED HOURSCatholic Central Food Pantry in St. Charles Hall
Now operating every other Wednesday (Sept 2, Sept 16, Sept 30, etc.) but with extended hours. Volunteers will distribute pre-prepared bags of groceries.

Mass Intentions

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)

The celebration of Daily and Saturday Masses for the public will resume at Blessed Trinity on Tuesday, September 1 and Saturday, September 5. Daily Mass readings for the week of August 23 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 30 ~ Mass at 10:00 a.m. – Blessing for Sylvia Heicklen (Requested by Son, Robert)

Lector Schedule ~  August 23: Greg Gaglione; August 30: Elaine Rehouf

St. Augustine of Hippo (c. 354-430)
August 28
St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, is recognized as one of the greatest Doctors of the Western Church. The unceasing prayers of his mother, St. Monica (whose feast we celebrate on August 27), and the powerful preaching of St. Ambrose are credited with Augustine’s conversion from the dissolute lifestyle of his youth. His image appears in Joseph Mazur’s painting of “Confessors, Bishops, and Missionaries” in the dome of our church. Augustine is depicted at the far right in this photo, standing, wearing a bishop’s mitre and holding a crosier.
Photo credit: Gary Kelley

News from our Parish Community

#One Body ~ On Monday, August 24, 2020 from 6:30 to 8pm, you are invited to join in the next gathering of #OneBody via Zoom conference call.

#OneBody began during the racially intense aftermath of the death of Trevon Martin, the summer of 2016. Three predominantly racially homogeneous parishes, under the pastoral leadership of Rev. Ron Sajdak, originally participated: St. Martin de Porres, Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and St. Lawrence.

The purpose of #OneBody is to heal racism, one heart and one mind at a time. The healing process consists of prayer and candid conversations about racism in our Church and society, and conversations about conversion/the eradication of racism or anti-racism.

The call-in time is 6:15pm. For additional information and to obtain the Zoom conference call link please contact Althea Porter at althea [dot] porter50 [at] gmail [dot] com or call  716-316-8395.

Happy Anniversary Father Victor ~ August 28 marks 10 years that Fr. Victor Ibhawa has been in the Priesthood. Due to the pandemic restrictions, there will be no celebratory gathering, but please remember to pray for him.

Zoom Bible Study continues Monday, August 31 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 50 minutes; we will be discussing Acts: 1-3. Those without computers might consider social distancing with a friend (wearing masks). Call Pat Dyer at 716-256-2586 for additional information.

Saturday/Weekday Masses to Resume in September ~ As we gradually reopen after the impact of the pandemic, weekday Masses will resume on September 1st and Saturday evening Mass resumes September 5th. Please be encouraged to request mass intentions by mail, by leaving your request in the collection (marked “Mass Intention”), or simply calling the rectory office (716-833-0301). Office hours are Tues – Thurs, 10:30am – 2:30pm. The customary stipend is $15.00.

A Reflection on Sunday’s Readings: Is 22:9-23; Ps 138: 1-2. 2-3, 6, 8; Rom 11:33-36; Mt 16:13-20

One of Anthony DeMello’s stories is about an unconventional shepherd. Instead of gathering his sheep in an enclosure with one gate, across which he would lay at night, the shepherd created a pen with two gates. When asked why, the shepherd responded that he wanted the sheep to remain with him because they wanted to, not because they were forced to. This story sheds some light on today’s First Reading and the Gospel which for many years have been interpreted as showing us that there is a hierarchy of leadership which ultimately goes back to God. 

Respecting that leadership unquestioningly for some was the indication of a true disciple. Following the rules was the way of life. Western Europeans and the cultures influenced by them emphasized the Roman ideal of the leader—the one who is the ultimate decision-maker over life and death. The leader is the one who is omniscient, omnipotent and infallible.

The life example and teachings of Jesus witness to a different model, a servant model of leadership, one in which, as Pope Francis says, we “smell like the sheep.” Our current American political and social cultures cry out for this kind of leadership–one that is not hierarchical but ordered to serve and to serve especially those who are most in need and most powerless. The Corona virus, the economic instability and the political upheaval in so many nations are signs of this shift from power to powerlessness. Surely this is one of the gifts of the tumultuous times in which we live.

The powerlessness of self-giving love, of mutual listening, of seeing beyond one’s own needs, of feeling the pain of the other person, these are invitations to enter into the “depths and riches and wisdom and knowledge of God” in St. Paul’s words. Who in our times are the people who are making change happen? Are they the rule keepers? Are they the “nones”? Are they the one who put their lives on the line daily so that others may have life to the fullest? What calls to conversion are we hearing from them? What support and encouragement are they hearing from us? How will we allow God to convert us? This is the daily choice for each of us.

The real Christian option for us is to not be afraid to risk, to trust, to be like Christ the Good Shepherd who was not afraid to smell like the sheep, who time and again sees us leave the sheepfold…  

Sister Mary Laura Lesniak, SSMN

Upon This Rock ~ We are pleased to inform the Parish that the “Upon this Rock” office has deposited a $3,079.61 disbursement to the church’s bank account. Total disbursements to date are $45,932.44. Thank you for your contributions and all are encouraged to continue fulfilling your pledges.

Music Ministry ~ The search for a Music Minister has begun. If you know anyone who may be interested, detailed information may be found on the Buffalodiocese.org website. Select  the “Careers” tab on the Main page.

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. Our first commitment is Tuesday, Sept. 15. 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.

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.

The Passion of St. John the Baptist
August 29
The right confessional in the left transept features symbols of St. John the Baptist who called people to repentance as a preparation for closeness to God. (Rev. Walter Kern’s Guidebook to Blessed Trinity R. C. Church, page 45).
Photo credit: Margaret Dick

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.