“Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught Peter, and said to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?’ ” Mt. 14:31
Ceramic relief of Peter and Christ over exterior of right (west) door.
Photo Credit: Derek Gee, Buffalo News

August 2 – August 9, 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.

Wednesday, August 19, from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. ~ EXTENDED HOURSCatholic 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.

Monday, August 10 at 6:30 p.m.

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!

Mass Intentions

Sunday, August 9 ~ Mass at 10:00 a.m. – Intentions of Blessed Trinity Parishioners (Requested by the Parish)

The celebration of Daily Mass for the public has not yet resumed at Blessed Trinity. Daily Mass readings for the week of August 9 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 16 ~ Mass at 10:00 a.m. – Thanksgiving for Blessing Received (Requested by Bud & Mickey Dick)

Lector Schedule ~  August 9: Sr. Liz Savage; August 16: Mary Kresse

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, August 15
This solemnity celebrates the bodily taking up of the Blessed Virgin Mary into heaven at the end of her earthly life. Dogmatically defined in 1950 by Pope Pius XII, accounts of the assumption of Mary into heaven survive in apocryphal narratives from the third and fourth centuries and was celebrated as early as the fifth century.
Painting of Mary’s Assumption by Joseph Mazur on left side of church transept.
Photo credit: Steve Mangione

News from our Parish Community

A Reflection on Sunday’s Readings: 1 Kings: 19:9a, 11-13a; Romans: 9:1-5; Matthew 14: 22-33

The readings are filled with hope for the times we’re experiencing. In the first reading we hear the story of the Prophet Elijah who has been called to go out of the cave in which he found shelter and to go and stand on Mount Horeb. The second reading from Romans speaks of the sorrow of heart that Paul had because the Jews as a nation had refused to see Christ as the Messiah. In the Gospel, Jesus is walking on the water coming to the rescue of the disciples being tossed in all directions.

During these situations we’re experiencing, I have felt like the disciples in the fourth night watch on a stormy sea. Many times, I have called out, Lord save us. It seems as if we’re being tossed in all directions with the Coronavirus Pandemic, Black Lives Matter, Systemic Racism, injustices and the upcoming election. Like the disciples we are anxious for solutions and we’re fearful. We are challenged by the dark powers that threaten the goodness of life and our common home.

Both Elijah and Peter are disciples of faith. However, doubt and fear get in the way of them hearing the voice of the Lord. Like the disciples, we too can be blind-sighted and not see or hear the voice of Jesus in the strong winds of racism, injustice and the suffering poor. Jesus invites us to take his hand and “come” to him. We are invited to daily stand on the mountain and hear the voice of God in the tiny whispering sound.

With a bold and renewed faith and trust, we will walk on the water knowing that our God is there leading and guiding us. Our hope is firm. No storm can shake our inmost calm. Perhaps, we will lead others to see that Jesus is truly the Messiah. The question before us this Sunday is can we wade in the water and come to Jesus? The [popular Spiritual] gives a clear direction. Don’t let doubt and fear get in the way. Our faith will be tested again and again. Stand firm and “Wade in the Water.”

Sister Robert Fulton, SSMN

#One Body ~ On Monday, August 10, 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 antiracism.

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.

Know Your Faith: Music is an Integral Part of the Mass – I was going to begin to talk about the Liturgy of the Eucharist, but this morning I ran a quick errand to the bank and post office. Those who know me, know that I haven’t a musical bone in my body. I can neither sing nor play an instrument, but as I often do, I had Pandora on in the car set to a play list of my favorite religious music artists: John Michael Talbot, Michael Card and David Haas. A song came on that I cannot get out of my head: Song of the Body of Christ. This song says it all to me. Here is the refrain, “We come to share our story. We come to break the bread. We come to know our rising from the dead.” The author tells of what we know, what we hope for and what we must do, all profoundly important in the lives of Christians. The lyrics go on to emphasize that we are the Lord’s people ending with certainty, “You will lead and we shall follow.” The entire Mass – indeed our lives – is a prayer.

At Mass we join together more profoundly, led by the priest as “chief pray-er.” For example, certain parts of the Mass such as the Gloria, Alleluia and Psalms are considered so important that they are to be sung at Sunday liturgies. Music has been used to teach faith since early times. It is part of the Oral Tradition of the early Church. This is partly because early Christians were not generally literate. In some cultures, a preacher will use song to convey the summary of his message. We often use music to teach children faith lessons: Jesus loves me. One of my favorite children’s songs is often played at Christmas time, Some children see him. Throughout history music continued to be used in familiar Christmas Carols – listen carefully and you will hear of the life of Jesus, not just his birth. They speak of dying and rising, of blood as well as purity. Though arguable, some even suggest that certain Christmas Carols were written specifically to teach “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”

You may also be familiar with the African-American Spirituals, many of which were used not just for imparting religious ideas, but to comfort slaves escaping their “owners” or to help them find their way to freedom. One example is the religious hymn, There is a Balm in Gilead. You can get more information about African-American Spirituals from Kenyatta Berry and the PBS series Mercy Street. Perhaps, it is embedded deep within us to sing. This may explain why it is so difficult to listen to music at Mass when we are not permitted due to fear of infection to sing along. Don’t you catch yourself sometimes? I know I do. Let music “tell our story.”

Fun Fact: There are seven readings during the Easter Vigil liturgy before the Epistle and Gospel. One of them is frequently sung. Do you know which one? Answer next week.

Beginning Monday, August 17, and continuing every other Monday via Zoom, we will have a Bible Study of the Acts of the Apostles and the Pope’s latest teaching on the parish. Meetings will begin at 6:30 PM and will end at 40 minutes. You will be able to find the Zoom Link on the Faith Formation Page of our website and in the bulletin. You do not need to register.

…Patricia Dyer, MAPM
   Pastoral Associate and Religious Education Coordinator

L to R: Mickey Dick, Luanne Firestone & Amy Johnson on July 30, 2020

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.

Landing on Holy Ground ~ On Tuesday night, July 28, the recently rebuilt plaza in front of Blessed Trinity Church sustained substantial damage when a driver heading west on Leroy lost control of his vehicle and crashed through the retaining wall on the east (ramp) side of the church. The car became airborne, landing on its roof in the center of the plaza near the street-level stairs. By the grace of God, the driver and passenger were able to walk away and the church itself does not appear to have been damaged. The accident has been reported to the driver’s insurance carrier, and masons will be returning to estimate the time and cost involved in restoring the area once again. On Friday, July 31, the diocesan Division of Buildings & Properties sent two gentlemen who did a masterful cleanup job. It is now possible to enter the church through the front doors, but please resist the urge to “explore” cordoned off areas. We appreciate your cooperation in preventing accidental injury.

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.

Terra cotta ornamentation below Blessed Trinity’s Tabernacle Altar. Photo credit: Steve Mangione

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.