December 6 – December 13, 2020
COVID-19 Precautions: Following a November 25, 2020 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, the Diocese of Buffalo has relaxed restrictions on capacity at worship services. See, Nov. 26 COVID-19 Update. It is no longer necessary to make a reservation to attend Mass at Blessed Trinity.
NEW: Sunday Mass is now being recorded and will be made available for viewing each Sunday afternoon on a Blessed Trinity YOU TUBE channel. Click HERE to view. If you click “Subscribe” on the YouTube site, you will receive automatic notification each time a Mass recording is posted.
Also, we are now providing personal copies of the Breaking Bread missal for each parishioner who would like one. You may claim yours this weekend and either take it home or place it in a zip-lock bag and reclaim it when you come again. Paper copies of the bulletin are once again available. Look for them at the middle crossing of the church.
Keep in mind, the dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass on Sunday and on other Holy Days of Obligation remains in effect in our diocese.
Please pray for the health and safety of all in our community.
All in-person meetings and activities remain cancelled until further notice, with the exception of the Food Pantry.
Wednesday, December 9, from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. ~ EXTENDED HOURS ~ Catholic Central Food Pantry in St. Charles Hall
Now operating every other Wednesday (Dec 9, 23, etc.) but with extended hours. Volunteers will distribute pre-prepared bags of groceries.
Tuesday, December 15 at 7:00 p.m. ~ ZOOM Bible Study
The regular schedule for weekend Masses is in effect, and the NEW schedule for daily Mass, as of Monday, November 9, 2020 is: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday at 11 AM. There will be no Mass on Thursdays.
Sunday, December 6 ~ Mass at 10:00 a.m. – Eternal Joy for Catherine Gress (Requested by the Ladies Sodality) and In Memory of Bob Lukasik (Req. by Mary Karlis)
Monday, November 7 ~ St. Ambrose ~ Mass at 11:00 a.m. – Praying for All Souls (Req. by St. Theresa Parish)
Tuesday, December 8 ~ The Immaculate Conception ~ Mass at 7:00 p.m. – Blessings for Mary Nelson (Req. by John E. Curtin)
Wednesday, December 9 ~ St. Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin ~ Mass at 11:00 a.m. – Praying for intentions of our parishioners (Req. by Blessed Trinity Church)
Thursday, December 10 ~ No Mass Scheduled
Friday, December 11 ~ St. Damasus I ~ Mass at 11:00 a.m. – Deceased members of the Ryan, Reilly, Reynolds and Pfeiffer Families (Req. by Est. of Mary Reilly)
Saturday, December 12 ~ Out Lady of Guadalupe ~ Mass at 4:30 p.m. – Praying for All Souls (Req. by St. Theresa Parish)
Sunday, December 13 ~ Mass at 10:00 a.m. – In Memory of Carl and Evelyn Schmelzer (Req. by Mary Karlis) and Blessings on Veronica Iwuchukwu (Req. by Fidelia Ejimadu)
Lector Schedule ~ Dec 13: Bob Heicklen
News from our Parish Community
Lectors ~ Please pick up your workbooks for the new liturgical year. They are on the first bench on the Baptismal Font side of the church.
Tuesday, December 8, is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary and a Holy Day of Obligation. Tuesday’s Mass will be celebrated at 7pm; there will be no 11am morning Mass. This is also the Patronal Feastday of the United States. Please pray for Mary’s intercession in ending the pandemic and bringing a renewed sense of unity and common purpose among our our citizens.
Zoom Bible Study ~ Because of the evening Mass on the Holy Day, our previously scheduled ZOOM Bible Study has been rescheduled for TUESDAY, December 15, at 7pm. It’s not too late to join the conversation as we continue our study of The Acts of the Apostles and explore the beginnings of our Church and the Church of today. We are now reading Chapters 15 and 16. The same link will work for each meeting; click HERE to enter the discussion. If you encounter a problem with the link, use Meeting ID:762 8722 8149 (Pass Code: jLD8Gg). Each session lasts approximately 90 minutes.
Collection for Retirement Fund for Religious ~ The second collection on December 12/13 benefits the Retirement Fund for Religious. Your contributions to this collection provide for the health care and daily living expenses of the members of religious congregations who taught in your elementary school or staffed your high school. They do not receive financial support or retirement benefits from the Diocese of Buffalo, Upon This Rock or the Diocesan Priests Retirement Fund. As a tribute to the many nuns and order priests who have served our diocese for decades, please be generous.
Collection for Homebound Wraps Up Next Weekend ~ If you were planning to contribute toward the grocery store gift cards for our homebound parishioners, please bring your contribution by next weekend (Dec. 12/13). Monies will also be used for Mass stipends, with a Mass being offered for the intentions of each of our parishioners living in a senior care facility. You may place your monetary donation in an envelope marked “Sodality Project” and drop it in the collection basket or give it to Mickey Dick. Checks payable to: Ladies Sodality of Blessed Trinity may also be mailed to Mickey at 2549 Main St., Buffalo, NY 14214. The Ladies Sodality thanks you for your continued support.
The Giving Tree ~ This year our annual Giving Tree will benefit Little Portion Friary, a resource for homeless men in need of temporary shelter and a meal, as well as counseling and other necessary services. Select an envelope from the tree located near the ramp door. Instead of purchasing the suggested gift item, we ask that you offer the cash value (or a check made out to Blessed Trinity Parish with “Giving Tree” on the subject line) in the envelope. Return the envelope in the collection basket before December 25. Our parish donations are another way we can live out our Mission Statement as a loving community that reaches out to our brothers and sisters in need. Thank you for your participation.
Prisoner Gift Bags for 2021 ~ As reported last month, the Prisoner Gift Project for 2020 is canceled. Yet we can remember our prisoners and get a jump on the 2021 project by decorating gift bags this Christmas Season. Covid-19 restrictions have closed us inside so consider using some of your home time decorating next years’ bags. Bags and directions are available for pick up in the back pew. Please plan to return your bags by the end of January 2020.
Know Your Faith: Deck the Halls ~ A few years ago, the parish I was attending had a guest priest during Advent. He began his homily by telling us how much he hated Christmas, the whole Christmas season – all things Christmas from music to decorations to liturgies and gifts. Initially, I expected that he was heading toward a view of the Advent theme of waiting and anticipation, but he hated Advent wreaths, Jesse Trees, and Advent music, too. So much for the music minister’s plans. All of this on Gaudete Sunday – a day of Joy. I can’t remember if he lit the Advent wreath at all, but it was a beautiful one. Needless to say, the parishioners never saw that priest again. As I contemplated the homily, I thought it was very sad as I love everything Christmas – the abundance, the joy, gifts, music, decorations and food. I sometimes listen to “Christmas” music in July. If you listen carefully, you will hear much more than Christmas in the lessons it teaches. All of these things are symbolic of our faith. As you decorate this year and celebrate this year, listen carefully and look closely and you too will see the message of the season. I know that he wanted us to realize that God’s gift to us is with us always – not just at Christmas, but the Christmas season is our opportunity to open our arms to others and to renew the Spirit in ourselves.
The Jesse Tree – The Jesse Tree reminds us of all that came before Jesus, the “roots” of faith in the Jewish people. Jesse Trees have not reached much popularity outside of Churches and parochial schools, but they are reflected in the scriptural readings during Advent and each symbol relates to a scripture reading. The Jesse Tree tradition began in medieval times. “But a shoot shall sprout from the stump* of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom.The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, A spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD, and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD. Not by appearance shall he judge, nor by hearsay shall he decide, But he shall judge the poor with justice, and decide fairly for the land’s afflicted. He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked.” (Is 11:1-4) Give it a try this year and reconnect with your roots. (Get a Jesse Tree kit from me this weekend after Mass if you want to try this at home).
When I was growing up my parents always had an Advent wreath and ours, made by my father, always had real greens and those candles burned close to the dried out greenery by Christmas Eve because the candles were lit at dinner every night. My sister and I gauged how close we were to Christmas by the number of candles and their height. The Advent wreath also traces its origins to the middle ages. Like other wreaths it is round without beginning or end, symbolizing the eternity of God, and made from evergreens representing continuing life. My parents referred to the four weeks of Advent as representing a 4,000 year wait for the Messiah, but 4,000 years is likely a symbolic number. The purple color of the candles also represents a period of waiting in patience – prayer, sacrifice and penance. The first is Hope or the prophecy candle in remembrance of the prophets. Week two represents faith and remembers the trip of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem. The third week is pink for Joy at having reached the mid point of the wait for the birth of Jesus. The last candle is also purple and is called the Angel’s candle and symbolizes the angel’s declaration “Glory to God in the highest “and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (Lk 2:14). More recent Advent wreaths also have a white center Christ candle for the long awaited Messiah and Light of the World. If your wreath has holly and ivy it symbolizes the crown of thorns and the blood Jesus spilled for the sake of our sins.
Las Posadas (Spanish for the inns) is the Latin American celebration that follows the last days before Christmas commemorating the travel of Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem and their difficulties in finding a spot to spend the night. People dress as Mary and Joseph and groups go from home to home trying to get a room for the night. This begins on December 16 and ends on December 24.
St. Lucy’s Wheat “The tradition of planting wheat on Saint Lucy’s Day (December 13) comes from Hungary, Croatia, and other European nations. Plant wheat grains in a round dish or plate of soil, then water the seeds. Place the container in a warm spot. If the planting medium is kept moist (not sopping wet), the seeds will germinate and the shoots will be several inches high by Christmas.Then the new green shoots, reminding us of the new life born in Bethlehem, may be tied with a ribbon, if desired, and a candle may be placed near them as a symbol of the Light of Christ. Place the plate of sprouted wheat near the Nativity set where it will remind all that Christ, the Bread of Life, was born in Bethlehem, whose name means “House of Bread.” The wheat recalls the Eucharist which is made from wheat. It also brings to mind Christ’s parables about wheat: THE GRAIN OF WHEAT MUST DIE: Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains but a single grain, but, if it dies, it brings forth much fruit. (John 12:24). “Lord, may we die to self so that we will live for You. May we rejoice that those who, faithful to You, have left this world in death are alive with You forever. May we praise You for having died for us and bringing forth our faith as Your fruits.”SEED SOWN ON GOOD GROUND:The farmer went out to sow, and seed fell into various places, some springing up and then withering or being choked out and other seed falling on good ground and yielding a great harvest. (Mark 4:1-20, Matthew 13: 4-23). “Lord, may we be good ground to receive the seed of Your word, and may we put that word into practice.” The story of St Lucy’s Wheat tradition is quoted from the Franciscan Penance Library. Additional information can be found by clicking on this link.
Christmas Tree The tradition of using trees and evergreen boughs in our homes is an ancient one that predates Christianity. Like many other traditions this time of year, Christians latched onto these traditions as symbols of the birth of Jesus. The evergreens (see above) represent life everlasting and the candles and lights used represent the light of Christ coming into the world. Indeed, Christians reappropriated the whole solstice season to represent the coming of the Messiah – the Light of the World. In the northern hemisphere from which most of our traditions come, the nights (darkness) grows longer until the solstice when the light begins to return. This (along with the readymade festivals) was a most symbolic time to represent the birth of Jesus whose actual birthdate is yet unknown. So, December 25 (for some orthodox Christians January 6) was chosen to represent the birth of the long-awaited Messiah.
In the next column we’ll take a look at more traditions including Santa Claus and African customs. Please join us in celebrating the season!
…Patricia Dyer, MAPM
Join Our Family Promise Ministry ~ As a shelter for homeless families and recently certified by NYS, Family Promise of WNY is following new health and safety guidelines and cannot accept donations of home prepared meals. Instead, volunteers have become grocery donors in a food category assigned to the day of the week. Blessed Trinity volunteers did this on 9/15 and found it much easier than coordinating and cooking a full dinner. We signed up for a date on the meal schedule and delivered the requested foods during the day at our convenience. We hope more parishioners will be able to participate. Family Promise also needs volunteers in areas like tutoring and transportation. If you think you might want to help and need more information go to their web site at fpwny.org and click on “Get Involved” to find the grocery sign up schedule. Also, you may contact our parish coordinator, Amy Johnson, at 716-836-4694.
In Fond Memory: Randolph McGhee, 1932-2020 ~ Mentioned at previous weekend Masses, it has come to our attention that Randolph passed away in early November from complications following a stroke. Randolph donated his body to the University at Buffalo School of Medicine.Thus, a Memorial Mass will be celebrated at a later date.Formerly a faithful member of nearby St. James Parish, with the closure of St. James, and the merger of St. James, St. Gerard, and Blessed Trinity Parishes, Randolph became just as committed and supportive a member here. Randolph always sat near the front of the church for Mass, week after week, and was easily identified by his unique attire…. always wearing shorts to Mass (even in the middle of a winter snow storm!) and his treasured Veteran’s cap. Ever kind, pleasant and faithful, his life is an example to all of us! The Lord bless his soul and grant him eternal rest and peace.
Is it time to update your contact information? During the past 8 months when the COVID-19 Protocols prevented many from attending church services, the ability to keep in touch by telephone, mail or email took on increased importance. Because not everyone has computer access, really important information is sent in a letter. If you have not received written correspondence from the parish since September 2020, we don’t have your address. 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? (Important, too, for contact tracing). 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 receive the bulletin electronically via email, 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.
Religious education materials are available now. If you were not contacted please call Pat Dyer at 716-256-2598.
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
News from our Vicariate Cluster and the Wider Community
Request from Our Lady of Hope Parish ~ Immigrant family in desperate need of single (twin) beds for 5 children. If you or anyone you know has any to give away, please call Deacon Ron Thaler, 716-553-6203.
The dated announcement below was received before the “yellow/orange zone” changes to pandemic guidelines. It is suggested that you check with the hosting entity if planning to attend.
Fridays and Saturdays November 21 – January 3, 5-9pm ~ Nativity Sets on Display. Fr. Roy Herberger will have 300 (of his 650) nativity sets from 58 countries on display at the Fatima Shrine, Lewiston during their Festival of Lights. Contact Fr. Roy at 716-852-2076 (roy [at] aol [dot] com) with questions.
Alumni of St. Martin of Tours, St. Ambrose, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Teresa, St. Agatha, Holy Family, St. John the Evangelist, Trinity, St. Bonaventure or Notre Dame Academy are invited to share your story with our current students and families via social media. Help us build on the traditions you loved so much while attending Catholic school. Drop us a note at GoodNews [at] NotreDameBuffalo [dot] org.
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.