February 28 – March 7, 2021
COVID-19 Precautions: The Diocese of Buffalo has relaxed restrictions on capacity at worship services. See, Nov. 26 COVID-19 Update. It is NOT necessary to make a reservation to attend Mass at Blessed Trinity.
NEW: In addition to in-person worship, weekend Masses are now being livestreamed on our Facebook page: Blessed Trinity R. C. Church. Click HERE to view. (If you “Like” and “Follow Us” on Facebook, you should receive notification when future Masses are posted). Later in the day, a recording of the Mass is available on YOU TUBE.
Personal copies of the Breaking Bread missal are available for each parishioner who would like one. You may claim yours at church 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 also 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.
NEW: Our office is now open Monday – Wednesday from 10:30am – 2:30pm; closed Thursday and Friday.
All in-person meetings and activities remain cancelled until further notice, with the exception of the Food Pantry.
Monday, March 1 at 7:00 p.m. ~ CCCB In-person Lenten Journey Mass at Blessed Trinity
Tuesday, March 2 at 6:30 p.m. ~ ZOOM Choir Rehearsal for Easter
Wednesday, March 3 from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. ~ EXTENDED HOURS ~ Catholic Central Food Pantry in St. Charles Hall
Now operating every other Wednesday (Mar 3, 17, 31 etc.) but with extended hours. Volunteers will distribute pre-prepared bags of groceries.
Friday, March 5 at 7:00 p.m. ~ CCCB Virtual Stations of the Cross from St. Lawrence
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 is no morning Mass on Thursdays.
Sunday, February 28 ~ Mass at 10:00 a.m. – In Memory of Morris Heicklen (Req. by Robert Heicklen)
Monday, March 1 ~ Blessed Trinity hosts CCCB Lenten Journey Mass at 7:00 p.m. – For the intention of Madonna Hartzell (Req. by Marilyn Lang)
Tuesday, March 2 ~ Mass at 11:00 a.m. – In Memory of Allen Michael Andrew (Req. by Maxine Husbands-Brown)
Wednesday, March 3 ~ St. Katharine Drexel ~ Mass at 11:00 a.m. – Deceased members of the Ryan, Reilly, Reynolds, and Pfeiffer Families (Req. by Estate of Mary Reilly)
Thursday, March 4 ~ St. Casimir ~ No Mass scheduled.
Friday, March 5 ~ Mass at 11:00 a.m. – In Memory of Alfreda Dawidzik (Req. by Gregory Allgrim)
Saturday, March 6 ~ Mass at 4:30 p.m. – All Souls (Req. by Our Lady of Victory Parish)
Sunday, March 7 ~ Mass at 10:00 a.m. – Repose of the Souls of Arthur and Lillian Hildman (Req. by Our Lady of Victory Parish)
Lector Schedule ~ March 6: Lorna Cameron; March 7: Sr. Liz Savage
News from our Parish Community
Notes from Father Bob ~ We Journey into the days of this season ~ together!….
This past Monday evening, I attended the first of our Lenten Journey masses at Ss. Columba-Brigid. There was a small number of people in attendance that included a couple of members of our parish. Fr. Jud, Fr. Gabe, and Deacon Jerry were very welcoming of all who were present. Fr. Jud focused part of his homily on the importance of having hope and a spirit of unity among our Central Buffalo churches, especially during these challenging times. The celebration was filled with our enthusiastic singing and praying. Fr. Jud had us join together in praying the Litany of St. Joseph who is the patron of our diocese and in honor of this being declared, by Pope Francis, the Year of St. Joseph in light of the 150th anniversary of St. Joseph being named the patron of the Universal Church.
Blessed Trinity will host the Lenten Journey mass this Monday, March 1. It is my hope that we will have a representative group from our parish in attendance to greet those who will join together for this annual Lenten tradition and pilgrimage to the different churches of Central Buffalo.
Lenten Liturgical Schedule ~ Continue to watch the bulletin and Click HERE for a schedule of Lenten opportunities for prayer, worship, and reconciliation. Note the virtual opportunities to pray the Stations of the Cross, streaming from the different Central Buffalo Churches, on the Fridays of Lent.
Know Your Faith: How will you answer the question? ~ From the time I was a little girl one or both of my parents were involved with food pantries in our parish community. My father was a little more involved in the public things like the Crop Walk. I first heard the song “Abraham, Martin, and John” from my tone-deaf father’s lips; they sang contemporary folk music while they walked. (Link here in case you have never heard it: Abraham, Martin and John ). When my brothers were grown, Mom started working at the Interfaith Food Shelf one afternoon a week. Today my Dad (who turned 87 this past week) delivers food collections from his retirement community to the food pantry run by his now consolidated parish and (pre-Covid) works at the Soup Kitchen every other Monday evening with the Knights of Columbus.
In our affluent society, the Church teaching in regard to the Option for the Poor and Vulnerable has become somewhat controversial. You have heard the comments: “I work for my money.” “Let them get a job.” “I suppose they will raise taxes and take my money for that.” “They should fix their own country first.” Many of us have forgotten that our own ancestors came here from famine, war and poverty or religious persecution. Our tendency to judge others often clouds our ability to see the clear teaching given us directly by Jesus, “As you did to one of these, the least of my brethren, you did it to me. “(Mt 7:1-3 for what God has to say on the topic of judging others.)
In 21st century America, we have limited understanding of poverty and hunger. But even in the United States and Canada, it has not always been that way. There are, of course, wide gaps – some wealthy and others with nearly nothing. There is a story about an ancestor of mine who came to the United States from extreme poverty in what is now Canada. A baby was born to the young couple who had NOTHING for the baby and wrapped him in the mother’s skirt. You can see areas of the US today that still have significant poverty. The links on our website for Catholic Relief Services will take you to stories of other countries. You may want to take a look at some of them.
Our compassion and mercy toward the poor and vulnerable is, as the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) says, “A basic moral test (of) how our most vulnerable members are faring. In a society marred by deepening divisions between rich and poor, our tradition recalls the story of the Last Judgement (Mt 25:31-42) and instructs us to put the needs of the poor and vulnerable first.”
How is all of this applied to real life situations? Very simply, the poor and vulnerable are deserving because they are made in the image and likeness of God. Therefore they are endowed with the absolute right to have their basic needs met. The “option” part comes in when there is a choice to be made. Suppose there is surplus cheese available. It might be purchased if the price were lowered. But it will only be purchased by those who can afford to pay for it. That is only fair to the hard working farmer. It might still be too expensive for a poor family. If the price remains affordable for most and the unsold cheese is donated to a food bank to be given to those unable to purchase the cheese for themselves, then the well-to-do individual buys cheese, the farmer’s family sells their cheese and pays their housing costs and the poor eat cheese. These are guidelines for how we make decisions in our lives. They are not blueprints. More like zoning codes meant for the protection of everyone.
Are you looking for some way to help? Give me, Fr. Bob or Dan a call. We will have some ideas. On that last day, how will you answer the question?
As you can see from the list below, we are well on our way to a basic understanding of these themes. You will also note how interconnected they are. I am attaching some links for scriptural reference and reflection as well as some videos. Those links are also available on the Faith Formation Page of our website.
Catholic Social Teaching is fleshed into seven themes:
Life and Dignity of the Human Person
Rights and Responsibilities
Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
Care for God’s Creation
Call to Family, Community, Participation
Dignity of Work and Rights of Workers
Option for Poor and Vulnerable – Catholic Relief Service; Discussion Guide; Catholic Social Teaching; Summary of USCCB’s Discussion with Scripture Links
Our Parish Financial Picture ~ Every parish family should have received a letter in the mail this past week from me and our Finance Council keeping you informed of our current financial picture. I ask your prayerful consideration of the financial challenges we face in these difficult times. Thank you for any ways you can offer your generosity in prayer, time, talent and treasure!
New “Scripture Study” begins March 9 at 7 PM ~ We are finishing up Acts and will begin the teaching on parishes from last summer called Pastoral Conversion of the Parish Community. Join us in hearing about our pope’s vision of the parish of the future. Read the document HERE; join the discussion on March 9 by Clicking HERE.
Last Call for Ladies Sodality Dues ~ Please help membership chair, Mickey Dick, wrap up the collection of 2021 dues and update the Sodality telephone tree by paying your $5 this week. Mickey will be happy to accept your dues in person after Sunday Mass, or they can be mailed to her at 2549 Main St., Buffalo, NY 14214 with checks payable to: “Ladies Sodality of Blessed Trinity.” Membership is open to all women of the parish, and new members are always welcome.
Palm Sunday Weekend Notice – In order to best celebrate this special day, and to keep in conformity with the rest of our parish Holy Week & Easter schedule (one mass or service per day), there will be only one parish celebration that weekend ~ Sunday, March 28, at 10:00 AM.
Catholic Charities Appeal 2021 ~ The annual Catholic Charities campaign is officially under way. Last year, thanks to your generosity, our parish raised enough money to aid 2,519 individuals and families living in our parish area. This year especially we are asking you to pledge and contribute to support the much needed help that Catholic Charities provides to our community. Information about the help provided and your ways to contribute are on the table by the ramp entrance to the church. Pledge cards should arrive in the mail to you shortly. We have extras should you not receive one. Pledges and contributions can be placed in the collection basket, mailed to the church or directly to Catholic Charities. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask Bob Heicklen, Campaign Chair. Thank you in advance for your support. Please make this a part of your Lenten almsgiving.
“Upon This Rock” Donor Information ~ Beginning in 2015, The Foundation of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, N.Y. (“Foundation”) began soliciting donations to its “Upon this Rock” (“UTR”) capital and endowment campaign.
The UTR campaign raised funds for many purposes, including soliciting funds for making essential upgrades to classroom facilities and technology of Christ the King Seminary (“CKS”), expanding CKS’s role as a center of retreat and religious celebration, and establishing an endowment fund for CKS. Unfortunately, in early 2020, CKS’s Board of Trustees determined that CKS would close at the end of the 2020-2021 academic year. CKS’s closure will make it impossible for the Foundation to use the UTR funds raised for CKS for their original intended purposes. However, under New York law, when the original purposes for which funds are donated become impossible to achieve, those purposes can be modified in a manner consistent with original intent by the New York State courts.
For many years, CKS provided education and formation for ordained and lay ecclesial ministers in the Diocese of Buffalo and beyond. Accordingly, the Foundation has asked the New York State Supreme Court for the County of Erie to approve a modification of the purposes of UTR funds raised for CKS so that those funds can be used to support the education and formation for ordained and lay ecclesial ministry in the Diocese of Buffalo, as determined in the discretion of the Foundation’s Board.
If you have donated to UTR and would like to be heard regarding this requested modification, you may send a letter to: The Foundation of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, N.Y., Inc., attention Executive Director, 795 Main Street, Buffalo, N.Y. 14203 or an email to donor [dot] info [at] frcdb [dot] org. Copies of letters or email received by the Foundation will be provided to the Court. You may also make a formal filing in the legal proceeding entitled Matter of the Modification of Endowment Funds of The Foundation of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo N.Y., Inc., Erie County Index No. 814747/2020. In order for your submission to be available for the Court’s consideration, please be sure to send any letter or email, or make any filing, no later than Friday, April 9, 2021.
Thank You, Judy Casassa! Whether you have been attending Mass in person or watching the livestreamed video, it is impossible to miss the recently erected scaffolding in the church transept and sanctuary. Repairs to the ceiling and ongoing restoration of interior artwork are being paid for with insurance monies and is finally possible because of exterior repairs to the church roof made in 2019-20.
From the spring of 2019 through the summer of 2020, we all witnessed the various phases of construction work on the church plaza, front stairs and roof, made possible by a grant from the New York State Environmental Protection Fund’s Municipal Grant Program. However, what you may not realize is that the restoration project actually began in 2009 with the first of five failed applications for grant funding.
The sixth time turned out to “be the charm,” with the parish receiving its notification of award in December 2014. Given that more than four years passed between the announcement of this success and the sound of the first jack hammer on Leroy, it is no wonder that the whole endeavor was easily forgotten – except by Judy Casassa.
Judy headed up our small grant writing team and as the final payments are issued and state reimbursement received, it is time to acknowledge our huge debt of gratitude to her and issue a long belated expression of thanks.
Only now can we begin to appreciate all the behind the scenes work that was involved in seeing this project through to completion. The ever-changing application process itself was frustrating and time consuming but – if truth be told – only a minor annoyance compared to the demands of grant administration. And while the parish can claim Judy’s administrative efforts as a reimbursable expense, she contributed hundreds (maybe thousands) of hours as a form of stewardship for which she has not and will not receive any financial reward.
Although this acknowledgement is long overdue, Father Bob and the Parish Council wish to express our gratitude to Judy on behalf of the entire Blessed Trinity parish community for her efforts in obtaining and administering a $300,000 plus grant from the State of New York, enabling us to undertake needed restoration of exterior areas of our beautiful Landmark Church.
We hope that our parishioners will have achieved “herd immunity” from Covid-19 by the time the final project paperwork is completed, and that we will finally be able to gather and celebrate the work that has been done. It is our plan that Judy be personally recognized at that time.
Rev. Robert L. Gebhard, Jr. and the 2020-2021 Parish Council, Palma Zanghi, President
Staffing Update ~ Our staff grows! In addition to the newest members of our parish staff that I announced to you recently (Barbara Sercu, Administrative Assistant; Peter Anaka, Maintenance), I am happy to share that Bob Zielinski joins us also to help us with the maintenance and repair needs of the parish. Like Pete, Bob currently works full-time for another parish and helps us, after leaving his full-time job, arriving here a couple days a week in the evenings. Currently, he is working on preparing another room in the rectory to be used as an office for people who come for appointments, etc. We are blessed to have such a staff of all fine individuals!
The Season of Lent ~ “Lent is ordered to preparing for the celebration of Easter, since the Lenten liturgy prepares for celebration of the Paschal Mystery both catechumens, by the various stages of Christian Initiation, and the faithful, who recall their own Baptism and do penance.” (Universal Norms of the Liturgical Year [“UNLY”] #27).
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday [February 17, 2021] and ends before the celebration of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday [April 1, 2021] (UNLY #28). From the beginning of Lent until the Paschal Vigil [April 3, 2021], the Alleluia is not said.
Abstinence: All Catholics who have reached their 14th birthday are bound to abstain totally from meat on the following days: Ash Wednesday, all Fridays of Lent and Good Friday.
Fasting: All Catholics between their 18th and 59th birthdays are also bound to observe the Law of Fast on the following days: Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. This practice involves limiting oneself to a single full meal and avoiding food between meals. Light sustenance may be taken on two other occasions in the course of the day.
Easter Duty: After they have been initiated into the Most Holy Eucharist, all the faithful are bound by the obligation of receiving Communion at least once a year. This precept must be fulfilled during the Easter season, unless for a good reason it is fulfilled at another time during the year. This obligation may be fulfilled between February 21, 2021 (First Sunday of Lent) and May 30, 2021 (Trinity Sunday).
Special reflection materials for Lent may be found at the Welcome Space near the wheelchair ramp side entrance. Two different reflection booklets are available. Pick up a copy of the Catholic Relief Services [“CRS”] Lenten Reflections calendar.
Meatless Days – Consider an extra meatless meal every week and put the savings into the CRS rice bowl. Pick yours up at church beginning this Sunday.
Covid-19 vaccines ~ We are working to make COVID vaccinations available at neighborhood churches, including Blessed Trinity. If you would like to register to be vaccinated, please complete the online form available at this LINK.
If weather or COVID or illness is preventing you from joining us in person, you can watch our weekend Masses LIVE on Facebook at 4:30 PM on Saturdays and 10:00 AM on Sundays as well as all Holyday Masses. If you miss us LIVE, you can check out the recording later on YouTube.
Interior restoration ~ Now that repairs to the tile roof of the church – part of our grant project – have been completed, restoration of interior artwork and repairs to the ceiling of the church are underway. Master plasterer Josh of Mader Construction Co., Inc. helped parishioners to appreciate the process by setting up a display in church. In this photo, you can see the molds he makes to recreate deteriorated ornamental pieces. For additional photos, visit our Facebook page. The work is expected to continue through March 2021.
Job Opportunities at Blessed Trinity ~ Are you or someone you know looking for work? We have a part-time general housekeeping position now available. It involves general parish rectory housekeeping, cleaning responsibilities, and occasional laundry. 10-16 hours/month. Send applications to Blessed Trinity RC Church, 317 Leroy Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14214 (716-833-0301) or email blessedtrinitychurch [at] gmail [dot] com.
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 twice during December, 2020 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 take advantage of this simplified protocol and become part of our Family Promise team. 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 and join forces with another member of the team.
Important information for those having a claim against the Diocese of Buffalo:
United States Bankruptcy Court
for the Western District of New York
in re The Diocese of Buffalo NY
Case No. 20-10322
Please take notice that, on February 28, 2020, The Diocese of Buffalo NY, (“Diocese”) filed for protection under chapter 11 of title 11 of the United States Code (the “Bankruptcy Code”). The Bankruptcy Court has established August 14, 2021 at 11:59 pm (prevailing Eastern time) as the deadline to file proofs of claim, against the Diocese (the “Bar Date”). If you have a claim against the Diocese, including, without limitation, a claim related to sexual abuse committed by any person connected with the Diocese, you must file a claim on or before the Bar Date.
Please visit https://case.stretto.com/dioceseofbuffalo or call 855-292-7696 for more information on how to file your proof of claim.
IF YOU DO NOT TIMELY FILE A PROOF OF CLAIM, YOU MAY FORFEIT YOUR RIGHT TO VOTE ON ANY PLAN OF REORGANIZATION AND TO SHARE IN ANY DISTRIBUTIONS TO CREDITORS IN CONNECTION WITH THE DIOCESE’S CHAPTER 11 CASE.
Is it time to update your contact information? During the past 9 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. 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.
Virtual Church Tour ~ 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
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.