1909 church bell removed from the former church and school building on Oct 4, 2018
On Thursday, October 4, 2018, Blessed Trinity’s 109-year-old church bell was removed from the bell tower of the former church and school building at 307 Leroy. She is now en route to the Verdin Bell Company’s facility in Cincinnati, OH where restoration work will take place. In the removal process, we discovered two errors in the parish’s recorded history of the bell. Engraving on the back side of the bell, not previously visible, revealed that the bell was donated by Helena Eckert (not Helen Eckard) and was named in honor of St. Helen (sorry, St. Cecelia). We are especially grateful to the building’s new owner, John Cozzarelli, and his employees for their assistance in removing the bell and very appreciative of everyone who has contributed funds for the project. The Blessed Trinity School Alumni solicited donations from their members as a gift to this parish this fall. When the restoration and repair work is completed, we hope to mount and display the bell on the parish grounds. Click HERE to see additional photos.
The Alumni Committee has decided to forgo the usual money raffle this year and instead take on a project to help Blessed Trinity. The recent sale of the old school building has necessitated removal of the church/school bell located in the building’s bell tower.
The combination church/school building opened in 1907, and two years later the 1,200 pound bell manufactured by the McShane Bell Company in Baltimore, Maryland was installed in its bell tower. It was customary for a church bell to be given a saint’s name, and Blessed Trinity’s bell — a gift of parishioner Helen Eckard — is named after St. Cecilia, the patroness of musicians.
Your only recollection of the bell may be a nun’s stern warning not to touch the bell rope hanging outside the third floor gym. However, from its installation in 1909 until the dedication of the new church in 1928, it was recognized throughout the neighborhood as a call to pray the Angelus and a summons to Sunday and Holy Day Masses.
The bell has not been rung on a regular basis for almost a century. If you attended the 2006 reunion Mass, the bell was rung at that time, and it has not tolled since until Trinity Sunday of this year when alumni from the classes of 1958 and 1975 did so in recognition of the 90th anniversary of the dedication of the “new” church. Blessed Trinity is working with the Verdin Bell Company and John Cozzarelli, the new owner of our former school building, to facilitate removal of the bell, probably in early September. The present plan is to have the bell repaired and restored at Verdin’s facility in Cincinnati, Ohio, and then brought back to Buffalo for placement on the parish grounds. The church will then once again be able to use the bell and preserve an important part of its past.
Obviously this removal and restoration project comes with a cost. The parish is fortunate to have covered a portion of the expense thanks to Mr. Cozzarelli and a fortuitous donation from a couple who happened to attend a Sunday Mass and wanted to help with the project. The Alumni Committee believes that we could fund the balance of this project as a lasting gift to the parish from its school Alumni. We are hoping that you will agree.
If you would like to contribute to the bell project, please make your check payable to Blessed Trinity Alumni and specify “bell donation” on the memo line of the check. Checks may be mailed to “Blessed Trinity School Alumni, 317 Leroy Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14214. Donors’ names will be displayed in the church and on the church’s web site. (Written acknowledgements will also be provided if required by IRS Regulations). We hope you will join the members of the Alumni Committee in making this campaign “a bell ringer”!
Recent photo of bell
Alumni Mass – Our Annual Alumni Mass will be held at Blessed Trinity Church on Sunday, September 23, 2018 at 10:00 AM. We look forward to welcoming all Alumni, especially the Fiftieth Anniversary Class of 1968. A reception in St Charles Hall following the Mass provides an ideal opportunity to view or display school photos and memorabilia, reminisce and renew old acquaintances. As in past years, we ask those who are able to bring a food item to share at the reception.
As part of our Annual Mass we pause to remember all deceased alumni and faculty. The names of graduates who have passed away since last year’s Mass will be read. We will be remembering Patricia Dolan Speyer, ’48; Frederick Godert, Jr.,’72; Robert “Bob” Leins, ’55; John “Jack” Drennen, ’43; Corene Stocker, ’48; Bertha “Betty” Steck Brachmann, ’45; Cornelius A. O’Donnell II, ’36; Shirley Horn Pitts, ’39; Marlene Mauger, ‘67; David Adowski, ’73; Thomas O’Connor, ’60; James “Jim” Castro, 57; Roberta S. Meister, ’67; Lucille O’Connor Ryan, ’55; Patrick J. McPartland, ’59; and Rev. Msgr. Paul R. Juenker, who served as pastor from 1970-74. Please inform the Committee if you are aware of other recent alumni or faculty deaths so that they may be included as well.
The Class of 1968 will kick-off their 50th anniversary celebration on Saturday, September 22, with a cocktail reception and dinner at Bobby J’s Italian American Grille, 204 Como Park Blvd. in Cheektowaga. They plan to assemble again on Sunday at the Alumni Mass and reception. Gary Schmelzer and his committee have worked hard to locate their former classmates. If you are one of them and have not yet been contacted, please reach out to Gary at 716-961-8388 or Gizmo1914 [at] roadrunner [dot] com.
Alumni Project – The Alumni Committee has decided to forgo the usual money raffle this year and instead take on a project to help Blessed Trinity. Based on your past participation in our annual fundraiser, we anticipate your generous support of this campaign to restore an important piece of church and school history. The project is explained in a separate post on this page.
interprets iconography on the church facade.
Church Tour – Since 2011, Blessed Trinity has made a concerted effort to promote its Landmark church as a destination site for tourists. A dedicated team of volunteer docents (including several alumni) help visitors appreciate the architectural features and religious symbolism displayed in our Landmark building. There will be a special 30 minute tour for alumni and friends beginning at 9:30 AM on September 23. Please assemble in front of the church. (In the event of inclement weather, wait in the front vestibule).
Keeping in Touch – The Alumni Committee continues to provide a time and place for you to renew acquaintances, but we can’t guarantee that the people you want to see the most will be there. That’s where you come in. Bobbe Lukasik, who maintains our database, will be happy to provide whatever information she has for your former classmates and friends so that you can reach out and make that reunion happen. If 2019 will be a significant anniversary for your class, it’s not too soon to consider how you might want to personalize the occasion. We stand ready to help you get started.
BTS Social media presence ~ In addition to the “School Alumni” pages of this web site, the Alumni maintains a “Blessed Trinity School Alumni” Facebook page. We encourage you to “like” us on Facebook and share your memories or class photos. You’d be amazed at how many comments one class photo can generate. The BT Web Diva, Margaret Stiffler Dick (’59), will happily assist you in adding photos or information to the Facebook page or web site. You can reach her at mnbdick [at] roadrunner [dot] com or 716-832-2540.
Every year we lose contact with some of our base because this mailing comes back marked: “Moved. Forwarding Expired.” Please don’t become a missing person in 2019. If you move, change your email address or abandon your land line telephone, please notify Bobbe Lukasik of your new contact information. You can also use the contact feature of the church web site to update your information; just remember to specify “alumni” as the subject.
We hope you will plan to join us on Sunday, September 23, 2018. If you have any questions or comments, call or send them to Bud Dick, 716-832-2540, mnbdick [at] roadrunner [dot] com or Bobbe (Schmelzer) Lukasik, 716-684-5365, bertababe2 [at] yahoo [dot] com.
Blessed Trinity Parish Community News
Restoration Project – Last year’s newsletter included a progress report on the church repair and restoration project being partially funded by the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (“OPRHP”). With the sale of the former school building completed, the parish was finally able to sign a start-up contract with OPRHP. Our architectural team from Flynn-Battaglia Architects developed an excellent plan and specifications for replacement of sections of the church roof and front steps. In June and July of this year we conducted a successful bidding process and are now working with Allstate General Contracting, which will oversee all facets of construction. But delay does seem to be the name of the game. We recently learned that fabrication of replacement clay tiles for the church roof will take longer than expected, so it is unlikely that any work will take place before the spring of 2019. Although the parish will eventually be reimbursed for 75% of construction costs by New York State, it must initially pay those expenses. The parish is very appreciative of the help it has received from the school alumni in raising funds for this project. We are also deeply grateful to all the wonderful people who’ve attended our tours, concerts and other events and donated from their hearts and wallets. Such support allows us to continue with the restoration of our beautiful and beloved Landmark building.
The 2018-19 Trinity Concert Series schedule is not yet complete, but we can tell you that The Freudig Singers of WNY will be back for their annual “Christmas Pie” performance on Sunday, December 2 at 3 p.m. This presentation of holiday favorites with its post-concert dessert reception and pie raffle is always a popular event. To receive advance email notification of our concert offerings, send your request and contact information to blessedtrinity [dot] bflo [at] yahoo [dot] com. Visit www.blessedtrinitybuffalo.org and click on “Upcoming Events” on the right side of the home page for updates on the concert series.
Come Home for Christmas – Our Christmas 2018 celebration will begin at 9:30 p.m. on Monday, December 24, with choral preludes sung by the church choir, followed by Christmas Eve Mass at 10 p.m. Mass on Christmas morning will be celebrated at 10:00 a.m.
Highland Park construction, Chalmers & Holden
Highland Park – The Highland Park housing development at the site of the former Central Park Plaza is changing the face of the neighborhood. We invite you to stop by when you are in the vicinity and observe the progress on apartment and towne house construction by LPCiminelli.
Explore Buffalo® has once again chosen to showcase Blessed Trinity with scheduled tours of the church in October, November and December. A non-profit organization, Explore Buffalo® provides tours and other opportunities to discover Buffalo’s great architecture, history, and neighborhoods.
Viewing school memorabilia at 2016 reception
Our Annual Alumni Mass will be held at Blessed Trinity Church on Sunday, September 24, 2017 at 10:00 AM. We look forward to welcoming all Alumni, especially the 50th Anniversary Class of 1967. A reception in St Charles Hall following the Mass provides an ideal opportunity to view or display school photos and memorabilia, reminisce and renew old acquaintances. As in past years, we ask those who are able to bring a food item to share at the reception.
Freddy Smith is organizing a separate 50th Anniversary event for the Class of 1967. Although he is a “down-stater” (Wantagh), Freddy is anxious to share his enthusiasm for Buffalo’s rebirth by scheduling a dinner for his former classmates and their significant others at a downtown restaurant on Saturday evening, September 23. Their second gathering will take place on Sunday at the Alumni Mass and reception. Freddy and Roberta Meister are working hard to locate class members – no small task as there were 50 graduates that year. If you were among them and have not yet been contacted, please reach out to Freddy at fred [dot] smith [at] ubs [dot] com or 516-426-5965 (mobile).
Kenneth Jones, ’62
Honoring our Deceased Members – As part of our Annual Mass we pause to remember all deceased alumni and faculty. The names of graduates who have passed away since last year’s Mass will be read. We will be remembering Agnes T. Manion, ’42; Dr. Donald C. Nuwer, ’38; Harold C. Steinwachs, ’39; Jo-An Kathleen Maurer Fultz, 50; Joan F. Joseph Walleshauser, ’51; Arnold O’Connor, ’53; Thomas Shay, ’55; Elizabeth Sommers Coia, ’56 (also faculty member); Mildred Krolczyk Muranyi, ’59; Kenneth W. Jones, ’62; and deceased members of the Class of 1967 Michele Clemons, Susan Davies, Pamela Dolski Asztalos, Patricia Goretti, Julie Heinle, Michael McCarthy, Michael Reen, and Ellen Sloan. Please inform the Committee if you are aware of other recent alumni or faculty deaths so that they may be included as well.
Alumni Raffle – In conjunction with the September 24 gathering, we are sponsoring our Eighth BT Alumni Raffle, proceeds of which help the small congregation at Blessed Trinity to maintain their Landmark Church. In addition to an annual contribution to the church, half of the raffle’s net proceeds are returned as prize money, divided between two winners. Last year was our most successful effort yet, resulting in a $1,500.00 donation to the Church and money prizes of $750.00 each to winners Nik Brodfuehrer and Denise Moll Lanz. This year we are offering additional money prizes by introducing an “early bird” drawing, providing a chance to win one of three $100 prizes if your raffle returns are received by September 8. (These winning ticket stubs will also be included in the final drawing on September 24).
2016 raffle winners, Nik Brodfuehrer (center) and Denise Moll Lanz, shown here with raffle chair Jerry Powers.
The drawing will take place at the reception following the Alumni Mass. You don’t need to be present to win, but you DO need to return your completed ticket stubs and check payable to “Blessed Trinity Alumni” no later than September 18, 2016 (September 8 to be included in the “early bird” drawing). Tickets are $5.00 each or six (6) for $25.00. If you would like to participate but have not received tickets in the mail, contact Jerry Powers at 716-656-8657 or powersj2004 [at] aol [dot] com. Winners will be notified by mail and listed here as well as on the “Blessed Trinity School Alumni” Facebook page.
Since 2009, this raffle has resulted in contributions totaling $13,150.00 to the church’s “Under This Roof Fund.” Rev. George L. Reger expressed the parish community‘s appreciation of our dedication and fundraising activities in an October 5, 2016 letter, requesting that we: “Please convey our thankfulness for the generosity of the school alumni to your membership as a whole, and know that each of you will be remembered in the prayers sung and recited in this church.” We add our thanks for your past participation and your individual contributions to the church, and we ask that you again help us to promote this fundraiser.
Docent Tom Brodfuehrer, ’75, describes unique Harvard brick
Church Tour – Since 2011, Blessed Trinity has made a concerted effort to promote its Landmark church as a destination site for tourists. A dedicated team of volunteer docents (including several alumni) help visitors appreciate the architectural features and religious symbolism displayed in our Landmark building. There will be a special 30 minute tour for alumni and friends beginning at 9:30 AM on September 24. Please assemble in front of the church. (In the event of inclement weather, wait in the front vestibule).
Keeping in Touch – The Alumni Committee continues to provide a time and place for you to reunite with former classmates and neighbors each year. No RSVP is required for the reception, so we can’t tell you who’s coming. Bobbe Lukasik (bertababe2 [at] yahoo [dot] com) maintains our database and will be happy to provide whatever information we have for your classmates and friends, enabling you to reach out and organize your own personal “reunion within the reunion” as Freddy Smith is doing this year for the Class of ’67. Our committee stands ready to assist any of the anniversary classes who have their own ideas for personalizing the occasion.
Your class news and photos (if you submit them) and information on scheduled events and activities can be posted on this page and our “Blessed Trinity School Alumni” Facebook page. We encourage you to “like” us on Facebook and share your memories. It’s a great way to keep in touch as members of the Class of ’75 can attest. Recently we posted one of their photos, prompting a lively exchange of more than twenty Facebook comments among a dozen former classmates and friends. The BT Web Diva, Margaret Stiffler Dick (’59), will happily assist you in adding photos or information to the Facebook page or web site. You can reach her at mnbdick [at] roadrunner [dot] com or 716-832-2540.
Every year we lose contact with some of our base because our paper mailing comes back marked: “Moved. Forwarding Expired.” (Perhaps that is why you did not receive your raffle tickets). Please notify Bobbe Lukasik of your new address or use the contact feature of the web site to update your information so your won’t be among the missing in 2018. And even if you haven’t moved, don’t forget to clue us in when you change your email address.
We hope you will plan to join us on Sunday, September 24, 2017. If you have any questions or comments, send them to: Bud (’58) & Mickey Dick (’59) – mnbdick [at] roadrunner [dot] com or Bobbe (Schmelzer) Lukasik (’55) – bertababe2 [at] yahoo [dot] com.
Blessed Trinity Parish Community News
Rev. George Reger
Sr. Barbara Horan
Thankful Praise – October 30, 2016 marked the retirement of two of Blessed Trinity’s most long-tenured good and faithful servants: Rev. George Reger and Sister Barbara Horan, SSJ. Ordained in 1969, Father George devoted 25 years to Blessed Trinity as administrator and pastor. Sister Barbara, the pastoral associate, had served the parish for 17 years. The congregation paid tribute to both their vocations and service at a special concelebrated liturgy, and celebrated friendships forged over the years at a reception in St. Charles Hall. The following week the parish welcomed Rev. Victor Ibhawa, a native of Nigeria, who has been appointed temporary administrator by Bishop Malone. Father Victor brings the congregation his deep faith and youthful exuberance, and parishioners continue to work closely with him to assure a smooth transition for all.
Rev. Victor Ibhawa
Restoration Project – Last year we brought you up-to-date on the progress of a project being funded by the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. The parish had submitted the architect’s proposed work plan and revised budget and were waiting for OPRHP’s approval. Happily that approval came through last fall. Then they hit a bump. Because the school building where most of us spent a number of years was now nearly vacant (FLARE is the only tenant at this time), parishioners determined that it would be too expensive to maintain the building by themselves. They opted to put it on the market. Because they did not yet have a signed contract with the State, OPRHP’s approval was not required for the sale. But it also meant that they couldn’t proceed to sign a contract for the restoration until the building was sold. Another delay. The sale was finally completed in July, so now they can pick up where they left off in 2016. The delay wasn’t all bad news. Although there was no construction going on, they were still able to raise some needed funds in the Under This Roof Fund, which is the source of the matching money that the parish must provide for the project. The parish is very grateful to the alumni who spearheaded that effort with a very generous contribution, and also to the lovely people who attended church tours, concerts and other events and donated from their hearts and wallets. The restoration project is getting back on track now, so watch this space for periodic updates.
Mary’s Make-over – The grotto area surrounding the statue of Mary in front of the church rectory was built in 1949. Originally designed as a shrine to Our Lady of Fatima, in 2009 the original concrete statue of Mary was replaced with a marble statue of the Immaculate Conception from the merged congregation of St. Gerard. In recent years the garden and landscaping surrounding the statue have suffered from neglect, but this year a donation from the parish Ladies Sodality is funding a beautification project of the Marian shrine. Work began in May with removal of vegetation that had taken over the grotto garden. In June, dead and dying trees surrounding the statue were removed, and in July the garden was weeded, replanted and mulched. It is hoped that sufficient funds will remain from the Sodality donation to help with refurbishment of the courtyard area and Sacred Heart Shrine adjacent to the rectory, which also dates back to 1949. You will walk right by the shrine on your way to the reception on September 24, so stop and take a look.
The 2017-18 Trinity Concert Series schedule is not yet complete, but we can tell you that The Freudig Singers of WNY will be back for their annual “Christmas Pie” performance on Sunday, December 3 at 3 p.m. This presentation of holiday favorites with its post-concert dessert reception and pie raffle is always a popular event. Click HERE for the latest information on the concert series. To receive advance email notification of concert offerings, send your request and contact information to blessedtrinity [dot] bflo [at] yahoo [dot] com.
Travel New York State’s Path Through History to Blessed Trinity Church on Saturday, October 7. The congregation will welcome the public to its Buffalo Landmark from 2-4 p.m. with docents prepared to discuss the unique features, art and architecture of this amazing edifice.
Come Home for Christmas – Blessed Trinity’s Christmas 2017 celebration will begin at 9:30 p.m. on Sunday, December 24, with choral preludes sung by the church choir, followed by Christmas Eve Mass at 10 p.m. Mass on Christmas morning will be celebrated at 10:00 a.m.
Class photos on display at the Alumni Sunday reception.
Our Eleventh Annual Alumni Sunday event will be held at Blessed Trinity Church on Sunday, September 24, 2017, beginning with an Alumni Memorial Mass at 10:00 a.m. We look forward to welcoming all alumni of the former parish grammar school, especially members of the Class of 1967 who are celebrating their Fiftieth Anniversary. A reception in St. Charles Hall following the Mass provides an ideal opportunity to view or display school photos and memorabilia, reminisce and renew old acquaintances. Please plan on joining us for the Memorial Mass and all-class reception. Additional details will be posted as they become available. You can also visit the Alumni’s Facebook page.