Rev. Robert Gebhard
Rev. Robert L. Gebhard, Jr., appointed as temporary administrator of Blessed Trinity Parish in October 2020, celebrated Masses with his new congregation on All Saints weekend. “Father Bob” was introduced and officially welcomed at the October 31st and November 1st liturgies by Parish Council President Palma Zanghi with these words:
On this Holy Feast day of All Saints, November 1, 2020, I am pleased to introduce and welcome our new administrator, Fr. Robert Gebhard…otherwise Fr. Bob.
Fr. Bob comes to Blessed Trinity with a wealth of experience. He was previous Pastor of St. James Parish and also worked closely with St. Lawrence parish along with St. Gerard’s. He has been the Vicar of the Northwest Central Vicariate and also Coordinator of Catholic Urban Outreach Network.
Following his Pastoral assignment, he was on Faculty at Christ the King Seminary, where he was Director of Seminarian Human Formation where all four major dimensions of seminary life are emphasized: Human, Spiritual, Academic and Pastoral Service.
After several years, he was assigned Pastor of St John Vianney parish in Orchard Park. After taking a sabbatical, Fr Bob then returned to the Seminary where he continued work in Formation of Seminarians.
Fr. Bob is a native of Buffalo and both his parents, now in their eighties are doing well. He has one married brother and sister in law, one sister who is single and another sister and brother-in-law, along with several nieces and nephews.
He loves family get-togethers and considers family one of his greatest blessings!
Fr. Bob attended Catholic schools all the way up through undergraduate school. He then went on to receive two Masters degrees, one in Natural Science from University at Buffalo and another Masters degree in Divinity from Christ the King Seminary.
Fr. Bob loves nature and being outdoors. He has a cabin buried out in the woods in the Southern tier where he can periodically vacate on his days off and engage in numerous projects. He also enjoys travel and appreciates learning and exploring other geographic places.
In the future, if you see a truck regularly parked in the back lot behind the garage, it will be Fr. Bob’s! —-How nice it will be for us, just in case we need to cart items in the back end for some of our future church projects!
Like many, Fr. Bob enjoys a good cup of coffee and we have also learned that he does enjoy chocolate too!
Fr. Bob, on behalf of our Blessed Trinity Parish Council and all the Blessed Trinity community, we welcome you and we thank you for being here and for your willingness to serve our parish.
On this Holy All Saints day may all the Saints in Heaven join us now in prayer.
As we are accustomed to doing at Blessed Trinity when praying over someone, I ask that we all extend our arms in prayer as we pray:
Gracious and loving God, we thank you for Fr. Bob and the gift of all our priests.
Through them, we experience your presence in the sacraments.
Help our priests to be strong in their vocation.
Set their souls on fire with love for your people.
We ask special blessings on Fr. Bob.
Grant him the wisdom, understanding, and the strength he needs to follow in the footsteps of Jesus.
Inspire him with the vision of your Kingdom.
Give him the words he needs to spread the Gospel.
Allow him to experience joy in his ministry.
Help him and all priests to become instruments of your divine grace.
We ask this through Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns as our Eternal Priest. Amen
Fr. Bob, the Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord makes His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you, the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.
Normally we would gather for a Reception to acknowledge such an important occasion, however, because of COVID we are not able to hold such an event. We ask that, if you can budget a little more time next weekend, there will be a “social distance receiving line” following Mass to greet and introduce yourselves to Father along with a Welcome Book to sign and extend wishes.
A receiving line took place after Masses on Saturday and Sunday, November 7 and 8, allowing parishioners the opportunity to introduce themselves to Fr. Bob. A guest book was also provided so that everyone could write him notes of welcome and encouragement.
Sister Flavia Dampf, S.S.S.
Sister Flavia Dampf, our former pastoral associate, was called home to God’s loving embrace on Saturday, October 24, 2020, at the age of 96 following years of dedicated service to the Lord. She passed away at the Clarence Residence of the Sisters of St. Joseph, where she has resided since October 24, 2011.
In June 2019 Sister Flavia celebrated her Seventy-Fifth Anniversary Jubilee as a Sister of Social Service. Having worked in various capacities in our parish for more than 30 years, Sr. Flavia is remembered with affection by many parishioners and former parishioners. She is probably best known for her food pantry ministry and close association with the Western New York indigenous community, and her attention to the children of the parish. Sister Flavia also introduced the Advent “Giving Tree,” which has become a parish tradition.
A Mass of Christian Burial and celebration of her life took place on October 28 at Blessed Sacrament Church on Delaware Avenue in Buffalo. Memorials may be made to the Cattauraugus Early Childhood Learning Center, c/o the Seneca Nation President’s Office, 90 Ohlyoh Way, P.O. Box 23, Salamanca, NY 14799.
Parishioners (L to R) Maggie Gatson, Bud Dick, Judy Casassa & Mickey Dick celebrated with Sr. Flavia Dampf on the occasion of her 75th Jubilee in June 2019.
Blessed Trinity docents end their February 22, 2020 tour in the Carriage House at the Darwin Martin House Complex.
Members of Blessed Trinity’s docent team turned Saturday, February 22, into a Busman’s Holiday without ever leaving the neighborhood. They toured the Darwin Martin House on Jewett Parkway, which was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and completed in 1905 – just one year before the founding of our parish less than a mile away. They all enjoyed the opportunity to ask rather than answer questions, and had a chance to share their impressions over lunch at the Parkside Meadow Restaurant.
Canisius High Alumni Day Volunteers
Front, left-right: Amy Braun, Syd Pratt, Owen Pratt, Aiden Armenia, Sam Foley, Tammy Foley;
Back, l-r: Colin Pratt, Luke Braun, Karl & Barbara McKinnie, Stan Bukowski
We have something extra to be thankful for this Thanksgiving Day – the gracious and hard working group of volunteers who visited Blessed Trinity Church on Saturday, November 23, 2019, as part of the Canisius High School Alumni’s Community Outreach Day. The group of 11 included alumni, family members and current students, who joined with parish volunteers in cleaning floors, woodwork, dusty corners, windowsills, and other hard to reach places from the sacristy to the choir loft. They stayed until we ran out of tasks, and then stayed a little bit longer to decorate gift bags for the upcoming Peaceprints Prison Christmas Package Project. We ask God’s special blessings on: Aiden Armenia, Luke and Amy Braun, Stan Bukowski, Sam and Tammy Foley, Karl and Barbara McKinnie, and Colin, Syd and Owen Pratt. Come back and visit us any time!
The church bell which hung in the former church and school
building from 1909 until 2018 is now permanently
displayed on Leroy Avenue.
Photo credit: Margaret Dick
Welcome Home St. Helena ~ The first building constructed by Blessed Trinity parish was a combination church/school building completed in 1907 at 307 Leroy Avenue. Two years later, a bell manufactured by the McShane Bell Company in Baltimore, Maryland was installed in its steeple. It was customary for a church bell to be given a saint’s name, and Blessed Trinity’s bell – a gift of parishioner Helena Eckard — was named “St. Helena” after her patron saint. The 2017 sale of the former church/school building (visible on the right side of this photo) necessitated removal of the bell. This challenging task took place in October 2018 with the help of the building’s new owner, John Cozzarelli. Repair and restoration of the bell was entrusted to the Verdin Bell Company at its Cincinnati, Ohio facility, and on August 27, 2019 the refurbished bell was installed on a newly-built concrete pedestal located on the church lawn. The parish is grateful to alumni of Blessed Trinity School, the Ladies Sodality of Blessed Trinity, and two benefactors whose contributions preserved this important part of parish history, and to Mr. Cozzarelli who provided equipment and workers each time the 1,200 pound bell was moved. Decorative work on the pedestal having now been completed, the century-old bell is fully restored and ready to peal once more. Hidden from public view for 110 years, “St. Helena” is now a new Leroy Avenue destination, available for all to see. Please stop for a visit and photo-op.
“Peaceful Dove” at Blessed Trinity, July 21, 2019
On Sunday, July 21, the congregation of Blessed Trinity welcomed Peaceful Dove, the contemporary music ensemble from St. Anthony’s Parish in Lackawanna, NY. These dedicated musicians with beautifully blended voices enhanced our Sunday morning worship with song. Members of our own parish choir, who sing weekly from September through the Feast of Corpus Christi, supported our guests by singing “in place” from their pews and the Sanctuary. Thank you, Peaceful Dove.