The year 2021 marks the 150th anniversary of the founding of Most Precious Blood Roman Catholic Church in Angola, New York.
To commemorate this important occasion, Most Precious Blood Parish will celebrate various aspects of its past by remembering the people and events that shaped its rich history.
To begin, the bulletin will publish portions of MPB’s story in approximately 30 consecutive issues, beginning Sunday, March 21 and continuing through Sunday, October 3. These articles will also be posted on the parish website. The anniversary celebration will begin Sunday, March 21 with Mass at 8:30 a.m. and will conclude September 26. Announcements of additional activities will be made in future bulletins.


Our History 

 After the Diocese of Buffalo was established in 1847,  the spiritual needs of Catholics from 1850 to  1870, in what is now Angola, was attended to by the Passionist Fathers of Dunkirk. At the  request of  residents, priests traveled to the area to say Mass in the larger homes.  This continued until 1871 when Most Precious  Blood Parish  was  established.  The Rev.  Thomas Ledwith was its first pastor.
 Fr. Ledwith purchased a vacant schoolhouse on Lake St., which, after extensive repairs, became the first church of the newly formed parish.  The first baptism was performed March 26, 1871 for John Woods, son of  John and Bridget Fitzgerald Woods.  Bishop Ryan confirmed 52 persons at the parish’s first Confirmation  July 9, 1871 and Fr. Ledwith  performed the first marriage  June 30, 1872 for William Eggston and Bridget Hannon. 


In 1874 the Rev. Thomas Caraher came to Angola (incorporated in 1873) as MPB’s pastor. He purchased land on the Transit and Brant-Angola Roads for a parish cemetery. Prior to that time, all Catholic burials from the area took place in Dunkirk. The first burial in Holy Cross Cemetery was March 7 1879 for Dennis Graeney. During the next few years, the Pastorate at Angola had many changes and many pastors. The Rev. Arthur Barlow became pastor in 1878, followed by the Rev. James O’Laughlin (1879), the Rev. Christopher O’Byrne (1881), the Rev. George Burris (1881), and the Rev. J. P. Grant (1884). 


 In 1886 the  Rev. J. M. McCarthy arrived in Angola as the newly appointed pastor of the Church of the Most Precious Blood.  He would serve as its pastor for the next sixteen years. While continuing to use the old schoolhouse as his church, Fr. McCarthy began formulating plans for the construction of a new brick structure.  The men of the parish arranged to  buy an acre of land adjacent to the Lake St. property already owned by the parish.  It was purchased for $145 from Abner Dewey.  The church was dedicated in 1897.

     The Rev. Richard T. Burke succeeded Fr. McCarthy in 1902.  Seeing the need of a parish hall, he had a basement dug beneath the newly constructed church. He also bought additional property for the parish’s cemetery.  Holy Cross Cemetery was dedicated October 21, 1904.  

 The brick structure on Lake St. served as the Church of Most Precious Blood from the time of its dedication in 1897 until it was replaced by a new  building located on  Prospect St., which was completed  in 1962. The brick church was eventually sold and is now a private residenc


The Rev. John Keavin was appointed pastor in 1912. Using an enormous tent, he began the practice of celebrating Mass at Angola-on-the-Lake for sum-mer residents. The Rev. Campion continued this tradition after succeeding Fr. Keavin in 1929. He rented the pavilion at the Municipal Beach for the purpose of celebrating Mass. In 1935 the Rev. Mi-chael Martin was appointed pastor, followed by the Rev. John J. Lalley in the same year. When Fr. Lalley became pastor, members of the parish numbered 700 and the church seated 300. In addition, 2500 -3000 summer residents and tourists took part in the Mass at the Municipal Pavilion every Sunday. Recognizing the need to accommodate the many summer vacationers of the Catholic faith, Fr. Lalley approached Bishop Duffy about the possibility of constructing a chapel on Old Lake Shore Rd. The plan was approved at a meeting at the Chancery and became a reality in 1938. The new structure was named St. Peter’s Chapel. Fr. Lalley also organized the first troops of Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts in the parish. During the 14 years as pastor of Most Precious Blood Parish, he was assisted by the Rev. Bertrand J. Gulnerich, the Rev. W. L. Hatch, the Rev. Joseph L. Jensen, the Rev. Leo J. Hammerl, the Rev. Peter Huesges, the Rev. Paul C. Schreck, the Rev. Bernard D. Sexton and the Rev. Paul Hammerl.

St. Peter’s Chapel St. Peter’s Chapel, a wooden structure located on Old Lake Shore Rd. between Lake St. and the entrance to the Evans Town Park, looked upon the Lake Erie and beach areas from across the street. In existence as a humble house of worship for approximately 60 years, the summer chapel served the Lake residents and vacationing visitors by providing the opportunity of attending Sunday Mass in the area.While the chapel was utilized in the summer, it is pictured above with remnants of a winter’s snow-fall. The statue of Our Lady of the Lake can be seen on the right. The statue was donated in the early 1950s by Dr. and Mrs. Walter King. Some may recall from the summers of the ’50s that the pastor, Fr. Thomas Fernan, also supervised the weekly offering. With a suppressed smile, he handled the collection basket saying quite audibly, “Let’s have a quiet collection. I don’t want to hear any clinking!

As the successor to Fr. Lalley, the Rev. Thomas E. Fernan came to Angola in February 1949. During the next ten years, the parish enjoyed a period of growth, improvements and innovations: acquisition of a convent to house eight nuns in 1949; redecorating of the church and refurnishing of the sanctuary; installation of a new organ; the acquisi-tion of land on Prospect St. in 1951 and the building of a school on part of it. The doors of the school opened for classes September 9, 1953.Assistants to Fr. Fernan during his tenure included Rev. Salvatore Cusimano, Rev. S. Faiola, Rev. P. Magiewski, Rev. E. Halloran, Rev. F. Barrato, Rev. James Cotter, Rev. Herbert Engelhardt, and Rev. Joseph Spahn.Following Fr. Fernan’s death in May 1959, Rev. Alan Zielinski served as interim administrator until the Rev. Dennis P. Shea became pastor Aug 16, 1959.

 In its July 9, 1953 issue, the Evans Journal published two pictures of major construction sites nearing completion: the Lake Shore Central Junior-Senior High School on Beach Rd. and Most Precious Blood’s Elementary School on Prospect St. When MPB’s school opened in September 1953, twelve young teenagers were members of the eighth grade class, which would become the first graduating class of the Parochial Grammar School of Most Precious Blood Parish. The total enrollment in grades K-8 numbered approximately 235 in the first year of the school’s existence. The first graduates (1954) were Gayle Chiappone, Patricia Grady, Joan Guzzeta, Thelma Helberg, Sarah Holcomb, Kathleen Knack, Patricia Laws, Donna Lischarelli, Joseph Reinard, Thaddeus Sara-nia, Sandra Sciarrino and Noreen Smith. Through the years, MPB Parochial School served its parish well, providing a Catholic education for children of its faith community. As total enrollment increased, so did the number of graduating eighth-graders: 20 in 1955; 45 in 1962; 48 in 1966. Enrollment numbers were relatively steady through the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, but began to dwindle in the 2000s. As a result, plans began to emerge for the school’s closing in 2007, after 54 years of educating over 1300 children.Members of the last graduating class were: Alisa Butlak, Zachory Kosnik, Daniel Lohr, Nicholas Lopez, Geoffrey Panfil, William Rogers and Rachel Szwed.
After  Fr. Shea  became  pastor in  1959,  he  acquired  property  on Prospect   St.   (inward   from   Lake St.) for a proposed driveway.  This was followed by a groundbreaking July  30,  1961  for  a  new  church and   rectory.   The   first   Mass   to celebrate    their  completion  took place June 21, 1962.  One  can  see  in  the  photo  that  the  wall  figures, now    located  on  the  outside  of  the  church  building, originally were placed inside the church, around the crucifix above the altar. The  Parish  Council  voted  unanimously  in  January 1969 to build a new convent  adjacent to the church.  Construction  began  in  July  with  its  completion  and occupancy  in  1970.  The  parish  celebrated  its  Hundredth Anniversary in 1971.  Assistants  to  Fr.  Shea  were:  Rev.  H.  Huber  (1959-1967);    Rev.  Fred  Fingerle  (1967-1969);    and  Rev. James  Kasprzak (August -November 1969).  Fr. Shea  retired  as  pastor of  Most Precious  Blood in 1981, remaining as Pastor Emeritus until his death June 24, 1995. Church of the Most Precious Blood1871 -Angola,  N.Y.   -2021Most  Precious  Blood Parish  commemorated the hundredth  year  of  its  founding  with  a  week-long celebration.  The  banner  shown  above  contained the  official  logo  of  the  Centennial  and  announced  the event from the front lawn. In a letter to  parish-ioners, printed in the Centennial program book, Fr. Shea wrote: Today  we  begin  the  celebration  of  the  Centennial  of our  parish  with  the  Apostolic  Blessing  of  his  Holiness Pope Paul  VI  and  the  visit of  our  Auxiliary Bishop, Most Rev. Pius A. Benincasa. The Bishop will offer with us the Holy  Sacrifice  of  the  Mass  in  gratitude to  Almighty  God and   for   one   hundred   years   of   grace   and   blessings       bestowed upon our parishioners through these years.The schedule of the week’s events included:Sunday -Pontifical Opening Mass (Aux. Bishop Benincasa); Dinner for clergy and nuns; Parish reception.Monday -Pre-teen skating party.Tuesday -Latin Mass for the Living; Discussion --“Liturgical Changes”.Wednesday -Rosary Altar Society card party, Smorgasbord; Teen Folk Mass ; Teen Dance.Thursday -Mass for the Deceased.Friday -Centennial Bingo.Saturday -Barbecue and Kiddy Rides; Mass for the People of the Parish.Sunday -Thanksgiving Closing Mass (Aux. BishoP Bernard  J. McLaughlin).Fr.  Shea continued his message by adding: "I feel honored and privileged to be your Pastor on this joyous  occasion  and  I  am  grateful  to  all  who  have   assisted me in any way in my 11 years at Most Precious Blood Parish. In return I shall continue to show my gratitude  by  remembering  you  all  in  my  daily  Masses  and prayers.  May  Almighty  God  continue  to  bestow  His graces  and  blessings  upon this  parish  and  its  parishioners for as many years as it shall exist. "
The  Rev.  J.  Grant  Higgins  was  pastor  of  Most    Precious  Blood  Parish  from  1982  until  1998.  His    assistants  were  Rev.  Charles  Zadora  and  Rev.  John Hajduk.  The lake property, on which St. Peter’s Chapel stood,  was  sold  and  the  structure    demolished.  The statue  of  Our  Lady  of  the  Lake,  which  had  been    donated  by  Dr.  and  Mrs.  Walter  King  in  the  early 1950s, was moved to the church grounds. The parish property in the village acquired a small structure for the  use  of  the  school --a  relocatable    classroom. And  the  parish  benefitted  from  the  services  of  its  Permanent Deacons. The   Second   Vatican   Council   (1962-1965)   re-established the Permanent Diaconate in the Church, allowing  married  men  to  be  ordained  ministers  of the  Church  and  to  perform  the  duties  of  a  priest   with  two  important  exceptions:  Reconciliation  and the Consecration. The   first  permanent   deacon   at   Most   Precious Blood  was  Joseph  Kane,  a  parishioner  and    Chief  of the  Village  of  Angola  Police  Department.  He  served from  1977  until  1998.    Deacon  Kane  was  joined  in the  80s  and  90s  by  Deacon  Paul  Schreiber,  working with RCIA; Deacon Richard Kelsey, involved with the school;   and   Deacon   Frank   Polizzi.   Deacon   David Velasquez served in 2006 and 2007 and to date was  the last deacon  at MPB. Deacons  were  eligible  to  deliver  homilies,  attend to  the  sick  and  dying  and  to  preside  at  baptisms, weddings  and  funerals.  In  addition  to  their  spiritual duties at MPB, they also took an active role in parish carnivals , lawn fetes and other fundraisers.

The Annex  The  small,  white  structure  between  the  Parish Hall  driveway  and  Lake  St.  has  been  part  of  the MPB “campus” since the 1980s.  It was originally a Lake Shore Central “re-locatable” classroom but is now known as MPB’s “Annex.” The  Lake  Shore  School  District    purchased  three of  these  classrooms  in  the  1970s  to  accommodate overflow  enrollment  at  three  elementary  schools. Each  installed  unit    provided    all  of  the  necessary utilities: heat, electricity, water and plumbing. Sr. M.   Theophane was principal   when   MPB school became a flourishing educational institution. She  saw  the  need  for  occasional  remedial  services in  grades  K-8  but  was  unable  to  provide  them.  She contacted  William  Houston,  Superintendent  of  the Lake  Shore  Central  School  District,  and  asked  what could be done.  Fortunately,  New  York  State  educational  regulations  had  eased  a  bit  to  enable  public  school  personnel to provide services to parochial students un-der  a public  school  roof.  Since there  was  no  longer a need for all three classrooms at LSC, Mr. Houston made one available to MPB at the Prospect St. site.  Public  school  teachers  began  to  administer  reme-dial lessons in reading, speech and math. Mr.  Houston  recalls  meeting  Most  Rev.  Edward D.  Head,  Bishop  of  Buffalo  and  accompanying  him to  the  schoolroom.  There  the  bishop  blessed  the structure as the superintendent looked on. After  the  school  closed  in  2007, the  building  eventually  became  property  of MPB.  Known  as the Annex,  it  has  been  used  as  the  meeting  place  for RCIA, Parish Council and many other church groups.
Rev.  Bernard  U. Nowak  became    pastor    of    MPB  in  1998 and immediately made  repairs   and   improvements to   various   properties   and structures in the parish.  He  had  the  sanctuary  renovated and updated; the altar was reconstructed  and the   acoustical   tile   was   re-moved,  revealing  a  magnificent wooden ceiling; carpeting  was  replaced;  and  a  baptismal  pool  was  con-structed in front of Mary’s altar. Roofing and furnaces   were   replaced   at   the   rectory,   school   and    convent. Through  monetary  gifts  made  by  parishioners,   Fr.  Nowak  purchased  a  new  sound  system  and  an Allen  organ  for  the  church.  In  addition  to  these    projects, he  had a chapel built as an addition to the church.  This  was  accomplished  with  funds  donated by parishioners. Completed  in  2004,  the  chapel  houses  original paintings  depicting  the  Five  Luminous  Mysteries  of the  Rosary.  Through  the  years  It  has  been  used  for Masses,  religious  instruction  classes  and  as  a  meeting  room  for  various  parish  groups  and  organizations.  Fr. Nowak promoted a fuller participation by both men  and  women  in  parish  ministries  and  encouraged    girls  as  well  as  boys  to  become  altar  servers.  The parish at this time numbered over 1,000 house-holds. The Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary, Introduced  by  Pope  John  Paul  II  in  2002,  the  Five Luminous  Mysteries  of  the  Rosary  are  recited  between the  Joyful  and  Sorrowful  mysteries  and    highlight  the role given to Jesus as the “Light of the World.” These mysteries,  according  to  some  sources,  are  commemorated on Thursdays. During the time that Fr. Nowak was MPB’s pastor and  was overseeing the construction of the new chapel,  he  considered  the  Luminous  Mysteries  appropriate  to identify  with  the  new  structure.  He  enlisted  Chester Dimitroff  and  Rose  Bogdan  Szwed,  the  artists  who  earlier  painted  most  of  the  wall  art  in  the  school  cafeteria. The five paintings for the chapel were  created by Rose, Chet and Fr. Bernie in the Dimitroff basement art studio. Their  renditions  favored  symbolic  concepts  rather  than the traditional illustrations of biblical scenes. Here, then, are the chapel paintings and their titles:  
In  January  2005,  when  Fr.  Nowak  left  for  assignments  in  Chautauqua  County,  Bishop  Edward  Kmiec appointed   Rev.  Matt   Mieczyslaw   Nycz   pastor   of Most Precious Blood Parish.  Fr. Matt continued  improvements  and  updates,  renovating  the  liturgical brass  in  the  sanctuary  and  replacing  the  stairs  from the gym area to the cafeteria with a handicap ramp.  He   reorganized   the   Parish   Council   and   created Finance  and  Maintenance  Committees.    In  addition, he   organized   the   Youth   Group   as   well   as   adult funeral servers.  In 2006 the ceiling and lights in the cafeteria  were  replaced and  new  round  tables  were purchased. Fr.  Matt  began  the  tradition  of  offering  classical concerts as part of an outreach program.  He formed a  committee  in  August  2005  to  bring  performers  to MPB  and  to  promote  the  concerts.    During  the  year that  followed,  nearly  a  dozen  classical  and  sacred programs  took  place  at  the  church.  In  addition,  a Kurtzmann baby grand piano was donated for use in the sanctuary for worship and concerts.  A  major  change  to  the  parish  occurred  when  the Diocese  of  Buffalo  announced  that  Most  Precious Blood  School  would  be  one  of  the  thirteen  Catholic schools to close in June 2007 as part of  the diocesan restructuring  process.  Fr.  Matt  implemented  many changes  in  the  Faith  Formation  Program  to  accommodate  youth  no  longer  served  by  the  school.  A Youth  Ministry  was  begun  for  those  of  middle  and high school age.  
MPB  Concerts:
After  its  formation,  the  concert  committee  met regularly  to  make  arrangements  for  each  program.  This   included   scheduling,   promotion,   admission, ushers,  program  book  and  post  concert  reception. While the concerts were considered public relations for  the  parish,  they  also  served  as  fundraisers  for MPB with the exception of two concerts that  bene-fitted Operation Good Neighbor. When  the  committee  first  convened,  the  parish already  had  sponsored  two  concerts:  Ewa  Lewendowski,  soprano,  and  Pawel  Staszczyszyn,  piano, musicians from Poland; and the Villa Maria Chorale. The  third  concert  spotlighted  Cristina  Voto,  piano, and Maria Szczepanik, soprano.  The two sisters had been MPB parishioners in their childhood, had participated in the parish choir in their teens and later were  organists/pianists  and  directors  of  the  choir. This  concert  was  followed  by  a  string  quartet  that included another former resident of the area, Lynda Dimitroff, cello. During  the  next  five  years,  various  area  groups performed at MPB: St. Mary of the Lake choirs and musicians,  hand  bell  choir  of  the  Angola  Congregational   Church,   Canisius   College   Chorale,   Chopin Singing Society, Chautauqua Children’s Choir, Fredonia Chamber Singers and the Lake Effects (Sweet Adeline)  Singing  Group  that  included  parishioner Sandie  Emhof.    Lake  Shore  music  teachers  Annette & Jim Ieda also performed as did Tom Herlihy. Concerts often celebrated  holiday seasons: Palm Sunday --the   Kosta   Manojlovich   Choir   of   St. Stephen’s Orthodox Church, Lackawanna; the Gift of   Christmas --Brittany   Mruczek   (soprano)   and members  of  New  Horizon;  Eastertide --Resound with Joy (MPB Music Ministry). From  April  2005  to  May  2010,  MPB  hosted  28 concerts   that   included   many   professionals   from outside of the county and state. The concerts  were well    attended  with  audiences  not  just  from  MPB, but from throughout  Buffalo and Erie County.

Our Lady of the Lake Prayer Garden: Under  the  leadership of  Fr. Matt  Nycz, the  creation  of  a  prayer  garden  was  the  major  project  of 2009.  While  its  purpose  was  to  provide  a  serene area   for   contemplation,   its   plan   incorporated handicap  accessibility  to  the  church,  chapel  and rectory. 
The statue of Our Lady, once residing at  St. Peter’s Chapel  at  the  lake,  was relocated  to  a  place  of prominence  on  a  black granite pedestal over-looking a cascade of water. She became the garden’s central figure and its name-sake.  Parishioners supported the Prayer  Garden  project  by  purchasing  various  components:     commemorative     medallions,     bricks, pavers, benches and pedestal space.  Four  circles  extend  outward  from  the  walkway.  two on each side.  Within each circle is a   medallion   etched   with   a   scripture message,  the  name  of  a  loved  one,  a family or a group.
Surrounding each medallion and forming  a stone “floor” are bricks and pavers, each  with  a  name  of  the  one  it honors. Three   wooden   benches   are   grouped   on      the  “floor”  of  each  circle,  providing seating  for  visitors  as  they  pray, meditate  or  simply  enjoy  the  serenity of the venue. The walkway and central areas serve as gathering space  for Mass,  prayer, meetings  and  other  special events.   The   granite   altar   has   the   parish   motto     inscribed on its front. Our  Lady  of  the  Lake  Prayer  Garden  was  dedicated  by  Auxiliary  Bishop  Edward  Grosz  February 11,  2010.    Fr.  Matt  fortunately  was  able  to  be  present  at  the  event  before  departing  for  his  new     pastoral  assignment. 


Following Fr. Matt’s departure, Rev. Msgr. Fred  Voorhees was  appointed  temporary  administrator of  the parish.  On April 24, 2010,  MPB Parish welcomed its new pas-tor,  Rev.  John  S.  Kwiecien.    Fr.  John  had  been  pastor  of Holy Spirit Parish in North Collins where he also served as part-time  chaplain  at  the  prison  facility,  a    ministry  he continued  while  at  MPB.    His  service,  in  turn,    inspired some from the parish to volunteer their time in this  ministry.  Parishioners  soon  learned  that  occasionally,  within the celebration of Mass, Fr. John  was inclined to  play his guitar and sing during a psalm or hymn.  Fr.   John   continued   various   maintenance   programs throughout  the    buildings and  grounds of MPB  with spe-cial  attention  given  to  energy-saving    projects:  lighting, windows,  heating.   He  also  updated  areas  of  the  church, replacing the sound system and the carpeting and adding brass  railings  (donated  by  a  parish  family)  at  the  altar steps. The  school  building,  now  known  as  the  Parish  Hall,  became  the venue  for community outreach.  It has been  available for rental by community groups, such as the Girl Scouts,  and by  parishioners for private gatherings.  In addition to a long-term occupancy by  a Karate Club, the gymnasium is  used by the Erie County Board of Elections  to  house  some  of  Evans  election  districts  for  local, state  and  national  elections.  Most  consistently,  though,  the Lakeshore  Association of Christian Churches, through Operation  Good  Neighbor,  continues  to  use  the  hall  for its weekly food distribution to  community  recipients.  To  develop  further  a    spirit  of  fellowship,  Fr.  John  encouraged   participation   in   the   monthly   Sunday   parish breakfasts,  the  parish    picnic,  its  pork  chop  dinner,  the Holy  Name  Society’s  chicken  barbecue,  and  spaghetti dinners,  the  seasonal  Mardi  Gras  celebration,  St.  Patrick Dinner and St. Joseph Table.  He  also  began  the  ministry  of  Helping  Hands,  a  group of parishioners who prepare  and serve  funeral brunches following  the Mass  and  interment.  The  purpose  of  these  gatherings  is to provide a time of comfort for those who are grieving. Food for the Soul One  might  question  why  the  dinners  at  MPB  are  so noteworthy  when  considering  the  history  of  the  parish.  Outside of the obvious “spirit of fellowship” motive, the dinners  have  developed  into  identifying  who  we  are.  They  require  hours  of  preparation,  teamwork  and  con-geniality.  Along with providing a purpose for some, they are  known  to  build  friendships  and  camaraderie  among those who volunteer their time. Over the years, dinners at MPB became quite popular and  attracted  a  larger  group  of  diners  each  year.    Even with limited or no advertising, some  attendees at some dinners  came  from  outside  the  parish,  outside  the  village, outside the town, from distant areas of the county. Each   of   the   three   seasonal   dinners   has   its   own unique  characteristics  and  attractions.  Beginning  with Mardi  Gras,  celebrated  before  Ash  Wednesday,    guests are   provided   with   masks,   beads   and   hats.    Activities   are   designed   to   entertain   all   age groups:  a  parade,  activities  in  the  gym,  movies with  pop  corn.    The  menu  has  included  soup, pancakes, chili, hot dogs and King Cake. The Irish Dinner takes place close to St. Patrick’s Day and entertains with a live band and Irish dancers. The   menu   features   classic   Irish fare:   corned   beef   and   cabbage with  boiled  potatoes  and  carrots, soda  bread  and  bread  pudding.  An  alternate  choice  is  a  Reuben on Rye. The St. Joseph’s Day Table, March 19, is known for its absence  of  meat.  It  offers  lentil  soup,  pasta,  frittatas (omelets),  fish,  artichokes,  burdock,  dandelions,  broccoli,  cauliflower,  eggplant,  etc.    The  desserts  usually  include cannoli, sfinge, cuccidati and pizzelles. There is no charge for admission, but  offerings  are accepted. The proceeds, according to tradition,  are donated locally to such charitable  organizations as St. Vincent de Paul, Ladies of Charity and  Operation Good Neighbor.
Fr. John was a member of Reynolds Battery, a group of Civil War
re-enactors who portray Union soldiers when they appear at schools
or in community programs. He was the musician-soldier who played the guitar to accompany his singing of the songs of the era. He presented a concert of these songs, Echoing thru the Camp, at MPB in April 2011.
 The present-day Reynolds’ Battery is over 30 years old and is chartered by the NYS Board of Education. Its stated purpose and objectives are to inform, instruct and educate the public of the life and trials of a Civil War Artillery soldier during the 1860s. MPB Parish became a participant in its traditional activities (2013-2018) by annually hosting a Victorian Dinner that offered authentic dishes of the period. The purpose was to raise funds for the battery, enabling its members to continue to educate the public and to “keep history alive.” In 2015 the dinner commemorated the 150th anniversary of the Surrender at Appomattox. Also included in these annual events were demonstrations and displays of items associated with the Civil War era: a forge, medical tent, fashions, weapons. Revisiting the Civil War Era On October 8, 1861, 81 men and officers swore an oath to the Union and were mustered into federal service while stationed in Elmira, New York. Most of these men were from the Rochester area. On November 23, 1861, Company L reported for duty at Camp Barry, Washington, D.C. under the command of Captain John A. Reynolds. The captain used his own personal funds as a guarantee to secure the first six Model 1861, 3” Ordnance Rifles from the Phoenix Iron Works.
 The Battery saw action in twenty engagements from 1862 to 1865. These included the Second Battle at Bull Run (August 28-30, 1862) (Manassas), the Battle at Antietam (September 17, 1862) and the
Battle at Gettysburg (July 1-3, 1863). A total of 320 men entered the service as members of Reynolds’ Battery L. Of these 320, nine were
killed or died from wounds received in action, while 14 died from sickness contracted during their service.
 Throughout the six-year cooperative venture with Reynolds Battery, MPB volunteers researched Victorian recipes to provide a variety of food at each banquet. Among the culinary achievements were: (Soups) split pea, Mullagatawny, mock turtle; (Meats) venison, pork chops, rabbit stew, pork pie, meat loaf, turkey, beef pasties; (Vegetables) onion casserole, stewed carrots, dandelions, sliced beets, cabbage stew, green beans; (Breads) corn bread, sweet potato rolls, biscuits, Sally Lunn bread, honey butter, maple butter; (Desserts) blueberry cobbler, maple rice pudding, Indian pudding, molasses cookies. Beverages included coffee, tea, fruit punch and artillery punch.

After  spending  an    active  nine  years  at  Most    Precious Blood Parish,  Fr. John  retired in June 2019.  Rev. Timothy Koester celebrated his first Mass as pastor June 10, 2019.  He had served in the Military     Chaplain  Program  for  28  years  before  returning  to Western New York in 2018. After  being  at  MPB  for  a  few  months,  at  the    beginning  of  Lent  2020,  Fr.  Tim  commented  on  and praised the volunteerism that characterized the parish.  He  cited  various  volunteer  activities,  including lawn and cemetery clean-up, dinners and the funeral brunches, Rosary & Altar, Holy Name, St. Vincent de Paul  societies, Ladies of Charity, and funeral servers.  In    addition,  he  praised  Faith  Formation  and  Youth program  leaders,  as  well  as  community  service  projects. He expressed a strong  enthusiasm to continue these existing programs and events into the future.  Two  weeks  later, an  abominable  occurrence  took control  of  civilizations  throughout  the  world --the      Corona  Virus,  commonly  known  as  the  COVID-19 pandemic. On  March  16,  2020,  Bishop  Edward  B.  Scharfenberger  announced  that  there  would  be  no  regularly scheduled  public  Masses  in  the  Diocese  of  Buffalo until  further  notice.  All  Catholics  were  dispensed from the obligation of attending  Sunday Masses and Holy  Days  of  Obligation.  In  addition, all  other  parish events  and  large  gatherings  were  to  be  postponed, including Confirmations.  This  declaration  totally  destroyed  all  plans  and  preparations  for  the  annual  St.  Joseph  Day  Dinner scheduled  for  three  days  later.    Funerals    continued to be conducted, but with only the immediate family in attendance.  Funeral brunches, as well as all social gatherings, were cancelled.  The ban on gathering at Mass continued to be in effect  until  June  2020  when  churches  were  given the go-ahead to open to 25% of capacity (still with-out obligation). But there were strict conditions and mandates. The  wearing  of  face  masks  was  a  major  require-ment  as  was  proper  distancing.    The  use  of  sanitizers   at   the   church   entrances   was      suggested. There would be no holy water, no sharing of books, no  touching,  no  hand  shaking  at  the  Sign  of  Peace.  Receiving  the  Eucharist  would  be  in  the  hand  only but  taking  of  the  wine  would  no  longer  be  an       option.  The music ministry throughout the diocese would  be  reduced  to  a pianist/organist  and  cantor.  There would be no singing by the congregation. Fr.  Tim  added  to  the  warnings  by  stressing  that persons  65  and  older,  especially  those  with  com-promising  health conditions, should be very careful being in public settings. He suggested television and radio  Masses  being  aired  as  well  as those  “live streaming”  from  area  churches.  MPB  began         recording its weekend Masses and posting them on the parish’s website.  Upon   arrival   at   the   church,   attendees   were guided  by  ushers  to  every  third  pew,  with  seating restricted    to  three  individuals  or  a  family  unit  In each pew. At Communion, recipients  stood in place until  Fr.  Tim  or  one  of  the  Eucharistic  ministers    approached them with the Eucharist. Following  the  celebration  of  the  Mass,  volunteers  sanitized  all  entrances  (handles,  door  plates), the  pews,  all  areas  that  could  have  been  touched by  a  member  of  the  congregation.    All  of  this,  of course, was for the protection of parishioners. At  the  end  of  May  2021,  Most  Precious  Blood Parish went to 50% of capacity

Pandemic regulations essentially shut down social activities, but   MPB   Parish   and   its   organization still  managed  to  provide  their  traditional  dinners (spaghetti, pork chop, chicken barbecues) by way of Drive-Thru    delivery.    These  activities    have    served as examples of the efforts  being made to normalize as many services and aspects of  parish life as possible.  At  the  helm  of  MPB    during  this  uncertain  time,  Fr.  Tim     is  succeeding  in    meeting the   spiritual and financial  needs  of  the  parish.  Through  his  homilies and bulletin messages, he shows a deep concern for strengthening    individual    and    parish    spirituality,   raising  morale,  and  providing  an  assurance  of  hope for the future. Fr.  Tim  has  been  at  MPB  for  only  two  years.       The  challenges  brought  about  by  the  pandemic  and the  diocesan  spending  restrictions  have  prevented him  from  moving  ahead  with  major  parish  projects. He  intends,  as  soon  as  possible,  to    resume  needed improvements to the windows in the Parish Hall and to the parking lots.
Parish Trustees: According   to   civil   and   ecclesiastical   law,   a     parish  is  a  corporation  managed  by  a  Board  of   Trustees:  Bishop  (president),  Vicar  General  (vice-president), Pastor/Pastoral Administrator (secretary-treasurer) and lay trustees.  Lay  trustees  are  parishioners  who  are  selected by  the  pastor  for  their  financial  knowledge  and  experience.  They  serve  as  advisors  to  the  pastor, working  closely  with  the  business  manager,  and   attend meetings of the Finance Committee and the Parish  Council.  Their  responsibilities  also  include reviewing    and  signing  such  financial documents  as budgets,  quarterly  reports,    annual  reports  to  the parish,  updated  cemetery  information,  and  financial  reports to the Diocese of Buffalo. At  the  time  of  the  Centennial  celebration  of Most  Precious  Blood  Parish  (1971),  the  two  parish trustees pictured in the commemorative book were Clarence V. Leising and Eugene J. Heil.   It was noted that  before  them,  the  following  had  served  the  parish  in  the  same  capacity:  William  Distel,  F.  B. Miller,  Norman  Whitty,  Louis  DiMartino,  Justin  V. Walters  and  Edward  Smith.  Those  who    followed, from  the  1980s    to  the  present  time,  are  Joseph Newland,   Joanne   Sack,   Barbara   Guest,   Conrad Piskorz and Elizabeth Duzen
Most Precious Blood School A school is a combination of the tangible and the intangible.    It  is  a  building  of  bricks,  mortar,  concrete,  panes  of  glass,etc.   Above  all,  It  is also  a  place  where  knowledge  is  imparted  by  a group of people dedicated to  developing the minds and  talents of others through facts and experiences. October  5,  1952  was  the  date  of  the  ground-breaking  of  the  building  that  was  to  be  known  as Most Precious Blood Parochial Grammar (Elementary)    School.    Its  construction took nearly  a year.    The  building,  whose  cost  totaled  $250,000,  opened  in  September  1953,  ready  for the  beginning of  a  new  (and  unprecedented)  school  year  for  children in Kindergarten through grade 8.The  Franciscan  Sisters  of  St.  Joseph  were  the guiding force at the beginning of parochial education at  MPB.    As  time  passed  and  enrollment  increased, lay  teachers  were  hired  to  fill  the  need  and  round out  the  faculty  roster.  The  first  principal  was  Sr.  M. Felix, FSSJ, who served from 1953 until 1959.  Those who followed were: Sr. M. Amelia, FSSJ (1959-1965); Sr.  M.  Theophane,  FSSJ  (  1965-1999);  Mrs.  Karen  L. Schiavone   (1999-2005);   Mrs.   Erica   Aikin   (2005-2007).In  addition  to  the  basic  K-8  curriculum,  special instructions  were  added  as  personnel  and  time  be-came  available.  These  included  computers,  Spanish, music,   art,   technology,   the   DARE   program,   and physical  education.  Classes  were  enriched  by    field trips to various local and Buffalo  venues. Eleven  students  comprised  the  first  graduating class.    The  largest  class  numbered  48  in  1966  and the  smallest  was  7  in  2007,  the  last  year  of  the school’s existence. In 54 years a total of 1,266 graduated from MPB.
Devoted to Education Throughout  its   54-year   history,   the School  of  Most  Precious  Blood  and  its  educational programs  were  administered  and  guided  by  the Franciscan  Sisters  of  St.  Joseph.    Their  origin  dates back to 1889 when five Charity Sisters of St. Charles Boromeo  arrived  in  the  United  States  from  Poland to  teach  children  in  Pittsburgh,  Pa.  Eventually  their motherhouse and novitiate were established in Buffalo  until    1928  when  they    were  moved  to  Hamburg. More than 44 Sisters served MPB as educators   during the half-century of the school’s existence. Deserving  of  special  recognition  for  their  service to the school and parish are:  Sr.  M Theophane, Sr Frances Anne and St. M. Severine. Sr. Theophane  taught  fifth  and  sixth  grade  at MPB  and    became  principal  in  1965,  a  position  she filled  until  her  death  in  1999.    She  was  known  for her  unbending  determination  to  provide    students with    programs    and    services    she    knew    they            deserved.  She often relied on the assistance of the   superintendent of the Lake Shore School District. Sr.  Severine  was  a  member  of  the  MPB  faculty from the time the school opened. Through the years she  taught  over  1,300  youngsters  in  grades    4-7.  After she retired, she continued to serve the school in  various  capacities,  including  secretary  for  atten-dance.  A  special  Mass  of Appreciation  and  Farewell was celebrated   June   22,   2008  to   honor   Sr.   Severine    before her departure from MPB.  Sincerely humble,  she  was even a  reluctant guest at her own  reception that followed. When a parishioner asked, ”How are you doing, sister?,” she replied, ”Oh, I hate this,” indicating her distaste for the spotlight.  Sr.  Severine died January 22, 2011.  A   Memorial Mass  was   celebrated   at   Most   Precious   Blood  Church  February 2.


Most  Precious  Blood  Parochial    School  (K-8)  has been  closed  now  for  fourteen  years.    Although  the formal  education  of  children    in  the  various  grades has ceased, the structure still serves the parish well.  Now  known  as  the  Parish  Hall,  the  building  has been  home  to  Faith  Formation  programs  (K-5)  and the  youth  groups  of  middle    and  high  school  age.  The auditorium and stage have continued to provide the   setting   for   various   programs   and   pageants. Classrooms have become meeting places for several parish  organizations  and  the  kitchen/cafeteria  areas have  seen plenty  of  action providing  for  annual dinners, parish breakfasts and funeral brunches. In  cooperation  with  the  Lakeshore  Association  of Christian  Churches  and  Operation  Good  Neighbor, MPB has been able to provide the site for the distribution  of  food  to  area  residents.    In  addition,  the  parish  has  been  able  to  rent  out  its  facilities  to  out-side groups.  The gymnasium is a regular training site for a local karate  group.    It  is  also  used  by  town  election  dis-tricts for occasional town/county  and  state/national elections.  Scout  troops  have  utilized  classrooms  for weekly  meetings.    Private  families  also  have  the   opportunity  to  rent  parish  facilities  for  large  social gatherings.

   The Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph,  as educators at MPB, are now a memory, but they  will  long  be  remembered  for  their dedication   to   the   children   and   to   their    ultimate  goal  of  Peace.    The  Peace  Pole, located in front of the school building, was a gift from them to the parish. Its message, “May Peace Prevail on Earth,” is in six languages:  English,  Sign,  Paw  Prints,  Seneca,  Latin  and Spanish. It reminds us that each individual is responsible for spreading peace throughout the world.
  MPB’s school  always  had  its  fervent  supporters.    The  original School Guild became the Mother’s Club and then the Home School Association. The group’s purpose was  to  provide  personal  and  financial  support  for MPB education.   A description of the first group’s activities was presented in the 1971 Centennial book: “The  School  Guild  was  organized  in  1953  for  the purpose  of  aiding  the  sisters  in  their  many  endeavors in the school.  As a “Helping Hand” organization, the guild undertook various activities during the first year,  which  enabled  them  to  purchase  gym  equipment, books for the library and dishes for the cafeteria.  Members  have  involved  themselves  in  clothing exchanges,  Christmas  fairs,  dances,  raffles,  fashion shows and baked goods sales. ”Years  later  the  Home  School  Association  raised funds  to  pay  the  salary  of  a  physical  education teacher  and  to  provide  the  school  and  staff  with many “extras.” With the creation and continued development of the  30-Week  Club  as  a  major  fund-raiser,  members paid  one  dollar  a  week  for  30  weeks  and  participated  in  weekly  drawings.    The  final  event  was  a dinner and the grand-prize drawing. In  the  memory  book  published  in  anticipation  of the school’s closing, it was stated that “Many lasting memories  and  friendships  grew  from  Home-School events.“  

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