Thursday, May 24, 2012

Fortnight for Freedom update

“Fortnight for Freedom” to focus on prayer for religious liberty  Background information is available at

For a two-week period, beginning June 21 on the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More, to July 4, Independence Day, Catholics from the Diocese of Buffalo will join the faithful across the United States in the “Fortnight for Freedom,” described by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops as, “a great hymn of prayer for our country.” Among the martyrs of the Church, St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More remained true to their faith in the face of political persecution.

The fortnight is part of the bishops’ coordinated efforts to mobilize Catholics in response to government attacks on religious liberty. Earlier this year, the Obama administration endorsed a Health and Human Services mandate that will require Catholic organizations and institutions to pay for employee health coverage that includes contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs. The bishops have vigorously opposed the mandate on the grounds that the federal government is forcing the Catholic employers to provide coverage that is a contradiction of Church teachings and beliefs.

“During this two-week period, I call on Catholics throughout the diocese to join me in prayer for religious freedom,” said Bishop Edward U. Kmiec. “We know prayer can be very powerful and every day during the fortnight, in every parish, during every Mass, a special Prayer of the Faithful will be said.” Parishes and Catholic institutions are also free to sponsor adoration, special devotions and catechetical sessions as part of this national religious liberty campaign.

Bishop Kmiec will begin the fortnight on Thursday, June 21, at 3 p.m. with a holy hour at the Carmelite Monastery (75 Carmel Road, Buffalo). Bishop Edward M. Grosz, auxiliary bishop of Buffalo, will conclude the observance with a holy hour at the Dominican Monastery (355 Doat St., Buffalo) at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, July 3. The public is welcome to attend both prayer hours. “I believe the ‘Hour of Mercy’ at both of these powerhouses of prayer in our diocese will be the most effective and prayerful ways for Catholics to take part in the fortnight,” Bishop Kmiec said.

In addition to the “Fortnight for Freedom,” the bishops have designated the Solemnity of Christ the King (Nov. 25), as a day for bishops, priests and deacons to focus their homilies on religious freedom. The Feast of Christ the King is significant in that it was born out of resistance to totalitarian incursions against religious liberty. “We must be consistent in our message and in our teaching,” Bishop Kmiec said. “At every opportunity, we need to remind the faithful of the importance of defending our first freedom, our most cherished freedom: the freedom of religion.”

In their statement on religious liberty, the U.S. bishops wrote, “To be Catholic and American should mean not having to choose one over the other. Our allegiances are distinct, but they need not be contradictory and should instead by complementary. That is the teaching of our Catholic faith, which obliges us to work together with fellow citizens for the common good of all who live in this land.”

For more information on the “Fortnight for Freedom, visit the HHS Mandate page of   Stay alert for updates on what our parish and neighboring parishes will be doing in particular.  We recommend frequent visits to our website as well as subscribing to this blog via email by simply entering your email address in the upper right box where it says "follow by email," then click "submit."

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

VBS 2012 Vacation Bible School

Dear Parishioner,

As you may have seen in the Bulletin, or on the webpage, St. Benedict Parish will once again be hosting a Vacation Bible School, from 9AM - noon, the week of July 30th - August 3rd.

 The Vacation Bible School is for children in grades K-5 (students in Middle and High School are needed as volunteers and attend for free, and this would fulfill service hours for students in the Religious Education or Confirmation program).

The cost of the program is $25 dollars for one child, $40 dollars for two, or $50 dollars for a family of three or more.

The theme for this year's Vacation Bible School is:
SKY-For God all things are possible  (Mark 10:27).

This YouTube video will give you a sense of A Day at Sky VBS (Vacation Bible School).

It is a wonderful program. I think your children will learn about their faith and also have a also have a great time.

If you would like to register, simply send me an email with the name and grade of your child/children who will be attending,
then please make your check payable to

St. Benedict Church and mail it to my attention at the
Office of Faith Formation
3980 Main Street
Amherst, NY 14226

The deadline to register is Friday, July 20th.

For more information, please write or give me a call!

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Matthew R. Smith
Director of Youth Ministry
& Religious Education
Office of Faith Formation
3980 Main Street
Amherst, NY 14226
(716) 836-6444

child detail from our St. Vincent de Paul window

Friday, May 18, 2012

Garden Project - please help!

Parish Garden Project

The circle of weeds and young trees in the center of the garden behind the Catholic Charities Building once held a statue of Mary and flowers.

We hope to make this a beautiful place once again for our parish to work, pray and play together.

We are moving forward with "reinstating the garden" project
and we invite all of you to be a part of it!

Please join us this Saturday,
May 19th starting at 9:30 am.

We asked you to pray for a nice day... and it worked!
They say it will be beautiful...
I guess we should have asked you to pray for world peace :)

We will work together to restore the gardens for a few hours and then we will party.

Please bring our own garden gloves, sun screen, and garden tools.

We will plan a cookout at noon and we invite you to please join us and bring a dish to pass.

Please RSVP Matt Smith via email your attendance and the number in your family who will be attending.

We will be preparing the land to grow vegetables for the poor. See the link below for more details.

St. Benedict's Blog: Harvesting Love - Isidore's Garden

Please feel free to stop by even if you can't stay for the whole morning.
Hope to see you there!

Let's come together and grow a beautiful garden in faith and hope
so we might and harvest a community of peace, justice and love.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

SBS alumna, Dr. Horvath, named SUNY Fredonia President!

     Thursday, May 17, 2012
     Following 8:15am Ascension Thursday Mass
     St. Benedict Church 
     1317 Eggert Road (corner of Eggert Rd. and Main St., Amherst, NY)

St. Benedict School will welcome Dr. Virginia Schaefer Horvath, incoming President of SUNY Fredonia, as a distinguished alumna speaker in celebration of the school’s 90th anniversary.  From Buffalo to Ohio to Japan and to Fredonia, Dr. Horvath will share the highlights of the journey her life has taken since her 8th grade graduation from St. Benedict School in 1971.  Topics will include the career path that has led her to her prestigious appointment as President, her experiences as a student at St. Benedict School, the difference Catholic education made in her life, and the importance of education in general. 
Dr. Horvath will become SUNY Fredonia’s 13th President as of July 1, 2012.  A native of Western New York and a SUNY alumna, she has been Vice President for Academic Affairs at SUNY Fredonia since 2005 and holds faculty rank as a Professor of English.  As Vice President, she oversees a $26.9 million annual budget that includes all academic programs, Rockefeller Arts Center, Reed Library, information technology, graduate studies and research, Lifelong Learning, and a range of academic support services at SUNY Fredonia. She is also co-chair of the strategic planning committee that has developed the Power of Fredonia plan. Accomplishments in Academic Affairs under her leadership include the addition of numerous academic programs, the development of an annual electronic University Catalog, successful accreditation initiatives, significant growth in the international student population, more than 100 successful tenure-track faculty hires, updates to technology and classrooms, and the establishment of the Professional Development Center, the Fredonia Academic Community Engagement (FACE) Center, and the Office of Student Creative Activity and Research (OSCAR).  She has collaborated on various initiatives with the Student Affairs and Advancement divisions.  She has been a member of Fredonia’s Student Association Board of Directors since 2005. 

Dr. Horvath is the daughter of Paul Schaefer, who remains an active and well-respected member of St. Benedict Parish and Holy Name Society.  Dr. Horvath is one of seven Schaefer children who have all gone on to outstanding careers, and who are all St. Benedict School graduates.  We hope you will join us for the 8:15AM Mass on May 17 and help us welcome Dr. Horvath home!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Exam Time! - a prayer and more


O God of Wisdom,

I thank you for the knowledge gained and experiences of this time.
I come to you on this day and ask you to enlighten my mind and heart.
Let your Holy Spirit be with me as I prepare for these exams, guiding my studies,
and giving me insight so that I can perform to the best of my ability.

Please grant me the strength to handle the pressure of these days of exams,
the confidence to feel secure in my knowledge,
and the ability to keep an appropriate perspective through it all.

Help me to keep in mind what is truly important,
even as I focus my time and energy on these exams.

Finally, may I sense your peace in knowing that I applied myself to the challenges of this day.

I ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen. 

from the Diocese of Down & Connor, Ireland -

* * * * *

Am I selfish in my studies?  Do I think learning is just for my personal benefit?

Am I aware that God is calling me to share my intellectual gifts for His greater glory?

Do I think I am smarter than I really am?

Do I persist in thinking that faith and reason are opposed to each other?

Have I studied my Catholic Faith as seriously as I have studied secular subjects?  Do I opine on religious matters without having done my religious homework?

Have I thanked my teachers sufficiently?  Have I especially thanked my parents?

Have I allowed the mockery of non-religious people to keep me silent about Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life?

Am I prepared for God's final exam?

Mary, Seat of Wisdom, pray for us!
Bl. John Henry Newman, pray for us!

Recommended reading:

Fides et Ratio - Bl. John Paul II

The Idea of A University - (Blessed) John Henry Cardinal Newman