Monday, December 16, 2013


Tuesday - 24 December 
4:00 pm (Pageant begins at 3:45pm)

10:00 pm (Choir begins at 9:30pm). 

Wednesday - 25 December 
10:00 am 

11:30 am.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Pizza with the Pope!

"Pizza with the Pope"

Want to go past the headlines and get to know  what the Pope really thinks?

Pope Francis recently wrote, "The Joy of the Gospel" and YOU are invited to join Deacon Bill after the 11:30 Sunday mass for a luncheon group to reflect on the Pope's words.

The "Joy of the Gospel," is five chapters long  so we will be discussing one chapter per week over five consecutive weeks in 2014: January 5, 12, 19, 26 and February 2nd.

The Joy of the Gospel is also known by its Latin title: Evangelii Gaudium.

The luncheon will be for just one hour, roughly from 12:40 - 1:40pm (starting time may very slightly depending on when mass ends).

This series is free but we invite people to make a free will offering to offset the cost of the delicious pizza!. 

Please let us know if you can join us via email:  

We are looking forward to seeing you and listening to your thoughts on the Pope's words. 
Please join us!  

St. Ben's is located on Main Street and Eggert Road in Eggertsville (Amherst) NY. Directions on our website -

[simply click "The Joy of the Gospel" or "Evangelii Gaudium" anywhere in this blog post to begin reading the document.]

Friday, December 6, 2013

Respect Life events coming up!

Respect Life news!

There is a lot happening in the coming weeks.  Please take a moment to read this and renew your commitment to protecting innocent human life from conception to natural death!   We deeply encourage your participation in these events.

·         March for Life – Hotel deadline is December 13, please make your reservations on time in order to get the low rate
o   Guest Speaker - Reverend William Scott Daniels, O.P.
o   Bus reservation deadline is January 4, 2014 (indicate bus# and pick up location)
o   Youth Groups – view our website for waivers, permission forms

·         Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe – 11:00 am Mass celebrated by Bishop Malone @ St. Anthony Parish, 306 Ingham Ave., Lackawanna 

·         National Night of Prayer – Various parishes will participate in this endeavor from 9:00 pm on December 8th to 1:00 am December 9th (with the exceptions noted by *.)  View our website for the list of parishes

·         40 Days for Life - will be hosting a one hour peaceful and prayerful vigil in front of Buffalo Women services, 2500 Main Street, Buffalo, N.Y. 14214 from 10:00am-11:00am on SATURDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2013. All are invited to attend as we pray to end abortion and encourage adoption! Peter Adornetto, Director 2013

·         Special Blessing of the Child in the Womb at Masses Saturday, December 21 and Sunday, December 22 - St. Christopher Parish, 2660 Niagara Falls Blvd., Tonawanda, NY.  The Gospel reading for Sunday, December 22 is of the Annunciation of Jesus' impending birth foretold by Gabriel to Mary, so it is very appropriate for us to bless all unborn children that day. We invite all who are pregnant, parishioner or not, to join us that day along with their families for this very special blessing! For more information contact the parish at (716) 692-2660.

·         Roe v Wade Observance Mass – Saturday, January 18, 2014 @ 4:30 pm – Blessed John Paul II Parish, 2052 Lakeview Road, Lake View, NY 14085
·         Save the Date – St. Gianna Banquet – Wednesday, February 12, 2014 @ Classics V – 6:00 pm

Please continue to regularly check our website for updated Alerts, Events & News

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Mary, Mother of the Living Gospel!

From Pope Francis - 
a prayer to Mary 
to help us bring the Gospel to life today....

Mary, Virgin and Mother,
you who, moved by the Holy Spirit,
welcomed the word of life
in the depths of your humble faith:

as you gave yourself completely to the Eternal One,
help us to say our own “yes”
to the urgent call, as pressing as ever,
to proclaim the good news of Jesus.

Filled with Christ’s presence,
you brought joy to John the Baptist,
making him exult in the womb of his mother.

Brimming over with joy,
you sang of the great things done by God.

Standing at the foot of the cross
with unyielding faith,
you received the joyful comfort of the resurrection,
and joined the disciples in awaiting the Spirit
so that the evangelizing Church might be born.

Obtain for us now a new ardor born of the resurrection,
that we may bring to all the Gospel of life
which triumphs over death.
Give us a holy courage to seek new paths,
that the gift of unfading beauty
may reach every man and woman.

Virgin of listening and contemplation,Mother of love, Bride of the eternal wedding feast,
pray for the Church, whose pure icon you are,
that she may never be closed in on herself
or lose her passion for establishing God’s kingdom.

Star of the new evangelization,
help us to bear radiant witness to communion,
service, ardent and generous faith,
justice and love of the poor,
that the joy of the Gospel
may reach to the ends of the earth,
illuminating even the fringes of our world.

Mother of the living Gospel,
wellspring of happiness for God’s little ones,
pray for us.

Amen. Alleluia!
(Evangelii Gaudium, 288)

Saturday, November 30, 2013

The "J" word.

I know what you are saying.  What is the J word exactly?

Well, the J word is JESUS.

In this very short blog post, I am inviting you to use the J word more this year.  

I know that some of you are aware that we have begun Advent and that Advent is the beginning of the church's new year of grace, but remember, not everyone knows that.  Sometimes we Catholics, even with the best of intentions, make following Jesus a little more complicated than it needs to be.  We sometimes get ahead of ourselves when trying to make new followers of Jesus.  We presume that people know words like advent or liturgy or hierarchy, the list goes on and on.  Since many of us have grown up as Catholics, we use these words effortlessly.  But people who have not yet accepted Jesus or have not heard of his love need to hear the J word more from our lips.

So let this be your new year's resolution: use the J word more!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Black Friday -"Don't be that guy!"

A meaningful Black Friday?   Sure, why not??

Just because you are looking for a great deal on Black Friday doesn't mean you have to become one of THEM!

You know who I mean - those shallow, frenzied buyers so wrapped up in themselves that they are oblivious to everyone else. Don't be that guy! But really, does anyone think of themselves as "that guy?"

We just sort of end up that way if we're not careful about our Black Friday behavior.

So here are some practical suggestions for a fun, meaningful and holy Black Friday:

1. Be healthy - eat a good breakfast before heading out and stop for lunch too. A hungry, tired shopper makes for a mean person by noon!  Your body and your soul are one; each affects the other!

2. Be realistic - no, you don't need to get everything on Black Friday.  Be mentally prepared for sell outs and disappointments. Don't ruin your day (and everyone else's) with a nasty attitude because things didn't go your way.

3. Be concerned - don't walk by people as if they are invisible.  Say this blessing silently when you walk by a fellow shopper: "peace be with you!"  or "God bring peace to your life!"  Say an extra prayer of thanks for those who have to work on Black Friday, especially for cashiers!.

4. Be centered - you are so much more important than the stuff you buy!  You are already a gift to all the people in your life. Thank God he made you. Thankful people are centered people.

5. Be holy - see all those people???   Each is unique.  Each is a gift from God.  Each is your brother or sister.  Treat them that way. As Pope Francis recently wrote: "The joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus." Jesus is with you, even on Black Friday!  Remember that and holiness is yours to share!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Can you help us feed the poor Christmas Morning?

For the past couple of years, St. Benedict's has supported Little Portion Friary by serving breakfast to their guests on Thanksgiving and Christmas morning.
Parishioners generously donated their time and/or prepared breakfast items to help make a meal that much more special for those less fortunate. Denise Levy spearheaded this effort for many years and, as many of you know, Denise and her family have relocated to Dallas.

In keeping the tradition alive, Fred & Mimi Fadel have generously volunteered to coordinate the breakfast and to serve on Thanksgiving and Christmas mornings. 
We are currently all set for Thanksgiving but if you are interested in helping to serve and/or donate a prepared item for Christmas morning, we can certainly use your help!

If you would like to help serve, please email me at We can take up to 8 volunteers. 

If you are interested in providing food, here's the basic list of breakfast items we'd like to provide. If you're interested in sending something not listed, please email me.  
                    We would like to stay away from too many sugary baked goods as Little Portion 
                    receives many donated doughnuts and sweets. 

I've listed 4 egg items or egg bakes. If you want to provide one of them but don't have a recipe, I have an easy one I'd be glad to share.

General info: There are approximately 8 women and 18 men plus some volunteers on the premises. They eat in separate dining rooms so we try to divide the items among the two dining rooms accordingly. Breakfast is served at 9:00 am.

Fred & Mimi will meet folks in the Westfield parking lot at 8:15 Christmas morning. People providing the hot items should bring them hot. The Fadels will leave for Little Portion by 8:30, get there, set up and serve. The guests are responsible for clean up.
Breakfast items needed:

Eggs/Egg Bake:  
Eggs/Egg Bake:  
Eggs/Egg Bake:  
Eggs/Egg Bake:  
Bagels – dozen:  Megan Andrews, Strauss Family
Bagels – dozen:  Megan Andrews, Strauss Family
Bagels – dozen:  Strauss Family
Cream cheese – 3 bricks:  
Orange juice – 2 gallons:  
Orange juice – 2 gallons:  
Whole fruit (need 3 folks): David Croglio
Please email me back at and let me know what you’re interested in providing for the breakfast and/or serving.

Thank you!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Diocesan Campaign for Phillippines Relief

Parish collection to aid Philippines typhoon victims

Most Reverend Richard J. Malone, Bishop of Buffalo, has asked all parishes of the Diocese of Buffalo to take up a special collection the weekends of Nov. 30-Dec.1, to assist the work of Catholic Relief Services in aiding those affected by Super-Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. 

Proceeds will be forwarded to Catholic Relief Services, which is managing the U.S. Catholic Church's emergency response in the affected areas, to help typhoon victims begin to rebuild their lives.

“When it comes to responding to those in need, be it in Western New York or halfway around the world, the faithful of the diocese have a long history of tremendous generosity, and I fully expect that will be the case with this special collection as well,” said Bishop Malone, a member of the Catholic Relief Services Board of Directors.

Catholic Relief Services, in cooperation with its partners, will provide 100,000 families (500,000 people) with shelter, essential living supplies, and clean water and sanitation, and will continue to identify the most vulnerable communities that need assistance.   Catholic Relief Services said it hopes to raise $20 million for this vital emergency response.

Catholic Relief Services’ presence in the Philippines is its oldest continuously operating country program. Prompted by the mass destruction and loss of life in the Philippines during World War II, Catholic Relief Services, then called War Relief Services, first launched relief efforts in that country in 1945. Just one year later, the agency was providing supplies to more than 800,000 people.

Today, Catholic Relief Services focuses on agro-enterprise and peace building programs in Mindanao and has teams at the ready to respond to natural disasters. Catholic Relief Services’ agricultural programs in the Philippines lift small-scale farmers from poverty by linking them to more profitable markets.  The peace building programs lessen violence, improve livelihoods and help create tolerance in the south.

For more on Catholic Relief Services, visit

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Catholic Schools Survey - everyone welcome!

We need your help!

Please complete this survey about Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Buffalo:

Thanks for sharing your views!  We are grateful.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Help us help the Homeless on Thanksgiving!

For the past couple of years, St. Benedict's has supported Little Portion Friary by serving breakfast to their guests on Thanksgiving morning.

Parishioners generously donated their time and/or prepared breakfast items to help make Thanksgiving that much more special for those less fortunate. Denise Levy spearheaded this effort for many years and, as many of you know, Denise and her family have relocated to Dallas.

In keeping the tradition alive, Fred & Mimi Fadel have generously volunteered to coordinate the breakfast and to serve on Thanksgiving morning. If you are interested in helping to serve, please contact Fred at

If you are interested in providing breakfast items, we can sure use them! 

Here's the basic list of breakfast items we'd like to provide. If you're interested in sending something not listed, please email me and/or Fred & Mimi. We would like to stay away from too many sugary baked goods as Little Portion receives many donated doughnuts and sweets. 

I've listed 4 egg items or egg bakes. If you're interested in providing one of them but don't have a recipe, I have an easy one I'd be glad to share.

General info: There are approximately 8 women and 18 men plus some volunteers on the premises. They eat in separate dining rooms so we try to divide the items among the two dining rooms accordingly. Breakfast is served at 9:00 am.

Fred & Mimi will meet folks in the Westfield parking lot at 8:15 Thanksgiving morning. People providing the hot items should bring them hot. The Fadels will leave for Little Portion by 8:30, get there, set up and serve. The guests are responsible for cleaning.
Breakfast items needed:
Eggs/Egg Bake:
Eggs/Egg Bake:
Eggs/Egg Bake:
Eggs/Egg Bake:
Bagels – dozen:
Bagels – dozen:
Bagels – dozen:
Cream cheese – 3 bricks:
Orange juice – 2 gallons:
Orange juice – 2 gallons:
Whole fruit:

Please email me back and let me know what you’re interested in providing for the breakfast. If I’ve left anything out, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Thank you,
Agnes Smith

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Affordable Care Act - health plans that exclude abortion coverage

October 25, 2013


To:       Diocesan Pro-Life Coordinators
            State Catholic Conference Directors

From:  Associate Director, USCCB Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities

Re:       Finding a health plan on the state exchanges that excludes abortion coverage

The USCCB Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities has received a number of requests from concerned Catholics who are anxious to know how they can find a health plan without elective abortion coverage on the state exchanges authorized by the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  I imagine some of you have received these requests as well.

At the outset, it is important to note that this memorandum is dealing with deliberately induced abortions performed after implantation – that is, the procedures recognized as abortions by state and federal laws, whether performed by surgery or by drugs such as RU-486.  We continue to seek recourse from the HHS “preventive services” rule requiring almost all health plans to cover drugs and devices approved by the FDA as contraceptives, including some that may act as abortifacients very early in pregnancy; but that threat to conscience is a distinct problem legally and is not addressed here.

The potential pool of Americans interested in the abortion coverage question is quite large.  When we polled Americans on issues relating to health care reform in 2009, 56% of respondents opposed (and only 32% supported) measures that would require people to pay for abortion coverage in their premiums.  An even larger majority of 68% said that if the choice was theirs, they would not want abortion covered in their own insurance policy (including 69% of women, and 62% of those who supported health care reform efforts).  Yet the reality in the new exchanges is complex, and it can be very difficult to find out whether a given plan covers elective abortions.

There are three ways we can help Catholics and other pro-life Americans find a health plan that does not violate their conscience on abortion.

First, we can help find out which health plans have chosen to exclude or restrict abortion coverage, and share that information with others.  Generally (with the notable exceptions listed below), each insurer on the exchanges is free to decide under what circumstances, if any, it will cover abortion (42 U.S.C. § 18023(b)(1)(A)).

Second, we can support federal legislation to make it easier for people to find out which plans include or exclude abortion.  Currently the Affordable Care Act forbids plans to reveal their policy on abortion coverage except as part of the “summary of benefits and coverage explanation, at the time of enrollment” when people are already signing up for a plan; it also forbids them to tell enrollees how much of their premium payment will go into a separate account to pay for abortions (42 U.S.C. § 18023(b)(3)). Recently Rep. Chris Smith introduced an “Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act” (HR 3279) to reverse these policies and require transparency on abortion coverage; we should urge all members of Congress to support this bill.

Third, we can help inform people about the abortion exclusions created by state or federal laws.  Some states have acted to exclude most abortions from all health plans on their exchanges; and in other states, the ACA itself requires at least one “multi-state plan” to exclude most abortions. These are explained below.  This information is provided as general background, and is not intended to take the place of more specific advice from your own diocesan counsel.  

A. State Abortion Opt-Outs

In 23 states, most abortions are excluded from all plans on the exchange by state law.  The states’ authority to enact such “abortion opt-outs,” without preemption by the federal ACA, is recognized in the ACA itself (42 U.S.C. § 18023(a) & (c)).  This exclusion governs the exchange regardless of whether the state established its own exchange, or left that task to the federal government.  The 23 states are:

North Carolina
North Dakota
South Carolina*
South Dakota

The 12 states with an asterisk (*) also have at least one multi-state plan that should exclude abortions except for cases of danger to the mother’s life or rape/incest.  That issue is discussed below.

Some of these states exclude abortion from all health plans sold in the state (not only plans on the exchange), usually allowing abortion coverage to be purchased only as an optional rider funded by those who choose the coverage.  Some also exclude abortion from health coverage for state employees.  And the states differ in the exceptions they make for limited circumstances, in which insurers may cover abortions as part of an overall health plan (which is not to say that they must offer such limited coverage). This is how the 23 states fare on exceptions: No exception, 2 states; life of the mother only, 6 states; life/rape/incest, 10 states; life and serious, long-lasting physical health damage (or equivalent words), 2 states; similar life and health exception, plus cases of rape and incest, 2 states; life/rape/incest/serious physical health/fetal defect, 1 state.  To see how your state handles these variables, see this chart from the National Right to Life Committee:

B. Federally Approved “Multi-State Plans”
ACA requires the federal Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to approve at least two “multi-state” health plans.  These plans are offered by private insurers, but screened and approved by the federal government to be offered across state lines and ultimately (by the fourth year that a given insurer contracts with OPM) in every one of the 50 states.  So far OPM has approved only one such multi-state plan, offered by Blue Cross/Blue Shield (BC/BS), which will be available in at least 30 states in 2014 (see OPM link provided below) and in all 50 states beginning in 2017. The ACA (42 U.S.C. § 18054(a)(6)) provides:

“In entering into contracts under this subsection [dealing with oversight by OPM], the Director [of OPM] shall ensure that with respect to multi-State qualified health plans offered in an Exchange, there is at least one such plan that does not provide coverage of services described in section 18023(b)(1)(B)(i)…” [that is, abortions ineligible for federal funding under the current Hyde amendment].

So in each of these 30 states, we believe there should be a multi-state plan that excludes abortion coverage except for cases of danger to the mother’s life, rape or incest.  Whether this is actually taking place in each state remains to be proved.

As noted above, 12 of these 30 states have their own law excluding most abortions from all plans on the exchange; the multi-state plan must obey that law if one exists.  But regardless of whether a given state has such a law or not, the multi-state plan must not cover abortions except for cases of life endangerment or rape/incest (with the caveat that even life endangerment and rape/incest abortions must be excluded in a particular state if that state’s law requires the exclusion).  In 18 states and the District of Columbia there is no state law limiting abortion coverage, so the only current legal requirement for a relatively abortion-free plan of which we are aware is that state’s multi-state plan (which should be BC/BS, as that is the only multi-state plan approved so far), though other plans may exclude abortion if the insurer chooses.  Those 18 states are:

New Hampshire
New Mexico
New York
West Virginia

More details on the multi-state plans are available here:

A glance at this web site reveals one source of possible confusion: Across the 30 states, OPM says it has approved a grand total of 154 “plan options” (ranging from two options in a number of states, to 36 in Alaska). These seem to be variations by regional provider network, and/or by premium amount and deductible (e.g., “bronze” vs. “silver” or “gold” plans).  We believe that all these options should be treated as part of just one Blue Cross/Blue Shield multi-state plan, therefore excluding elective abortion under all options.  However, it is not yet clear whether that is the way OPM interprets its obligation to ensure that “at least one” plan in each state excludes elective abortions, so further research on this point is needed.  We will be researching this issue further at the federal level, and would greatly appreciate any information you can obtain about the way abortion is being treated by multi-state plans in your state.

Finally, some state exchanges may also have a Blue Cross/Blue Shield plan that is not part of the multi-state plan program, and therefore may not be covered by the federal abortion exclusion.  Only plans marked as a BC/BS “multi-state plan” or “MSP” will qualify.

C. Other States
This leaves 9 states where it appears, from the information available to us, that neither state nor federal law currently guarantees the availability of even one relatively abortion-free plan (though insurers are free to offer such a plan if they choose):

New Jersey
Rhode Island

These states could change their situation either by passing a state “abortion opt-out” law, or by encouraging a carrier like Blue Cross/Blue Shield to extend its multi-state plan to that state.  

We hope this information is helpful, and we would welcome hearing about any further clarification you learn about in your own state.

Friday, October 25, 2013

All Saints - holyday Mass schedule 2013


Thursday, October 31– Vigil Mass
5:00 pm    Samuel Notaro  Estate 

Friday, November 1– All Saints
7:00 am     Thomas Napierala   req.  Jim & Dolores Byron
8:15 am     Jacqueline Hussion   req.  Family & Friends
7:00 pm     Dr. William Viscardo   req. Family

Friday, October 4, 2013

October thoughts - Fr. Mock

October is my favorite month of the year. When I was younger it marked the end of allergy season. Today I enjoy October because of the wonders God has given us in the beauty of the changing of the seasons.

October is also the month when we celebrate the lives of some very special and important saints, starting with Saint Therese of the Child Jesus on the 1st, Saint Francis of Assisi on the 4th, Saint Teresa of Avila on the 15th, Saint Ignatius of Antioch on the 17th, Saints John de Brebeuf and Isaac Jogues (the North American Martyrs) on the 19th, and Saints Simon and Jude on the 28th.

These Saints, and so many others are named saints, they are in the list of Saints (with a capital S) that the Church calls the Canon of Saints — they have been canonized — added to the official list of saints.

On November 1st we celebrate another feast — All Saints Day — in which we mark the lives of all those who are experiencing the fullness of God’s life and love in heaven, but are not on the official, canonical list. This is the topic for our next Generations of Faith learning session and celebration.

The celebration will be on Friday, November 1st at 7:00 PM. We will be incorporating what has become a tradition at Saint Benedict — a special Mass to commemorate the members of our parish who have gone to the Lord in the last year. We have traditionally invited their families and friends to join us in this Mass. This year, we will do this in a very special way — it will be a celebration of All Saints Day that specially marks the lives of these loved ones of our parish.

While I will not reveal in advance all that we have planned, I will tell you this — Deacon Bill will be preaching at this service. It may be the first time he has been invited to preach on this Holy Day, and I am grateful to him for accepting. His homily will help to make this a very special celebration.

Our learning session for All Saints Day will be on Sunday, October 22. Once again it will take place following the 8:00 am Mass—starting with breakfast— and conclude in time to attend the 11:30 am Mass that morning. Please note — it will not be possible to attend the 10:00 am Mass on that day and participate in the learning session.

As you know I was pretty overwhelmed by the response to our first learning session. If you attended, you know why — we had 256 people present for a session that helps us to continue to grow in our faith. If you did not attend in September, please consider joining us on Sunday, October 22. Generations of Faith is open to all. If you are already registered — just come. If you have not been before, please stop to see Matt Smith in the church vestibule after any Mass to let us know you will be coming. (We don’t want to run out of food!) Again, there is no charge for Generations of Faith. The most you will find is a free will offering container to help us defray the cost of breakfast and the materials we need to make the learning sessions effective.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

"America" interview with Pope Francis-Bishop Malone remarks

Bishop Richard J. Malone
Diocese of Buffalo, NY
Bishop Richard J. Malone talked to reporters on Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, at Holy Cross Church in Buffalo, about the interview with Pope Francis published this week by "America" magazine ( The bishop was at the parish to celebrate Mass for Hispanic Heritage month.
You can listen to the bishop’s full remarks through this link:
The bishop would also like you to be aware of this Catholic News Service story which was published on Sept. 21, 2013:
Pope condemns abortion as product of 'throwaway culture'
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- In his strongest public words to date on the subject of abortion, Pope Francis affirmed the sacredness of unborn human life and linked its defense to the pursuit of social justice.
"In all its phases and at every age, human life is always sacred and always of quality. And not as a matter of faith, but of reason and science!" the pope said Sept. 20 to a gathering of Catholic gynecologists.
Pope Francis characterized abortion as a product of a "widespread mentality of profit, the 'throwaway culture,' which has today enslaved the hearts and minds of so many."
That mentality, he said, "calls for the elimination of human beings, above all if they are physically or socially weaker. Our response to that mentality is a decisive and unhesitating 'yes' to life."
The pope grouped together unborn children, the aged and the poor as among the most vulnerable people whom Christians are called especially to love.
"In the fragile human being each one of us is invited to recognize the face of the Lord, who in his human flesh experienced the indifference and solitude to which we often condemn the poorest, whether in developing countries or in wealthy societies," he said.
"Every unborn child, though unjustly condemned to be aborted, has the face of the Lord, who even before his birth, and then as soon as he was born, experienced the rejection of the world," he said. "And every old person, even if infirm and at the end of his days, carries with him the face of Christ. They must not be thrown away!"
Quoting "Caritas in Veritate" the social encyclical by Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Francis connected the protection of unborn life with the promotion of social justice.
"Openness to life is at the center of true development," he said. "If personal and social sensitivity in welcoming a new life is lost, other forms of welcome useful to social life will dry up. Welcoming life tempers moral energies and makes people capable of helping each other."
Pope Francis told the physicians that they faced a "paradoxical situation" in their professional lives, because even as medical science discovers new cures for disease, the "health care professions are sometimes induced not to respect life itself."
The pope characterized this paradox as part of a more widespread "cultural disorientation" in which rising individualism parallels a growing disrespect for life.
"Even as persons are accorded new rights, at times only presumed rights, life as the primary value and primordial right of every man is not always protected," he said.
The pope told the gynecologists that they had a responsibility to make known the "transcendent dimension, the imprint of God's creative work, in human life from the first instant of conception. And this is a commitment of new evangelization that often requires going against the tide, paying a personal price. The Lord counts on you, too, to spread the Gospel of life."
Pope Francis' remarks came one day after the publication of an interview in which he warned that focusing on certain moral teachings, including abortion, could undermine the church's efforts to preach the Gospel.
"We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods," the pope said in the interview, noting that he had been "reprimanded" for failing to speak often about those topics. "It is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.
"The dogmatic and moral teachings of the church are not all equivalent," the pope added. "The church's pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently.
"Proclamation in a missionary style focuses on the essentials, on the necessary things," he said. "We have to find a new balance; otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel."

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Life Chain 2013 - October 6 from 2 to 3pm

Life Chain

Once again,  the Respect Life Ministry are asking the people of St. Benedict's Church to give up one hour of their time on Sunday, October 6th from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. to hold signs that state "Abortion Kills Children" along Niagara Falls Boulevard near Robinson Road in front of Tops Market. 

This is to remind people driving by what is transpiring in our society and hoping that they also will take action to stop this terrible holocaust.

We will meeting in the Westfield parking lot at 1 p.m. to get the signs and drive to Tops.

Stand up for human life!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Parish Planning Session RESULTS ARE IN!

I am very happy to share with you are the results from the Parish Planning session that was held on April 21. The Pastoral Council has spent considerable time and effort reviewing all of the comments and have sorted them into the following priorities.

In the near future the Pastoral Council and I will let you know about a follow up meeting for the entire parish to review these together and discuss how we may implement what you have identified as important for Saint Benedict Parish to consider.

Priorities from Planning Sessions Parish Life:

Communicate to parishioners the ministries that are available at St. Benedicts Church. Include information about each ministry.

The Parish and the school need to be more welcoming to each other. We should pray and work together more closely. We need one another.

We need to find a way to increase participation at Mass and in Church activities.

We need to make more Catholic educational opportunities available to all parishioners.

Hold a youth themed Mass on Sunday evenings Maybe 7pm, Possibly monthly, followed by Youth Group meeting/ event, Possibly weekly, if attendance warrant and would consistently bring in high school, middle school and college youth. Establish Youth Group, Meet monthly – possibly after youth themed Mass on Sunday evening. Possibly subgroups (MS, HS, College) for all or part of meetings (i.e. visit nursing home; assist parish senior citizens with raking, shoveling). Youth to Youth mentoring (HS to MS College to HS). Budget for Youth. For Youth Group. For youth attendance at various diocesan, regional etc. conferences.

Parish Finance:
Have a finance development/marketing committee to promote the parish and insure continuity of income. These can be subsets of the Finance Committee.

Focus on the children both in the school and Religious Ed. Do what we must do insure that they are solid Catholics in the future and are our parishioners of tomorrow.

Our money must be invested in them.

Have a physical place for social gatherings easily accessible from the Church. The cafeteria is too difficult for seniors and often too small.

Parish School
Combine Parish/School picnic in Fall – “promote oneness” and better publicize school and parish specific functions between one another (monthly newsletter/email).

More student involvement, for both Saint Benedict School students and public school students, in parish liturgy.

Better promotion of Saint Benedict School through Parish media/weekly Mass (talk about how great school is).

Better mobility and accessibility into school space so parishioners can more easily see and use school buildings for parish functions (non school time parish community center)

Communication/education, - use homilies as communication mechanisms and also place spiritual readings in a more historical context to give greater meaning and relevance to facilitate spiritual growth.

Music – a hot topic in the parish – debate between old time music and newer unfamiliar songs.

Lack of participation in singing might be attributed to frequent use of songs unknown to the majority of parishioners.

Minimize introduction of new songs. Increase songs that are singable and vibrant; support for old time traditional music;

use ONE book.

Mass times: if changed enlist feedback from parishioners; coordinate with other parish schedules; consider liturgy committee.

Involve laity more fully in life of St. Benedicts.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Preparing for the future! The Pastoral Administrator

The Pastoral Administrator:
A development in parish ministry
7/1/2013     9:15 AM  

In recent decades, there has been a renewed emphasis grounding Church ministry, both ordained and lay, in the sacrament of baptism. The Church teaches that there is an essential difference between the priesthood of the faithful and the ordained priesthood, and yet, there is a special way in which ordained and laity, including lay ecclesial (Church) ministers, share in the one priesthood of Jesus Christ.

As envisioned by the Second Vatican Council, we trust that the Holy Spirit is leading our diocese toward the more collaborative form of ministry witnessed in the Church’s foundational missionary days. As St. Paul reminds us, “There are different gifts but the same Spirit; there are different ministries but the same Lord … You, then, are the body of Christ.God has set up in the Church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracle workers, healers, assistants, administrators.” (1 Cor. 12: 4-5; 27-28).

As noted in the Journey in Faith and Grace, our diocese has experienced, and is projected to continue to experience, a significant decline in the number of priests available to serve as pastors in the parishes of our diocese. In the next five years, according to current policy, 78 priests will be eligible for retirement.

To replace these priests would require 15 or more ordinations per year. In light of this challenge, promotion of priestly vocations remains a priority for this diocese. I am fully committed to that goal. We are also looking to invite more priests from overseas to serve in Western New York.

In light of these considerations, and after consultation with the vicars forane, the Presbyteral Council, the Diocesan Pastoral Council, the Chancery staff and others, I have decided to formally introduce into our diocese the ministry of the pastoral administrator. In doing so, I appointed a task force to assist in the full implementation of this ministry in some parishes of our diocese.

The role of the pastoral administrator, whether a permanent deacon, religious, or lay person, ensures that the ministries of Word, worship and service are functioning well.

The pastoral administrator is in charge of a parish and is accountable to the diocesan bishop through the priest moderator, and works collaboratively with the priest moderator, the sacramental minister, and parish staff.

As we look to alternative types of staffing for pastoral leadership in our parishes throughout the eight counties of Western New York, may the ministry of the pastoral administrator in our diocese, in close collaboration with our clergy, assure that our parishes can and will continue to be vital communities of faith, ministry and evangelization.

The pastoral administrator is a professional minister, appointed by the diocesan bishop and installed by a vicar forane, to lead and officially administer a parish community without a resident pastor. The primary relationships of the pastoral administrator are to the diocesan bishop through the priest moderator, sacramental minister, staff, pastoral and finance councils and parish community.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Windows of St. Ben's Dec. 2

Monday, December 2nd at 7pm our own Deacon Bill will give a one hour presentation on the windows of our beautiful church.

Everyone is welcome.  Please save the date and invite your family and friends.

This is a new presentation, so even those who have attended one in the past are encouraged to join us again for new details and new images from our church. 

It is a multi-media presentation.  No walking required this time.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

October - Respect Life Month 2013

My Dear Diocesan Family,

"Open your hearts to life" has been a favorite theme of Pope Francis and one that has particular urgency today. This year’s theme for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Respect Life Program fills us with encouragement and hope and calls us to love, defend and celebrate all human life. It calls us to joyfully follow the example of Christ, to love without limits, and further, to act on that sense of true Christian charity.

We know that we live in a world full of threats to the sanctity and dignity of human life. However we also know that through prayer, education, responsible citizenship and pastoral care of all human life, especially the most vulnerable and in need of our love, we transform our society into a culture of life; we know that all things are possible in Christ. We can protect the unborn, serve those faced with disabilities, care for the sick and dying, and stand against violence, and we can do so with compassion, charity and justice.

We celebrate October as Respect Life Month, but we are reminded all year round of the sacredness of life and the joy of love. Our Office of Pro-Life Activities and the St. Gianna Pregnancy Outreach Center, along with our pastors and parish Respect Life Coordinators, stand ready to implement this program and partner with each of you in defending and celebrating human life. Together we commit ourselves to the sanctity and dignity of all human life.

Through prayer and through the celebration of Mass and the Sacraments, we can know and love God better and open our hearts to all human life. In the Year of Faith, the focus on the New Evangelization is not only on learning doctrines; it is about learning to live our Christian life fully and bringing Christ’s love alive within us to all we meet.

I invite each of you to join me on Respect Life Sunday, October 6, 2013 at St. Joseph’s Cathedral as we celebrate the Eucharist at 10:30 a.m. It will be signed for the hearing impaired and I look forward to the opportunity to bless babies, expectant mothers and families immediately after Mass. This will be followed by a small socialwith light refreshments.

Be assured of my prayerful and grateful best wishes as together we work to promote all life through love.

Yours sincerely in Christ,

Most Reverend Richard J. Malone

Bishop of Buffalo

Friday, September 6, 2013

Please join us! 22 Sep and 6 Oct

I have lots of news for Generations of Faith.

First and foremost — there are some significant aspects of Benedictine spirituality that we will be examining — among the hallmarks is hospitality. We invite all of you to accept the hospitality of Saint Benedict Parish and join us for breakfast and the learning session at 9:00 am on Sunday, September 22. There is no cost or fee — only a free-will offering to help us offset the cost of breakfast.
We have a number of wonderful learning experiences planned for September 22 — among them will be a “mock” television interview with Saint Benedict and Saint Scholastica. (I don’t use the term “mock” interview lightly, you realize!)
Our celebration of the life and spirituality of Saint Benedict will be at the 10:00 am Mass on Sunday, October 6. I have invited Mr. Joseph Demerly, Managing Director of the Kavinoky Theatre to be with us for the celebration. Joe will be Saint Benedict that day — sharing a witness talk about how he experienced God’s presence in his life.

In addition to being Managing Director of the Kavinoky Theater, Joe is an accomplished actor —having appeared in many productions at the Kavinoky and elsewhere. Among his most memorable for me is the role of Pseudelos in Stephen Sondheims’"A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum." Joe also wrote, directed, produced and acted in “It Was a Wonderful Life,” which had a three month run at the Chapel at Forest Lawn Cemetery. The work depicts famous people who are buried in Forest Lawn. Please join us for September 22 and October 6 — you will learn a lot, and enjoy the process!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Religious Education - to PARENTS!

Dear Parents,
Some still call it CCD, some call it Religious Education, these days we call it lifelong “Faith Formation” but what ever you call it, if your child attends public school from pre-K to eleventh grade, we invite them, we invite the whole family, to learn, practice and grow deeper in their faith.
If you have not done so already, please take a moment to register for the 2013-2014 academic year. 
We offer two styles of faith formation on two different days; our Sunday program centers on the family and church, and our Monday program offers traditional in classroom instruction.
I have some exciting new developments to report since I last wrote to you!  We are now offering the Generations of Faith program FREE OF CHARGE!  And we have not raised the tuition of our Monday program in two years.  Enclosed, please find materials that you need to register your child, or children. 
SUNDAY CLASSES – Generations of Faith -  All people of all grades and ages are welcome to join
our intergenerational faith sharing program.  Parents are the first and often the most influential teachers of the faith   Generations of Faith is a wonderful program to strengthen faith in your home, as well as within our larger family of faith, the church!  Children, parents and adults in the parish gather on key Sundays throughout the year (see schedule below).    Each learning session or "preparation" is two hours and twenty minutes long, from 9:00 AM – 11:20 AM, which includes: a delicious breakfast, prayer, lively discussion and engaging presentations.  Each preparation helps us appreciate a eucharistic celebration in the Liturgical year.
2013 – 2014 Liturgical Year
Theme: Two Inspirational Saints: St. Benedict & St. Scholastica
Preparation: September 22, 9:00-11:20 a.m. in Cafeteria
Celebration: October 6, at 10:00 a.m. mass
Theme: We are all called to be saints!
Preparation: October 20, 9:00-11:20 a.m. in Cafeteria
Celebration: All Saints Day, November 1 at 7:00 p.m. mass.
Theme: Advent Season: Preparing The Way
Preparation: November 17, 9:00-11:20 a.m. in Cafeteria
Celebration:  December 1, 10:00 a.m. mass.
Theme: Christmas Season: Incarnation
Preparation: December 15, 9:00-11:20 a.m. in Cafeteria
Celebration:  December 24, 4:00 p.m. mass
Theme: Call to Mission: Ordinary Time
Preparation: January 12, 9:00-11:20 a.m. in Cafeteria
Celebration: January 19th, 10:00 a.m. mass.
Theme: Lent: Three Practices – Praying, Fasting, Almsgiving
Preparation: February 9, 9:00-11:20 a.m. in Cafeteria
Celebration: Ash Wednesday, March 5th, 7:00 p.m. mass.
Theme: Holy Thursday – table fellowship, sacrifice & service
Preparation: March 16, 9:00-11:20 a.m. in Cafeteria
Celebration: Holy Thursday, April 17, 7:00 p.m. mass.
Theme: Easter Season: New Life
Preparation: April 6, 9:00-11:20 a.m. in Cafeteria
Celebration: Easter Vigil, Saturday April 19, 8:00 p.m. mass.
Theme: Feast of Pentecost: Holy Spirit
Preparation: May 18, 9:00-11:20 a.m.
Celebration: Sunday, June 8th, 10:00 a.m. mass.
MONDAY CLASSES - Traditional Classroom Instruction
            Grades 1-5 meet from 4:00 - 5:15 PM
            Grades 6, 7, 8 & 11 meet from 6:45-8:00 PM
            (Note: Grades 9 & 10 now meet at St. Leo’s for Confirmation preparation, see
 We will meet: September: 23, 30  October: 7, 21, 28  November: 4, 25  December 2, 9, 16  January: 6, 13, 27  February: 3, 10, 24  March: 3, 10, 17, 31  April: 7, 28  May: 5, 12 
In summary, one engages the whole family in sharing our faith and meets on Sundays, the other program is traditional classroom instruction and meets on Mondays.  Sunday gatherings are longer (and include more homework) but only meet once a month.  Monday classes are shorter and meet most every Monday during the school year.  Families are invited to choose which program they like best. 
Transportation:  Please note parents will need to arrange for their child's transportation both to and from all classes.  To ensure student safety, we request that parents walk their children into the school building and come into the building to pick their children up, especially of students in grades K-5.
Tuition:  For St. Benedict’s Parishioners, the tuition for one child is $60, two children $100, three or more is $140.  For non-parishioners, the tuition for one child is $80, two children is $140, three or more is $190.
No one will be turned away from the program if they can’t afford the tuition.  Tuition is waived for the children of teachers in our program.
Snow:  If the Public School is closed due to snow or bad weather, we automatically do not have class.
Sacraments: Information about the Sacramental Programs will go out in another mailing, but for now please note that First Confession for children in 2nd Grade will be held in early March, and First Communion for children in 3rd Grade in early May, and Confirmation in the 10th& 11th Grade will be held sometime in early May).
Office Hours: Please feel free to stop by the Office of Faith Formation before or after all masses on the weekend, or set up a meeting any other day by appointment.  The Office is located on the ground floor of the School near the front door, as indicated at the top of this letter, or you may email Matt Smith, the Director of the Office of Lifelong Faith Formation, at and/or call 836-6444.