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Corpus Christi use Dominican statues in new grotto

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The Parish Community of Corpus Christi Church has embarked on an ambitious project that will honor the Blessed Mother and provide a permanent legacy for its parishioners. Father Michal Czyzewski, OSPPE, hopes to build a grotto behind the East Side church with statues that came from the Dominican Sisters monastery, formerly on Doat Street.

“I had frequently visited the Dominican Sisters when they lived at Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Monastery,” explained Father Czyzewski, the pastor of Corpus Christi. “When I was informed that these prayerful sisters were to be relocated, I was heartbroken. However, it delighted me to find out that the statues of Our Lady of Lourdes, St. Bernadette and Our Lady Help – Savior of Souls would be made available to the Corpus Christi community. These statues, which were often prayed in front of by these cloistered sisters, would remain here on the East Side of Buffalo as a memorial to the sisters’ presence here.”

The Pauline Fathers are now collecting donations to build a grotto to house the statue of Our Lady of Lourdes in the east corner of the parish garden located on Clark Street. The grotto will resemble a small cave made with attractive rocks laying by the feet of Our Lady and St. Bernadette. Parishioner Roman Kujawa designed the scene.

The ground has already been cleared for construction and Stanislaw Baltaziuk ran electricity through the yard to allow St. Bernadette to hold a lit electric candle.

An anonymous parishioner bought the statues of Our Lady of Lourdes and St. Bernadette and donated them to Corpus Christi. Although smaller than life-size, it took four men to carry the statues in the backyard of the church. A third statue, Our Lady Help – Savior of Souls, which depicts Mary caring for the sorrowful souls in purgatory was a gift from the sisters. It currently rests in the hallway of the church rectory.

This grotto will be a tribute to Our Lady of Lourdes, requesting her intercession for an end to the coronavirus pandemic. With the pandemic paralyzing the entire world, Father Czyzewski hopes the grotto will play a part in the healing.

“We would like to make this grotto even more meaningful or powerful. We’d like to ask the Blessed Mother to help us to, in this difficult time, survive,” he said, adding the design will be “simple, but nice.”

The fathers are asking for prayer intentions, which will be placed in a time capsule and sealed in the stone construction.

Anyone wishing to have their name and prayers placed in this time capsule, may send this information along with a donation, if possible, to Corpus Christi Church, 199 Clark Street, Buffalo, NY 14212 with “Grotto” marked on the envelope. Prayers and contributions are greatly appreciated.Anyone donating $30 or more will receive a decade of the rosary created by Diane Kusek and made from beads contributed by the Dominican Sisters in the hope of keeping St. Dominic’s spirit alive. Donations are now being accepted and it would be appreciated if all contributions are received no later than Oct. 10.

The final project will be built based on the funding collected rather than a set budget beforehand. The donations have already begun to come in.

“We want this Grotto to Our Blessed Mother to be a beautiful place where you will have occasions to pray with the Pauline Fathers,” Father Czyzewski said.

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