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Catholic Life Features Ministry

Joan Cavalieri helps the community and St. Margaret Church


When Covid-19 first took hold of Western New York, those who administered public gathering destinations were faced with a challenge handed down from state and local officials. How can these places where people gather to eat, to shop, to pray be made safe? Churches face added pressure by hosting multiple Masses back-to-back on Sunday mornings. As it has for thousands of years, the church leaders turn to the hard work, compassion and love of its parishioners.

Enter Joanne Cavalieri. Though small in stature her commitment to faith and kindness to others casts a shadow as far as the eye can see. The North Buffalo native has practiced her faith, prayed for those around her, and given countless hours of her time helping others in her community and of course her home parish of St. Margaret Church located in North Buffalo.

Even in her senior years, she is still giving back to the church in a very needed and innovative way that meets the needs of today. Cavalieri spends many hours at home cutting out hundreds of paper circles, to be placed on pews to mark areas where parishioners sit during Mass. 

Volunteer clean-up crews then know where to clean between Masses to speed up the sanitizing process that ensures the safety of those attending the following service. A stack of cleaning supplies have become part of her living room decor as she prepares them for her next trip to the historic Hertel Avenue church. 

Long time Catholic volunteer and parishioner of St. Margaret’s Joanne Cavalieri cuts out paper circle place markers that are placed on pews to mark areas where parishioners sit during Mass. Volunteer clean up crews then have an idea where to clean between masses to ensure the safety of those attending Mass. Cavalieri spends evenings at home cutting out hundreds of markers.
Dan Cappellazzo/Staff Photographer

When asked to talk about her commitment and dedication to her parish and faith, Cavalieri said, “We have a great bunch of people here at St. Margaret’s. I don’t do that much. Everyone here does a great job and pitches in to keep the church clean and safe for everyone that comes to Mass.”

“I don’t know why you would do a story on me, there are so many that pitch in and help during these hard times,” said Cavalieri. “I just feel blessed that I can be a part of the church and help where I can.”