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Catholic Life

Erie County AOH Division One presents a check to St. Anthony Parish after desecration by vandals


The Ancient Order of Hiberninians help St. Anthony of Padua Parish defray the cost of cleaning up graffiti painted on the downtown Buffalo church. Father Michael Zuffoletto, pastor, receives a check from the Ancient Order of Hiberninians District 2 Director Craig Speers (from left); Erie County Division One Recording Secretary Kevin McNamara; Erie County Division One Past President James O’Brien; Erie County Division One President Kevin Lafferty; and NYS AOH President Tom Lambert.

After suffering thousands of dollars in damage when vandals desecrated the church exterior, the brothers of the Ancient Order of Hibernians Division One recently stepped up to assist Father Michael Zuffoletto and the parishioners of St. Anthony of Padua Church in Buffalo.

During the riots that took place last summer in response to the death of George Floyd, vandals spray painted graffiti across the back wall of the downtown church. Insurance helped to pay for most of the necessary repairs, but the church was still looking at a $1,000 deductible. AOH District Two Director Craig Speers heard about the desecration and informed the brothers of Division One. Speers also donated the first $100. Past President James O’Brien then stepped up with a very generous donation, while the brothers of Division One contributed the remaining funds. The check for $1,000 was presented to Father Zuffoletto before a recent Saturday Mass. Father Zuffoletto and the parishioners were most appreciative of the action taken by the AOH.

The AOH in America was formed in 1836. At that time, continuing threats were made against the Catholic Church by nativist groups, such as the No Nothings. The AOH became a protector of churches and priests. 

“The recent contribution to St. Anthony of Padua after the desecration of church property is a continuation of this rich tradition. The brothers of the Thomas W. Carroll AOH Division 1 were happy to follow the traditions of our order by offering our assistance,” said Tom Lambert, New York state AOH president.


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