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Parish Life

Parish revives ‘Church on Fire: Stay With Us!’ series


Blessed Sacrament Church in Buffalo will revive the Church on Fire: Stay With Us! program that had been cancelled last March due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The series was initially launched as a program of learning, reflection and inspiration as expressed through word, music and song: all in response to the clergy abuse scandal that plagued the Buffalo Diocese.

The program for 2021-2022 has been expanded to a 10-month series of lectures, concerts, events, service projects, and religious services. While difficulties still beleaguer the Catholic Church and the diocese, Blessed Sacrament’s lay leaders have decided to take a proactive response, especially in light of the diocese’s Road to Renewal and its recently announced Family of Parishes program.

“We are excited to re-launch the Church on Fire series this year and are hopeful that we will not be impacted again by the pandemic,” said Michael P. Pitek III, president of the parish pastoral council and co-chair of the series. “The expanded program will appeal to a wide variety of ages, genders, ethnicities and spiritualities. We are opening our doors to all: long-time parishioners, new parishioners, curious non-parishioners, and community friends and neighbors. This is an opportunity for us to focus on our mission to the people in our neighborhood as we continue to build community among all.”

Deacon William Hynes, co-chair of the series, said, “The Church on Fire program gives us an opportunity to know God with our minds, love God with our hearts, and service God with our hands. These opportunities for engagement and inclusion will be available to everyone in the community, regardless of religious affiliation. All are welcome.”

“The Laity and Vatican II,” the first lecture of the Catherine M. and Paul W. Beltz Lecture Series of is presented by Eileen T. Warner and Deacon Hynes on Sept. 26, at 11:30 a.m. in Blessed Sacrament Church located at 1029 Delaware Ave. Buffalo. A reception will follow this 90-minute presentation.

Ms. Warner and Deacon Hynes will explore documents of Vatican II and recent encyclicals which address the role the laity in today’s Church. They will help clarify the significance and real meaning behind “Go forth and announce the Gospel of the Lord!” This is a significant lecture in light of the current Road to Renewal program, the growing shortage of the number of

priests, and the recently announced Family of Parishes program in the diocese. The lecturers, an active female Church leader and an ordained deacon, bring a powerful dimension of “faith in action” to their presentation.

Eileen T. Warner is currently the director of Parish Engagement and a member of the Renewal Team for the Diocese of Buffalo. Ms. Warner holds a master’s in Pastoral Ministry from Christ the King Seminary, and is certified as a spiritual director, bereavement minister, seminary formator and parish pastoral administrator. She served as director of Mission and Pastoral Outreach at Christ the King Seminary; and has spent 14 years in parish ministry at St. Gregory the Great and St. Amelia Parishes. She has served as an adjunct faculty member at Canisius College where she taught Theology of Suffering and Sacramental Theology courses.

William J. Hynes was ordained a permanent deacon in the Catholic Church in June 1998. He is currently assigned to Blessed Sacrament. He has also ministered at St. Benedict’s and Holy Spirit Parishes. Before his ordination as deacon, he served as director of music at several parishes. Deacon Hynes currently teaches religion to 12-graders at St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute in Buffalo, where he’s received recognition as Lasallian Educator of the Year.

This free lecture is open to all members of the community. Reservations are required for the lecture and can be made online at the parish’s website: http://www.BlessedSacramentBuffalo.org/events.


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