Listen for the bells; Diocese begins celebration of its 175th anniversary
Real Presence. Real Hope. Real Mission. Soon those words will be seen in every Catholic Church in Western New York. As the Diocese of Buffalo kicks off a celebration of its 175th anniversary, there is a hope that everyone can refocus their faith on Jesus and continue His mission in our local community.
“People should keep in mind that they are laying an example, maybe a new foundation for the future. Their witness at this time is going to really affect the future of the Church in Western New York by bringing a focus to prayer, bringing a focus to service, bringing a focus to community. If that is where they’re focused, that will be a foundation for what the next 175 years will be,” said Father Peter Karalus, vicar general of the diocese and chairperson of the anniversary committee.
“Many people may have lost focus of what the Church is called to do,” he continued. “And this is an opportunity for us to remember faith is real, faith is about individuals, it’s about the Church as a community. Our goal is to live, celebrate and witness our faith, with the ultimate goal of heaven. So, how are we all helping each other live our lives as Christians the best way we can so we can achieve that heavenly promise?”
The diocese will begin a yearlong celebration of its 175th anniversary beginning Saturday, April 23, the date of the diocese’s establishment. To mark the beginning of the anniversary year, all Catholic Churches will ring their bells from 3-3:15 p.m.
“The use of bells in the history of the Church are times of calling people to prayer, they’re times of celebrating great joy and also celebrating sorrow,” said Father Karalus. “The whole ringing of the bells is to remind us, as part of the renewal, that here we are with the 175th with everything that has been going on in the diocese in recent years, it is a reminder that God is present. We’re tying that in with the renewal, so it’s a reminder that people who live near a church, they’ll hear those bells and hopefully it will be a reminder that God is present in our diocese and that here around Easter season that Jesus is risen.”
The diocesan anniversary Mass will take place May 1, 3 p.m. at St. Joseph Cathedral. The invitation-only event will gather representatives from parishes, schools and various Catholic institutions and organizations. It will be livestreamed for public viewing.
Other events planned include each of the diocese’s 160 parishes hosting a Day of Prayer over the next year. Twelve Vicariate Masses celebrated by Bishop Michael W. Fisher will also take place over the next year.
On Oct. 22, all parishes and families of parishes will be invited to take part in a Day of Service to meet the needs of their local community. Bishop Michael W. Fisher would also like to set aside a few days to feed the hungry in the diocese through lunch programs.
“Tied into the Renewal, this is all about who are we as Christians and as Catholics,” explained Father Karalus. “How do we make our faith alive, personally, in our own prayer life? And then what does that faith call us to do? It calls us to serve. So, it’s an opportunity for every parish to reach beyond their doors to serve their local community to make an impact.”