Persistence pays of for churchgoers who face hard times
The parishes of the Tri-County Vicariate came together like a patchwork quilt, each bringing its own colors and design to blanket the community with warmth.
About 175 parishioners of St. Mary, Arcade and East Arcade; St. Mary, Cattaraugus; St. Joseph, Gowanda; St. Joseph, Holland; Epiphany of Our Lord, Langford; St. Jude, Sardinia; and St. John the Baptist, West Valley met at St. Aloysius Parish in Springville for the Tri-County Vicariate Mass on Oct. 16. Bishop Michael W. Fisher led the celebration along with Father Peter Karalus, Father Mitch Byeck, Father Innocent Diala, Father Joseph Gullo, Father Benjamin Mariasoosai, and Father Daniel Fawls, pastor of St. Al’s.
Father Fawls used the parable of the persistent widow as an analogy to the founders of the Buffalo Diocese.
“Thinking back about the 175 years, I think of all the people who have gone before us and how persist they had to be, not only in prayer, but also in action,” he said during his homily.
Recalling his childhood, Father Fawls spoke about visiting an aunt who was a sister of St. Francis of Penance & Christian Charity teaching in Gowanda during the 1970s.
“I remember traveling there and it seemed like traveling across the country to get there from Tonawanda, and how difficult (the priests, religious and laity of the early days) must have had it, yet they were able to persistent in building these churches,” he said. “Not only that, but throughout the diocese how they built up the schools and hospitals, universities, colleges, what they left us with in terms of their legacy. It’s our time now to be persistent in going forward and passing that on. They faced times when they had to adjust and change and let go of things that worked in the past, but didn’t work then. Now we’re faced with this Road to Renewal going forward, letting go of some of the things that we are familiar with, and embracing the new challenges. As long as we keep persisting at it, we believe God will help create a successful endeavor.”
The choir from St. Aloysius performed along with a folk group consisting of members from Epiphany of Our Lord and St. Joseph’s in Gowanda. The altar servers came from St. Al’s, Epiphany and St. Joseph’s in Holland. During the offertory, representatives from each of the eight parishes in the vicariate brought up a symbol of their parish including a crown from Epiphany of Our Lord; statues of St. Aloysius, St. Mary and St. Jude; and a hammer, saw and measuring tape from St. Joseph in Gowanda.