After fire, bishop celebrates Mass for Lyndonville parishioners
A procession including the rescued cross and charred Book of Gospels began the celebration of Mass at Holy Trinity Parish, St. Mary’s worship site in Medina March 5 that honored the parishioners of Our Lady of the Lake who attend St. Joseph worship site in Lyndonville.
A fire on Feb. 28, destroyed an attached structure to the more 100-year-old church and severely damaged the church in Lyndonville.
Bishop Michael W. Fisher celebrated the special Mass and Father Bernard Nowak concelebrated.
The procession was halted midway to the altar, and Father Nowak invited Our Lady of the Lake parishioners to gather in the center aisle as a show of support and solidarity for those who have lost the use of their worship site. The cross and book of Gospels rescued from the burned church by volunteer firefighters was placed on the St. Joseph side altar.
Bishop Fisher referenced the second reading at Mass, a letter of Paul to Timothy and Titus that discussed how the early Christians should take care of the people.
“As mirrored in today’s second reading is what is happening today with the parishioners of St. Mary’s providing outreach and support to the faith community at the St. Joseph worship site,” said Bishop Fisher.
The bishop spoke of the past week with the damage to St. Joseph is not only damage to a structure, but also is a place of our heritage and history.
He also referenced the downtown Buffalo fire, just down the street from the Catholic Center on March 1, that claimed the life of a young Buffalo firefighter.
“I was there when they brought his body out of the building, and in a special way we pray for him and all of them who place their lives on the line for us. We can never stop praying for them,” he said.
Our faith, the bishop continued, is so much more than our buildings, it is our expression of how we embrace and care for one another. It is a time of renewal in the diocese and a time to come together and we do, he explained.
“Please be encouraged, for Lent is a time of hope. Jesus showed His humanity to us, and he survived the temptations and showed that He was working with the will of His Father.”
Bishop Fisher referenced Father Nowak’s letter to his parishioners that the recent fire in Lyndonville should “light a fire in all of you.”
“Let us continue this thought,” the bishop continued, “to encourage and support one another in this community and I extend my prayers and support for all of you here.”
Following Mass, Bishop Fisher greeted many who attended the joint celebration and then traveled to Lyndonville to view the damaged church. A group of St. Joseph worship site parishioners prayed the rosary during the bishop’s tour of the severely damaged structure.