COVID-19 Update: Mask Mandate Reinstated for All Counties December 13, 2021 On December 10, 2021, New York State announced a mask mandate for all indoor venues effective December 13, 2021 which will be reviewed January 15, 2022.
At this time, masks are mandated for all participants in liturgies held in Catholic churches and worship spaces located in the Diocese of Buffalo regardless of vaccination status. Parishes in the diocese are not authorized to screen for vaccinations, and so this mandate will apply to all who enter our worship spaces. As in the past, the only exception given to this will be for clergy and other liturgical ministers when they are fulfilling a significant speaking role. (They should maintain at least six feet of physical distance from others during these limited occasions.) This guidance will be revisited as the state reviews its policy on or about January 15, 2022 or if subsequent directives are issued by the diocese.
COVID-19 GUIDELINE UPDATE
You may have noticed that we have untied the ropes on the pews. Although the ropes are now down; we still have to follow the Buffalo Diocesan Covid-19 guidelines; which includes:
1. Physical distancing from those outside of your household.
2. We are still required to wear our masks, when we come and leave the Church; as well as when we process to receive Holy Communion.
3. You should also feel free to mask up in your seat, if you do not feel comfortable being without mask.
May the Good Lord who has been our security all the way, bring His Good work to a joyful end. In Jesus’s Most Holy Name, we pray! Amen!
MISSION COOPERATIVE DRIVE AT ST. JOES ON THE WEEKEND OF 24th AND 25th OF JULY
Jesus our Lord and Master charged each and every one of us Christians to be evangelizers: "Go out to the world and make disciples of all the nations."
No one is exempt from this mission. That is precisely why some are missionaries by going to Mission lands; others have become missionaries by giving to the Mission. Thank you for your fidelity to giving to the Missions.
Please save the date: On the weekend of 24th and 25th of July 2021, there will be Mission Cooperative Collection for a foreign Mission that truly needs our help and support. The missionary priest will be coming to speak to us on that weekend; and collection will be taken at the end of the Masses.
Parishes are doing the same thing for me, when I go to them to ask for help for my Nigerian people. I will be going to three parishes this year, between June and August. So please; extend the same generosity to whoever is coming.
Thank you my Dear Parishioners for your anticipated support of the priest and his Mission.
APPRECIATION FOR A JOB VERY WELL DONE
It is my pleasure to thank everyone of you for a job very well done. Thank you for the flawless execution of Father Dan Richard Ulmer's First Mass and Reception. We all repeat one another about the ceremony - "Good job!"
In your name, in a special way, I thank the Events Committee for pulling out such a great show.
I am particularly proud of them for proving me right at choosing and trusting them with planning and executing our events.
We all thank you for your relentlessness; and for the generosity of your time at so many meetings. Above all; thank you for doing all that with Grace.
Remain forever blessed!
REV. DANIEL ULMER'S FIRST MASS
A recording of Fr. Daniel Ulmer's Solemn Mass of Thanksgiving at St. Joseph Church in Gowanda is available for viewing at https://youtu.be/Usg4C9PcMfU.
RECEPTION TO CELEBRATE THE ORDINATION OF REV. MR. DANIEL R. ULMER TO THE PRIESTHOOD
The parish Events Committee is planning a reception to celebrate the Ordination of Rev. Mr. Daniel R. Ulmer to the priesthood. All are invited to attend the reception, which will immediately follow a Mass of Thanksgiving offered by Father Ulmer, here at St. Joe's on Sunday afternoon, June 6, at 2:30 pm. The reception will observe all Covid protocols and be held outdoors, under a tent. It will include a meal. In order to assist the committee in the planning of this event, please RSVP to the rectory (532-5100) as soon as poosible if you plan to attend.
UPON THIS ROCK
Beginning in 2015, the Foundation of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, N.Y., Inc. (“Foundation”) began soliciting donations to its “Upon this Rock” (“UTR”) capital and endowment campaign. The UTR campaign raised funds for many purposes, including soliciting funds for making essential upgrades to classroom facilities and technology of Christ the King Seminary (“CKS”), expanding CKS’s role as a center of retreat and religious celebration, and establishing an endowment fund for CKS. Unfortunately, in early 2020, CKS’s Board of Trustees determined that CKS would close at the end of the 2020-2021 academic year. CKS’s closure will make it impossible for the Foundation to use the UTR funds raised for CKS for their original intended purposes. However, under New York law, when the original purposes for which funds are donated become impossible to achieve, those purposes can be modified in a manner consistent with original intent by the New York State courts. For many years, CKS provided education and formation for ordained and lay ecclesial ministers in the Diocese of Buffalo and beyond. Accordingly, the Foundation has asked the New York State Supreme Court for the County of Erie to approve a modification of the purposes of UTR funds raised for CKS so that those funds can be used to support the education and formation for ordained and lay ecclesial ministry in the Diocese of Buffalo, as determined in the discretion of the Foundation's Board.
If you have donated to UTR and would like to be heard regarding this requested modification, you may send a letter to: The Foundation of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, N.Y., Inc., attention Executive Director, 795 Main Street, Buffalo, N.Y. 14203 or an email to donor[email protected]. Copies of letters or email received by the Foundation will be provided to the Court. You may also make a formal filing in the legal proceeding entitled Matter of the Modification of Endowment Funds of The Foundation of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo N.Y., Inc., Erie County Index No. 814747/2020. In order for your submission to be available for the Court’s consideration, please be sure to send any letter or email, or make any filing, no later than Friday, April 9, 2021.
INSTALLATION OF BISHOP MICHAEL FISHER
This Friday, January 15, 2021, at 2 pm, Bishop Michael Fisher will be installed as the fifteenth Bishop of Buffalo at St. Joseph's Cathedral. Please note the following: Due to Covid-19 capacity restrictions, the Mass of Installation is a ticketed event. Those invited to the Mass are a cross section of the make-up of the Diocese of Buffalo. You must have a ticket to enter the Cathedral. Tickets will be emailed this week. The Mass of Installation will be live-streamed at: https://www.YouTube.com/SaintJosephCathedral/ . Please pray for Bishop Michael Fisher as he prepares to be installed as the 15th Bishop of Buffalo, may he be guided by the Holy Spirit and warmly welcomed by the faithful to Western New York as our shepherd.
BLESSING AND OPENING OF ST. JOE’S ELEVATOR FACILITY
After an extended renovation, we are happy to report that our new Building Addition and Elevator (lulu) installation has been completed! We want to thank all of you for your patience and understanding during these trying times.
Because the winter months are upon us, we want you to start using the structure and elevator, which are primarily intended for those who may need a little extra help getting into our Church. We will have the Dedication and Blessing of the facility on Sunday, Dec. 20, at the 9:30 Mass. After the Mass, our Parish Project Leader, Buck Parry, will be available to explain the features and the use of the new addition and the elevator. This project was embarked upon and built for you, our parish family. Enjoy it! We thank Father Joe for initiating it. We thank everyone, past and present, who so generously donated to make this vision a reality. We pray that more and more people join us in our celebration of living up to our “ALL ARE WELCOME” invitation! Unfortunately; due to COVID-19 restrictions, we are unable to have a celebratory reception for this dedication.
Thank you everyone! CONGRATULATIONS!!!
UPDATES ON THE 2021 COLLECTION ENVELOPES
There have been some changes in the 2021 Collection Envelopes. The Guardian Angel (monthly offering) is now called “Maintenance and Repair Fund”. This makes a lot of sense since we spend more money on maintenance and repairs than on any other part of the parish life. Two envelopes were added; one for Ash Wednesday and one for Holy Thursday. Thank you for your undying love and support of our lovely St. Joes. Father Innocent
ADVENT PENANCE SERVICE
St. Joseph Church will be having an Advent Penance Service on Thursday, December 17, 2020 at 7 pm. Please join us for the Sacrament of Reconciliation as we prepare for Christmas.
THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
Tuesday, December 8, 2020 is the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. There is a Vigil Mass at St. Mary's in Cattaraugus on Monday, December 7, 2020 at 5 pm. Masses at St. Joseph's are on Tuesday, December 8, 2020 at 8:30 am and 7 pm.
UPDATE ON THE 2020 GOWANDA COMMUNITY MEALS
My dearly beloved parishioners,
I want to thank you from my heart for your generous support of the 2020 Gowanda community meal of Tuesday 24th November, at the Gowanda Moose Club. You were there in the kitchen; as well as served. Mark Smallback was all over the place; running and jumping back and forth to cars to hand in meals. I saw many of you drive by to take the meal. That made me proud.
The Meal was one of a kind. Its success was not only huge, but spectacular. Last year 2019, when we had a sit-down meal at the same Moose Club; we served 200 dinners.
But guess what? This year 2020; we served 330 meals. There were two unending lines of cars. The last car we served needed four dinners. We gave them the four boxes of food; and the game was over. No more cars to be served; no more food to be served! NOTHING WAS LEFT!!! And I shouted “wow”; what a miracle!!!
The Ministers/Pastors did not eat; those in the kitchen did not eat; the servers did not eat. But we were all very happy and gratified at such an amazing service to our people, who showered us with their blessings all that evening long.
To God Almighty be all the Glory of the wonderful success of this year’s Gowanda community Meals. Amen!
Road to Renewal: Bishop Scharfenberger's Pastoral Letter
Our Apostolic Administrator, Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger has issued a Pastoral Letter to the Clergy, Religious and Lay Faithful of our diocese. The letter is being mailed to registered Catholic households as well as being made available at all our parishes and Catholic Institutions in time for the First Sunday of Advent, November 29, 2020. The purpose of the Pastoral Letter is to provide the spiritual foundation for our Diocesan Road to Renewal Initiative. Everyone in our diocese is encouraged to read the Pastoral Letter and to spend time reflecting and sharing with one another the significance of this call to renewal in the Diocese of Buffalo.
Parish Parking Lot Pop Up
Catholic Charities of Cattaraugus and Allegany Counties will be holding a one day event to distribute much needed basic care items to the public. The event will take place at St. Joseph’s parking lot in Gowanda, on November 30 between 11 am and 1 pm. Drive in and receive a free Care Bag. All are welcome! Please help us spread the word!
Gowanda Community Meal
The Gowanda Community Meal will take place on the Tuesday prior to Thanksgiving (11/24/2020); at the Moose Club at 6:00 pm. The meals will be prepared by the Gowanda Moose Club herself; and we all know she is a Great Cook. It is going to be a “Take-out” meal. Saint Joe’s Parish is supposed to provide some food items for the meal; but because the Moose Club has donated a lot of the food items/ingredients, St. Joes is saved that responsibility. In order to thank the Moose Club for a job very well done; there will be a Second Collection to that effect on the weekend of 14/15 November. Please be generous to this collection; and also endeavor to go for the meal; all for the pleasant comradery we share and enjoy as a community. Gowanda Moose Club will need several volunteers the day before (Monday the 23rd) as well as on the day of the meal (Tuesday the 24th) for preparation and distribution. Please be a willing volunteer and call Desiree Sanderson of (Gowanda Assembly of God) at 716-532-5038 or email her at [email protected]
Winter Escape/Snowbird Parishioners
Beloved Parishioners: For those who go on vacation; could you please use your parish envelopes so they could be sent to us? We really need your contributions here; we need them to pay our huge bills. Remember; even though our school is closed, we still pay bills on it because; it is still being used. We are also still paying the outstanding teachers’ and staff pensions. Our church is magnificent; it takes a lot of money to keep its doors open. Our Rectory is a beautiful edifice; it houses the parish office, where every parish business happens. It takes a lot of bills to keep the parish office running. Or do we have to talk about the funding of our elevator project? Please we need anything you could give to keep this lovely parish up and running. May I sincerely remind our vacationing/snowbird parishioners that the smallest parish in Florida for instance, is richer than our parish here! They have more than we do. Help your struggling home parish. Send your envelopes to her. Please think about this, and consider sending us your envelopes.
Respect Life Sunday
Each October the Church in the United States celebrates Respect Life Month, and the first Sunday of October is observed as Respect Life Sunday. As Catholics, we are called to cherish, defend, and protect those who are most vulnerable, from the beginning of life to its end, and at every point in between. During the month of October, the Church asks us to reflect more deeply on the dignity of every human life.
Road To Renewal
The Diocese of Buffalo invites you to join them for an online Renewal Consultation Session to learn about and discuss the new Diocesan Road to Renewal Initiative. They want very much to understand the needs, concerns and hopes that you have for the Faith communities in your area of the Diocese. Please join them for a Zoom gathering on Monday, October 5th from 6:30-8:30 pm. as members of their Road to Renewal Committee facilitate these conversations regarding your experience of Church in this vicariate. The link will be on the parish website as well as on the Diocese of Buffalo website or at www.roadtorenewal.org/zoom. Please look for the box that corresponds with their date and then click on the Tri-County button to them! In addition to these sessions, there are opportunities for those who prefer to share their insights in writing. Please send an email to [email protected] outlining your thoughts on renewing our Church’s mission and ministry, or take the online survey. Written letters can be mailed directly to Diocese of Buffalo, Road to Renewal, 795 Main Street, Buffalo NY 14203
UPDATE ON THE RESUMPTION OF PUBLIC MASSES; INCLUDING DAILY MORNING MASSES; 06/20/2020
We are resolved at making our return to Church, safe and reassuring. The Lord has done great things for our two Communities and Parishes in this pandemic. We will not afford to lose the gains we have made.
There is need therefore; for us to obey the guidelines for attending Mass in our Churches.
They following have been put in place for the Safety and Security of Parishioners as they move in and out of our Churches:
1) The official maximum occupancy (sitting capacity) of St. Joseph’s Church is 489 people.
2) The Covid-19 maximum occupancy (sitting capacity) of St. Joseph’s Church is 153 people. This number at one Mass is rare; probably during Christmas and Easter.
3) I am still searching St. Mary’s files for this document/code.
4) The seats in the churches have been tapped out at 6 feet apart.
5) The rows on either side of the Isle are staggered at even and odd numbers; so people are unable to sit directly opposite and across the Aisle.
6) At Mass; collections are done with the long-handled baskets. They could also be mailed in, or dropped in the Rectory Office Dropbox.
7) Hand sanitizers with more than 60% alcohol are placed at Church entrances and at strategic places in the Churches.
8) The church pews, the door knobs, the hand rails, the microphones, and all touchable surfaces are sanitized immediately after every Mass.
9) Parishioners above the age of two are required to wear their masks, observe the distancing stipulated, and adhere to instructions from the pastor or his delegate, in the Church.
10) Parishioners are encouraged to carry their own pocket hand sanitizers, in addition to the ones provided in the Churches.
11) The books/missals have all been removed from the pews, as part of the guidelines. So people are unable to transfer touches.
12) There will be music by the Organist. The people of God are not obliged to sing; but they will respond to their parts of the Mass.
13) The priest uses a separate microphone.
14) He is 20 to 25 feet away from the people of God. He also may not be able to celebrate Mass with his mask on. So; he wears his mask only during the distribution of Holy Communion.
15) He sanitizes his hands as often as he deems necessary.
16) The hosts for the people of God are covered in a ciborium; while the large host used for consecration is consumed by the priest during communion.
17) The people of God stay 6 feet apart in line for Holy Communion.
18) The priest does not stand at the door for greetings after Mass, to avoid gathering and cloistering. In the same way; both before and after Mass; parishioners should not get together for chat. After Mass; we are required to leave the Church for our cars, respecting social distancing. Remember; no one is being penalized. We are sticking to these requirements for the good and safety of all of us.
19) With all of the above practices already in play; I bet; we are ready to go! So please; feel safe, assured, and happy to join your Church family once again.
I can’t wait to see your faces again; after this marathon of a lockdown.
Again; if someone still feels uncomfortable joining now; he or she should feel free to stay home and watch our streamed Mass.
Thank you everyone!
PARISHES MAY BEGIN REOPENING AT 25% PROVIDED STATE AND DIOCESAN GUIDELINES ARE MET
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 6, 2020
Diocese of Buffalo Welcomes Allowance for Parish Reopening
Parishes that are prepared to welcome up to 25% of capacity, following Diocesan established protocols may do so as soon as possible
(Buffalo, NY) - In light of Governor Cuomo’s announcement today that houses of worship may resume public gatherings at 25 percent capacity at the earliest opportunity, Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger has announced that any parish in the Diocese of Buffalo that is prepared to offer public liturgies while maintaining the safety protocols detailed in the Diocesan guidelines due to the ongoing COVID-19 threat may do so.
Local Catholics are urged to check with their parishes before planning to attend a Mass, as parishes may be at a different stage in their preparations for reopening. The decision to reopen is solely at the discretion of the pastor. In addition, because many priests serving in parishes throughout the Diocese are themselves vulnerable, those priests may choose to (and are encouraged to) opt out of presiding if they have concerns about their personal health and safety. In those cases, a local parish may join with another local parish for public liturgies.
The dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass remains in place. All who are especially vulnerable or simply uncomfortable attending a public liturgy are encouraged to remain at home and view Mass via livestreams, which will continue in local parishes. (For livestream information, visit LIVE STREAM MASSES
“On this weekend, as we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Trinity and look forward to next weekend’s celebration of Corpus Christi, we are ever more aware of and grateful for the great gift of the Eucharist,” said Bishop Scharfenberger who has kept churches open throughout the pandemic so local Catholics could pray privately. “The Catholic faithful of our Diocese have made clear their eagerness to return to their parish churches and to resume their sacramental, life with their parish leaders and in communion with their fellow parishioners. While we welcome this latest development, it is imperative that our parish leaders and all who are returning to public Masses observe the guidelines that public health officials have issued, along with the extensive measures that we have defined for our parishes in order to protect the health and safety of parishioners, as well as priests and liturgical ministers.”
Parishes throughout the Diocese have been working on plans to ensure they can meet safety standards that will keep the six-foot social distancing requirement in place throughout Mass.
In addition, many other protocols must be met in order for parishes to open, as defined by the guidelines referenced above.
Parishioners should bring and be prepared to wear their own masks and, if possible, a bottle of hand sanitizer for use upon entering, before receiving Communion, after receiving Communion, and after exiting the church. Catholics should plan on restricted seating, a change in the reception of Communion in order to ensure social distancing, and other appropriate measures upon entering and exiting churches.