Mass Times

   Saturday Vigil Mass - 4:00 pm
   Sunday Masses - 8:00 am, 9:30 am & 11:00 am
   Weekdays (Monday - Friday) - 8:30 am

March 6, 2019  Ash Wednesday Masses - 8:30 am & 7:00 pm
    Prayer Service - 12:10 pm

2019 Lenten Vespers and Speaker Series - Wednesdays at 7:00 pm
    Feb 27, Mar 13, Mar 20, Mar 27, Apr 3, Apr 10 & Apr 17 

Sacrament of Reconciliation
  
Saturdays from 3:15 to 3:45 pm and by request
    Special for Christmas - Saturday, December 22 from 2:00-3:45 pm

Office hours:
   
  Monday through Friday, 9 am to 4 pm
     (716) 937-6959

Welcome

St. John the Baptist family of parishioners is a faith-filled Catholic Christian community which believes in the Lord Jesus Christ, in His Church and its teachings, under the direction of our spiritual leaders. We watch and pray as we follow His call to love, life, fellowship and holiness.

"By his incarnation, the Son of God tells us that salvation comes through love, acceptance, respect for this poor humanity of ours, which we all share in a great variety of races, languages, and cultures. Yet all of us are brothers and sisters in humanity!"         Pope Francis, Christmas message December 25, 2018

Upcoming Events

Pancake Breakfast
        Boy Scout Troop 117 is holding a Pancake Breakfast on Sunday, March 10 from 7:30 a.m. until 12:00 noon in the St. John the Baptist School gym. Breakfast includes all-you-can-eat pancakes (including chocolate chip pancakes), hash browns, fruit, real maple syrup, locally-made sausage, and beverages. Adults, $7.00; children ages 4 to 10, $4.00; and children age 3 and under, free.

Holy Name News
        The next Holy Name meeting will be held on Sunday, March 10 in the school faculty room following the 8:00 a.m. Mass. Men of the parish, come and join us! Parishioners, please join us for the Holy Rosary at 7:40 a.m. in the church.

Eucharistic Minister Training
        To anyone interested in becoming a Eucharistic Minister, Deacon Peter will be having a training session here at St. John’s on Saturday, March 23 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon in the church. Please call Pat Heslin at 937-9293 to sign up.

 A quick note to our parishioners:
        The lead article in the February edition of Western New York Catholic, which is available in the back of church as well as online, has an article about the first three Pastoral Administrators in the Diocese of Buffalo: Deacon David Clabeaux, Sister Lori High, and Debbie Brown (our own administrator). It presents each of them, a little about their background and some information on their experience of the pastoral administrator model. It provides good insights into the model and how it has been working.  Here is the link online: https://www.wnycatholic.org/news/article/featured/2019/02/04/103500/parishes-see-new-form-of-leadership-taking-place

Lenten Vespers AND Speaker Series at St. John’s
        During Lent, our parish will be offering Vespers services on Wednesday evenings at 7:00 p.m. in the church, and we will be including a speaker series as part of the journey. Speakers will be a part of each week’s service. The topics are designed around Gospels specific to “Mercy & Forgiveness,” and though they flow from each other, they can stand alone as well. Come for one night or come for all; bring friends and family! Each speaker will give you bullet points and reflections to ponder throughout the evening as well as during the week until we meet again. There will not be any group sharing, though you may feel free to talk with others at your own leisure. This is all about your journey this Lent and your growth in relationship with God – seeing yourself as God sees you and accepting His mercy and love. Take the time to do something for yourself. Explore your strengths and weaknesses in light of the love and mercy of God our Father. As part of the program, we will also be holding a healing Mass, with a healing service immediately after, on April 3. Stay tuned for more details in the following weeks as the speaker list becomes complete. We look forward to your presence among us!

Stations of the Cross
      The Stations of the Cross will be prayed in the church during Lent on all Fridays at 7:00 p.m. and on Wednesdays (starting March 13) at 1:00 p.m. (with the school children).

2018 Tax Statements
      Tax Substantiation Letters are being prepared and will be sent out to parishioners who have donated more than $500 to St. John’s in 2018. Please call Kate at the rectory (937-6959) to request a letter if you do not receive one by January 20, 2019 and would like one. Thank you to all those who help support our parish financially!

 Is the Spirit Calling You to Serve?
      Our parish always welcomes additional helpers in our various liturgical ministries. Lectors, those who are appointed to proclaim the Word of God in the liturgical assembly, are particularly needed at this time, especially for the 8:00 a.m. Mass. More Eucharistic Ministers, those who assist at Mass by distributing the Holy Eucharist and Precious Blood to members of the congregation, are also needed for all Masses. To learn more about becoming a lector, please contact Judy Bowman at 523-9287. Those interested in serving as Extraordinary Minsters of Holy Communion, please call Pat Heslin at 937-9293. You could also speak to Deacon Marc or Deacon Peter or call the rectory (937-6959) during the week. If you know someone who would be good in one of these ministries, please encourage them, too!

St. John the Baptist School
      The 8th Grade Fish Fry will be on Friday, March 15 from 4:30-7:00 pm. Tickets are $12 in advance and $13 at the door.  The dinner includes a huge piece of fish, cole slaw, potato salad, a roll with butter, a drink, and dessert.  Macaroni and cheese will also be available for $2.  Extra order forms are available at the rectory and at the main entrance of the church.  

Alumni Theme Tray Basket Raffle  - "Rays of Hope"
        St. John's School Alumni Association will be once again hosting it's annual Theme Tray Basket Raffle on Friday, March 29, 2019.  Admission is $5 per person and includes snacks, beverage and dessert. Only 300 tickets can be sold due to seating limitations - get yours early before they sell out!  Doors open at 6 pm and Raffle begins approximately 8 pm.  Reservations are required, please contact Kathy Earsing at 716-937-7056

Reflections of Fr. Vince Becker, Priest Moderator – Love and Prayer

      On the weekend of February 2 & 3, I introduced myself as the priest designated by the Bishop of Buffalo to be the Parish Moderator. In short that means I am the go-between person for Debbie Brown, Pastoral Administrator, and the Diocese of Buffalo. Thank you for welcoming me. I immediately feel I have a lot in common with you. I’m glad to be a part of St. John the Baptist Parish.

       I did, however, notice that there is some friction in the parish. Perhaps some would prefer to not bring that out in public, thinking that making it public only worsens the problem. My feeling would be more like: people already know there is some problem, better bring it out in public so we can talk about it. One person told me that I insulted many people by what I said. I certainly did not mean anything like that, and I sincerely apologize if I did offend anyone. Please forgive me. I’m not really certain what I did to cause negative feelings but maybe it was I appeared to be taking sides. Or perhaps some felt I was being sent to squelch any resistance. I certainly don’t feel my role as anything like that. My role is to help unify the parish and, as St. Paul says so often in these cases, “I want you to be happy.” I’ve always lived with the principle in my own life: in an argument no one is totally right, no one is totally wrong – meaning that there is always room for dialogue and talking out a difference.

       To return to making the tension public, some might feel it is better not to talk about it. And yet in several of Paul’s letters, he talks about tension and problems and in no way expects the problem will go away if we don’t talk about it. It’s true that the kind of problems Paul experienced in his day are different from the types of problems we experience in churches today. Nonetheless the inner dynamics are the same – when there is a difference of opinion, silence will not solve the problem. I’ve included here some of the Bible passages about conflict in the early New Testament Church: Colossians 2:16-19; Acts 17:2-9; Ephesians 4:1-6; Galatians 4:17-20. It is noteworthy that Paul had a special affection for the community at Philippi and he loved the people in a special way. Yet, at the end of his letter, he names names. “I appeal to Euodia, and I appeal to Syntyche to come to agreement with each other in the Lord and I ask Syzygos to be truly a companion and to help them in this” (Philippians 4:2).

       To summarize, Paul really has only one answer to alleviate problems of tension. It is the law of love. Read Romans 12:9-21 especially. “Love one another with the affection of brothers.” “Be patient under trial, persevere in prayer.” “Bless your persecutors.” “Never repay injury for injury.” “Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good.” Final summary. As Jesus was preparing his apostles at the Last Supper for when they would be in charge of the Church, he said: “I give you a new commandment: love one another. Such as my love has been for you, so must your love be for one another. This is how all will know you for my disciples: your love for one another” (John 13:34-35).

2019 Lenten Vespers & Speaker Series

Each service will feature St. John's Vespers Choir and original music.  Bring a pen and notebook. You will not be disappointed. Bring an open heart ready to accept and give forgiveness, mercy and healing.  Bring a friend; experience the healing power of God's Mercy and healing in His Divine Will just for you. We look forward to your presence among us. 

Wednesday, March 6th
         Ash Wednesday Masses at 8:30 am and 7 pm. Prayer Service at 12:10 pm. No Vespers or speakers this week.

Wednesday, March 13th
          Experiencing God's Mercy      Speaker: Deacon Peter Donnelly

Wednesday, March 20th 
          Merciful Cleansing          Speaker: Deacon Venatius Agbasiere

Wednesday, March 27th
          Entering Into Christ's Merciful Wounds   
                   Speaker: Amy Betros, St. Luke's Mission of Mercy

Wednesday, April 3rd
          Healing Mass with Healing Service
     We are excited to have Fr. Daniel Ogbeifun from Nativity of the BVM, Harris Hill, for this Mass and Service
        Homily Topic: Our Merciful Father and His Patient Healing for You

Wednesday, April 10th
           Jesus' Mercy Brings Us Out of the Tomb to New Life   
                    Speaker: Sr. Joanne Suranni, CSSF

Wednesday, April 17th
            Series Recap and Reflection 

WeShare Online Giving

Liturgical Corner by Debbie Brown, Pastoral Administrator

   Today is the Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time and the last Sunday before Lent (which begins this Wednesday). The last three weeks we have been hearing from Luke’s “Sermon on the Plain,” which contains Jesus’ discourse on how to live in the Kingdom of God. Two weeks ago it was Luke’s version of the Beatitudes; last week we talked about how we treat others, including our enemies. This week our reflection is about integrity and credibility. These readings provide a perfect segue to Lent. When we realize the areas of our faith life we need to work on, Lent gives us the means to make the conversion which is necessary.

       The Old Testament reading (Sirach 27:4-7) is brief and to the point: “The fruit of a tree shows the care it has had; so too does one’s speech disclose the bent of one’s mind.” Integrity and credibility are granted to someone when there is a correlation between what one says and what one does. It reminds me of a famous quote from St. Francis of Assisi: “Preach the Gospel at all times. When necessary, use words.” The fruit we bear as disciples is the evidence of our devotion to Jesus and how we have internalized the essentials of Christian living.

       The Gospel (Luke 6:39-45) uses the image of a fruit tree as the first reading from Sirach did. “A good tree does not bear rotten fruit, nor does a rotten tree bear good fruit.” Here is the phrase worth reflecting on for not just today or throughout Lent but every day of our life: “A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good, … from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.” The four pillars of the Catechism of the Catholic Church are faith, sacraments, prayer, and morality. Jesus demonstrates the interconnectedness and mutuality of these throughout the Gospel, but this passage clearly helps us see that the love in our heart is demonstrated by our words and actions. Our heart is filled with love when we pray and receive the sacraments, which builds up our faith (our tree, as it were). Moral living (fruitfulness) is the indication of a healthy interior.

       If we are bearing less fruit, if we are tired of volunteering, if we are finding fault with the church leaders or fellow workers, the solution is not to condemn everyone else. We need to look first at our own inner life. The three disciplines of Lent are fasting, prayer, and almsgiving. The Gospel for Ash Wednesday (Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18) gives a very succinct and to-the-point definition of these actions and their value to the efficacy of Lent. These provide the perfect remedy to encourage growth in ourselves. Then, the problems which seemed so insurmountable will start to melt away as we stand strong in our faith. The results will be incredible. So, use Lent wisely to grow ever more deeply in faith. We are having a family workshop on Lent open to all on Sunday, March 10; come join us!

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