Buffalo Friars Active in Community

Jocelyn Thomas In the Headlines

BUFFALO, N.Y. — On May 30, several friars joined parishioners of St. Clare Church here to greet participants of the Buffalo Marathon, whose route passed the Elk Street parish. Many used what pastor Michael Putich, OFM, called “Burma Shave” signs to greet runners.

Welcoming Marathoners
At 7 a.m., 5,000 runners began their marathon through “our beautiful city,” said Michael, pastor of St. Clare. Nearing mile marker No. 9, St Clare parishioners greeted runners with bells, cheers and signs. The first series of signs read: “Can’t Stay. Got to Pray. In a Rush, Remember us. Welcome. St. Clare.” The second series read: “Can’t Rest. Be Blessed. We Can Pray. On the Way. Welcome. St. Clare.”

Michael Oberst, OFM, and Vianney Justin, OFM, joined the cheerleaders, Michael Putich said, offering high-fives, knuckle butts, and even a hug from Mark Schroeder, a former student at Bishop Timon-St. Jude High School, who is now a N.Y. state assemblyman.

A slide show of photos from the marathon appears on the websites of the Buffalo Diocese and of Western New York Catholic.

St. Clare is already planning to make the church an official pit stop next year, to offer runners water and a light misting, and will adjust the Sunday Mass schedule to accommodate traffic flow.

Later that Saturday, the community raised a flag to honor area veterans.

Honorable Brian Higgins, a member of Congress, presented a flag to the parish on the day of its establishment, Dec. 2, 2007, Michael Putich said. “The flag had been flown over the United States Capitol on Oct. 25, 2007. After the 4 p.m. Mass on May 30, parish veterans raised that flag and remembered those who served in the armed services. The pastor, who is chaplain at the Veterans Administration Medical Center, used a stole given him by the Archdiocese for the Military Services in commemoration of the Year for Priests. The sole displays the crest of the archdiocese. The ceremony was prayed silently. As the flag was raised, “To the Colors,” “The Star Spangled Banner,” “Taps” and “God Bless America” were played.

buff-rCelebrating Scouting
Earlier last month, Michael Putich, a native of South Buffalo, participated in a weekend celebration of the 100th anniversary of scouting.

The “Camperall,” held May 14 to 16 at nearby Fort Niagara, N.Y., was for Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts ages 7 and up. It included tents, booths and scouting promotions. Events honored a variety of faith traditions, including a Mass celebrated by Bishop Edward Kmieic, of Buffalo.

Michael, who is the chaplain for the Buffalo Diocese Catholic Committee on Scouting, the liaison between the local scout councils and the diocese, said the event was valuable.

The committee promoted participation in the event with a special 100th anniversary scarf, giving glow sticks to whoever stopped and correctly answered questions about faith traditions, Michael said. The glow stick was lit at the evening common vespers, after which faith groups gathered for special services.

For the 100th anniversary, the DCCOS developed a special patch that scouts earn by visiting churches of all faiths, participating in Scout Sunday, and attending the Camperall.

Michael said that the Religious Relationship Committee, comprising Jewish, Protestant and Catholic representatives, also attended the Camperall. Since reverence is one characteristic of a good scout, Michael said the caption for the gathering was “Reverent for 100 Years.”

The Buffalo Diocese publicizes Catholic scouting through the youth page on its website.

“Our role is to serve as a liaison between the diocesan council and the youth department,” he said. “We maintain awareness within the scouting community that scouting is youth ministry,” Michael added. “We aim to give a positive image to scouting.”

The diocese promotes scouting as youth ministry, incorporating programs for scouts and families, through its outreach to youth, Michael said.

On June 5, Michael participated in the annual Scouts Adults Awards Dinner for the Buffalo area. The event, held at St. Gabriel’s Church in Elma, recognized honors given to adult scouters and scouting units for their service to scounting through the Diocesan Catholic Committee. Michael offered the invocation and benedicction.

— Jocelyn Thomas is director of communications for Holy Name Province.