Buffalo Parish Hosts Festival

Jocelyn Thomas Around the Province

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The community of St. Clare Church here held its second “Summer Under the Tent” fundraiser last month, drawing more than 600 attendees despite less-than-optimal weather.

The lawn fete, as pastor Michael Putich, OFM, called the Aug. 7 to 9 event, was organized by volunteers.

“The planning committee garnered 101 volunteers, which is not bad for a parish of only 620 families,” he said. The three-day event is always held near the feast of St. Clare.

Successful Event
“The event was the second appearance as a parish-neighborhood fundraiser, and a chance for former parishioners who moved away to return, meet old friends, and see what is happening.” Michael said. “We’ve been a parish for only 21 months.”

“Friday night had a grand start with more than 200 guests who sang and danced to a popular band. Saturday evening was severely dampened by an all-night rain,” Michael said. “The jazz band kept the smaller crowd happy. Sunday’s chicken dinner was enjoyed, despite withering cloud bursts that accompanied an area-wide tornado watch.” When the bad weather cleared, a bright sun came out and drew over 400 people to celebrate the raffles, grab a snack, and chat with their new friends.

“The friars came each day with their smiles, hugs, and thanks to all,” he added. “Only one of the five merged parishes has had a long and dear companionship with our charism. The friars’ peaceful joy is a significant sign for this new parish community in Buffalo, established in fall 2007.”

Ministry to the Community
The fundraiser is just one of the ways that the church is reaching out to the community. The friars of the St. Clare and St. Patrick Friary are all busy, too, with valuable outreach ministries.

Michael, pastor since last spring, is tasked with transitioning the parish from the recent merge, especially in blending traditions with the needs of continued growth. He is also the chaplain to the Diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting and to the Veterans Administration Medical Center.

Timothy Dauenhauer, OFM
, continues to work with families in the neighborhood, mostly the boys with whom he worked for years who are now grown up with children of their own. Timothy founded the area’s Boys Club, and continues to work with graduates of the Club. He also distributes Christmas presents.

Vianney Justin, OFM, ministers to families and spouses of prisoners. He assists a local Secular Franciscan Order as spiritual animator, and as a director of the formation programs for Spanish-speaking candidates.

The Peaceprints Prison Ministry is expanding, according to Michael Oberst, OFM, who said the program plans to open a larger residence that will accommodate more ex-offenders.

Francis Pompei, OFM, guardian of St. Patrick Friary, continues to follow his namesake as a preacher, giving missions, retreats, and directing his Franciscan Mystery Players ministry. He is also faithful to the Ministry of the Word and youth ministry.

Maurice Swartout, OFM, parochial assistant, coordinates visitation to shut-ins, weekly to St. Anthony and St. Jude, and monthly Holy Hours. He is much sought after by local senior citizens who join him for monthly trips and luncheons.

Over the past two decades, the fraternity’s spirit has transformed itself, and now, its larger neighborhood of Western New York, from a local parish community to varied and multiple ministries, Michael said.

The photo above was taken at the lawn fete.

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