The next Buffalo Mass Mob will be on Sunday, June 1st, 2014. It will be held at either Saint Thomas Aquinas Church in South Buffalo or at All Saints Church in the Riverside neighborhood of the city.
You can vote at the bottom of this post for the church you would like to see the Mass Mob attend. VOTING WILL END AT 11:59PM ON FRIDAY MAY, 9TH 2014!
Before you do that, here is some history on both churches.
All Saints – 127 Chadduck Avenue, Buffalo, New York 14207
Bishop Charles H. Colton sought to establish a new parish in center of growing Buffalo riverside neighborhood. He sought out Rev. Henry Dolan to construct the new parish. In 1911, the original church was built of a wood frame construction in only 11 days. In March of 1913, a fire destroyed the church. Shortly after, construction of the parish school building was completed. Without a church building to worship in, the congregation used the basement of the school building.
On October 17, 1937 construction began on the present day colonial style church. The cornerstone was laid on December 27 of 1937, and the church was completed in November of 1938. The church can seat a congregation of 840.
All Saints Roman Catholic Church contains a 1923 Wurlitzer Organ that was gift from Ellsworth Statler. The organ was originally installed in the Statler Hotel golden ballroom in downtown Buffalo. On June 1 of 1938, the church acquired and installed the organ in their parish. The organ was later rebuilt in 1991.
Saint Thomas Aquinas Church – 450 Abbot Road, South Buffalo, New York 14210
St. Thomas Aquinas Church began just after World War I and as the “roaring twenties” were about to take off. The first Mass of the parish was celebrated outdoors on July 4, 1920 with Monsignor Nelson H. Baker present. He was a Vicar General of the Diocese of Buffalo and he built Our Lady of Victory Basilica and National Shrine in Lackawanna, NY. He was one of the first in the country to use bulk mail to raise funds to build the church.
It was in March of 1920 that the first pastor, Father Eugene Reagan, made the public announcement that a new parish would be started. “The necessity of a new church in this vicinity to care for the Catholic people has long been apparent. This section of the city has grown steadily, and within ten years the meadows which once predominated will be covered with homes, he said.” Bishop Turner confirmed the plan and officially created the new parish to be a “center for the furtherance of devotion to St. Thomas Aquinas for purity of life and sanctity of home.”
The new parish (incorporated on April 12, 1920) would be built on the Brady Homestead, a parcel of land purchased for $21,000. The original stucco church on Athol Street cost $12,930 to build. In its early days the parish was made up of about 500 families and reached 1600 families by the 1960s.
Father Eugene Reagan served as first pastor from 1920 until June 15, 1942 when Msgr. John Boland (the labor relations priest) became pastor and served until 1968 when Msgr. Eugene E. O’Loughlin (1920 – 2004) was appointed pastor, a ministry he served for 27 years. Saint Thomas Aquinas is now linked with St. Martin of Tours on Abbott Road, and Fr. James Judge is the current Pastor of both parishes along with Fr. Barry Allaire who is the Senior Parochial Vicar. Several retired Priests also serve the Parish including; Rev. Msgr. William J. Gallagher, Rev. Msgr. Kevin T. O’Neill, Rev. Theodore C. Rog and Rev. Antonio L. Rodriguez.
The cornerstone for our parochial school (1921 – 2006) was laid on July 30, 1922. It was a state-of-the-art multi-purpose structure composed of classrooms, gymnasium, bowling alleys, basketball court, stage and auditorium. It was completed in two years costing $140,000! (The original school was housed in two homes on Cumberland Avenue.)
Because of much growth another school building had to be built in 1956 to continue Catholic education under the direction of parish priests, the Sisters of Mercy and a battery of lay persons who offered their skills and talents for the betterment of the parish’s children and larger community. Ms. Bernetta Kelly and Mrs. Eileen Landseadel would be the last principals of our school until it was forced to close for financial reasons. In 2006, St. Bonaventure School in West Seneca, St. Martin of Tours School and St. Thomas Aquinas School all closed and a new entity was established, Notre Dame Academy, which would soon become one of three campuses of what is now South Buffalo Catholic School. This ending of one era and the beginning of a new one was one of the most difficult times in the life of the parish. Currently our school building is being used by the Buffalo Boys and Girls Clubs, an aerobics group, an Irish dance studio and several basketball teams.
In 1949 on Thanksgiving Day, with three inches of snow on the ground, the cornerstone was laid for what would become one of the most beautiful churches in South Buffalo. Completed in 1952, the church is styled after Umbrian architecture, similar to Italian churches in Assisi and structured like its model, Santa Maria Cosmedin in Rome, Italy. Monsignor Boland had gone to Rome to bring back the design for the new church. The bell tower housed the first baptistery. Our beautiful church with its majestic monastery cloister was designed by architect George Stickle and built by Holler Brothers and Balling Brothers construction companies at a cost of $328,000.
The outer walls of the church are made of crab-colored orchard stone from Tennessee, the roofing is red Spanish tile, the Celtic cross on the tower stands nine feet and the mosaic tile was brought from the San Pietro Mosaic Factory then located behind St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
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