(Editor’s Note: On July 25, 2020, U.S. Provincial Fr. Louis Studer, OMI is scheduled to deliver the following address at the event commemorating nearly 170 years of the Oblate presence at Holy Angels Church in Buffalo, NY. The Provincial has given his permission for you to see this preview of his upcoming reflcetion.)
Holy Angels Parish
Buffalo, New York
Saturday, July 25, 2020
This is a sad occasion for many Missionary Oblates and for Holy Angels’ parishioners and for all who continue to be associated in many ways with this parish.
I am aware of some of the rich history of the Oblates at Holy Angels.
Our Founder, St. Eugene de Mazenod, sent the Oblates here in 1841. It is the longest continuous presence of the Oblates in the United States! Fr. Henri Tempier, St. Eugene’s right-hand advisor and friend, visited here. It was no small undertaking of the Oblates, as you can well imagine, over a decade before the Civil War.
The Grey Nuns, friends of the Oblates these many years, showed their deep appreciation for the ministry of the Oblates to them and to so many of the faithful here, that they gave our seminarians free tuition at D’Youville College since the late 1980’s.
We Oblates are proud to call ourselves Missionaries. The word is derived from the Latin “missio,” someone who is sent.
Our going forth, from this parish, from the wonderful ministry done here for so many years, is not a decision arrived at easily or comfortably. Quite the opposite.
For several years, the church structure has needed a lot of work and repair, even to the point of being unsafe.
To raise the million-plus dollars to ensure that safety is not a prudent pursuit, when there are so many other needs the Oblates need to raise funds for.
The number of parishioners here, about 50 or 60 souls, is a small community, largely older folks who, while closely tied to this church, will not be a viable community many more years.
The Oblates are staying in Buffalo! We are not abandoning you!
Today we honor their ministry, their presence among you. And we honor as well the faith-filled parishioners, staff, employees, who, over these many years, made this local church a living, vibrant, loving, close community.
We honor these wonderful people. No question that this church building represents, in a very real way, these people. This is where they came to celebrate that faith, that spirit, that presence of Jesus Christ in their midst.
But let’s continue to celebrate those people, their generosity, their faith, their love of Jesus and one another and how they built up the west side of this great city.
Beautiful as this church building is, it is not, in and of itself, of ultimate importance.
It is the Oblates, their ministry, along with your support, your faith, your sense of community, your care for each other, that brings us together to celebrate today. And all of that continues as we move into the future.
God bless you! Thank you!
Louis Studer, OMI