Pastor's Message

Msgr. David's Message for May 26, 2019

My dear parish family,

It is so hard for me to believe that this is my last weekend as your Pastor. I will be celebrating the weekday Masses this coming week and my last Mass will be Saturday morning, June 1, at 7:45 a.m. I will then depart for Our Lady of Victory Basilica in Lackawanna and will celebrate my first Mass there on Saturday at 4:30 p.m.

In God’s providence and through the intercession of our Blessed Mother Mary, I am delighted that the outdoor shrine to the Madonna was completed in time for me to offer my final Sunday Mass with the Blessing & Dedication of our new shrine. I extend my sentiments of deepest gratitude to St. Peter’s Altar & Rosary Society and all of the parishioners of our parish for making this outdoor shrine a reality. My hope and prayer is that everyone who visits Lewiston and those who live here will find an oasis of peace and an answer to many prayers as they come to pray before the Madonna here on Center Street. Already a number of people have expressed how peaceful and beautiful the garden is and how memorable the statue of the Madonna is from the former Madonna High School and Niagara Catholic!

As I mentioned before, sometime in the very near future, information will be made available on how to purchase a Memorial Brick(s) to be engraved around the pathway to the Madonna.

Finally, I wish to express my profound gratitude and love to all of you, the faith community of St. Peter’s and St. Bernard’s, for forming me as a Pastor, and for all of your kind words, cards and messages that have deeply touched my heart. When I came almost 6 years ago on August 23, 2013, I had never been a pastor. You have all truly changed my life for the better and taught me what it means to be a pastor and a shepherd of souls. Your faith and commitment to God and the Church has truly edified me and I shall be eternally grateful to God for the many graces and blessings I have received as a result of all who make up this wonderful community of faith.

Please always remember that bishops and priests come and go, but this is your parish…this is your church…and I hope and pray that you will remain ever faithful to the Lord Jesus and the Eucharist and continue to support the outstanding faith community of St. Peter and St. Bernard’s Parish. I know God will provide you with a good and holy priest and I pray you will support, love and encourage him as you did me.

Please know you are always welcome at Our Lady of Victory Basilica. I would love to see you. And you can be sure that I will come back to visit from time to time…either at the Orange Cat, or one of our fine dining establishments here on Center Street, and most especially in our beautiful churches of St. Peter and St. Bernard.

In the words of Dag Hammarskjöld, “For all that has been, Thanks! For all that will be, Yes!”

I love you all so very dearly and will miss you terribly, but I know that God will always keep us close in prayer! Keep the faith! Do not be afraid! God always, always provides.

God bless you all,

Fr. David


Msgr. David's Message for May 19, 2019

My dear parish family,

This weekend I am away in Boston, Massachusetts on the Class Trip with our 7th & 8th Grade students, along with Maureen Ingham and other chaperones. I am sure it is going to be a fun-filled time with lots of great memories!

I wish to thank everyone who has contributed thus far to the 2019 Catholic Charities Appeal. Your contributions will make a significant difference in the lives of all those who come to seek assistance from Catholic Charities. We are very close to reaching our parish goal of $241,780.25. In fact, we only need a little over $6,000. I encourage anyone who has not had a chance to contribute to consider making a contribution and to do so at your earliest convenience. I am deeply grateful for the generosity of all those who support Catholic Charities. You truly are improving the lives of children and families and individuals in need throughout Western New York. God bless you and reward you!

A second request: One of the special blessings we have enjoyed for many years here at St. Peter’s is All Day Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament on First Fridays, immediately following morning Mass (either the 7:45 a.m. Mass or, when school is in session, the 9:00 a.m. School Mass) and concluding at 9:00 p.m. We are in great need of people to sign up and spend

an hour of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. If you are interested in covering one of the hours on First Fridays, please contact Joanne Presutti at 754-9384. Spending quiet time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament is a source of countless graces and blessings. I encourage you to come and see what a beautiful spiritual experience it can be.

Finally, next Sunday, May 26, I hope as many of you as possible will come and join me for the 10:30 a.m. Mass and the Dedication of our new outdoor Shrine to the Madonna. I am very excited that this dream of our St. Peter’s Altar & Rosary Society has come to fruition. I am especially pleased that the shrine is being dedicated to the alumni of the former Catholic Schools of St. Mary’s, Madonna, Bishop Duffy and Niagara Catholic (1927-2018). Please extend the invitation to attend the Mass & Dedication, and the reception immediately following, to any alumni that you may know from these schools. My hope and prayer is that we can continue to provide Catholic Education in Western Niagara County for years to come, especially here at our beloved St. Peter’s School. As this will be my last Sunday Mass at our parish, I will use this time to express my profound sentiments of gratitude and appreciation to all of you, my beloved parishioners, who have done so much for me over the past six years. I cannot thank you enough for the myriad of ways you have inspired me, supported me and assisted me as your pastor. I love you all from the bottom of my heart and will never forget you!

God bless you all!

Fr. David


Msgr. David's Message for May 12, 2019

My dear Parish Family,

Last weekend I made the following announcements at the weekend Masses at St. Peter’s Church that I now wish everyone in our merged parish to be aware of:

This past year, prior to the decision for my new assignment, Sister Ann asked to work part-time. Over the course of this past year, Sister Ann has now decided to retire from her position as Pastoral Associate, effective June 30, 2019. Sister Ann will not be leaving our parish completely. She will continue to serve as a volunteer in the school and will of course remain a member of our parish faith community. Sister Ann has served our parish with great love and compassion since July of 2012. Please join me in expressing gratitude and appreciation for her years of dedicated service.

The next point of information is great news for our St. Peter’s School and our entire parish. Based on the recommendation of our St. Peter RC School Board and as part of our three-year Strategic Plan, I have appointed Maureen Ingham as President-Principal of St. Peter’s School, effective immediately. The President-Principal model of school governance is widely used across our country and in our diocese in elementary and high schools. This appointment will position our school to grow under Maureen’s effective leadership and allow her to continue to lead the school and maintain her daily engagement with our students, faculty and staff. But Maureen will now begin to work more in the community to spread the word of the great advantages our school offers and to help secure our future for many more children to attend St. Peter’s School. This will also present opportunities for us to add additional administrative staff to bolster our growth plans and strengthen our school even further.

God has blessed our school in many ways and we trust that He will continue to help us with our goal to spread His message to more families. Knowing that Maureen Ingham will be leading us forward provides stability and should be a great comfort to all in our community. To date, Maureen has already registered 208 students for the 2019-2020 School Year! Please join me in congratulating Maureen on her new appointment and expressing deepest gratitude and appreciation for all that she has done and will continue to do for St. Peter’s School!

Finally, on this Mother’s Day, we celebrate and honor all of our mothers, living and deceased, and those women in our lives who may not have children of their own, but in some way have been a Mom to us and shared God’s love. May God bless them and reward them for all that they have done and continue to do for us. Here is a special tribute to all of our mothers:

A Mother’s Love

There are times when only a mother’s love can understand our tears,

can soothe our disappointments and calm all of our fears.

There are times when only a mother’s love can share the joy we feel

when something we’ve dreamed about quite suddenly is real.

There are times when only a mother’s faith can help us on life’s way

and inspire in us the confidence we need from day to day.

For a mother’s heart and a mother’s faith and a mother’s steadfast love

were fashioned by the angels and sent from God above.

—Author Unknown

Happy Mother’s Day! Be assured of my grateful prayers and blessings,

Fr. David


Msgr. David's Message for May 5, 2019

My dear Parish Family,

One of my hopes as your Pastor was to establish a Youth Ministry Program for the youth of our parish. In the past few months with the help of some wonderful adults and wonderful young people, we have begun putting together the beginning steps for Youth Ministry. Back in March, we sent four high school students to the Diocesan Youth Convention: Isabella Aquino, Jenna Deutschman, Olivia Kisiel and Bridget Stack. Before Easter, we held a youth activity/prayer experience for the 6th, 7th, and 8th Grade students in our Sunday Faith Formation Program and also in our St. Peter’s School. We are now inviting all of our students in these two age groups to come together for a special event on Saturday, May 11:

Taco 'Bout Jesus

All students in 6th, 7th, and 8th Grades in St. Peter School and St. Peter & St. Bernard Faith Formation Program are invited to attend the 4:00 p.m. Vigil Mass on Saturday, May 11 at St. Peter’s Church.

During the Mass, the young people will serve as Readers and Gift Bearers, with some singing in the Youth Choir led by Ms. Mary Palmer.

Following Mass, the young people are invited to a Taco Party in the School Cafeteria that will include games, a prayer experience and a Bon-Fire that will conclude at 9:00 p.m.

All we ask is that parents RSVP for their children by email to: [email protected] by Thursday, May 9th.

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Sunday, May 26, 2019, 10:30 a.m. Mass followed by the Dedication of the New Outdoor Madonna Shrine

St. Peter’s Church was able to obtain the statue of the Madonna that was on the front lawn of Niagara Catholic Jr. / Sr. High School. This statue holds a special place in the hearts of the alumni who attended the former Madonna High School, as well as those who attended Niagara Catholic. I am pleased that we are able to construct an outdoor shrine in honor of the Madonna that will be blessed and dedicated after my last Sunday Mass as Pastor on Sunday, May 26 at 10:30 a.m. at St. Peter’s Church, followed by a procession to the new shrine on the front lawn of St. Peter’s Rectory facing Center Street. Please extend the invite to attend this special Mass & Dedication to any of the alumni of the schools listed above. Immediately following the Mass, there will be a reception in the Parish Hall / School Cafeteria. All are welcome!

Be assured of my grateful prayers and blessings,

Fr. David


Msgr. David's Message for April 28, 2019

My dear Parish Family,

Alleluia! Jesus Christ has Risen! Alleluia! We celebrate now the great 50 days of the Easter Season. Let us rejoice and be glad for all that Lord has done for us. I wish to thank everyone who made the celebrations of Holy Week & Easter so meaningful and beautiful at both worship sites.

 Thank you to all those involved in our wonderful Music Ministry: Peter Smith (Director at St. Peter’s) and our Sacred Triduum & Easter Choir and musicians, Lauren Conti (Flute), Michael Tumiel (Clarinet), Ted Smeltz (Violin), Rob Pacillo, Catherine Pacillo, John Clayton and Courtney Costanzo (Cantors), and Alexis Marie (Keyboard) and the choir members at St. Bernard’s.

 Thank you to all of our Liturgical Ministers: our Ushers, Greeters, Eucharistic Ministers, Lectors and Altar Servers. You made everything go so smoothly and prayerfully.

 Thank you to those who decorated our churches so beautifully for Easter: At St. Peter’s - Erika & Joe Conti, Lauren Conti and Bill & Annette Taczak. At St. Bernard’s - Lauren Frosolone, Helen Murray, Mari Boland, Gail Sharpe and Michael & Diane Blenk.

 Thank you to John Scozzafava, Amy Hopkins, Ron & Tara Ter Halle for cleaning and preparing the churches for Holy Week & Easter at St. Peter’s and St. Bernard’s.

 Thank you to Sister Ann & our RCIA Team for preparing our newly initiated for the Easter Sacraments. Congratulations and welcome to the newest members of our Catholic Faith Community, Debbie Coder and Damon DeCastro.

 Thank you to Nicole Ball, our Parish Administrative Assistant, for preparing our Easter Vigil Program and all the great and efficient service that Nicole provides to our parish.

 Thank you to Maureen Ingham for organizing the wonderful Easter Egg Hunt at St. Peter’s and to John Scozzafava for preparing the setup on Easter Sunday. We are truly blessed to have so many beautiful children and families.

 Thank you to all who sent cards and Easter goodies to the rectory! It is all deeply appreciated.

Profound thanks to all of our parishioners, family and friends who participated in the Sacred Triduum and Easter Sunday Masses. I am deeply grateful for your presence and your financial support of our parish. May God bless you for all that you have done and continue to do! On behalf of Sister Ann and myself, we wish you all of very Blessed & Joyous Easter Season!

Gratefully, Fr. David