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On October 4 people all over the world celebrated the feast day of the Patron Saint of Animals, Saint Francis of Assisi. It’s customary that in remembrance of St. Francis of Assisi’s love for all creatures, animals are led to churches for a special ceremony called the “Blessing of the Animals.” In our Corpus Christi Church ( 199 Clark St. Buffalo), blessing animals was Sunday – October 11, after Mass.
You are never to old to start a new hobby or refresh one from your past. When you are 92 years old, you have some time on your hands to bring back that hobby.
This is the situation with Leonard Sikorski, a parishioner of Corpus Christi Church in Buffalo, N.Y. Lenny joined Corpus Christi Church when he married Rita Bernat in October 6, 1959. Although now a widower, he has kept himself as busy as his eyes, ears, and hands allow.
Lenny, as parishioners fondly call him, is one dedicated and artistic member of the church. One day he asked Father Michal, Pastor of the church, if there was any jobs he could do for the church. He had noticed a few statues in need of a fresh coat of paint. He willingly told Father he could clean, polish, and paint the statues. Father did not know Lenny’s skills as a painter, but Lenny told Father he dabbled a bit in his younger years.
The first statue Fr. Czyzewski entrusted to Lenny was the Sacred Heart of Jesus statue. Father was amazed with the outcome. As Lenny looked on, he smiled fondly as his face lit up knowing Father was pleased. Next, Pastor asked him to paint the Blessed Virgin Mary statue followed by Saint Michael the Archangel and Saint John the Baptist is in progress. The statues remain in the Monastery and can be found in the meeting rooms or in the chapel guiding the clergy and all who pass through the building. It is worth mentioning that Lenny decides what colors to use, he and gives a new shine to the figure that needs to be renewed. These holy figures, which have been slightly dusty over the years, acquire a new glow and present their beauty, inviting us to prayer.
Lenny has been a church Trustee and Usher for years. You can easily spot him as you enter the church by his sweet smile and professional suit and tie he wears weekly to church. He also helps maintain the financial records of the church. Lenny was an active member of the Holy Name Society, the Sears Athletic Club, and much more. Although he admits to slowing down a bit, he is always willing to do whatever he can for the care of the church. He can often be found working with his brother-in-law, Henry Bernat. They look out for each other to get the job done and together, make a great team!
Lenny is firm in his foundation, just like the statues he has painted. Each statue, each saint, has a story-a history. Lenny certainly has his own story which is certainly not over. His labor of love is inspiring!
Written by Beverly A. Sikora-member of Corpus Christi Church Buffalo N.Y.
Photo: Leonard Sikorski, a parishioner of Corpus Christi Church in Buffalo with Henry Bernat, while discussing the plan to restore another figure of St. Michael the Archangel.
Photo: Leonard Sikorski, holds in his hands the renewed statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.