The Friends of Corpus Christi have successfully raised enough funds to pay for $100,000 worth of necessary church repairs this summer. All of this work is being carried out through coordination with the Order of St. Paul the First Hermit, owner of the Corpus Christi church complex. Basement waterproofing work began in June and is nearing completion. Stonework on the north clerestory wall is set to begin in July. The north side aisle roof is also set for replacement this summer. This work should address water leaks that have been a recurring problem on the north side of the church and make it possible to do plaster and paint repairs inside.
Friends president Lucy Ederer admitted that fall 2019 was not an especially good time to roll out a fundraising campaign, and with COVID-19, timing could not have been much worse for finishing the campaign, especially after a cancelled Easter season. Still, she stated that “We were pleasantly surprised by the number of donations that kept coming in. We are so grateful for the remarkable support of our parishioners and friends.” She added, however, that Corpus Christi’s buildings—one of the few local Catholic Church complexes listed on the National Register of Historic Places—will need continued strong and faithful commitment in order to ensure its future: “Just as in Europe, scaffolding should be considered an almost permanent part of the church’s artwork.” Some of the funds raised came from foundation grants that usually require some sort of matching donation from parishioners and the community.
When asked why people should put so much effort into preserving the building when the church is about people, Ederer gave a detailed response: “The church is first about Jesus saving all of us, and one way that grateful people respond to that good news is to build Him a wonderful temple. This place reminds us that here we encounter the beauty of God’s saving grace in the sacraments, a beautiful place that tells everyone that Jesus lives here and that something important happens here. A church is never just a secular meeting place, no matter how humble. But here, the poor Polish immigrants who built Corpus Christi made big sacrifices so that people who come here can magnificently experience the beauty and glory of God and His love for us. We honor their sacrifices by preserving our church so that it can continue to evangelize new generations. We keep going because our horizontal culture is too intellectually and morally confused to realize that God must be treated as God. We need spaces and symbols and beauty to express our faith and that reality.”
Ederer added that more upcoming projects on the wish list for next year include stonework restoration on the south clerestory wall and a new roof for the south side aisle roof: “We are always grateful for donations, which show us that the community continues to appreciate our faith heritage and our legacy. We always have work, and the Friends have virtually no overhead expenses. Monies received go directly to restoration projects.” Donations can be sent to Friends of Corpus Christi Inc., PO Box 784, Buffalo, NY 14240.
As Christ spent his 40 days in the desert preparing to do the will of his Father, so too have we been given an incredible opportunity to be in the desert with Jesus this Lent. I know this very difficult time has caused major changes in our lives and added elements of anxiety and fear, I hope this time has also given you an opportunity to quiet your mind and heart and spend more time in prayer. Although we have not been able to gather for Mass, Adoration, Retreat, Penance, Stations of the Cross, decorating, and meetings, I encourage you to make this Holy Week one of opportunity quiet anticipation. Each year the business and preparation of this holy season causes us to rush into church, try to quiet our minds and heart, and walk the final journey with Jesus. This year is an opportunity to move at a different slower pace.
We began Palm Sunday without palms, yet we so longed to be in church. Keep the images of our church in your heart. They will be there when you return. We will continue Holy Week telling ourselves everything is so different. It is! But it is also an opportunity to be aware of something deeper. On Holy Thursday, ask yourself-do I take time to say thank you Jesus? Would I allow him to wash my feet and my hands? Will I spend time in adoration? You can still visit the 7 churches. Take your mind to churches you have been to in the past. Light a candle. Set up an altar in your home. Go there. Pray! On Good Friday, open your bible, read the Passion. Do you have a crucifix in your house and a statue or image of Mary to kneel in front of? Read the Stations of the Cross. Where are you in the crowd? Then as we move through to Holy Saturday, often a time of meal preparation and waiting for the resurrection, continue your Easter basket traditions. Make your favorite coffee cake. Color your eggs. Share the meaning behind the symbolic items in your basket with others, especially your children and grandchildren whom you will pass the tradition to. If you have holy water, bless your own basket. Finally, on Easter Sunday, wake up, take a walk. Listen to the birds. Look at the flowers now in bloom. Smile. Shout, HE IS RISEN! Crack open the egg-the tomb has been rolled away! Keep the faith. Corpus Christi church, our Pauline Fathers, parishioners and friends, will be with you in spirit. Until we meet again…KEEP HOPE ALIVE!
Peace-Beverly A. Sikora-Corpus Christi Parish Council President