More than 150 parishioners, along with Jesuit alumni and friends of the Jesuits, gathered at St. Michael's Church in downtown Buffalo to celebrate the closing Mass of the 117th Novena of Grace and the legacy of Ignatian Missions on Sunday, March 12, 2017. After Mass, Nicholas Sawicki '12 of America Media presented "Missions, Martyrs and Today" about living the mission day by day. Guests then gathered for reception in the social hall.
Fr. Fred Betti, SJ, associate pastor at St. Michael's, presided and preached at the Mass which included a string ensemble composed of students from area schools under the direction of Mr. David Butler, a Canisius High School alumni parent. The music the ensemble performed included selections from the movie, "The Mission."
Fr. Betti noted the rich tradition of the novena by asking those in attendance to stand according to their years of participation. Mr. Nelson Hasselbeck, a 1950 Canisius College graduate, held the record. At age 93, he has made the novena for 87 years.
Mr. Sawicki noted that we are all called to live out the mission that Christ shares with us. He cited many saints, missionaries, and martyrs who inspire us in our own call by their heroic willingness to endure trials to fulfill the mission.
The celebration was co-sponsored by St. Michael's Jesuit Downtown Church and the One Jesuit Buffalo Alumni Association.
(Pictured at top, left to right: Fr. Ronald Sams, S.J. '46, Nicholas Sawicki '12, Fr. Fred Betti, S.J.)