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The annual Feast of Our Lady of Miracles of Mussomeli, the largest Italian-American religious feast in Western New York, will be celebrated Sunday in St. Anthony of Padua Church, 160 Court St. A Mass at 11 a.m. will be followed by brunch in the Statler Towers Golden Ballroom.

The observance, which attracts several hundred immigrants from Mussomeli and their descendants from Buffalo, Rochester and Hamilton, Ont., commemorates the reported healing of a paralytic in 1530 just outside the Sicilian city through the intercession of the Virgin Mary.

Four priests who are descendants of immigrants from Mussomeli will concelebrate the Mass.

Presiding will be Rev. Charles Amico, professor of theology at Christ the King Seminary, East Aurora. Concelebrants will be Monsignor Richard Amico, pastor of St. Joseph's Church, Niagara Falls; Monsignor Francis Sorci, pastor emeritus of Christ the King Church, Snyder, and Rev. Salvatore Piazza, pastor emeritus of St. Joseph's Church, Lockport.

Also concelebrating will be Rev. Secundo Casarotto, CS, pastor of St. Anthony's. Clare Gioele heads the planning committee for the celebration.

Honored for their contributions to the annual event will be Rosalia Giovino, who just celebrated her 100th birthday, Jenny Giovino and Mr. and Mrs. Vincent Molea.

Lutheran pastor to retire

The Rev. Richard E. Blemaster will be honored with the title pastor emeritus when he conducts his final service at 10:30 a.m. Sunday as pastor of Salem Lutheran Church, 10 McClellan Circle.

Mr. Blemaster, only the second pastor of the 82-year-old congregation, is retiring after 40 years at Salem. He also will be honored during a reception following the service and at a banquet at 5:15 p.m. in Salvatore's Italian Garden's, Depew.

Mr. Blemaster has been active in the South Buffalo Ecumenical Association and offered the invocation and benediction at the annual Buffalo Post Office retirement dinners for 37 years. He also has been a member of the board of directors of Niagara Lutheran Home, a trustee of Mount Mercy Academy and a member of the campus ministry team at Trocaire College.

Interim minister is called

Rev. Nancy Roemheld has been called to become the new interim minister for the Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo, 695 Elmwood Ave. She will conduct the Ingathering Service at 11 a.m. Sunday.

Rev. Roemheld comes to Buffalo from Studio City, Calif., where she served for two years. Previously she served in Athens, Ga.; Greensboro, N.C., and Halifax, N.S.

A native of Massachusetts, she holds a master of divinity degree from Meadville-Lombard Theological School and a master of arts in religious studies from the University of Chicago Divinity School.

Musician to conduct programs

Vincent Ambrosetti, a composer, recording artist, liturgist and lecturer, will conduct parish mission programs at 7 p.m. Monday through Wednesday at St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church, Maple Road and St. Gregory Court, Amherst.

A secular Franciscan who is internationally known for his music and parish community building, Ambrosetti also will speak at all Masses this weekend and perform in concert at 7 p.m. Sunday. Admission at the special program is free but an offering will be taken.

Church to receive adults at rite

The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, through which people join the Catholic Church, will be offered Wednesdays at 7:30 a.m. beginning this Wednesday in St. Joseph Cathedral, 50 Franklin St. Sessions conclude in time for participants to be at work by 8:30 or 9.

Candidates will be received into the church by Bishop Henry J. Mansell during the Easter Vigil service in the cathedral next spring. For information and registration, call 854-5855.

Women's Bible study resumes

Women of the Word (W.O.W.) Bible study will begin its 12th year of weekly meetings Thursday at 9:15 a.m. in Whitehaven Road Baptist Church, 1290 Whitehaven Road, Grand Island. New members of all ages are welcome.

This year's study will focus on the Book of Mark, I and II Thessalonians and I and II Peter. For information, call Kathleen Olszewski at 773-1001.

< Child care is provided for infants. Youngsters aged 3 to 5 may attend the Children of the Word Club, where they learn Bible stories and songs of praise and create Bible-inspired crafts. W.O.W. is supported by the Grand Island Ministerium. Members belong to a variety of churches.

Millennial leadership is topic

"Leading Learners into the New Millennium" is the theme for the fall workshop of the New York State Sunday School Association Sept. 25 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the Wesleyan Church of Hamburg, 4999 McKinley Parkway.

The workshop will feature Standard Publishing, which will bring leaders for 20 sessions in four sessions for Sunday school teachers, pastors and ministry leaders.

Deadline for registration is Sept. 20. For information contact Maria at 675-5365 or visit the Web site at

Role of fathers to be theme

"Fatherhood" will be the theme of the Diocese of Buffalo's fifth annual Natural Family Planning Conference Sept. 25 in Grupp Fireside Lounge at Canisius College. The conference, which begins with a family Mass at 9 a.m. in Christ the King Chapel, will celebrate fathers and their role in raising Catholic families.

Speakers include Andrew Pollard of SS. Rita and Patrick's Church, Buffalo; Dominic Cavaretta and Mark Molitor of St. Amelia's Church, Town of Tonawanda; Gregory Larkin of St. Peter's Church, Lewiston; John Roetzer of SS. Peter and Paul Church, Williamsville, and David Marciniak of St. Barnabas' Church, Depew.

The conference will conclude with a picnic and family activities on the college campus grounds, weather permitting. For information, call 847-5533 or visit the Web site at

Beth El names Rabbi Lubow

Rabbi Akiba Lubow, who has been serving a congregation in Canada, has been appointed rabbi of Temple Beth El of Great Buffalo, Town of Tonawanda, effective immediately.

Since 1994, Rabbi Lubow has been rabbi of the 600-family Rosh Pina Congregation, the second largest congregation in Winnipeg, Manitoba. At Temple Beth El, he will succeed Rabbi Robert J. Eisen who resigned July 31 to become rabbi of a congregation in Tucson, Ariz.

A native of Los Angeles, Rabbi Lubow formerly served for three years as assistant rabbi of Temple Beth El, Rochester, and for three years as associate rabbi of Brith (cq) Sholom Kneseth Israel Congregation, St. Louis, Mo. He and his wife, Rahel, (cq) have two children.

Prof to air care at life's end

Rev. Dr. David P. Sulmasy, O.F.M., professor of medicine and director of the Bioethics Institute of New York Medical College, Valhalla, will be guest speaker Sept. 29 at 1 p.m. in Christ the King Seminary, 711 Knox Road, East Aurora. His topic will be "Ethical and Pastoral Considerations at the End of Human Life."

The program is sponsored by the Herzing Chair of Pastoral Medicine at Christ the King Seminary and the Diocese of Buffalo Continuing Formation for Priests Committee.

The program will be preceded by lunch at noon. In addition to registration, a late fee will be charged after Sept. 24. For information, call 652-8900.

Rev. Lipiec to head parish

Rev. Bart W. Lipiec has been named as the new pastor for Annunciation Parish, Lafayette and Grant streets. He succeeds Rev. James G. Judge, who recently became pastor of Holy Spirit Parish, North Collins.

Rev. Lipiec, who has served as pastor of St. Michael's Parish in Warsaw and St. Mary's Parish in Silver Springs since 1996, is a native of Depew. He attended Lancaster High School and studied at Wadhams Hall Seminary College in Ogdensburg and Christ the King Seminary. He was ordained in 1983.

His first assignment was as associate pastor at Holy Trinity Parish, Dunkirk. In 1988, he began a five-year term as parochial vicar at Infant of Prague Parish, Cheektowaga, then went to St. Christopher's Parish in the Town of Tonawanda. He is chaplain to the Buffalo office of the FBI.

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